Have you ever thought of visiting Glasgow for a few days? Whilst most tourists to Scotland tend to favour Edinburgh as opposed to Glasgow, they are missing out on what is one of the most underrated cities in Britain.
Shopping and culture
First there is the shopping – the city boasts some of the best range of shops outside of London, in fact Glasgow is something of a shoppers’ paradise. Just to the east of the main shopping area is the infamous Barras Market – years ago you could literally buy anything at the Barras, whether it was fake or not is another question!
Like most things in life regulations have been tightened up and whilst it is not as lively as the market once was the visitor can still experience an atmosphere that gives you the real sense of the grittiness of Glasgow.
Secondly for culture vultures the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a distinctive building itself, never mind the French Impressionist paintings and Scottish Colourists – and it is free to enter too like the majority of museums in the city. You can travel there by using the underground system as Glasgow has one that is often referred to as the “Clockwork Orange” – the trains are painted orange and you cannot get lost as they travel along a circular route – hence the name!
To get your bearings and to hear about the history of Glasgow a City Walking tour that departs from George Square in the city centre is a good idea. Lasting 90 minutes and costing £12 per person our local guide pointed out the famous murals as we walked to Glasgow cathedral and the Necropolis ending up at the Duke of Wellington statue and why he wears a cone on his head! A fascinating insight into the city and well worth the time.
And something to eat: The Bothy
The Bothy is regarded as one of the best restaurants in Glasgow if you want to sample traditional Scottish food along with drams and other drinks from the Highlands.
The quality of food made up for the rather unfriendly service we received, staff seemed not to be too customer focused. I turned the starter of Ralmsey Haggis, Needs and Tatties into a main (£15). Served with caramelised turnip, skirlie potato and Whisky Jus it came with just the right amount of seasoning. My partner chose the Dill Confit Salmon Fillet served with courgette and spring pea veloute, baby potatoes, avruga and green apple and cucumber salsa priced at £19. If you want a traditional Scottish experience with staff dressed accordingly The Bothy is a good bet.
Somewhere to stay: Radisson Red
The Glasgow hotel was the first Radisson Red to open in the UK. Since the hotel opened two more have followed in London.
The hotel is situated literally just across the road from the OVO Hydro arena and SEC Armadillo making it an ideal choice if visiting a conference or concert.
The Glasgow Hop On Hop Bus has a stop across the road from the hotel which will takes you right into the city centre. The hotel is a good ten-minute walk from Glasgow Central railway station.
The River Clyde runs by the hotel with one of the grey Finneston cranes still standing, a relic of an age when Glasgow was one of the most important shipbuilding cities in the world.
On arrival at the hotel, two automatic doors opened to reveal a sea of red everywhere. The reception was unusually placed to the left of the main door. A warm welcome ensured “You looked very happy” was the greeting I received from the friendly receptionist. My enthusiasm about visiting this newish Radisson hotel had not gone amiss. The check-in procedure was quick and efficient.
The hotel lifts are not something I would normally comment on though a lot of thought had gone into the decoration of the two lifts. The walls were adorned with on one side, music related titles and record covers that included the colour red such as Little Red Corvette and The Lady In Red whilst the other side had film posters such as Red Dragon and Red Heat amongst many others – very novel indeed.
We stayed in a Superior Room – Hydro View. The room was light, airy and modern. The montage on the wall behind the bed might not appeal to all tastes – the idea is that it captures the energy, vibe and spirit of Glasgow.
A separate table with chairs that overlooked the Clyde was a good idea. Named The Picnic Table it seemed in keeping with the fun and casual approach the Red brand aspires to. Tea and coffee facilities were discreetly hidden away in the large wardrobe. A safe, fridge, and hairdryer were also housed in the wardrobe. Wi Fi speeds were some of the best I have experienced when staying in an hotel. The bed gave a restful night’s sleep. Good to see enough charging points and USB points for phones, IPads etc.
A large bathroom with a rain shower that had enough water pressure to make it function properly. Good to see a vanity mirror too. Shower gel and body wash was provided in large static bottles.
The hotel has a small gym with running machines and weights. Towels and water were provided.
Dining at the Radisson Red
The hotel has two dining options; the Sky Bar and the Oui Bar Ktchn. The Sky Bar is mostly reservation only. There is a separate lift from the reception to the top floor of the hotel where the bar is located. The view from the bar overlooks the River Clyde and the city itself. When we visited our fellow diners were a mix of business people, hotel guests and Glaswegians enjoying the exclusivity of the Sky Bar. As you might expect there was a large selection of cocktails along with a good selection of Scottish whisky. The choice of small plates included an Haggis and Sesame Seed Sausage Roll which had a slightly diluted taste from the Haggis I have eaten in the past or at The Bothy!
The Oui Ktchn on the ground floor specialises in pizza which can also be delivered to your room. With red theme continued with pizza names such as Simply Red and Red Devil.
Breakfast is also served in the Oui Ktchn with a continental buffet and a cooked to order hot Scottish breakfast with sausage, bacon, haggis, tomato scone, mushrooms and your choice of egg. A hot veggie breakfast was also on offer too. Service was friendly and efficient. We asked our server for advice on which taxi company to use to go to the concert at Hampden Stadium, he reeled a list of phone numbers without hesitation.
The standards associated with the Radisson brand have been upheld at the Radisson Red in Glasgow. A clean, modern and well-run hotel I would have no hesitation in booking another reservation at the hotel next time I am in the city. Red Hot indeed. – just like Glasgow!