I must admit to being a bit remiss with attending FAM trips recently. We get so many invites it's often easier to ignore them all. However, when a beautiful personalised invite dropped through the door from Gleneagles a few months back I decided that now was the time to mend my ways.
Located about 50mins from Edinburgh, where the lowlands flow into the highlands, Gleneagles stands alone like a grande old dame.
Our time at the hotel was going to be swift and busy. Thankfully the thoughtful hosts had given us Sunday afternoon at leisure. While some of my fellow guests decided to don trainers and take a run through the grounds I, still feeling the affects of the previous evening, headed straight to the spa. After 2 strenuous hours hopping between the 5 pools and easily avoiding the gym we headed for drinks in the newly decorated American Bar. It's hard to believe this used to be the front manager's office. It slips in to its new role as a dark, moody and decedent bar far better. You could easily picture yourself here after a bracing day on the golf course or unwinding post G8 Summit.
After a quick presentation about the hotel the piper arrived to pipe us towards our supper. He then proceeded to do the full blessing of the haggis, and very theatrical it was too. The food was Scottish and sumptuous, the drink flowed freely, and then to top the night off we were invited to the front steps of the hotel to watch a traditional Scottish marching band descend the drive and put on a show. Sadly they didn't take requests.
The following morning we were treated to the best breakfast buffet I think I've ever encountered. You name it, it was there, and chances are I ate it. Feeling full we then headed for a morning of activities, for if there's one thing Gleneagles doesn't lack it's things to do. Gun dog training, falconry, Segways, horse riding, archery, clay pigeon shooting and a golf lesson. We did them all and managed to pack that into 4 hours. Lunch followed at the Dormy Clubhouse, given that it was a Monday in April and Gleneagles is quite isolated the place was positively heaving.
That afternoon was a full tour of the hotel. We saw the incredible Ballroom, complete with sprung floor and sizeable stage, which is great for conferences of 260 or dinners at 190. My favourite space was the Glendevon, a semi-circular room with more natural daylight than a greenhouse. This is an ideal pre-function space. Continuing our theme of being spoilt we were then taken down to the cellars and let loose among £5million worth of booze, including some fine wines and rare whiskeys. Budget permitting this is a great space for an intimate dinner of around 10 guests.
Despite being a sizeable resort with so much on offer, Gleneagles manages to keep a really intimate feel about the space. The staff are formal but very friendly, the events spaces and bedrooms are extremely well maintained, and there are enough bars and activities available that will occupy you for days on end. This was the first hotel I’ve been to where I felt a real sense that I could return year on year and never tire of the place.