Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews
Today finance ministers from the world's 20 richest nations will arrive in Fife to tackle the biggest issue facing the planet according to today's Courier. Together they represent around 90% of the world's wealth, 80% of world trade and two-thirds of the world's population.
Decisions made will have a direct impact on the lives of billions of people across the globe the Chancellor said yesterday. He also said what is at stake is nothing less than the future prosperity of the world's nations and millions of jobs.
The two big issues on the agenda are making progress on tackling - wait for it - climate change and reaching an agreement on how to generate growth in the future.
But to ordinary people why does it matter these powerful men and women are locked away for two days in a beautiful town on the coast of Fife. (Well actually they're not in a beautiful town but staying at the Fairmont Hotel which is two miles outside town. More about the hotel later).
Alistair Darling's reply was: "It's jobs." He also says the evidence of that concerted emergency action is there for all to see with Germany, France, Japan and America all coming out of recession. The UK, he predicts, will follow shortly, towards the end of the year.
It is towards the end of the year is it not? Maybe Mr Darling's 'end of the year' is Hogmanay. After the report yesterday which stated the UK was still in recession he can't be in a very happy mood.
Back to the Fairmont. Don't be thinking these people are living a life of luxury. The Fairmont is an average, new build (well nearly new) hotel. It is to my mind 4 star luxury with an over-priced tag. The cost of meals is more than ridiculous and if you do book for just yourselves, be prepared to be told you have to eat in the most expensive restaurant in the hotel because 'others' have booked the other eating areas. Dinner will give little change from £100 per person which includes a half bottle of middle-of-the-road wine.
How dare she criticise the Fairmont some of you may ask. The answer is I booked to stay there for three nights last year but left after two. The room was fine, much as I'd expect from a 4 star hotel, but it was positioned overlooking the air-conditioning vents and the noise continued day and night. Because the air-conditioning in the room was stuck on high there was the necessity of needing to have the window open all night. Six complaints about the air-conditioning produced no results.
Dinner was way over-priced, nouvelle cuisine style, most acceptable but not special so we ate in St Andrews the following evening. I decided to leave a day early because I was exhausted through lack of sleep and it was only because I began to loudly rant at the receptionist that I wasn't charged for the third night I had booked. She muttered something about me breaking my contract. Luckily enough I had my booking confirmation email to hand and was able to say they had broken the contract first because my "self controlling air-conditioning" didn't exist.
I expect these global finance ministers will have better fortune and of course they won't complain about the price of the food either. After all, they won't be paying the bill.
To be fair, the clubhouse and golf course were top notch and breakfast choice was excellent.
My advice for a treat would be to spend a little less, have a relaxing time, good food and calming surroundings in the peace and quiet of Stobo Castle. It has the most fantastic pool and steam rooms plus the bonny town of Peebles a few minutes drive away.