My review of the Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland (Part Two)

This is part two of my review of Trump Turnberry, Starwood’s Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland.  In part one, click here, I looked at the different rooms and accommodations.  Part two focuses on food, activities and the spa.  Part 1 also includes a short video of the resort.

Afternoon tea

Our first meal at Trump Turnberry was afternoon tea and, to be honest, this was the best meal we had all weekend.

We chose the gin high tea with a gin cocktail served in a teapot with designated gin teacups.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

There was a great selection of savoury and sweet snacks with fresh scones served later on.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

If you’re in the area around Trump Turnberry but are not planning to stay, I would recommend booking yourself in for afternoon tea.  Non-gin versions are also available ….

Dinner

The Trump Turnberry resort has two restaurants which, to be honest, were less successful.  I tried both over my two nights.

Il Tramonto at 1906 is an Italian style restaurant on the ground floor. The restaurant got its name from the year the hotel first opened and every evening the doors open at 19:06.

We were told that the menu was due to be changed in the next 6 months so you shouldn’t read too much into what we chose.  As a starter I had Scottish lobster linguini (£20) and as a main I had stuffed saddle of rabbit (£28). My boyfriend had deep fried Dumfriesshire eggs with summer truffle (£14) and a Scottish fillet of beef (£40).

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

The Duel in the Sun is the restaurant inside the golf clubhouse where we had dinner the second evening. The dishes are simpler and the wine prices lower.

After sitting down we were brought some bread, butter and four different spiced salts.

I had a prawn cocktail (£12) and my boyfriend a caeser salad (I didn’t note the price). We both had lobster mac ‘n’ cheese (£32).

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

Head for Points is not a food blog and we tend not to focus on detailed food reviews when we travel.  However, as I’ve read quite a few very negative reviews regarding the food at Turnberry, I thought I should weigh in.

In general, the food was ok but not overwhelming.  For £40 I would expect a bit more from a steak than the modest lump of meat my boyfriend received and the mac ‘n’ cheese was too much pasta and too little sauce for our tastes.  Out of all the dishes we ate, the rabbit at 1906 was my favourite although this may not survive the imminent change of menu.  I did like the selection of salts we got at the Duel In The Sun but that is a bit of a niche thing!  I now regret that we didn’t try any of the desserts as the afternoon tea was really good.

Breakfast

After the rather underwhelming dinners I was glad to see an amazing breakfast in the morning. The fruit selection was impressive, the fresh salmon divine and the a la carte menu had a good selection of hot dishes.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

I ordered a Burns Breakfast from the a la carte menu. It consisted of hash potatoes, haggis and two poached eggs covered with hollondaise sauce. It was delicious but I made the mistake of asking my boyfriend what haggis was (you don’t get it much in Germany …. or indeed north London) which ended with me not finishing my dish …..

Breakfast if not included with the room rate costs £30 per person.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

Private in-kitchen dining

During our tour we were aso shown the kitchen as there is an area you can book for ‘chef’s table’ private dining. It reminded me a bit of a Bavarian restaurant!

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

Spa

The Trump Turnberry swimming pool was gorgeous. The large pool was 1.4m deep. There was also a kids pool and a jacuzzi.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort pool

This was the relaxation room for ladies with a sauna and steam room:

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

The hotel kindly included a full body massage in our hotel package which was fantastic.

The gym had a large selection of machines.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

Golf and other activities

As I mentioned earlier I am not a golfer. My golf career so far has consisted of crazy golf and a couple of trips to Topgolf in Watford …..

The Trump Turnberry team had organised an introductory class for us which was much more fun than I thought it was going to be – probably because I happened to be fairly ok at hitting the ball across the course.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

There are also a substantial number of other activities for non-golfers and you really wouldn’t be missing out if you came here and didn’t play. (One guy I talked to at the bar said this was the first golf resort he would bring his wife to).

The hotel is working closely with Turnberry Adventures, a company that organises clay shooting, air rifle shooting, archery, water zorbing, highland games, GPS treasure hunts, off-road driving, quad safari and mini quads.  We tried archery and mini quads which were great fun.  Activities and prices are on the Turnberry Adventures website.

Meeting rooms

Trump Turnberry has lots of space for corporate functions, weddings, etc if you are looking for a spot for a corporate or personal event.  There are 11 meeting rooms and one ballroom with a capacity of 500 people.

