Experience Scotland visits Trump Turnberry Golf Resort
Last week saw the long-awaited re-opening of Turnberry Golf Resort, re-branded and refurbished in the image of its divisive proprietor, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Mr Trump’s decision to visit the historic resort, perched delicately on the south Ayrshire coast, attracted a fanfare of journalists, protestors and onlookers. The circus that surrounds the man whose relations with Scotland have disintegrated in the past year proved spectacle enough for the army of journalists who flocked west to report the official opening.
But behind the rhetoric, the political stunts, and the falsified emotive appeals, lie a resort which has restored its place at the pinnacle of the Scottish hotel industry. The décor sings its own praises, unapologetically grand with over 300 chandeliers hanging from the hotel’s ceilings, flashes of gold leaf in every corner, and long, sweeping staircases. The bedrooms- ranging from deluxe ocean view rooms to Trump villas and the Lighthouse Suite- offer no let up from the ostentation, with large mahogany beds adorned with intricately patterned canopies.
One member of staff remarked that, upon entering the Turnberry Hotel’s original lobby, nothing louder than a whisper felt appropriate. In a move designed to rid the hotel of its excessively formal, stuffy atmosphere, the hotel’s new restaurants and bars adopt a less rigid approach, attempting to simplify their menus while retaining the quality of the ingredients and, of course, the end product. One such example is Il Tramoto at 1906, seeking to fuse Italian cuisine with Ayrshire meats, vegetables and fish.
And yet, for all the money invested in the project, the efforts of interior designers and the attention to the finest material details, the most impressive part of the Turnberry package remains what has always been its strongest asset: the location. With the sun shining on the Irish Sea, the island of Ailsa Craig comprises the landscape’s dramatic centrepiece, all the more breath-taking in the distance as the evening draws in and the sky melts into a portrait of the orange afterglow of sundown. This is clearly a feature which the designers have to emphasise: the many, many windows demonstrate the effort to allow as much light into the building as possible, offering from every vantage point more than a glimpse of the scattered, rocky coastal setting.
Viewed at a remove from a political context at once tumultuous and questionable, Trump Turnberry has much to offer to Scotland’s visitors. It has even managed to win over the most unforgiving critic of all, Experience Scotland’s mascot Morag. Quite a feat indeed.