B&B and Beyond: 15 Glasgow, Scotland
You don't need to travel far for luxury, culture and comfort, says Holly Williams – Glasgow has it covered
Forget the tired old stereotypes about Glasgow being as rough as a rusty can of Irn Bru – 15 Glasgow is a class act, in a city with plenty to show for itself. On a grand, but blissfully quiet Victorian terrace, this listed townhouse is handily situated between the city centre and the hipper West End. You get easy access to the sights and sounds of the city, without them coming through your window at night. The decor is stylishly soothing too – when you have original features such as mosaic floors, stained glass windows and ornate columns, you don't need to add much flash. With tasteful paint jobs and soft furnishings, plus touches of modern luxury, it's no wonder this B&B won the Northern Design Award for best interiors last month.
Between May and October, there are five rooms available; in the winter months, four. The owners move into one of the ground floor rooms for extra space when it's too cold to use the garden. We stayed in The Burrell, decorated in subtle shades of mushroom and oatmeal, with pale-painted rococo-style wooden furniture, and floor-to-ceiling pink tweedy curtains. An iPod dock/digital radio was playing classical music on arrival. There's also free Wi-Fi, a large TV and DVD player and a cupboard of films on the landing. A mini kettle and selection of teas was perked up with a sweetly Scottish touch: two Tunnock's tea cakes.
There's a monsoon shower in the en suite bathroom, with underfloor heating. Linen and towels are white and soft. Larger rooms have grander features and flourishes – from enormous windows at the front and original fireplaces, to huge velvet sofas and mirrors framed with elaborate black curlicues.
Choose from cereals or toast, followed by a Full Scottish, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, or yoghurt, fruit and pastries, plus pots of tea or cafetières of coffee.
It's served in your room, which delighted me: any excuse for breakfast in bed. But, with the arrival of my partner's Full Scottish – eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom and Stornoway black pudding, which got a glowing review – it became a frankly dangerous prospect for those nice white sheets. We decamped to a small table; the V&A china was pretty, the food hearty.
15 Glasgow is run by Laura and Shane McKenzie. Laura wanted to open a B&B abroad, but her kids weren't keen on moving, and anyway – she explained – "Glasgow is so lacking in this kind of establishment."
Having worked in hospitality for over 20 years, she knew it had to be "grand, something special". They bought the townhouse in 2009, and after a thorough re-decoration, opened in June 2010. Friendly and extremely efficient, Laura is a lovely host. A native Glaswegian, she has plenty of suggestions of where to go and talked me through a handy map.
15 Glasgow is practically in Kelvingrove Park; walk off that breakfast with a stroll up and down its gentle hills, then pop into the free Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (0141 276 9599; www.glasgowlife.org.uk). Steep yourself in the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, father of "Glasgow style"; we were enchanted by a tour of Glasgow Art School, a fascinating building exemplifying his Art Nouveau style, with a knowledgeable student as our guide (hour-long tours cost £8.75; 0141 566 1472; www.gsa.ac.uk). Visit his Lighthouse building too – walk up the spiral staircase rather than getting the lift to the viewing platform; the effort is rewarded with a cracking panoramic view over the city (free; 0141 276 5360; thelighthouse.co.uk).
The pit stop
Laura recommended a "Glasgow institution" – Café Gandolfi (0141 552 6813; cafegandolfi.com). The upstairs wine bar was buzzing on a Friday night; downstairs, the restaurant is a cosy affair, all gnarled and knobbly wooden furniture. The menu has plenty of Scottish produce and traditional touches, which the staff happily chat about. Starters around £7; mains £13.
For a spot of light (and vegetarian) lunch in subtly arty surroundings, try Stereo (0141 222 2254; stereocafebar.com) on Renfield Lane, which turns into a bar at night. Also good for drinking holes is the West End; we enjoyed another institution, The Ubiquitous Chip (0141 334 5007; ubiquitouschip.co.uk), on pretty, cobbled Ashton Lane. The night concluded with dancing at The Butterfly and the Pig (0141 221-7711; thebutterflyandthepig.com) on Bath Street, one of many cute basement bars in the city.
15 Glasgow, 15 Woodside Place, Glasgow G3 7QL (0141 332 1263; 15glasgow.com). B&B doubles £99.
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