Sumptuous is one of those words that require a cautious approach, but even it doesn’t quite seem adequate to describe the Hamilton Grand in St. Andrews. The place really is that good. Built in 1895 as the Grand Hotel—Scotland’s finest, with hot and cold running water in every bathroom and the country’s first pneumatic elevator—the distinctive sandstone building with the iconic silver dome has gone through many permutations that mirror Scotland’s history.
Its latest incarnation is the most elegant yet: a meticulous renovation that transformed the building into 26 apartments overlooking the Old Course. Owners of the flats can take pride in knowing that no one in the world lives closer to the spot where the sport was born more than 600 years ago. With the finishing touches just complete, the two- to four-bedroom apartments ranging from 1,133 to 2,780 square feet are now available.
In addition to rising up next to the Old Course’s 18th green and fairway, the residences also enjoy scenic views of the West Sands Beach and the Bay of St. Andrews. And if that’s not enticing enough, the Hamilton Grand sits adjacent to the revered 160-year-old clubhouse of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the most photographed building in Scotland. (The Hamilton Grand is a close second.)
While indulging in world-class golf courses and luxurious amenities, take note of St. Andrews’ arresting views. Don’t forget, it’s situated right on the waterfront, so contemplative beach strolls are only steps away.
“Hamilton Grand is a unique opportunity for those who want to own a home in the birthplace of golf, and it’s a premier destination that’s rich in history,” says Debbie Taylor, president of hospitality and real estate for Kohler, the building’s owner and developer.
The interior design by Jack “JJ” Reese features multilayered textiles, fabrics, and finishes, with an emphasis on Scotland’s own tartan plaids used in fresh ways. Architectural details are nuanced for a quiet grandeur, while furniture is a sophisticated blend of classic period and contemporary pieces.
Reese’s design inspirations include Billy Haines, Dorothy Draper, Alberto Pinto, and Ralph Lauren. Lauren’s idea of “backstory” is evident in Reese’s rooms, which attest to his talent for illustrative imagery and his knowledge of historical interior design. Because the original Victorian hotel had entertained the likes of the future King Edward VII (when he was still the Prince of Wales), Mary Astor, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudyard Kipling, Bing Crosby, and U.S. Walker Cup and Curtis Cup golf teams, Reese wanted some essence of that era’s showmanship to seep into his design, but with restraint.
The hotel’s stardom continued until the Second World War, when it was used as a Royal Air Force training headquarters. After the war, the University of St. Andrews acquired the building and opened it as a dormitory that it renamed Hamilton Hall, after the Duke of Hamilton, the university’s chancellor. It remained a part of the university until closing in 2005. Kohler’s purchase in 2009 set the building on track to recapture its original grandeur.
Photography: Dominic Blackmore
Produced by Krissa Rossbund