For history, class and sheer style, there is nowhere else you would stay. As you alight from the train and into the cathedral space of Glasgow Central railway station, your eyes will gravitate towards the left. And there it is, the curved window of the Champagne Bar of the Grand Hotel, aka the Grand Dame of Glasgow. You’ve arrived.
And what a roll call of luminaries have checked in before you: Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Princess Margaret, Fred Astaire, Danny Kaye and Laurel and Hardy, to name but a few. But surely the most interesting arrival must have been Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger – yes, indeed, at the front desk.
As well as the pervading whiff of Hollywood history, there’s a strong sense of serenity as you climb the circular stairwell, mesmerised by the chandelier that has quietly watched the famous come and go over the decades.
Grand Central Hotel
99 Gordon Street, Glasgow
9/10 YourLifeChoices rating
Style and character
There’s a lot to love about this character-filled Grand Hotel. First up is the aforementioned Champagne Central overlooking the hustle and bustle of Central Station. Refurbished in September this year, it is stylish, discreet and very welcoming. Locals rate it as the best place to meet for a special tipple; and with good reason.
Built as a first-class destination for rail travellers to the burgeoning trade city of Glasgow in 1883, the hotel is located on top of Glasgow’s Central Railway Station on the corner of Gordon and Hope Streets. Nothing could be easier than arriving by train and strolling through the tall timber doors to be greeted at hotel reception.
But, as we discovered, beware when arriving from Fort William in the Scottish Highlands or when departing to Edinburgh, it is the Queen Street Railway Station you will require, not Central. There’s a free shuttlebus between these main stations, but you’ll need to factor in the extra time.
Services and facilities
As Glasgow’s best hotel, all the expected services and facilities are offered, including the Deli Central ‘food on the go’, laundry, business centre support and free wifi.
The plus factor
The history of the hotel speaks for itself with huge images of former guests covering the corridor walls. The décor is stylish but warm and the suites offer a charming retreat for travellers needing to rest weary feet.
There is an endless list of great things to do right on your doorstep. The underground Grand Central railway tour is a must for train buffs. One block away, the refurbished Lighthouse pays homage to the city’s most famous artist, Charles Rennie Macintosh, as well as the work of contemporary designers. Arguably the best value ‘hop-on hop-off’ bus tour in Europe, the Glasgow open-top red bus tour can be boarded on nearby Argyle Street. Shopaholics will love the pedestrian mall in Buchanan Street.
The Grand Central has four fully accessible rooms and 30 with a walk-in shower. Two of the accessible rooms can be either twin or double.
Location, history and switched-on staff make this a wonderful base for your Glaswegian adventures.
The Tempus Restaurant and Bar can fill quickly at breakfast time, which may mean a slight wait for a table. I guess that’s the price of popularity.
Value for money
Arguably the best hotel in Glasgow, you may need to pay for the privilege of staying at the Grand Central. But you can get rooms for as low as AUD$130 (at the time of writing). It just depends upon the time of your trip and your room standard preference.
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