Amy Shearer spent a night at this landmark on the Ayrshire coast and was won over by its opulent fabulousness
I love travelling. Logging on to a budget airline to see where I can fly to for the same price as a Glasgow to Edinburgh train return is truly one of my favourite hobbies. The cheap flight is usually matched by cheap accommodation – I don’t mind, so long as it is clean and safe and I have a private bathroom so nobody hears me singing Bananarama in the shower.
Sadly, though, I fear my recent visit to Trump Turnberry has ruined my ability to enter a budget hotel room and be delighted by the fact that it has two teabags and a couple of individually wrapped biscuits.
From the moment my friend and I arrive at the Ayrshire landmark, we’re blown away by its warmth and hospitality – from the instant greeting from the friendly face at the bottom of the grand winding entrance, to the warm welcome of the reception staff who whisk our bags off to our room and ensure my wee car is parked safely nearby.
After a quick pitstop to check out our swanky twin deluxe room (where we find sweet treats, Ishga goodies used in the hotel spa and a thoughtful hand-written note from the manager), we meet marketing manager Natalaigh Taylor and activities coordinator Andrew Case for a taste of Turnberry adventures.
I have never shot an arrow or pulled the trigger of an air rifle before, and I take extra pride in the fact I can do it in heels. Natalaigh and Andrew tell me about the amazing outdoor pursuits on offer at the resort. The hotel puts together specialised pre- and post-wedding packages, so if golfing on a world-famous course isn’t in your repertoire, you could try clay-pigeon shooting, kayaking, off-road biking or falconry.
There are stables here too, so why not book riding lessons or go for a gallop on the beach – or arrive by horse-drawn carriage on the big day?
If you’re looking for more relaxing vibes for your celebrations, Turnberry also has a divine spa where you can indulge in state-of-the-art facilities with waterside views. A gentle swim could ease you into the day, as would an indulgent treatment from one of the on-site therapists. I am lucky enough to try a sensory shower in the relaxation room and it’s one of the highlights of my time here – it also makes me appreciate fully just why Oprah swears by the power of zen.
My visit coincides with a wedding showcase, so I have the chance to see the venue done up in all its glory. Sipping on a glass of champers, I mosey between the Donald J. Trump Ballroom, the Caledonia Ballroom, the Crystal Room and the Ailsa Craig Suite. It’s easy to get completely swept away by how impressive it all looks – I can understand why it’s booked up by couples from Scotland and across the globe.
The attention to detail is next level, with something new to notice everywhere you look, and such a lovely atmosphere as plans are solidified and canapés are sampled.
The team have also arranged for us to visit some of the resort’s other famous spots, with the iconic lighthouse proving as striking in reality as it is on the postcards. Whether you fancy spending the night there or want to use it as the backdrop to your photographs, it is worth weaving in a visit to it in some capacity.
We also spend time in the Norman Suite, a popular choice for the morning of the wedding. The private balcony would really give your pre-wedding photoshoot that fabulous edge, and overlooking the serene scenery would quash any nerves. I stop by the delightful self-catering cottages too; they’re ideal for groups and those looking for a home away from home.
The jewel in Turnberry’s crown has always been the golf, but for non-players like me, it’s the food that really stands out. We enjoy a sparkling afternoon tea in the Grand Tea Lounge with a mouth-watering selection of sweet and savoury treats.
Dinner in the Duel in the Sun (which overlooks the first and 18th holes of its famous courses), is full of flavour in less formal surroundings. We tuck into mussels and burgers, plus a cheeseboard which is obligingly boxed up for us – we enjoy it back in our room, sitting in fluffy white robes watching telly.
After all that, it’s a bit of a struggle next morning to force myself out of my comfy bed, but I’m glad that I do. Hotel breakfasts are always a treat, and starting the day in the celebrated 1906 restaurant sampling the finest continental and hot dishes rounds off our stay in style.
Before we pack up and head home, I have time to catch up with event staff member Shelby Cairns, Aimee Lawrie of group sales and marketing executive Eva Kerr, who run through the details and confirm two things for me.
First, couples who marry here are guaranteed a luxurious experience, with no request too much for the team. And second, my budget travel plans need to be shelved until Turnberry is fully out of my system.
Determined to have a luxurious, very special Scottish wedding? Trump Turnberry has all you need to make it happen…
The hotel has the capacity to throw the most lavish of bashes, with space to invite 500 people. A minimum of 80 guests is needed for the lower-priced package (see below) and 150 guests for the higher one. More intimate suites are available too if you’d prefer to have a smaller affair.
There are two options: ‘Happily Ever After’, which starts at £185 a head (£195 in 2024); and ‘To Have and to Hold’, which is £240 a head (£250 in 2024). Both include elements like multiple-course wedding breakfasts, a piper, a drinks package and accommodation for the happy couple. Evening guests start at £30 a head and a wedding carriage costs from £400 for two hours.
The resort boasts 192 guest rooms, including four suites and the iconic two-bedroom suite at the Turnberry Lighthouse that rises above the ruins of Robert the Bruce’s Castle. The Norman Suite is the most popular bridal option; it has a generous bedroom and a living room, and you get breathtaking views from the private balcony.
THE FOOD AND DRINK
Turnberry has several restaurants throughout the resort, and delicious food is a major part of both packages. Host your wedding here and you can have ‘live stations’ at the meal, where specialist chefs show off their skills cooking everything from crepes to hog roasts. You also get a complimentary menu tasting at the chef’s table as part of your package.
Want to see more on picking your venue? Check out some of the best country house venues in Scotland here