This advertorial appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of LINKS Magazine.
Last year, when Michael O’Bryan sold majority interest in his Atlanta-based hardware-distribution business, he and his wife Suzi were ready for a new adventure. Both golf enthusiasts, they were looking for a place where they could enjoy the good life, and they weren’t afraid to travel.
“With a name like O’Bryan, you have to take a hard look at Ireland, and we did,” says Michael. “We also spent some time checking out the Portuguese Algarve and the Marbella area of Spain. But we kept coming back to St. Andrews.”
Michael had fallen in love with the town while on a buddy trip two decades ago. Since then, he and Suzi had returned several times, even spending one Christmas in the Auld Grey Toon.
“That iconic golf course, the Old Course, was such an unbelievable draw,” he says, “and the more time we spent in St. Andrews, the more time we wanted to spend there.” Now they’re the proud owners of one of the finest residences in town, a three-bedroom home in Hamilton Grand, the iconic red-stone building that sits majestically behind the Old Course’s 18th green.
Originally the Grand Hotel, a luxurious lodging (and the first property in St Andrews to have an elevator), the century-old structure has a noble history, serving in World War II as a training base for the Royal Air Force and then, after acquisition by the University of St. Andrews, as a student residence and dining hall for 56 years. Now, under the ownership of the Kohler Company, it has regained its original glory as one of Scotland’s most opulent addresses, its four floors converted into two dozen magnificent homes.
“We’re living the dream,” says Michael. “I still can’t believe the view we have from our bay window—straight down the first and 18th fairways with the R&A Clubhouse and that broad ‘Chariots of Fire’ beach just a few steps away. All day long, people walk by and take pictures of our view… and sometimes they even turn around and snap a shot of our home!”
The O’Bryans closed on their purchase in February and within a few weeks it was fully furnished, exquisitely appointed, and ready for occupancy. A major reason for that was Suzi, a professional interior designer. “The décor we wanted was Old World style,” she says, “and I was able to find all the furniture nearby, mostly at stores and antique shops in Edinburgh, with several Oriental rugs coming from a local dealer in St. Andrews.”
They’ve been in residence all summer, and although their main residence is at Hammock Dunes in Florida, the O’Bryans plan to spend roughly half their time in St. Andrews.
“It’s a mystical place,” says Michael. “We love the medieval feel, the castle and cathedral, the hidden passageways, the cobblestone streets. When the university’s in session, there’s a real vitality, always something going on. It’s a college town, a beach town, a history town, and there are some great restaurants.”
And then there’s the golf—five 18-hole courses within walking distance of Hamilton Grand, with another dozen within a short drive and every major course in Scotland within a day trip. The O’Bryans’ home comes with a membership in the nearby Duke’s Course as well as privileges at the Kohler-owned Old Course Hotel & Spa. Michael has also joined the convivial membership of the St. Andrews Golf Club, its front door just a few steps from his own.
Among the many Hamilton Grand amenities is a butler staff of seven, which means someone is on duty 24 hours a day, ready to assist, whether it’s booking a tee time, changing a high-ceiling lightbulb, or welcoming guests…of which there have been many.
“As you can imagine, when you have a home in St. Andrews, you suddenly have lots of friends,” says Michael. “I don’t think a week has gone by since we moved in that we haven’t had visitors. But we love it. If the weather’s nice, on the first evening we take them up to the rooftop terrace where the views extend over St. Andrews Bay all the way to Carnoustie. We always bring a bottle of champagne and have a toast.”
To the good life.
Residences at Hamilton Grand are available from $1.2 million. For information contact HamiltonGrand@kohler.com.