The Marine North Berwick – a hotel with golf grandeur to a tee – Scotland on Sunday Travel

Marine North Berwick overlooks the 16th hole of North Berwick Golf Club’s historic West Links course.

An iconic property that overlooks the 16th hole of North Berwick Golf Club’s historic West Links course, this hotel – known as the “Grand Old Lady” – now bears the official name of Marine North Berwick. It is part of the Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts properties, which focus on major golf destinations, also encompassing St Andrews and Troon, and it was formerly part of the Macdonald Hotels portfolio.

I’m excited about the prospect of a mini stay with a friend at the 84-bed property, which is easily accessible from Edinburgh but also a world of relaxation, given its seafront location. As we see the grand and the hotel’s grand exterior come into view – or, to quote its own billing, it “rises from the East Lothian landscape to offer guests a quietly elegant escape” – it reminds me of having visited in an earlier incarnation many moons ago. After navigating the parking lot, we check in to the refined grandeur of the lobby, whose green and ocher racing colors we’ll find throughout the hotel.

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Truly a boutique offering with a focus on golf but fairly reasonably priced.

Our twin room is large, with a panoramic sea view that we agree to admire all day long from the red three-room apartment near the window. The rest of the room features a velvet headboard, complemented by dark greens and woods, and cream elsewhere in the room, while the bedside tables are styled like golf tees. In fact, the design of the entire hotel is inspired by Scottish golf courses, tapping into the seaside and the “surrounding natural wonders”. Amenities include a Nespresso machine and high-end Floris toiletries.

The historic hotel offers panoramic sea views.

We dine at the onsite restaurant The Lawn, run by celebrity chef Chris Niven whose resume includes serving as executive chef at the Fairmont, St Andrews and the Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh. It focuses on local beef, game, and seafood, and seating includes plenty of stalls.

We taste the sea bream with lemon, accompanied by candied potatoes, a really delicious fish and chips, and we return to the restaurant for breakfast, with a buffet consisting of crispy mini pastries and light French toast with cinnamon.

After dinner, we head to the less formal and more glamorous Bass Rock Bar for a nightcap – drinking in front of its many chandeliers. The menu includes a Bass Rock Manhattan – while there’s a good selection of non- and low-alcohol cocktails. Plus, the bar team can “create something classic or bespoke for you.”

Worth getting out of bed for

The Lawn Restaurant, led by award-winning chef Chris Niven and his culinary team, offers an all-day menu featuring the best of British and Scottish cuisine.

You can walk east along the coast to North Berwick and its attractions including the Scottish Seabird Center and many cafes. There are no less than 22 golf courses in the region. However, I would be happy to stay for an extended period in the newly renovated spa. New additions include a studio room for exercise classes including yoga, pilates and high intensity workouts. However, I prioritize a relaxing swim in the cobalt blue indoor pool, and there’s a pool section outside, which totally counts as a wild swim, I think, and I try the steam room, the one of the many attractions of the thermal suite.

There are also several treatment rooms, as the hotel recently launched its partnership with French skincare company Caudalie, which specializes in vinotherapy and whose 100% vegan skincare products blend scientific techniques with active ingredients from their Bordeaux vineyards. Treatments offered here include the Premier Cru Facial, Marine Spa Winemakers Massage, and Crushed Cabernet Body Treatment. Let’s toast to that!

There is an 11-hole putting green on site, allowing you to exploit your inner Tiger Woods.

One of the 84 rooms, doubles, twins and suites, decorated in greens, reds and ochres.

A beachfront hotel with an excellent spa, top-notch food and drink selection, and stunning views, makes for an excellent sanctuary.

Prices: Rooms start at £189 per night including full Scottish breakfast and VAT. Marine North Berwick, 18 Cromwell Rd, North Berwick, EH39 4LZ, (03448 799130,

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The Bass Rock Bar with its sparkling chandeliers.

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