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Grand Central Hotel

Glasgow & Clyde

99 Gordon Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire. G1 3SF.

Tel: +44 141 240 3700

http://www.thegrandcentralhotel.co.uk

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Our review

Sometimes we are so enthralled by all things new and tech driven that we forget the historic aspects of established products. Hotels are really no different. The experience of staying at the Grand Central is not just a night in a hotel, but is a journey back in time to when not everything looked the same as the last hotel you stayed in.

This is the challenge for new build hotels, they can (and often do) switch the badge over the front door to change their identity from time to time in a hope that the new style will meet a guest expectation or catch the current of new trends, but really the effect is that the property has no real soul.

On the other hand, some hotels are bigger than a brand and that is what you get with the Grand Central. Many will remember the hotel in its latter years as a rundown, dilapidated, almost crumbling edifice — one in which you would wipe your shoes clean on the way out. It had gone far past living on borrowed time or memory of better days. It was quite frankly an embarrassment, heightened only by the administrators closing its doors on the final day of Celtic Connections, the wonderful Winterfest of music held in January each year. It was a shameful end to such an important institution of the city. After all, television was invented in this hotel! It has a place in history, not just of the city but of the world and modern culture.

As such, a big thank you must be addressed to Principal Hayley Hotels and to Tony Troy for his vision, which didn’t just bring this wonderful hotel back to life, but created an opportunity for people to feel all the grandeur of a bygone era. We forget that once upon a time hotels did not all evolve by height but held larger footprints  — they were the best ever venues for a game of hide and seek!

Today, the hotel has the most elegant hotel bar in Glasgow, maybe even all of Scotland, and it has become a hub for Glasgow people. It’s a meeting point for business people, a lunch spot for the discerning, a gathering spot at the start of each evening and a last chance saloon for ‘just one for the road’ before the last train!

The Tempus restaurant, gloriously redecorated, will remind those old enough of the halcyon days of the original Malmaison restaurant that existed here. The evening meal does not disappoint either and wonderful Scottish fayre can be enjoyed once again in these splendid surroundings.

You don’t realise how tired you can get of the homogenous modern hotel bedroom until you step back into an originally designed room and bathroom, where the object of the designer was not to save as much square footage as physically possible but to deliver an experience. Add in the lovely, subtle touches that give you a feel for the age and grandeur of this hotel: brass taps and shower head fittings, a roll top bath — they make you feel like a first class passenger on The Orient Express.

The evocative images of Trigger and Roy Rogers hanging in the hotel stir the memory of when the great stars came to Glasgow and stayed at the Central. But hold the train! Imagine this reviewer’s star stuck experience when the lift door opened to reveal none other than Roger Moore himself, smiling brightly as we shared the carriage to the ground floor and check out. It’s quite the memory from a great hotel and if the Grand Central is the choice of 007, well, I think that rather says it all.

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