I had been to Edinburgh many times, but never to Glasgow. Yet no art lover can spurn the Burrell Collection or the unique miscellany that is Kelvin Grove, the only place I know where you can see a Salvador Dali next to a Second World War Spitfire and a stuffed elephant. And Glasgow's Georgian squares rival those of Edinburgh's New Town. My choice of hotel was Malmaison, housed in a striking former Greek Orthodox church, with an entrance hall that appears to have a chequerboard tiled floor until your shoes sink into the trompe l'oeil carpet. The champagne bar and brasserie are housed in the former crypt, down a precipitous spiral staircase, while most of the 72 rooms are in a converted office building to the side.
Malmaison goes for contemporary but comfortable, with neutral colours offset by dark contrasts. There are Scottish touches amid the international style, such as tweed-covered cushions. All rooms have CD players, CD libraries, satellite TV, and high-speed free internet access (though the view from some windows – the back of Strathclyde police HQ – is nothing to write home about). The spacious bathrooms have power showers, and big bottles of lotion that you are encouraged to take away. There are eight suites, some split level; the "Big Yin" suite has a tartan bath.
The food and drink
The champagne bar's prices are steep, but are happily paid by trendy Glaswegians. The brasserie lays the emphasis on good local meat and fish, carefully cooked: organic salmon with asparagus and hollandaise, seared Castlebay scallops with gremolata and clam tagliatelle, and grilled Scottish steaks. The locals were tucking in, unintimidated by the achingly hip atmosphere the hotel seeks to cultivate. Many also turned up for the lavish buffet breakfast, though service was a bit slow for those ordering the full cooked deal.
There are steps from the street to the reception area, but those in wheelchairs can gain access through a second entrance where there are lifts. Four rooms have been modified for guests with disabilities. Children are welcome. So are dogs – they even get goodie bags.
From £150 to £295 per room per night. Weekends from £99 per room per night.
Malmaison Glasgow, 278 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 4LL (0141 572 1000; malmaison-glasgow.com)