There is something intrinsically romantic about a hotel situated in a train station. Might be something to do with all those fond farewells and warm greetings on the platforms, or maybe I have watched one too many romantic black and white movie, evoking images of a rain drenched Bogart stranded alone heartbroken catching the train without the love of his life.
We booked a two night stay at Glasgow’s iconic Grand Central Hotel, a four star Principal Hayley hotel that is located in Glasgow Central Train Station and in the heart of the city. The Principal Hayley group purchased the hotel in 2009 and refurbed and renamed the hotel at a cost of £20 million. Originally named Central Hotel, the group launched the newly named Grand Central Hotel in September 2010.
The hotel was originally designed by Scottish architect Robert Rowand Anderson and his informal style is still visible despite the changes the hotel has undergone over the years. He implemented the Queen Anne style of architecture, including picturesque details, intricate gables and multi-paned windows.
The hotel which originally flung open its doors to the public in 1883 and has an impressive history of hosting iconic stars from all walks of life, from the world of music Frank Sinatra, Hollywood legends Laurel and Hardy and world leaders – from America President John.F.Kennedy and from British politics former Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. As we roamed the halls, we cast our minds back to a long gone era when hospitality was king.
The first concern of staying at a hotel within a major transit hub is the noise issue. The first night we stayed in a room facing inwards to the station, the noise level was bearable and not as overwhelming as we had expected it to be. The next night we upgraded to the John Logie Baird suite which faces Gordon Street and towards the city and the noise levels were considerably reduced. There was the usual Saturday night revelry but that soon died down after 1am.
Despite having many famous guests cross its threshold since it opened, the hotel is probably best known for being the venue from which the world’s first long-distance television pictures were transmitted on 24 May 1927 by John Logie Baird.
The decor of the John Logie Baird suite seems quite fresh, but what astounded us was that there is no bath, only a large shower. In our experience generally there is always a bath adjoined to the suite, this was a bit of a shock. A lovely touch was the goldfish situated in the living room. Quite unusual but lovely all the same. As for extras, the amenities are more or less the same as a standard room, the one major difference is that staying on the executive floor gives you access to the lounge. Here you will find typical Scottish snacks, teacakes and caramel. Teas, coffees and soft drinks are also available. The lounge is a nice meeting area with plenty of sofas and a couple of televisions dotted around the place. Lovely setting to congregate for pre-dinner soft drinks should one be inclined to do so.
Or hit the Champagne Bar located on the first floor with views over the station. The bar is not exclusively for hotel guests it is also accessible to the general public.
We had breakfast at the Tempus restaurant which is located at street level. There is standard fare available in the buffet, and also you can order from the a la carte menu. The staff in the restaurant are all very pleasant, and happily answered our many questions.
Popular with theatre-goers, shoppers and people seeking short city breaks the hotel has won many awards over the years.