Home Travel The Mail stays at Glasgow’s most elegant hotel, boasting a labyrinthine luxury spa, gloriously majestic rooms and “staff who really care about guests…”

The Mail stays at Glasgow’s most elegant hotel, boasting a labyrinthine luxury spa, gloriously majestic rooms and “staff who really care about guests…”

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The Mail's Sarah Hartley checked into Glasgow's Kimpton Blythswood Square hotel (above), located in a

Even in February, Glasgow has a fast-paced atmosphere and the city moves at a good pace. Maybe it’s the wind blowing off the Clyde that powers it, but the signs on buses and billboards are more likely to have the answer: people make Glasgow.

They are so upbeat and easygoing that my nine-year-old daughter and I agree that what makes the difference between a good and a great trip to Glasgow is, in fact, the people of Glasgow.

It has taken me years to get to know this cutting-edge city: the street-savvy younger sister of traditional, slightly kitschy Edinburgh. The wait was worth it.

And if I had waited that long, we would have bypassed the budget hotels downtown (Travelodge and Novotel) and unpacked at Glasgow’s better hotels.

Edinburgh has stylish hotels like Gleneagles Townhouse and my favourite, the brilliant Virgin Hotel, plus plenty of solid offerings like The Balmoral and The Scotsman. In Glasgow there is only one hotel that stands out for its jazz: the 100-room Kimpton Blythswood Square.

The Mail’s Sarah Hartley checked into Glasgow’s Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel (above), located in a “pristine Georgian garden square” that used to be a red-light district.

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“Walk into the Kimpton and the staff steal the show,” Sarah writes.

Not long ago, Blythswood Square was a red light district. It’s a real stretch of the imagination today, given that this pristine Georgian garden square is filled with expensively restored residential properties and offices and is now home to a luxury hotel, with the Kimpton on one side and the new Dakota contender on the other. , which is quite luxurious, but doesn’t have the old-school sophistication.

Typically, I would first be intrigued by the hotel itself, the actual structure of the building, but upon entering the Kimpton it is the staff who steal the show.

You’ll be greeted by Chuck, the charming concierge, an old-time local guy and a good barometer of the team. Like the Goring Hotel in London and the Gainsborough Bath Spa, it’s the staff who infuse the Kimpton with a lively atmosphere that you’ll want to bottle and take home as a souvenir.

Post-pandemic, a lot of criticism has been leveled at young, inexperienced hotel workers for not being up to par or lacking the joie de vivre that guests expect (I’m guilty as charged). However, from the restaurant’s expert waiters to the reception team and bar staff, nothing was too much trouble. Each person genuinely cared about the guests (go figure!) and acted with confidence.

But back to the bright lobby where two Brompton bikes and maps are available to explore. Fitness alert! If you hadn’t taken note on the way to the hotel, let’s just say that the hills of Glasgow are so steep that Hollywood often uses them to portray the streets of San Francisco, so make sure you’re fit.

Two Art Deco alcoves are where guests mingle over cocktails at 4pm every afternoon if they’re not lounging in the underground spa (more on that later).

These two Art Deco corners

These two Art Deco nooks “are where guests mingle over cocktails at 4 pm each afternoon if they’re not lounging in the underground spa.”

Kimpton's rooms feature high ceilings and trays of make-your-own cocktails.

Kimpton’s rooms feature high ceilings and trays of make-your-own cocktails.

Take a wide staircase to the Drawing Room and you will find a large space taking up much of the first floor with a colonnade of white pillars over parquet floors, with soft charcoal tweed furniture and heather velvets. There are sofas in front of the fireplace and board games on the tables, so if you’re a gin fan (Glasgow gin is wonderfully dry (although not as dry as Plymouth gin), there’s no better place to try one and contemplate from the ceiling). windows to the floor or read a good book.

However, if you’re looking for a hotel with lounges and intimate corners, this isn’t it – the Kimpton isn’t cozy like a Pig Hotel. It is a huge space, so you will settle in to read in the atmosphere of a stately home.

Our double corner room, of course with high ceilings, faced the square and was large enough to invite friends over for an aperitif. White blinds kept out the sun’s glare, and thick gray tweed blackout curtains kept out the chills. A rather lovely touch was a tray of DIY cocktails with gin and vodka, two salt rimmed cocktail glasses and an ice cube tray.

If you are looking for a hotel with lounges and intimate corners, write Sarah, right? The Kimpton is not cozy like a Pig Hotel.

If you’re looking for a hotel with lounges and intimate corners, Sarah writes, this isn’t it: The Kimpton isn’t cozy like a Pig Hotel.

