One of Fife’s biggest hotels is preparing to close its doors for three months.
The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa is to shut for refurbishment from January.
A favourite with golfers from around the world, the five-star complex will reopen in April with some bedrooms and suites upgraded, its spa extended and a new lap pool and gym.
The investment in the 144-bedroom resort has been welcomed as a vote of confidence in the town and local business leaders did not expect trade to suffer as a result of the reduction in bed spaces.
Work will take place during the quietest period of the year for St Andrews, which welcomes more than 666,000 tourists each year, many attracted by its golf courses and heritage.
Patrick Laughlin, manager of St Andrews Partnership, said: “This is a big investment and there are others in the pipeline, including the extension of the Rusacks Hotel just along the road.
“It shows St Andrews continues to be a place where the larger hotel operators want to invest.”
He said the start of the year was the best time to shut the hotel, which is a favourite with golfers as it overlooks the Old Course, and there appeared to be little concern from local traders.
“Historically, the Old Course Hotel has been more seasonal in its business than other hotels in the area.
“There is sufficient capacity elsewhere in St Andrews to pick up the slack so other hotels and guest houses could end up benefiting from this.”
Ray Pead, president of the hotels and guest houses association Stay In St Andrews, predicted the closure would have a marginal impact on other accommodation providers.
He said: “With the closure coinciding with the quietest time of the year and with accommodation in plentiful supply most of our members would not expect to be full in any case.”
Lindsey Adams, chair of St Andrews Merchants Association and owner of Bonkers gift shop, said little concern had been expressed by fellow traders.
She said: “St Andrews is very seasonal and January is by far and away the quietest month.
“The Old Course Hotel needs to stay ahead of its game.
“In the long term this can only be a good thing.”
Rhonda McCrimmon, manager of business improvement district BID St Andrews, said: “St Andrews is very quiet at that time of year, a lot of the hotels and guest houses close. It is the best time to do something like this.”
The renovation will see new windows, lighting and air conditioning installed and some bedroom interiors revamped.
Hotel general manager Stephen Carter said: “We would like to take our hotel bedroom experience to another level.
“At the moment, our bedrooms and suites provide a Five Red Star experience and now it’s time to surprise our guests with the unexpected.
“Our plan encompasses everything you would hope to see in a hotel room, plus so much more.”
The Jigger Inn and Ham’s Hame restaurants will remain open.