I knew I had arrived somewhere special before even setting foot into Malmaison Glasgow. Set inside what was formerly St. Jude’s of Blytheswood Square, a 19th century church, the 72-room hotel still boasts the place of worship’s striking Greco-Egyptian edifice. Located on West George Street, just a few blocks from Glasgow’s teeming shops and museums, the hotel’s grand entrance gives way to an equally impressive, if slightly more subdued, lobby.
A great portrait anchors the back wall behind the front desk, while the metal staircase, molded in the design of Napoleon at his coronation (the hotel’s name and concept comes from Chateau Malmaison, the iconic home of Napoleon’s wife Josephine), creates a grand wrap-around work of art, adding a dramatic flair to the reception area. A lounge to the left of the check-in desk offers stylish couches and comfy chairs, complete with checkered carpet.
The hotel’s 72 rooms, including eight suites, each create a similar sense of bold contemporary design along with classic comfort. Light blues and strong reds are brought out by the sunlight that streams in through each room’s large angled windows. Each room includes high beds with stylish comforters, DVD players (as well as a DVD library to choose from) and a flatscreen plasma TV. Wi-fi is also complimentary.
Just to make sure guests are totally comfortable, Malmaison also offers same-day laundry, a high-tech gym (“Gymtonic”) and playfully “dares” its guests to take home its branded toiletries. After trying out their shampoo, I couldn’t help but take them up on their challenge.
But guests will hardly want to stick around their room. Malmaison’s champagne bar on the ground floor, in what used to be the crypt of the church, is an ideal spot to enjoy one of the hotel’s signature cocktails and chat with companions or other guests before dinner or an evening out in the city. For those with larger groups, two meeting spaces are available for groups as large as 40 or 12, respectively (the smaller meeting spot is set in a room with walls stacked high with wine bottles, emphasizing the hotel’s selection of more than 300 wines).
For a full experience of Scottish luxury, guests would be wise to try a meal at Malmaison Glasgow’s bistro. Head chef Graham Digweed has developed a menu full of traditional favorites and inventive takes on the classics, all with an emphasis on the local origin of the ingredients. The elegant dishes are complimented by the moody atmosphere of the restaurant itself, with black leather booths and dim lighting from candles and small lanterns set on each table.
The following morning, it was impressive how much the bistro had been transformed to create a lighter, more energizing place for breakfast. But while the menu, music and atmosphere had changed, the local origin and high quality of the food had not.
278 West George Street
Glasgow, G2 4LL
Tel: 0141 572 1000