HomeTravelCOP26: 10 of the best hotels in Glasgow

COP26: 10 of the best hotels in Glasgow

With in-your-face inner city swagger, a rip-roaring restaurant scene, charmingly ragged pubs and neck-craning architecture (look up and the rewards come thick and fast), Glasgow – the host city for the COP26 climate event – delivers a knockout kiss. Amid global competition, it’s a dream destination for a city break, no matter where you’re coming from.

The “Dear Green Place” was once the original Victorian dream, the second city of the British Empire and a centre of commerce and education. It gifted the world modern economics (you can thank Adam Smith for that), the TV (John Logie Baird), the steam engine (James Watt), ultrasound (Ian Donald), detective agencies (Alan Pinkerton), the raincoat (Charles Macintosh) … the list goes on. Small wonder that Glaswegians are proud of their lot.

So if that whets the appetite, there’s a hotel reservation with your name on it (once COP26 winds down and all those pesky world leaders have cleared off again, of course). Here are our top 10 favourites.

The Independent’s hotel reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

Neighbourhood: Blythswood

The Penthouse Suite at the Principal Blythwood Square

(Principal Blythwood Square)

Overlooking a Georgian square crowded by townhouses, the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel keeps good company. Long one of the most sought-after addresses in the city, it was home to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, where men in cravats and comic-book moustaches once began the fabled Monte Carlo Rally.

Since those glory days, the building’s shifted up a gear, rebranded as a Kimpton hotel (the boutique arm of the globetrotting IHG portfolio). The hotel’s latest revelation is the ultra-glamorous two-bedroom penthouse suite (aka the poshest pad in the city).

Doubles from £170, room only; kimptonblythswoodsquare.com

Neighbourhood: West End

The Luxtown Suite at the Hotel du Vin

(Hotel du Vin)

Like many hotels in Scotland, there’s a splash of Highland whimsy at this luxury residence located opposite the leafy Botanic Gardens. Less hotel, more country manor, the 49-room retreat spreads across a series of sandstone townhouses, creating a hive of woody corridors dressed to the nines with original Victorian fixtures. Doubles and suites are wallpapered with flowers and thistles and the most luxurious have free-standing roll-top tubs.

Besides a spa offering a range of treatments on the ground floor, there’s a restaurant and bar for happy hour drinks and afternoon tea, plus – in keeping with the aristocratic whiff of the place – there’s a cigar snug and whisky room brimming with single malts. Grab a vintage Macallan and let the staff take care of the rest.

Doubles from £119, room only; hotelduvin.com/locations/glasgow

Neighbourhood: City Centre

The Penthouse at Native Glasgow offers exceptional city views

(Native Glasgow)

The River Clyde was once a shipbuilding powerhouse and this worthy history is the sell at this property, once home to the headquarters of the Anchor Line Shipping Company. Beyond the nautical roof sculpture, the serviced apartments and studios channel the art deco mood of a 1920s ocean liner with glazed tiles, terrazzo flooring and wood panelling.

By the time you reach the rooms, the buzz is all about the humongous safes – maintained for more than a century and now transformed into walk-in wardrobes – but the lure remains the location. If dining and nightlife are top priority, base yourself here: Glasgow’s inimitable grid of streets are right on the doorstep.

Doubles from £71, room only; nativeplaces.com

Best for romance: 15Glasgow

Neighbourhood: West End

Sandwiched between the city centre and the more expansive realm of Kelvingrove Park and attractions of the West End, this convivial, five-room B&B townhouse gets everything right. Rooms are polished, pared back and stylish with plenty of tartan-to-the-max trimmings (stripy cushions, woollen throws and thistle wallpapers). Pick of the bunch is the airy, first floor Charles Rennie Mackintosh Suite, a den created in homage to the city’s architectural pin-up and favourite son. Another plus: it’s easily walkable to Finnieston, Glasgow’s ever-changing take on the Brooklyn hipster experience.

