Royal Aberdeen

Royal Aberdeen

Our second round of the trip is at the esteemed Royal Aberdeen, the 6th oldest golf club in the world. Founded in 1780, it was not until 1903 that King Edward VII bestowed the Royal title. It has a long storied history including the institution of the "Five Minute Rule" -five minutes max to search for stray golf balls, which is way too long when playing in April, since the varied, primarily fescue and marram grasses are still young.

It is a classic links course high above the east coast of the North Sea. Nine holes out and nine holes back of bumpy and unpredictable hard fairways. Shot selection and placement are critical to scoring well.

The course was in excellent condition as there has been special attention paid to it, as the club gears up to be host the Walker Cup this September.

Next up: Castle Stuart

Welcome to Royal Aberdeen

Great first hole hitting towards North Sea and & oil maintenance boats

An example of the bumpy and unpredictable fairways

Tee shot at #7

Pete and our caddy, Ewan pose on the sand dunes high above the Sea

Remnants of the old railway protect the 15th green

The gorse is at its most brilliant yellow in the spring

Standing on the 16th tee box

The approach at 18 with the clubhouse standing watch

Aberdeen, Scotland

Scotland's third city was our first on our trip. We spent three nights in Aberdeen, which was easily accessible with a flight from Amsterdam, a nice alternative to flying into Glasgow or Edinburgh and driving for 3 hours. The Granite City, really should be known as Oil City now as North Sea oil means direct flights from Dubai and Texan accents in the bars. It also means money in the city and money needs great hotels. There are two to choose from and they could not be more different: Marcliffe Hotel and Spa and Malmaison.

Marcliffe is a warm, comfortable five-star country hotel that sits on 11 acres a few minutes outside of the city core. The rooms are properly outfitted in a classic style, without a great deal of character, just proper. The sort of hotel where serving high tea at 4pm is most fitting.

On the other hand...

There is the Malmaison, a chain with a distinct "naughty house" style. The rooms are big and uniquely decorated with dark plaids of navy, wine and forest green. The bar is happening and the brasserie combines casualness with incredible steak and the wine list to match.

While there is a room for both hotels catering to different guests, we were very much taken with Malmaison. It will be the recommend for us.

Lovely dining room in the atrium at Marcliffe

The Brasserie at Malmaison

Prefer more privacy, take the chef's table

Select your own piece of organic beef

Quaint ceramic butter or are they cheese dishes

The hip Malmaison bar

The classic styling of the Marcliffe rooms

At the Mal, you could find a foosball table, a super king size bed and

... a soaking tub in the middle of the room