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Walking on Ayrshire

Kieran Dodds Walking on Ayrshire

Photo: Kieran Dodds

Where to Stay

Brig O’ Doon House

Any visitor with even a passing interest in Robert Burns will delight in staying at this small roadside guesthouse in Alloway, the birthplace of the beloved bard. Just beyond the back door rises the actual Brig o’ Doon, the keystone bridge over the River Doon where the climactic scene in “Tam o’ Shanter” takes place. And those unfamiliar with Burns will have no trouble appreciating the inn’s richly furnished bedrooms (the tartan carpets are a nice touch) as well as its hidden tearoom.

Alloway, Ayr, Ayrshire. Rooms: $165–$292. Contact: 011-44/1292-442-466, costley-hotels.co.uk.

Craigard House

Until the developers of Machrihanish Dunes complete their renovations on two nearby hotels, this homey Victorian-era mansion remains the finest lodging in southern Kintyre. Built as a whisky distiller’s residence and later converted to a maternity home (there are separate guest books for the mothers and babies of Craigard), the inn overlooks Campbeltown Loch. Its dinner menu showcases the local catch.

Low Askomil, Campbeltown, Argyll. Rooms: $107–$234. Contact: 011-44/1586-554-242, craigard-house.co.uk.

Lochgreen House

The U.K.’s respected AA (Automobile Association) named this forty-room manor on the outskirts of Troon Scotland’s hotel of the year in 2004, and it’s easy to see why. Surrounded by thirty acres of woodlands and gardens, Lochgreen House rings with bucolic charm. A crackling hearth greets guests as they walk in; the properly British study has a well-stocked bar; and the main restaurant, the Tapestry, celebrates seasonal produce.

Monktonhill Road, Southwood, Troon, Ayrshire. Rooms: $282–$545. Contact: 011-44/1292-313-343, costley-hotels.co.uk.

Marine hotel

This red-stone edifice, sometimes mistaken for the clubhouse at Royal Troon, stands magnificently beside the eighteenth fairway of the championship links. The Marine recently underwent a $7.8 million renovation, and its eighty-nine rooms, fully appointed spa and indoor pool, and upholstered bar all bear the markings of modern luxury.

8 Crosbie Road, Troon, Ayrshire. Rooms: $240–$465. Contact: 011-44/1292-314-444, pumahotels.co.uk.

Piersland House Hotel

The most affordable of Troon’s upscale accommodations, this century-old Tudor-style manor was designed by a noted Scottish architect for the grandson of Johnnie Walker. It sits on a lush estate within walking distance of Royal Troon. The thirty rooms and cottage suites aren’t quite lavish, but they offer plenty of comfort for weary travelers. Fittingly, the hotel’s Walker Bar, the more traditional of its two restaurants, maintains an enticing variety of blends and single malts.

Craigend Road, Troon, Ayrshire. Rooms: $190–$447. Contact: 011-44/1292-314-747, piersland.co.uk.

Westin Turnberry Resort

Built just over a hundred years ago on a hillside above the rugged South Ayrshire coast, this massive Edwardian hotel remains one of the grand lodgings in golf. Its long hallways and dormered guest rooms practically echo with conversations of travelers past, and its beds will be the softest you’ll sleep on during the entire trip. Westin’s parent, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, recently put the property up for sale, but no matter who the next owner is, it’s hard to imagine the resort and its state-of-the-art spa being anything short of regal.

Turnberry, Ayrshire. Rooms: $450–$772. Contact: 011-44/1655-331-000, turnberry.co.uk.

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