12 March 2010

Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow Review

On our first visit to Glasgow I had no clue of where to stay, the Queen's gave me the advice of the area best to stay in and a site that listed hotels (Glasgow Guide) so clicking under "hotels" I scanned the list putting in our dates to see what's available. I never look at anything with less than a 4 star rating as I usually find the price difference between a 4 and 3 star hotel negligible. Blythswood Square popped up and looked intriguing, so I went to their website for a closer look.

The hotel overlooks Blythswood Square.

PGP in front of the entrance to the Blythswood Square Hotel and Spa.

A luxury 5 star hotel and spa newly opened. It was the former site of the Clubhouse for The Royal Scottish Automobile Club (RSAC) from 1910 until it was sold to developers in 2002. Purchased by the Townhouse Collection in 2006, and recently opened as the Blythswood Square hotel and spa late 2009. The photos looked stunning, and the special Internet rate was spot on our budget, so I booked a "Wee Classic" room for the Punk Glam Princess and I as we only had a two night stay.

The biggest chandelier I've ever seen! Taken from the lobby looking up the incredibly beautiful staircase. I can just imagine the gorgeous wedding photos that could be taken there.

PGP and I in one of the bordello red velvet alcoves in the lobby. There were about three of these alcoves (with tables and chairs in front of each) which really lent an exotic air to the lobby!

Lounge area.

Well, to my surprise, they had given us a free upgrade to a suite! Which was absolutely perfect not only in decor but for our needs, as it made the gabfest with Queen Marie and Queen Michelle that much more comfortable. Little touches like a fruit and biscuits (Oh those Tunnock biscuits, just like Mallomars, but all milk chocolate!) board left for us, a personalized note wishing us a great stay, robes and slippers (you don't realize just how much you miss those until you have them provided for you) and bottled water made the experience into one we'll never forget and will be quick to repeat on future visits to Glasgow.

The view as you entered our room. The closet contained a kettle, selection of teas and coffee, a safe, and mini-bar. Not pictured to the left of the door to the bath is a huge double closet, which contained extras like an iron and board. Notice the great motoring rally mural on our wall.

Our room on our last day. Slightly messy after two days running around! Note the PGP and her new red leopard motorcycle jacket (styled in her inimitable style with "invader Zim" -- or is it "Gir"? -- hat!) This was taken from the window looking back towards the lounge and bed.

This was taken from the bed looking towards the windows. Note the large flat screen TV, and to the left the desk and a pass-through to the bath. (You can see our robes hanging in the bath.) Sorry for the glare from the open curtains, it was a bright, sunny warm day -- of course when we're leaving!

The bath view through the pass-through by the desk. I tired to get a shot of the sink -- the water cascaded out of the faucet like a waterfall! It was fascinating, and now I want one like that for our home bathroom! To the right of the teacup is a standing mirror which had a magnified side; another very thoughtful touch as it's so useful to those of us with poor eyesight!

The luxurious bath, which included the aforementioned amenities, as well as a selection of organic and vegan-safe toiletries handmade in Scotland by Purdies of Argyll. (I loved that the labels were also written in Scots Gaelic!) Another little luxurious touch was a red organza bag filled with bath salts. Such a relief at the end of the day to soak tired bones and sore muscles after a plane ride or touring a city in a hot tub filled with luscious bath salts!

As I was wandering about taking photos (the staff was very accommodating considering they had a conference going on at the time) a gentleman next to where I was taking a photo asked if I knew the history behind the hotel. It turned out that Mr. John Sinclair was a former member of the RSAC, and was so gracious to offer me extra information as well as tour of an area usually reserved for private meetings.

The photos throughout of the hotel are a vintage motor enthusiast's dream. I have a love of cars and motorbikes instilled in me from my father who has refurbished vintage cars as a hobby. (Actually anything he can tinker with that has a motor, which includes boats and airplanes. Yes, you heard that right. Imagine trying to explain to friends as a teenager that those things hanging in the garage that are being hand-sewn by my father are the wings to a vintage airplane.) So wandering around taking photos I got a little carried away with the selection provided.

Mr. Sinclair informed me that all of the photos were donated by former RSAC members. What a delight, it was like being in a motoring history museum!

This is a photo taken in the old "smoking room", covered in beautiful mahogany wood paneling. The painting above the mantle was from when the clubhouse was one of the starting points for the Monte Carlo Rally. This was the crowing jewel tucked away into the lower level of the hotel that Mr. Sinclair was keen to show me, and that I was thrilled and grateful that he did, as I would've otherwise missed it!

Closeup of the painting. The RSAC was one of 8 official starting points for the Monte Carlo Rally in 1955 .

The Blythswood Square has 100 guest rooms, boasts a spa, restaurant, bars (including the historic Rally Bar), and private event areas. My only regret was that our time was so short that I couldn't take full advantage of these (plus traveling solo with a child doesn't allow for much boozing, and they're picky eaters!) Next time will be a different story!

A vintage motor enthusiast's dream upscaled to modern luxury whilst keeping true to the integrity of the original architecture the Blythswood Square Hotel is a true 5 star hotel. I've stayed in many 5 star hotels over the years that honestly couldn't hold a candle to the Blythswood Square. Please do consider Blythswood Square Hotel and Spa for your next visit to Glasgow, you will not be disappointed! (Don't forget if you live in Glasgow they also will host your special event!) It's conveniently located (we walked everywhere, which I love as you miss so much otherwise) and a short inexpensive taxi ride from the airport. Go directly to their site for the best rates and selection, and I can assure you that the staff is keen to please and answer any questions you may have to make your stay memorable.

A warm and special thank you to Suzan Horswell and Murray Thompson for making our stay so enjoyable and allowing me access to photograph.


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