The hotel spreads across one full side of Blythswood Square and was once home to the infamous Royal Scottish Automobile Club catering to the wealthier Glaswegians. Our taxi driver, as they tend to do in Scotland, chatted away telling us the history of our destination. “Everyone I would pick up from there would call me ‘squire’, would be wearing a three piece tweed suit and would be heading home to a massive house in the west end of the city.” Oh this should be nice I thought!
As a club and now a hotel this building has been a choice destination in the city for over a hundred years. The Hotel has been here since 2009 and has settled nicely into it’s moniker as the best hotel in Glasgow.
The foyer, the salon bar and the restaurants are beautiful. Consistently through the hotel you find dark furniture and light walls with nice pieces of colour spaced across the space. This works exceptionally well in these big spaces but less so in the bedrooms. It is entering the smaller more intimate spaces that the shine of Blythswood Square starts to lessen. The standard room is small and dark with dark light shades and dark lamp shades and a totally superfluous long dark curtain hiding not windows and light but a long wall. This lack of light would make it very hard for any Executive to sit for a while in the room and catch up on work. As you know this is one thing we always look for in a room for our Executives. We had a choice and this review was written from the Salon bar and not the room.
Unfortunately the bedrooms foibles didn’t end there. You’d be hard placed to get a good nights rest either. The pipes in the bathroom constantly gurgle throughout the night. Not too bad normally but with an open plan element to the room design this is a real glaring mistake. Backed up by a not too comfortable bed it was a night of tossing and turning.
Both the food and the alcohol at the hotel are very simple but pretty perfect for it. My standard choice cocktail – a frozen margarita – wasn’t on the menu but was prepared simply and perfectly without fuss. The non-alcoholic Fizz was fizzy and well presented.
For dinner we ate exclusively from the Market Menu. Again this was a simple enough menu and at £18.50 for two courses and £22 for three courses it was great value. I felt that the food could have been a bit flashier (you do tend to expect that in a five star hotel restaurant) but that would have probably only raised the price and not the quality. It was pretty unadventurous stuff but there was a spark of creativity coming in the haphazard shape of walnuts as they nestled into a wonderfully chunky and creamy walnut mash.
The supplements at £5 a go brought the bar a bit higher and were worth that bit extra. The prawn cocktail and the duck both coming with a premium. The fish cake and the chicken sat on the standard priced menu. Both deserts again were not striking but both were very tasty. All in all a pretty good value dinner for two. With two glasses of wine the meal cost £66.
The restaurant decor certainly adds to the experience. Beautiful dark booths and furniture contrasting, like the rest of the hotel, with the white walls. The automotive history of the hotel can be seen subtly in many of the features including the inside of lampshades and most of the pictures across the hotel. I do love it when a building respects its history and this was a heart felt touch. The service was good too.
With subtle twists of tartan it was also impossible to miss that this was a very Scottish hotel. With the Whiskey and Porridge available as part of the continental breakfast and the cooked full Scottish breakfast the hotel’s Scottishness was hard to miss.
It’s clear to see why this is regarded as such a good hotel in Glasgow. The service and value are both excellent. The hotel is beautiful and the food and drinks are faultless. The issues I mentioned with the standard rooms, however, are ones that I would be concerned about for business traveller.
Practically Perfect PA received complimentary accommodation at the Blythswood Square. Our opinions are entirely our own. Advertised minimum rate per night is£370 (October 2014).