Trump Turnberry Starwood Luxury Collection Resort

Booking

If you want to visit Trump Turnberry for cash, the official hotel website is here.

However, this is also a property where you can get additional benefits if you book via Bon Vivant, our luxury booking partner.  If you book via Bon Vivant at a flexible rate – which should be identical to the rate on spg.com – you will get the following benefits:

  • upgrade if available at check in
  • complimentary breakfast
  • 4pm check out
  • either a round of golf on the King Robert The Bruce course (formerly Kintyre, to open on 11th July) or afternoon tea for two once per stay

Until 30th September the hotel is also running a 3 for 2 promotion which is combinable with the benefits above if booked via Bon Vivant.

If you want to use your Starwood Preferred Guest points, Trump Turnberry costs just 16,000 points per night (room only rate). This is, as I mentioned in Part 1, exceptionally good value especially when the cheapest non-refundable cash price is around £430 per night on a typical September weekend.

In theory a redemption is even better than that as the points redemption is fully refundable but the cheapest cash price isn’t.  A refundable room on the same night in September costs £485 which means 1 SPG point is worth 3.3p!

Remember that Marriott Rewards points convert to Starwood Preferred Guest at 3:1, so the price is the equivalent of 48,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Conclusion

The Trump Turnberry Resort is an impressive hotel and a great value SPG redemption if you are looking for somewhere to spend your Starwood or Marriott points.

The hotel is luxurious, the rooms large and the view amazing. I do admit the food could and should be better – a local HFP reader recommended Wildings in the nearby village of Maidens as an alternative.

If you are a golfer, the Ailsa is probably on your list of golf courses anyway, but even if – like me – you don’t play Turnberry has a lot to offer for a weekend away from the stressful city.

The Trump Turnberry website is here if you want to find out more.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

My review of the Trump Turnberry hotel and resort in Scotland
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Comments

  1. This hotel is called Trump Turnberry with the website http://www.trumptunberry.com It worries me that this series of two articles calls it simply Starwood’s Turnberry or Turnberry and fails to use its correct name. It is owned by Donald J Trump who has this unfortunate habit of stamping his name on his trophy assets. It is important that readers realise this particularly as some may want to boycott his branded establishments. The heading should refer to Trump Tunberry not Starwood’s Turnberry.

    Twice the article uses the wording “to be honest” when describing afternoon tea and meals. This implies the rest of the article may be less than honest as is clearly the case in the misnaming of the resort. Not Head for Points finest moment.

    • Hear Hear! One has to wonder whether usage of the name “Turnberry” (and not its proper name, Trump Turnberry) was a stipulation of the hotel. I can’t see Anika or Rob making such a mistake. Perhaps they could confirm?

    • +1

    • Erico1875 says:

      There will be many hotels worldwide owned and/ or funded by all sorts of dodgy characters.Indeed half of Dubai has been built using almost slave labour
      I stayed in one in Ireland, supposedly owned by the IRA.. It wasn’t called IRA LETTERKENY but simply Holiday Inn Letterkenny

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Agree – it’s quite odd not to refer to the hotel by its name, whatever you might think of the hotel or its owner. I notice that the page title of part 1 calls it the ‘Trump Turnberry’. Perhaps it was a last-minute change.

    • +1

  2. I’m afraid that you’ve been “Trumped”!

  3. Hang on a second everyone – it does say quite clearly in Part 1 that the hotel was purchased by the Trump Organisation so to say that there was some attempt to cover this up or hide the fact is just plain wrong. Had they not mentioned this then I could quite understand a comment of this nature but the fact is they didn’t. Furthermore, HFP is not a political blog – it’s a travel one. If someone chooses to stay there (I wouldn’t have a problem doing so) then that’s absolutely their choice and they should make their own informed decision. It is not up to HFP to weigh in on this.

    Anika / Rob – thanks for reviewing this property which I have been following for a number of years.

    • Jon P – The point is that Donald J Trump has rebranded the hotel by adding his name to the brand. I also understand from friends that have stayed there before and after that the whole character of the place has changed. Previously it was known as Turnberry but it is now called Trump Turnberry. This is very different to the hotel just being acquired by the Trump organisation.