Sarah's Double Aspect Corner Room

Sarah’s Double Aspect Corner Room

We didn’t have to waste time trying to figure out the lighting: the switches were on or off (bravo!), whether it was for the entryway, the desk lamp, or the floor lamp.

I’m partial to marble bathrooms and this one was a chocolate Labrador marble surround, which gave a suitably decadent feel. The Rainbow Bar products were in giant recyclable bottles – great quality and I’m sure I’m not the first guest to be tempted by the note telling them they can call reception if they’ve forgotten anything, like curling irons and rollers. to a yoga mat and anti-static spray. And if it’s not on the list, they will try to ‘get’ it. What a service.

My daughter was able to lounge in her robe and oversized slippers on the couch at the end of the bed (also warm gray fabric) and watch the big screen. After finishing a project on the Romans, she fell in love with the room’s plaster Doric columns with gold leaf decorations on top.

It wouldn’t have been a compromise to order room service: roasted butternut squash agnolotti, black trumpet mushrooms and crispy sage, anyone? Or do you fancy a salmon and shrimp burger?

But we headed downstairs to see the Kimpton scene, where the lights dim at night so the glamor creeps into the bar and restaurant.

It’s so nice to see a hotel full of non-residents getting out of taxis and into the hotel. Of course, there were men who made minimal effort sartorially, ditching the negronis, but women in long dresses and sparkly sandals elevated the mood.

We settled into a semi-circular, marble-topped table in the restaurant, mesmerized by the open kitchen, a carefully choreographed scene of chefs executing precision amid sizzling, steaming, and the occasional ‘yes, chef!’

The menu says how to pronounce the seafood restaurant IASG (‘ee-usk’), which means ‘fish’ in Gaelic. The sustainable Scottish seafood menu featuring Shetland mussels, bone-in plaice, red gurnard and scallops will have pescetarians salivating. I opted for soft shell crab with dashi mayonnaise, beautifully garnished with ribbons of crisp seaweed salad and preserved lemon, but grabbed some of my daughter’s delicious fish and chips from the ‘little ones’ menu. She is a foodie and this, she claimed, is the best fish and chips ever. The generous portions made me enjoy another sensational starter instead of a main course: the lobster and prawn ravioli with thermidor sauce. And we couldn’t resist a side of fried new potatoes just to try the seaweed mayonnaise.

The marine decor theme is artfully subtle: from giant light displays, like lobster pots, to the long bar covered in giant iridescent turquoise fish scales, while above the bar are perhaps 100 or more glass decanters. of various shapes and ages.

Lots of potted plants keep the place trendy and white shutters block out the morning sunlight during breakfast in the same restaurant. This party is directed by Roberto de Tenerife, who was a whirlwind of organization: he attended parties from Japan, the United States and some like us, from south of the border.

It took a couple of sweeps of the buffet to appreciate the variety of juices, breads, pastries and hot dishes, including haggis, black pudding and local sausages. You could also choose a product “from the kitchen” and the organic porridge with heather honey, berry compote, figs, pistachio, maple and cinnamon was such a picture and so simple that we said we would try to make it like that at home.

Kimpton guests can use the labyrinthine underground spa before non-residents between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the evenings.

Kimpton guests can use the labyrinthine underground spa before non-residents between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the evenings.

You won't have to order anything twice at Kimpton, says Sarah:

You won’t have to order anything twice at Kimpton, says Sarah: “the staff takes care of that.”

They also know how to make a decent strong macchiato here and it kept them coming back. Not bad for £23 per person.

Kimpton guests can use the spa before non-residents between 7:30-9:30 and 17:00-20:00, ideal for waking up and relaxing with steam and sauna.

Ignore the website, it makes the spa look small. It’s a labyrinthine underground center of treatment rooms, cafe, fabulous therapeutic pool, steam room, sauna and drumroll, Scotland’s first snow room (first in the world?). After a scorching session in the sauna, step into this cabin with an alpine scene projected on the wall and soak yourself in a bucket of authentic Scottish snow…


Sarah stayed at the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, where rooms cost around £172 a night.

Visit www.kimptonblythswoodsquare.com.

ADVANTAGES: You won’t have to ask for anything twice: the team here is on it. The restaurant is airy and spacious, so you will never feel like you are sharing your food and conversation with other guests. Children under 12 years old stay free.

CONS: I was traveling alone with my young daughter, but there was no babysitting service, so I couldn’t leave her for an hour while she received a spa treatment. So I didn’t do it. And the spa does not allow children, even accompanied by an adult.

Rating out of 5: 4.5 (I would have loved that massage or a dip in the pool).

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