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Best hotels in Glasgow 2023: Where to stay for location and style

From smart Georgian mansions to country house retreats, Scotland’s ‘Dear Green Place’ has it all

Mike MacEacheran
Wednesday 01 March 2023 11:09 GMT
Hotels near the Theatre Royal and Ovo Hydro await
Hotels near the Theatre Royal and Ovo Hydro await (Native Glasgow/ The Independent)

With in-your-face city swagger, charmingly ragged pubs and neck-craning architecture (look up and the rewards come thick and fast), Glasgow – the host city for 2021’s Cop26 climate event – delivers a knockout kiss.

The “Dear Green Place” was once the original Victorian dream, the second city of the British Empire and a centre of commerce and education. It gifted the world modern economics (you can thank Adam Smith for that), the TV (John Logie Baird), the steam engine (James Watt), ultrasound (Ian Donald), detective agencies (Alan Pinkerton), the raincoat (Charles Macintosh)… the list goes on. Small wonder that Glaswegians are proud of their lot.

In more-recent years, this former shipbuilding hub has reinvented itself as a perfect weekend getaway, filled with wonderful museums, plus a rip-roaring restaurant scene that takes full advantage of the excellent fresh seafood caught daily on Scotland’s west coast.

So, if that whets the appetite, there’s a hotel reservation with your name on it. Here are our top 10 favourites.

Best for glamour: Kimpton Blythswood Square

The Penthouse Suite at the Kimpton Blythswood Square
The Penthouse Suite at the Kimpton Blythswood Square (Kimpton Blythswood Square)

Neighbourhood: Blythswood

Overlooking a Georgian square crowded by townhouses, the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel keeps good company. Long one of the most sought-after addresses in the city, it was home to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, where men in cravats and comic-book moustaches once began the fabled Monte Carlo Rally.

Since those glory days, the building’s shifted up a gear, rebranded as a Kimpton hotel (the boutique arm of the globetrotting IHG portfolio). The hotel’s latest revelation is the ultra-glamorous, two-bedroom penthouse suite (aka the poshest pad in the city).

The Luxtown Suite at One Devonshire Gardens at Hotel du Vin
The Luxtown Suite at One Devonshire Gardens at Hotel du Vin (One Devonshire Gardens at Hotel Du Vin)

Neighbourhood: West End

Like many hotels in Scotland, there’s a splash of Highland whimsy at this luxury residence located opposite the leafy Botanic Gardens. Less hotel, more country manor, the 49-room retreat spreads across a series of sandstone townhouses, creating a hive of woody corridors dressed to the nines with original Victorian fixtures. Doubles and suites are wallpapered with flowers and thistles, and the most luxurious have free-standing roll-top tubs.

Besides a spa offering a range of treatments on the ground floor, there’s a restaurant and bar for happy-hour drinks and afternoon tea. Plus – in keeping with the aristocratic whiff of the place – there’s a cigar snug and whisky room brimming with single malts. Grab a vintage Macallan and let the staff take care of the rest.

Best for Art Deco style: Native Glasgow

The Penthouse at Native Glasgow offers exceptional city views
The Penthouse at Native Glasgow offers exceptional city views (Native Glasgow)

Neighbourhood: City Centre

The River Clyde was once a shipbuilding powerhouse, and this worthy history is the sell at this property, which was once home to the headquarters of the Anchor Line Shipping Company. Beyond the nautical roof sculpture, the serviced apartments and studios channel the Art Deco mood of a 1920s ocean liner, with glazed tiles, terrazzo flooring and wood panelling.

By the time you reach the rooms, the buzz is all about the humongous safes – maintained for more than a century and now transformed into walk-in wardrobes. But it’s this hotel’s location that remains the lure – if dining and nightlife are top priority, base yourself here, as Glasgow’s inimitable grid of streets is right on the doorstep.

Best for romance: 15 Glasgow

Neighbourhood: West End

Sandwiched between the city centre and the more expansive realm of Kelvingrove Park and the attractions of the West End, this convivial, five-room B&B townhouse gets everything right.

Rooms are polished, pared back and stylish, with plenty of tartan-to-the-max trimmings, plus stripy cushions, woollen throws and thistle wallpapers. Pick of the bunch is the airy, first-floor Charles Rennie Mackintosh Suite, a den created in homage to the city’s architectural pin-up and favourite son.

Another bonus of this boutique B&B is that it’s easily walkable to Finnieston, Glasgow’s ever-changing take on the Brooklyn hipster experience.

Price: Doubles from £156

Book now

Best for overseas visitors: Sherbrooke Castle Hotel

The Sherbrooke Castle Hotel holds the title for Glasgow’s only castle hotel
The Sherbrooke Castle Hotel holds the title for Glasgow’s only castle hotel (Sherbrooke Castle Hotel)

Neighbourhood: Pollokshields

Close to the south side’s lesser-known must-do’s (the Rennie Mackintosh-inspired House for an Art Lover, Pollok House and the Burrell Collection), Glasgow’s only castle hotel is an unlikely bastion, complete with turrets and treasures.