      • But how would Anika know the atmosphere was different before Trump acquired it? The article was a discussion about how good a Starwood redemption it was and I can understand why it made more sense to title the article accordingly as not every reader would know it was part of the Starwood collection. Titling it differently may have meant it was overlooked by some readers. The article made it clear it is owned by Donald Trump (there can be no denying this as it’s there for all to see) and I think you’re allowing your judgement to be driven by your feelings towards that individual.

        • And given the individual all the more important to be open and transparent with the headline.

          • But that’s from the standpoint of someone who by their own admission wouldn’t stay there solely on that basis. Others would. Are HFP now to start telling the readership about the owners of every property they stay at so they can perform a background check? I’m not a fan of Trump’s policies but it doesn’t cloud my judgement on everything. There was clear disclosure that the property was owned by Donald Trump within the article whether the title carried it or not.

    • Everything is political. That includes your choice of hotel and your choice of airline. To think otherwise is blissfully naive!

      • Genghis says:

        I guess I’m blissfully naive. Please enlighten me why choosing a Premier Inn over a Travelodge or flying Monarch over Flybe is political?

        • RIcatti says:

          Choices in commodity goods (eg, one night in a local Premier Inn or Travelodge) are sensitive to price.

          But if you have a strong differentiator, like a new Hilton that you choice becomes binary at first: Hilton (despite a higher price) or not Hilton.

          Your attraction or repulsion to the brand will be based on a set of values, including personalities. If you are personally bumped from a flight by Mr Cruz wearing HiViz Yellow jacket, how often you going to fly by BA next time? I would go out of the way not to, and people do.

          Take the case of United, using the hands of airport security to forcefully remove a passenger for a solely commercial reason (the need to fly own crew). Here is “a police state” for you right there. In fact, try to argue with any crew member in the US and you will get the threatening “am I going to have a problem with you, Sir” — the same crew that will steal your sunglasses.

          Take the BA strikes issue. While I think it is wrong and irresponsible for them to disrupt the public good (transportation, airport experiences) and each person has a choice of not working for BA, I at the same time, sympathise with the struggles of Mixed Fleet Crew and it affects how I respond to BA and what it has to offer.

  4. I appreciate that HFP is all about maximising value and clearly there is value using points at this hotel. Unfortunately it’s owned by an odious man with some pretty unpleasant views and not a place I would stay irrespective of value.
    The first article does refer to his ownership but the headline states ” Starwoods …..”not “Trump Turnberry Resort” which is how it is known and this was not immediately apparent from the title.
    Sadly I think HFP has fallen into something of a bear pit with this and it has diminished my view of the site which till now has always appeared to be open and transparent. This review, no matter how well intentioned in terms of demonstrating value for points, is of a property owned by a highly divisive figure and that’s not clear from the start.

    • Better go and stay in a Qatari owned hotel in London.

      At least Trump’s connection with this hotel is known.

  5. Anika, despite my predictable comments (light hearted fun) on part 1, I think you’ve turned out a great detailed review which I enjoyed reading. Nice pics too.

    Yes I probably won’t stay there, but there’s plenty that will be interested and won’t care who owns a hotel and happily play on the course regardless.

    I’m hoping you feature more on properties in Scotland. I can recommend an awesome 5* B&B in Skye, IMHO better than many hotels I’ve stayed in, it has no affiliation with me or “The Donald” 🙂

    • ps sorry you didnae lik oor “wee Beastie”

    • I agree it’s a great review, just because the owner is famous and has a bit of an ego 😉 should that really affect anyone’s decision to spend spg points earned via this great site, I know it wouldn’t affect me. It looks a fantastic value redemption , which is after all what this site is about.

      • JamesB says:

        There is one point many are missing. In this case we know this is a Trump hotel and can exercise a choice. Most of us are clueless most of the time as to the owners of the hotels in which we sleep regardless of whether they are chains or independent. I would not be at all surprised were many of them to be owned by individuals or companies that we would find equally or more objectionable than Trump.

    • If looking for other Scottish recommendations, had a superb stay at the newly refurbished DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central last weekend – fully booked due to a concert at the Hydro so was a superb value redemption. Great staff, excellent breakfast, lovely rooms and exec lounge.

