The famous first tee at Machrihanish Golf Club is looking impossibly perfect from my bedroom window at the Ugadale Hotel, framed as it is by the morning sun and the Atlantic rollers behind. Old Tom Morris, the designer of St. Andrews’ Old Course would be so proud his other baby is looking so good after all these years. The same could be said for the Ugadale Hotel, the once proud dame of Machrihanish saved from abandoned ruin by her new American owners, Southworth Development.
The company, under the stewardship of David Southworth, has singlehandedly breathed new life into the hotel and into the Kintyre peninsular and historic Campbeltown in particular. The elegant Ugadale Hotel is back to her 19th century best, Machrihanish Dunes is a magnificent new 18 hole championship links course just steps away from the ocean and Campbeltown’s legendary Royal Hotel is once again looking very regal after years of neglect. With many of the locals gainfully employed in both hotels and the golf course, life in these parts has never looked better since Campbeltown’s heyday, before USA prohibition, when its 30 single malt distilleries led it to proclaim itself “the whiskey capital of the world.” Today, there are just three active distilleries left Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia, but the area remains one of five of Scotland’s official whiskey producing regions.
The Ugadale Hotel may have an American owner now but the warm welcome I received after a long but stunning drive around the glorious lochs from Glasgow was distinctly Scottish; greeted like an old friend and offered a warming wee dram. That said, the rooms and fixtures do have more than a little American influence; my large well furnished room had plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, walnut wood and antique brass highlights, a glorious Atlantic Ocean view, huge comfy bed and an excellent luxury bath and shower.
Downstairs, the Kintyre Club is a private dining venue for hotel guests and local members, a nice touch that, where for a small annual fee locals can drink and enjoy signature steak dining in an informal yet club like way. Just next door, the old Machrihanish Golf Club clubhouse from 1876 has been restored and transformed into a cosy pub offering a fine array of ales and whiskeys and some delicious food too.
The whole place has a real village feel to it, the nest of self catering two bedroom cottages, all done out with natural stone, hardwoods and classy stylish interiors add to the village like concept, again American resort style, but to me, very in keeping with the area; remote stunning coastal landscape, the islands of Jura and Islay in the distance and the famous Mull of Kintyre just a few minutes’ drive away.
The Ugadale Hotel provides a free shuttle service to Machrihanish Dunes golf course and to sister property The Royal Hotel in Campbeltown where conveniently you can dine in the Harbourview Grille, have a drink at the Black Sheep pub, play golf at MachDunes and charge it all to your hotel account.
The Ugadale Hotel is primarily a luxury hotel resort for golfers, perched right opposite Macrihanish Golf Club and a just short drive to Mach Dunes, but if you’re into walking, birding or anything outdoor, it’s a perfect base to explore this simply stunning peninsular. There is no question Southworth Development has a real gem here, a genuine piece of legendary Scottish coast that you will simply fall in love with over and over again.
All images (c) Andy Mossack
I want to stay at the Ugadale Hotel. How much is it?
Midweek madness for £149 per room until end of August 2015.
Stay any time Sunday-Thursday and enjoy a mid-week package ideal for any summer golf break:
One-night stay for two in the Ugadale or Royal Hotels (Sunday-Thursday nights only) Unlimited golf for two at MDGC Soup and sandwich lunch at the Golf House for two 2 miniature bottles of Scotch Whisky Full Scottish breakfast Shuttle transportation to and from MDGC All for just £149 per room* conditions apply. Add a second night B&B, Sunday-Thursday, for just £99
Full details and current rates can be found at www.machrihanishdunes.com.
Tel: 0800 151 3701 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Easyjet flies daily to Glasgow. The Ugadale Hotel and Mach Dunes is 138 miles from Glasgow by road. Flybe via Loganair operates a twice daily shuttle to Campbeltown (14 passengers only). Car hire is available at the airport. There is also a daily bus service from Glasgow £22 single.