Situated very near Kelso, and within easy reach of both Edinburgh, which is 50 miles to the north of the Roxburghe Hotel, and Newcastle, which is 65 miles to the south. Owned by the Duke of Roxburghe, the Roxburghe is is a stylish and homely country house hotel. A fact reinforced by the warm welcome you will receive on arrival, stunning life size paintings as you climb the stairs to your room, followed by the top quality decor you will find when you open the door.
It has 22 uniquely designed rooms. Some even have four poster beds! Six of these rooms are in the courtyard. Dogs are welcome in courtyard rooms, perfect for four legged guests given the long walks available in the extensive grounds. The hotel also offers championship golf on one of the finest parkland layouts in Britain. World class fishing and shooting are also readily available. Fear not if you are a novice at any of these activities, as there is a PGA pro, professional fishing and shooting tuition available.
You can enjoy a game of croquet on the front lawn, or have yourself pampered with the wide range of treatments available in the health and beauty suite beside the hotel.
I’ll come to the golf shortly, but it would be hugely amiss of me not to mention the salmon fishing the Tweed provides. The Duke of Roxburghe has two four rod beats, which offer some of the best salmon fishing in Scotland. The Teviot has both salmon and sea trout. Whilst waiting for your catch you can also enjoy the stunning countryside landscape which surrounds you.
There are two grouse moors where pheasants can also be had. These are at Rawburn and Byrecleugh. Shooting season takes place from 12th August until the end of November, and can be easily booked through the Estates Office. The hotel has a strong room available for storage of guns.
Right beside the hotel and set on the banks of the River Teviot and surrounded by natural woodland the golf course opened in 1997. It was designed with minimal disruption to the landscape, just like Old Tom Morris, by Dave Thomas, who has over 50 years’ experience in this field. Amongst his best known courses are The Belfry, which hosted three Ryder Cups, and San Roque.
I arrived on the Monday evening. During a walk round the course I found several areas of casual water. This concerned me ahead of my Wednesday morning tee time. I need not have worried. The large, undulating USGA greens have excellent drainage, consistently ensuring the finest quality of putting surface. The bunkers are well positioned around the 220 yard mark from the yellow tees, ensuring the average player cannot just pull out a driver and play. They have to think about placement.
The 14th hole with the viaduct is the signature hole. However, my favourites are the par 3 4th over water, and the downhill dogleg par 4 towards the Teviot, which is the 10th hole.
I have played extensively across three continents, and can honestly say this is the finest parkland course I have ever played. Other experts agree. It is rated one of the top five golf courses in the UK. Birds of prey can be commonly seen. I saw two. As of August 2013 you need no handicap certificate to play. 18 holes cost £80. If you are a resident it is even better, just £50. Memberships are also available.
The pro shop is well stocked with brands including Ecco, Footjoy and Taylor Made. There are changing and showering facilities, and the Spike Bar provides a relaxed club atmosphere with home cooked bar meals. Directly above it is the Fairways Restaurant, which offers a panoramic view of the clubhouse surrounds. It has an open fire and is available for dinners, parties and meetings.
The information available in the rooms on other activities is excellent. Many hotels only provide cursory information. Here you will find strong detail on borders towns like Kelso and Jedburgh, as well as Floors Castle. Indeed, Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford is not too far way.
The dining room has a roaring log fire, perfect after a challenging day on the moors, by the river or on the fairways. Almost every option from the carefully chosen menus are locally sourced. For example at breakfast you have honey from Bowmont Forest, homemade jam and marmalade from the Duke’s own residence at Floors Castle. The board on which these are placed is even made of Bowmont forest wood. Evening dishes include ribeye steak, haddock, scallops and game.
For larger events the Roxburghe Room can be booked. This has a sixteen person dining table, and makes an excellent setting for family gatherings or corporate events. The conservatory is always brimming with seasonal flowers, can comfortably accommodate 64 guests and is ideal for private parties and weddings. The doors can be opened onto the gardens for pre-dinner drinks in tranquil surrounds.
There is a library bar complete with antique books. This is staffed of an evening, but during the day if you would like a dram or a pot of tea with your newspaper, or one of the magazines and books available in the Drawing Room you need only ask at reception. Your refreshment will quickly arrive. Afternoon tea complete with cake and sandwiches is served between three and five. Wi Fi is available throughout the hotel. I enjoyed using it in the Drawing Room with a nice pot of tea.
German and Estonian lagers can be enjoyed, along with an extensive choice of wines from across the globe, not just by the bottle and half bottle but in 125ml and 250ml glasses also. Claret is a house specialty. The 10th Duke loves it. I certainly enjoyed mine. There are also a wide choice of sherries, ports and dessert wines. There are generous check out and check in times of 11am and 3pm.
The Roxburghe Hotel and golf course open to non-residents to enjoy also. If you are local or from further afield, this is a venue worthy of repeated enjoyment.