      No idea who owns it though… 😉

      • Amaris, which is owned by a US private equity group.

        • Haha impressive knowledge (or Googling skills :D) – was a genuinely fantastic hotel though. Looks like a horrible 60s monstrosity from the outside but fantastic renovation inside. Off to give them a nice TA review…

  6. Nate1309 says:

    What is wrong with all the haters this morning? It clearly says in part 1 that the hotel was purchased and is now owned by Trump. This is an independent review of a hotel and political views should rightly have no place in it. I’m sure there are dozens of hotels around the world own by just as controversial characters, which remain hidden under one of the big chain names.
    Ps Anika I was dubious of Haggis the first time I went to Scotland. But I love it now.

  7. Great review, Anika – thanks. Didn’t know gin high tea was a thing but have a friend that would love it!

    PS Did your boyfriend mention that haggis (or should the plural be haggi?!) have shorter legs on one side than the other so can only run round hills in one direction? 😛

    • Ha Ha! there’s a place in Edinburgh called the Cup Tea Lounge that does the same afternoon tea – same cups and teapot!

  8. JamesB says:

    OT: Rob, could you please take some photography lessons from Anika? Sorry, couldn’t help but notice, but her review pics trump (oops) yours every time.

  9. zsalya says:

    Put what has happened politically in the last two years to one side – the Trump businesses have a reputation for spending lots of money on renovating (generally good) and setting prices even higher than the resulting quality justifies, based on the brand being a value-enhancer (works for a higher proportion of people in USA than in Europe, particularly recently)
    That then raises the question of how to judge the value of the redemption.
    Luxurious Scottish Castle Hotels seem to typically charge just over £200 per night, so I would use that as a valuation basis, regarding the £431 as a “Dummy’s price”.

    P.S. I did not realise that Trump and Starwood had any such interaction – that was interesting to learn. I suggest that a less contentious introduction would have been “Turnberry is famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) for being owned by the current president of the United States. You may not be aware that it is also part of the Starwood ‘Luxury Collection’ and can therefore be accessed using SPG points”

  10. James A says:

    Great review Anika. Looks like a nice place, but I would not spend £430 a night on it!

  11. Long time reader. I think something is fishy with these posts as you clearly know the name is Trump Turnberry and other than the little blurb about him buying the org, you stray from calling it by its rightful name. What was the point of going to such lengths? Are you that enamoured with the history of Turnberry and just wanted to avoid the trump name sullying the story? Did you want to stir the pot? Were you paid by Starwood to promote this property? Usually I love HFP articles, but honestly, this leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Whether there was foul intention or not, I don’t like this direction.

    • As mentioned elsewhere, keeping the name from the title was a way of focussing on the hotel and not the owner.

      As also mentioned earlier, I lose money on reviews due to flight costs etc plus not having Anika in the office. Disappointingly we don’t get paid to run them either ….

      Hopefully tomorrow’s report on my weekend in Southend on Sea will be less troublesome 🙂

    • What leaves me with a bad taste is you and some others bringing your politics here.

      Clearly stated Trump Org at start and focus was, as it should be, on the value of staying at that property.

      Not interested in your political views. Here to read HfP output.

  12. Elaine says:

    Regardless of the ethics of visiting (I wouldn’t now but I did then as the family visited for afternoon tea), we had a really poor afternoon tea experience for a ‘luxury’ hotel. We had pre-arranged a change as one person didn’t eat meat. Despite having arranged this when we made the booking the staff members were unaware when we arrived but they said it would be no problem. Three people all got their afternoon teas and the one who couldn’t eat meat sat there with nothing savoury served for them. We prompted them after 15 minutes and, in the end, they didn’t get the savouries till 40 minutes after the others. Empty tables were not cleared promptly. A waiter dropped a whole cake stand, the contents of which were not cleaned away very well, leaving the carpet sticky and lots of crumbs. The service overall just seemed uncoordinated. The scones (for all of us) were stale and the cakes uninspiring. There was a 10% off food and drinks offer with SPG at the time for here (shown on the SPG website as OK for afternoon tea) and they were extremely reluctant to give that. Finally my SPG points didn’t post (not that unusual, I know) and I had to chase. Compared to other luxury hotel afternoon teas I would certainly not return or recommend.