There are few better locations than the Blythswood Square Hotel to enjoy what Glasgow has to offer, a mere six-minute walk or so from George Square, where — presumably to the chagrin of Nicola Sturgeon — statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stand near the central column celebrating Sir Walter Scott.
The hotel used to be the HQ of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club and the square itself was the haunt of ladies of the night — hence the red lights in the windows.
A super-polite American (‘I come from a little west of here’) shows us to our room, which has high ceilings, grey walls and a marble bathroom with huge shower.
Location, location, location: Blythswood Square Hotel is close to the iconic George Square
On the first floor running practically the width of the building is the Salon, with its snazzy cocktail bar. It’s a Saturday night. Plenty of high heels, colourful shirts, bulging muscles.
The restaurant is on the ground floor, where we order two dreary shrimp cocktails (watery and not nearly enough Marie Rose sauce) and a couple of goodish steaks. Service is slow.
Then there’s an unfortunate back-up in the morning. Too many people have come down for breakfast at the same time. We are asked to take a seat in a holding area. Our room number is noted. ‘We’ll call you when a table becomes available.’
That’s not ideal at these prices. But once we are allowed down the sweeping red carpet, the buffet is generous. We wolf far more than is good for us before heading off to explore arguably the most self-deprecating city in the world.
As Billy Connolly said: ‘The best thing about Glasgow is that if there’s a nuclear attack, it’ll look exactly the same afterwards.’ Nonsense, but refreshing that a Scot can joke about it so mercilessly.
Stylish: One of the rooms at the Blythswood Square Hotel, pictured above
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Principal Blythswood Square Hotel, 11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow, G2 4AD. Doubles from £135 B&B. For more information visit phcompany.com or call 0141 248 8888.