Operated by the Townhouse Collection – also owners of The Howard and The Bonham – Blythswood Square Hotel offers guests a new definition in modern Scottish luxury.
Situated in the new Glasgow City Central Conservation Area, the property occupies the former Royal Scottish Automobile Club headquarters and adroitly juxtaposes classic touches of colourful history with contemporary flair.
In the lobby – below an elegant Art Deco chandelier – dashing red booths nod to the square’s previous incarnation as a red light district, while in the basement the Rally Bar references the glamorous Monte Carlo rally which once started from the doorstep.
The themes continue throughout the 100 bedrooms, with Tunnocks teacakes teasingly taking their place alongside glistening champagne in each mini-bar.
Although business friendly – with a smart location offering ease of access to central Glasgow – Blythswood Square offers a rather informal, relaxed atmosphere for a hotel of its quality. Discreet staff provide excellent service to the black suited clientele, but their attention is never oppressive.
But for the leisure traveller, talkative bar staff – who will also be pleased to offer advice on local nightspots – will have no trouble mixing a Whisky Mac as the evening begins.
This warm, welcoming professionalism is all the more remarkable as the property has been open less than a year. While the original 33 rooms - located in the original 1823 terrace property – opened last November, the soft opening of further accommodation will see the hotel spread outward into adjoining residences like a sumptuous maze.
Atop it all is the penthouse suite offers views over the city below. A private bar, Jacuzzi and roof terrace add to the air of decadent glamour in what used to be the stuffy RSCA staff headquarters.
Opulent grandeur in the Blythswood Square Lobby
Back on the ground floor, the 120-cover restaurant is a popular destination for an elite – but not elitist – crowd on a Saturday night.
The high-ceilinged location welcomes hotel guests as they mingle with local residents to enjoy a seasonal menu, heavy on Scottish flavours. The Market menu provides for those on a budget, while the more extensive main menu takes in a range of top quality Scottish meats, sustainable fish, Scottish shellfish and - where possible - organic fruit and vegetables.
Pan seared fillet of Stone Bass, with Berlotti beans, chorizo, fricassee surf clams and squid proved a highlight during our visit.
The Salon on the first floor is less formal, with drinkers meeting to enjoy pre-theatre champagne or a selection of fine whiskies.
Dine at the Blythswood Square Restaurant
An intimate location, Glasgow is spread over a regimented grid system, making it easily navigable on foot. North from Blythswood Square – itself a picturesque, tranquil spot – is the lively Sauchiehall Street, lined with the city’s fashionable drinking dens.
To the south, George Square is the focus, and regularly hosts events of all kinds - including, when Breaking Travel News was in town, the annual gay pride march. For those looking to shop, Glasgow is well equipped to fulfil your needs – with the usual chain stores taking up residence next unique boutiques selling everything from haggis to haute couture.
In the west lies St Mungo’s Cathedral; an impressive gothic building with a delightful necropolis perched on the hillside. The views over the city’s haphazard skyline highlight the stark contrast between the ornate 19th century and brutal mid-twentieth century high-rises.
In the city centre the architecture again reveals flashes of a faded past, with the grander buildings illustrating the city’s role at the heart of the British Empire. Charles Rene Macintosh’s influence is present throughout and a comprehensive overview of his work can be found at the Lighthouse Museum.
A classic bedroom at Blythswood Square
Those with a few moments to spare might like to investigate the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, hosted by Trongate 103. A collection of intricate kinetic creatures created by Eduard Bersudsky, the exhibition throws a spotlight on the evolution of communist Russia through an intriguing animatronic display.
All this is easily accessible from Blythswood Square Hotel in a matter of minutes, making the property an ideal base for either business or leisure travellers.
A spa – specialising in Scottish treatments, seemingly all involving seaweed - is scheduled to open in late summer, making the hotel a destination in its own right.
While unmistakably Scottish, Blythswood Square Hotel will rightly take its place among the international elite.
Additional reporting by Eleanor Hawkins
Room rates at Blythswood Square start from £140 for a classic room - including full Scottish breakfast - based on two people sharing.
For reservations or further information visit Blythswood Square.
Virgin Trains offers a comprehensive service between London Euston and Glasgow Central stations – with fares from just £17.50.
First Class tickets for the five hour journey start at £49, with an option to enjoy complimentary food and drink and free wi-fi.
More information at Virgin Trains.