Poor, Glasgow. Despite being Scotland’s largest city, it continually goes unnoticed. After landing at its airport, just 10 miles west of the center, visitors usually pass it over to head to the national parks, the islands, and even Edinburgh. But with lots of contemporary art galleries and live music venues, trendy restaurants and edgy bars, Glasgow might be the cooler of the two cities. You should give it a chance—for at least one night. Here are three hotels, all in Central Glasgow, that will help you settle in quite quickly.
Your first choice is hip. Amsterdam-based citizenM chose Glasgow when it was looking to open its first hotel outside of the Netherlands. They replaced the typical lobby with a living room-style lounge complete with designer furniture, iMacs, and gorgeous coffee-table books. Electronic kiosks, from which you select your own room, stand in place of a front desk. Those rooms, though on the small side, have been carefully thought out. Wall-to-wall windows make the space feel larger than it really is. An XL king-size bed has a drawer for an open suitcase beneath it and a comfy duvet atop it. A touch-screen MoodPad controls everything from the television and the air conditioner to the blackout blinds and the mood lighting. While the downstairs Canteen, open 24 hours a day, serves a full Scottish breakfast, creative cocktails, and everything in between.
If citizenM feels a bit too futuristic, you might prefer ABode. The small collection of United Kingdom hotels puts modern, stylish decor inside of historic buildings. The Glasgow location is set in an Edwardian townhouse that was built in 1829. The four-story building still has its original granite staircase, wood panels, and stained glass windows. The 59 rooms—in categories ranging from Comfortable to Fabulous—are individually designed. Each one features muted colors, modern tartan, and “Sleeping Like a Baby” signs for the door. A casual brassiere and a pub are downstairs. The latter serves craft beer and meat pies while live music plays in the background. It’s a relaxed setting that immediately makes you feel at home in Glasgow.
Then there’s the grand option. The Blythswood Square Hotel is elegant and luxurious. It, too, fills old townhouses. The buildings were the homes of wealthy merchants before being turned into the headquarters of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club. The classically decorated rooms feature Italian marble bathrooms and soothing colors. The Restaurant at Blythswood Square is set in the former ballroom. It, as well as the Salon where afternoon tea is served, overlooks a private garden. The relaxing spa has a hydrotherapy pool and a crystal steam room. There’s even a cinema, where classic films and children’s movies are shown. This is the hotel for people who expect to be pampered on vacation.
So, now that you have a place to stay, what else should you add to your Glasgow itinerary? Pollok Country Park’s woodlands, the Mackintosh Trail’s architecture, and the Glasgow Botanic Gardens’ riverside walk are good places to spend the afternoon after seeing George Square and the Glasgow Cathedral. The Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) always has new exhibits, films, and performances. Plus the West End is full of bakeries (Cottonrake), restaurants (Alchemilla, the Gannet), and bars (Stravaigin) that will make you want to relocate to the trendy area. It suddenly seems like you’re shortchanging Glasgow with only one night.