Behind its baronial exterior are knights in armour, crossed swords and muskets. You’ll also find vintage watercolours, including one of former owner, John Morrison, who masterminded George Square’s City Chambers and the groovy Citizens Theatre.

Upstairs, the 18 rooms were once used as a radar training centre for naval officers during the Second World War, but now contain four-poster beds, roll-top bath tubs, antique furniture and sweeping views to the front lawn or conservatory. Pretend you’re a laird or lady and you’ll fit in nicely. Tip: it’s a magnet for boozy weddings, so you may want to avoid weekends.

Best for those in a rush: Voco Grand Central

The opulent Champagne Central bar at Voco Grand Central
The opulent Champagne Central bar at Voco Grand Central (Voco Grand Central )

Neighbourhood: City Centre

Once a British railway hotel in the 19th-century golden era for train travel, this Queen Anne-era landmark is attached to the city’s busiest train station and comes with pedigree. JFK, Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill are all in the guestbook, while the world’s first long-distance TV pictures were transmitted to the hotel in 1927 by Glaswegian John Logie Baird.

Taken over by Voco (an IHG brand offering “upscale lifestyle hotels”), the Victorian-era sparkle is still in place, although the rooms now channel a more modern aesthetic, with a livery of blue, white and taupe; contemporary artwork; and grey-tiled bathrooms.

No matter how busy you are, make time for the chi-chi bar Champagne Central. It remains as hedonistic as it is handy for catching a last-minute train, and overlooks the station’s main concourse.

Best for gig-goers: Village Hotel

Neighbourhood: Festival Park

A few years ago, no-one would dare stay in this part of the city. But times change and the area is a model for urban regeneration, offering what so many visitors to Glasgow want: great museums, memorable pubs (nearby in Finnieston) and rock ’n’ roll nights. The latter is provided by the SEC Armadillo concert hall and SSE Hydro (supposedly the world’s second-busiest venue), both of which are a plectrum’s throw from the hotel across the River Clyde.

Inside, the vibe is squarely in the industrial minimalism bracket, with room decor all clean lines, exposed pipework and cheap-as-chips brick wallpaper. Other features include an in-house Starbucks, local members’ gym and pub and grill.

It’s also handy for creative media and families – BBC Scotland’s HQ and the Glasgow Science Centre are next door.

Best for Generation Z: CitizenM

Neighbourhood: City Centre

When it first landed, this innovative protégé pod-hotel seemed like a vision of the future. But now that the Dutch-born chain has gone global, from Amsterdam to Taipei, its high-tech, low-price USP seems like the no-frills standard.

That said, it’s hard to find fault, with self-service check-in/check-out terminals, an open-plan canteen, sociable hangout zone with pop culture and coffee table books, and free in-room movies on demand. Summing up the millennial vibe in a nutshell, there’s also a 24-hour self-service area with fridges stocking salads, sushi and noodles.

As for the rooms, all 198 of them feature mood lighting, wall-to-wall windows, electronic shutters, rainbow-coloured capsule power showers and super king-size beds. The smart move is to pick one away from the Renfrew Street traffic.

Best for shopaholics: ABode Glasgow

The stunning heritage lift at ABode Glasgow
The stunning heritage lift at ABode Glasgow (ABode Glasgow)

Neighbourhood: City Centre

Glasgow’s Style Mile – a Z-shaped intersection for retail therapy – effectively snakes around this former family home of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, prime minister from 1905 to 1908, and the only person born and raised in Glasgow to run the UK.

Pride of place goes to the century-old heritage lift, complete with vintage wrought-iron gate, which whisks guests up to the 59 easy-on-the-eye rooms. The best of these have gorgeous stained-glass windows, while even the smallest rooms have super-bouncy doubles and sophisticated furnishings.

Best for elegance: Dakota Glasgow

Classy decor and regional cuisine awaits at the Dakota
Classy decor and regional cuisine awaits at the Dakota (Dakota Glasgow)

Neighbourhood: City Centre

Smooth. That’s the overriding impression of this sophisticated boutique hotel (created by legendary Glaswegian hotelier Ken McCulloch) on West Regent Street. There are dozens of subtle design touches – hand-picked artwork, delicious furnishings, and a striking two-tone palette of muted greys and ivory almost everywhere.

Rooms come in a selection of 83 classic, king, executive or deluxe suites, all with comfy beds and velvety linens, monsoon showers and inclusive Sky TV. Make sure to ask for one with skyline-busting loft windows.

In the basement, the in-house restaurant specialises in steaks, venison and halibut – dishes that smack of regional provenance – but for the most acclaimed dinner in Glasgow, tootle down the street to Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or. It’s unbeatable and you won’t regret it.

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