DUNDEE is not an obvious choice for a weekend break. However, with the V&A set to open on the banks of the Tay in 2015, the city is already preparing for the Guggenheim effect.
New hotels and renovations of old familiars have increased visitor options and there is an already impressive cultural life. The Landmark is on the edge of town, a ten-minute drive from the centre, and with its AA rosette restaurant and Dundee Hotel of the Year gong from this year’s Scottish Hotel Awards, is well worth checking out. n
WINING AND DINING? The Garden Restaurant offers a cheery mixture of familiar favourites and more elaborate options. A dedicated steak menu indicates where the hearts of many customers lie, and these are splendid pieces of meat lovingly and confidently cooked. Accompaniments – such as substantial chips and a Dunsyre blue cheese glaze – also impressed. The a la carte menu includes unusual cuts of meat such as belly pork, superfood quinoa and a savoy cabbage and carrot gateau for the veggies. There is also, for the more easily alarmed, fish and chips.
ROOM SERVICE? Following a recent refit, the modern accommodation block has a sleek black and caramel colour scheme. Even the standard rooms are well appointed, with a flat screen TV and crisp sheets. The rinky-dink bathroom looks great but is sadly lacking in somewhere to put a toothbrush.
WORTH GETTING OUT OF BED FOR? Dundee is already – don’t snigger you smug central belter – a great place for museums. Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) is the place to start sightseeing with a cup of coffee and a peruse of their current programme. Expect one major contemporary art exhibition, an excellent choice of arthouse and interesting mainstream films, a printmakers’ studio and a lovely children’s area where hipsters take their offspring to do creative things with lolly sticks and glitter. Not to be outdone, the McManus Galleries have had a Page and Park makeover and the splendid Gothic Revival building now shows off its charming collection of whaling artefacts, platform shoes and Dennis the Menace annuals to great effect. Discovery, the magnificent Dundee-built ship that took Captain Scott to the Antarctic, is moored down by the Tay and is an interactive and highly educational experience.
BUDGET OR BOUTIQUE? The Landmark is a popular venue for weddings and functions and gets very busy at weekends. Come Sunday morning, the pool and steam room are full of revellers bathing their aching feet and sweating out the toxins of the night before. The exercise bikes and free weights are, understandably, less in demand but expect a queue for the excellent black pudding and sausages at the buffet.
LITTLE EXTRAS? Dundee has all the usual high-street suspects clustered in two shopping centres, Overgate and Wellgate. The rest of the city, however, has escaped the worst of the Carphone Warehouse and Starbucks hegemony. Reform Street, in the centre, is dominated by charity shops of the pre-Mary Portas variety. Groucho’s, on Nethergate, is a wonderful old-school record shop with a frontage unchanged since the 1970s. The McManus and DCA both have excellent gift shops.
GUESTBOOK COMMENTS The Landmark has many of the frills of a fancier hotel at a decidedly friendlier price and delivers a luxurious bang for not too many bucks. Rooms start at £79 for B&B.
• The Landmark, Kingsway West, Dundee www.thelandmarkdundee.co.uk
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
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Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
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