Prepare to be dazzled. If you get your kicks from the shiniest chandeliers, bathrooms the size of a small house and thrones in the hallway, then you’ve arrived in paradise.

Trump Turnberry was never going to be a subtle weekend destination. The exuberant hotel on Scotland’s west coast was in the eye of the world’s press when its owner, President Trump, stopped over last year – remember the paragliding protestor?

But we found zero protest at this Ayrshire enclave of luxury on a recent stayover. Instead, it was crowded with leisure lovers- accents mostly Scottish not Stateside – basking in opulent surroundings and making the most of everything from  perfectly groomed golf courses to decadent afternoon teas.

Trump bought the revered hotel, famous for its golf heritage thanks to stunning, if challenging, courses which hug the windswept coastline, and set about transforming it into a luxurious pleasure palace.

No expense was spared. There are nearly 200 super-sparkly chandeliers lining corridors which twinkle over opulent deep blue and gold carpet. Every so often you can take some respite on carved wooden thrones or just stop and admire the impressive archive of photographs of the great and good – sportsmen, politicians, rock stars and royalty – who have stayed in its hallowed halls.

Bedrooms are decorated in deep blues with opulent bed canopies in Trump tartan with gilt trims. Of course they are!

Bathrooms are huge, bright and sparkly – even the toiletries are Natra Bisse’s Diamond range.

Family groups of all ages will find something to enjoy. There are loads of activities – from playrooms for the little ones to outdoor adventures for thrill-seekers such as 4×4 driving and junior quad bikes.

Stay in the sweet-looking newly refurbished cottages which surround the hotel. They look on-point with their coastal décor – white-shuttered bay windows, grey-blue paint colours and wooden floors.

They sleep up to six and have a kitchen and dining area in the open plan space, as well as offering all the hotel’s amenities to guests. Dog friendly too.

The white-painted hotel itself makes the most of views across the golf courses towards the coast and farther out to the Isle of Arran and the Kintyre peninsula beyond. Standing proud in the ocean is the majestic blue granite island of Ailsa Craig, an ancient and impressive landmark.

At 6pm the kilted piper makes his way along the front of the hotel doing his thing.

The hotel’s design really makes the most of the views which take centre stage in the dining, lounge and bar areas. We got lucky with dazzlingly good March weather which meant stunning, memorable  sunsets across the still waters.

Naturally, the golfing is big news here with two championship courses. We didn’t play but went on a meandering walk from the hotel, along the coastline and beach to the Turnberry Lighthouse. Impressively renovated, this landmark building acts as a halfway house for hungry and thirsty golfers as they tackle the fairways.

Or honeymooners can book the lighthouse suite for the night.

The coastal location of the courses makes for a gusty game for sure – even on the brightest of days it made for challenging walking terrain, never mind confronting the holes. But the views and easily make up for it all.

It’s wise to soak away the outdoorsy efforts, be they on foot or golf buggy, with a session in the spa.

The building has a glass front which again makes the most of the impressive views. Rest up in a deliciously fragrant sauna or take to a lounger and luxuriate in the instantly restful views of the ocean outside. It’s a gorgeous sunshine spot, spacious and never too busy with happy staff.

In fact, the quality of staff really shines out here. There’s that super-pleasing helpfulness characteristic of hotels in the States brought to you with a gentle Scottish accent. Willingness to help, friendliness and plenty of confidence and knowledge.

Food in the 1906, (when the hotel first opened), restaurant with its ocean views, caters for the traditional with fish from nearby Troon and Scottish beef mainstays off the menu.

Quality was impeccable. We feasted on Kilbrannan scallops with foie gras and rated cauliflower as well as main courses of aged beef Rossini (more foie gras) and pan-seared Gigha halibut with brown shrimp, clams, oyster and white wine veloute.

There’s the theatre of the carving trolley which offered Chateaubriand, cote de boeuf or rack of lamb for two, impeccably prepared by chef at table.

We went for the dessert version of the drama with a delicious flame-frenzied crepe suzette prepared at table.

Breakfast brings a similarly fulsome offering – there’s a Bloody Mary station to prep your own – with artisan vodka waiting to perk you up.

Partner it with porridge, haggis or the delicious beetroot-cured salmon which was one of the many treats on the breakfast buffet selection

Time then to head out for bracing adventures:


Culzean Castle

A short but lovely drive from Trump Turnberry this is about as impressive as a coastal castle can be. The Country Park has picturesque gardens, a visitor centre and restaurant.

A boat trip to Arran

Known as Scotland in Miniature. Go by car and then the ferry from Ardrossan Harbor. Visit the distillery, taste the local beer, admire the standing stones of Machrie Moor.

Farm fun

Take the children out for a day at the Heads of Ayr Farm Park with over 50 different types of animals, a magical castle and a play park with trampolines.


Home to both the Scottish Grand National Festival and the Ayr Gold Cup Festival, Ayr Racecourse is Scotland’s only grade 1 racetrack.

Room rates from £149 per night, villas from £125 per night. Dinner at 1906, three-courses plus tea & coffee £65pp.