The Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow has the perfect mix of old-school glamour and modern day service. Here’s my review of my recent visit.
I stayed at the Grand Central Hotel as a guest of ScotRail. * indicates an affiliate link – I receive a small commission from purchases made through these links.
Stepping through the doorway at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow* feels a little bit like stepping back in time – in a good way, of course! Because the Grand Central Hotel feels very much like it still belongs in a more elegant era, a more glamorous time.
You’ll find the hotel in the centre of Glasgow, right next door to Glasgow Central Station. It was originally built in 1883 for Caledonian Railways, one of many hotels which opened as the railway network developed throughout the country. The Grand Central Hotel soon became one of the most prestigious hotels in Glasgow, and over the years has welcomed many famous guests.
I stayed at the Hotel as part of my ‘Spirit of Scotland’ trip, working in collaboration with ScotRail. I flew into Glasgow with Flybe, and took the 15 minute Airport Express bus into the city centre.
When you first see the Grand Central Hotel, you can’t help but notice the dramatic front of the building. And inside the elegant foyer, the impression of timeless luxury continues. I had a little wait to check in, but the concierge came over immediately to check that I didn’t need any help, and chatted with me for a few minutes while I waited. This was one of the things that I found very impressive at the Grand Central. The staff are welcoming and attentive, and they make you feel like no request could be too large or too insignificant.
After checking in, I went up to take a look around my room before dinner.
A Room at the Grand Central Hotel
The Grand Central Hotel offers a range of rooms, as well as junior suites and suites with a range of amenities included. I was spending the night in a standard Guest Room, which are available with either a double or two single beds. Single rooms are also available and the price for this type of room is around £80 per night. Click here to check current pricing and availability*
My double bed had lovely crisp white linen and plenty of comfy pillows. I did think that the room was a little on the hot side, and there was no air-con in the room. This was pretty much my only criticism of the hotel, but I assumed that it’s due to the age of the building.
The Guest Room is fairly spacious with a seating area, plenty of storage for clothes, and a very comfortable bed. I was also provided with a small welcome gift bag of chocolates as well as bottles of mineral water. Other rooms are available with extras such as mini-bars and fluffy robes.
For me, the bathroom is always one of the most important aspects when I stay in a hotel. A badly appointed or dirty bathroom can easily derail an otherwise pleasant trip.
Although my bathroom at the Grand Central Hotel was a little on the small side, it didn’t disappoint in any other way. The room was clean, with bright, fresh decoration and plenty of soft towels.
Obviously you wouldn’t fit a standalone shower in such a snug bathroom, but the over-bath shower was very powerful – another key factor for me!
The hotel also scored well on the complimentary toiletries front, as they had provided an array of products from the White Company. All in all, this felt like a great place to start my adventure by rail in Scotland.
So after settling into my room, I headed down for dinner. This gave me an opportunity to take in the beautiful decor inside the hotel. It combines original period features with some dramatic elements of modern design, such as this glorious crystal chandelier which plunges down the grand staircase in the middle of the hotel. Staying at the Grand Central* really makes you feel like you’re in an old-style Hollywood movie – think of Brief Encounter and you won’t be far wide of the mark.
The Grand Central Hotel has three options for guests who are looking for somewhere to eat.
Deli Central is open during the day for fresh daily specials and local favourites. It’s open to the public, and is ideal if you want to grab a quick lunch before your train. Champagne Central is a glamorous bar with windows overlooking the concourse at Glasgow Central Station. The focus here is on light bites, afternoon tea and of course champagne!
I had reserved a table at the third dining option, Tempus Restaurant and Bar.
My starter was a generous plate of Hebridean salmon, cured in The Botanist gin. The fish was served with horseradish and compressed cucumber, and a sharp lime dressing. This was a delicious combination of flavours and textures.
I followed my salmon starter with a main course of Pork Wellington.
The meat at the centre of this dish was Robertson’s of Ayrshire pork. This was surrounded by Campbells of Broxburn black pudding, and encased in crisp pastry. Alongside was a patty of bubble and squeak, and a sweet carrot puree as well as some fresh greens. I thought this was an excellent dish and loved the use of regional produce in it.
But you can’t finish a meal without a good pudding, can you?
It was hard to choose from the dessert menu at the Tempus Restaurant, because the selection was so tempting! I could have gone for the Orange and passion fruit tart, and the cheese board did look very good. What I really wanted was the Grand Central Glasgow sharing sundae – full of Arran tablet, Iron Bru ice cream and Tunnocks. But alas, it’s a pudding for two, and I was dining alone.
So I opted for the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Marquise, with mascapone cream and fresh strawberries. This was rich, chocolatey and gooey, with delicious salted caramel sauce. The strawberries cut through the richness and lifted the overall flavour of the pudding. It was a really good way to finish my meal!
Breakfast at The Grand Central Hotel
After a good night’s sleep, I was looking forward to breakfast before heading onto the next stop on my journey. To be precise, I was looking forward to a full Scottish breakfast. I’m happy to be able to tell you that the breakfast at the Grand Central is definitely an excellent one. In fact, it’s possibly one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had.
I was taken to my table, and then shown over to the self-service breakfast buffet. There’s the usual array of cereals and baked goods, but of course you have the option of porridge as well. And then there’s the hot buffet…
In addition to the usual bacon, egg, sausage etc, you can also choose from haggis, square sausage and potato bread. I tried haggis and square sausage for the first time, and really enjoyed both. In fact, I was dreaming of that haggis for the rest of my trip!
Staff circulated around the dining room with jugs of coffee and tea to top up your cups. And the coffee I tried was really good – hot, strong and smooth. I’m really fussy about my coffee but this was excellent.
The Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow: My Verdict
All too soon, it was time for me to check out. I had a train to Dundee to catch, and couldn’t linger. My train was leaving from Queen Street Station, but the Grand Central Hotel is only a few minutes walk away. The location is ideal for exploring Glasgow, and I hope to return soon to take a good look around the city. And the hotel itself is such a wonderful combination of old-style glamour and modern standards of service.
I felt really well looked after during my stay at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. I would highly recommend it for anyone who want a touch of luxury at a reasonable price.
Grand Central Hotel, 99 Gordon Street, Glasgow G1 3SF
Telephone: 0141 240 3700
Click here to check prices and availability*