THE Malmaison group goes in for converting unconventional buildings into hotels.
Examples include the former seaman’s mission in Edinburgh, Oxford Castle’s prison, the Leeds Tramway Office – and a Greek Orthodox church in Glasgow. They have impressive and unusual exteriors, and Malmaison Glasgow is no exception, perched on one of the hills that make up the west end of this hilly city. So when arriving at 278 West George Street, out of breath, take the time to admire the architecture before plunging into an appropriately vaulted interior with acres of tartan carpet, thick curtains and squidgy upholstery.
BUDGET OR BOUTIQUE?
The Malmaison group is definitely a boutique hotel group. Yet with rates from £99 per room, bed and breakfast in this part of the city, they could almost count as budget.
WINING & DINING
The Malbar has a sporting bar feel, with its huge barrels and TV, but also boasts a fine cocktail list and a great deal of champagne. It leads into the restaurant; Martin Wishart’s The Honours. Both are in the basement, or crypt, a vaulted space divided by banquettes and with huge paintings of Glasgow’s industrial history on the walls.
The menu reflects Wishart’s taste for sourcing the best produce and treating it simply. Therefore, there are Orkney scallops with bellota ham, oysters from the Fal estuary, and grills with steaks from prime producers, and at prices from £18.25 to £33. So look forward to Donald Russell, USDA Black Angus and Glenarm Himalayan salt aged beef. I had the latter, perfectly charred on the outside, perfectly pink inside; the fullest flavoured, most tender steak ever. Desserts, if you can manage one, include the Honours Sundae, which is as large as it sounds.
A very recent innovation is Le Weekend, a brunch menu available on Friday and Saturday, with two courses, including a side dish, a glass of wine and coffee, for two people for £50; or a chateaubriand for two, with wine and coffee, for the same price.
The rooms have been refurbished, so there are marble bathrooms with rainfall showers, and much tartan carpet, heavy curtains and beds with high, high mattresses and winged headboards. Those mattresses include a down topper, and if you can’t sleep on these clouds, you will never sleep anywhere.
WORTH GETTING OUT OF BED FOR
Glasgow! The city boasts the best shopping streets in Scotland in the Merchant City; a wealth of museums including the Kelvingrove, the Burrell Collection, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Riverside Museum, and the Tall Ship; entertainment at the Citizens Theatre and comedy clubs; not to mention the plethora of great places to eat and drink.
Free wi-fi, tea-making equipment and an excellent AEG coffee pod machine. Toiletries here are by Anatomicals for Malmaison and come with suggestions that you may be doing something outré, or downright naughty in your hotel room. If you are, the door signs “Clear Up!”, with the small print, “please clean my room”, and “Clear Off!”, meaning “do not disturb”, may be appropriate.
GUEST BOOK COMMENTS
Nothing outré, or naughty, but I am still fantasising about that bed. Breakfast in The Honours is fine, but I really didn’t want to leave my mattress. Great beds, great steaks.
• Rooms start from £99 (including breakfast), Malmaison Glasgow, 278 West George Street, Glasgow G2 4LL, 084469 30653, www.malmaison.com