Eighteen ninety-five was a rather good year for St. Andrews. The New Course finally opened after much dispute between the town and the R&A and, across from the eighteenth green of the Old Course, the Grand Hotel, a six-story red stone building with a distinctive cupola, welcomed its first guests. The architecture reflected the town's status as an elite Victorian-era resort. Kings and queens, authors and aristocrats, and golfers including Bobby Jones would all stay there in the years to come. During World War II, however, the Grand was thrust into duty as training headquarters for the Royal Air Force, and afterward struggled to regain its cachet. Since 1949, the building has served as a dormitory of St. Andrews University. Now, it is to be restored as a home away from home for a highly privileged few.
David Wasserman, a Rhode Island real estate developer, purchased the run-down building last year and plans to transform it into a luxury residence club called St. Andrews Grand, with renovations to begin in July. The club, which plans to open in fall 2008, will offer 110 invitation-only memberships. Members will have at least nine weeks' annual use of twenty-three apartments with three or four bedrooms, state-of-the-art kitchens, personal chefs and arguably the greatest view in golf. Memberships range from $1.3 million to $3.3 million, plus annual dues—covering property taxes, insurance, building maintenance and staff—from $26,000 to $35,000. Although members will receive no preferred access to the six courses run by the St. Andrews Links Trust (including the Old and the New), they will have privileges at nearby Kingsbarns and memberships to the venerable Crail Golfing Society and its two esteemed links, Balcomie and Craighead, ten miles down the coast.
St. Andrews Grand 303-865-3790, standrewsgrand.com