Doubles from £160, B&B; 15glasgow.com

Neighbourhood: Pollokshields

The Sherbrooke Castle Hotel holds the title for Glasgow’s only castle hotel

(The Sherbrooke Castle Hotel)

Close to the south side’s lesser-known must-do’s (the Rennie Mackintosh-inspired House for an Art Lover, Pollok House and the under-renovation Burrell Collection), Glasgow’s only castle hotel is an unlikely bastion, complete with turrets and treasures. Behind its baronial exterior are knights in armour, crossed swords and muskets and vintage watercolours, including one of former owner John Morrison, who masterminded George Square’s City Chambers and the groovy Citizens Theatre.

Up the stairs, the 18 rooms were once used as a radar training centre for naval officers during the Second World War, but now contain four poster beds, roll top bath tubs, antique furniture and sweeping views to the front lawn or conservatory. Pretend you’re a laird or lady and you’ll fit in nicely. Tip: it’s a magnet for boozy weddings, so try and avoid weekends.

Doubles from £86, B&B; sherbrookecastlehotel.com

Neighbourhood: City Centre

The opulent Champagne Central bar at the Principal Grand Central

(Principal Grand Central)

Once a British railway hotel in the 19th-century golden era for train travel, this Queen Anne-era landmark is attached to the city’s busiest train station and comes with pedigree. JFK, Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill are all in the guestbook, while the world’s first long-distance TV pictures were transmitted to the hotel in 1927 by Glaswegian John Logie Baird.

Taken over by Voco (an IHG brand offering “upscale lifestyle hotels”), the Victorian-era sparkle is still in place, although the rooms now channel a more modern aesthetic, with a livery of blue, white and taupe, contemporary artwork and grey-tiled bathrooms.

No matter how busy you are, make time for the chi-chi bar Champagne Central. It remains as hedonistic as it is handy for catching a last-minute train, and overlooks the station’s main concourse.

Doubles from £79, room only; grandcentral.vocohotels.com

Neighbourhood: Festival Park

A few years ago, no-one would dare stay in this part of the city. But times change and the area is a model for urban regeneration, offering what so many visitors to Glasgow want: great museums, memorable pubs (nearby in Finnieston) and rock’n’roll nights. The latter is provided by the SEC Armadillo concert hall and SSE Hydro (supposedly the world’s second busiest venue), both of which are a plectrum’s throw from the hotel across the River Clyde.

Inside, the vibe is squarely in the industrial minimalism bracket, with room decor all clean lines, exposed pipework and cheap-as-chips brick wallpaper. Other features include an in-house Starbucks, local members’ gym and Pub and Grill. It’s also handy for creative media and families: BBC Scotland’s HQ and the Glasgow Science Centre are next door.

Doubles from £77, room only; village-hotels.co.uk

Neighbourhood: City Centre

When it first landed in 2010, this innovative protégé pod-hotel seemed like a vision of the future. But now that the Dutch-born chain has gone global from Amsterdam to Taipei, its high-tech, low-price USP seems like the no-frills standard.

Be that as it may, it’s hard to find fault with self-service check-in/check-out terminals, an open plan canteen, sociable hangout zone with pop culture and coffee table books and free in-room movies on demand. Summing up the millennial vibe in a nutshell, there’s a 24-hour self-service area with fridges stocking salads, sushi and noodles.

As for the rooms, all 198 of them feature mood lighting, wall-to-wall windows, electronic shutters, rainbow-coloured capsule power showers and super king-size beds. The smart move is to pick one away from the Renfrew Street traffic.

Doubles from £74, room only; citizenm.com

Neighbourhood: City Centre

The history lift at ABode Glasgow

(ABode Glasgow)

Glasgow’s Style Mile – a Z-shaped intersection for retail therapy – effectively snakes around this former family home of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, prime minister from 1905 to 1908, and the only person born and raised in Glasgow to run the UK. Pride of place goes to the century-old heritage lift, complete with vintage iron-wrought gate, which whisks guests up to the 59 easy-on-the-eye rooms. The best of these have gorgeous stained glass windows and sofas, while even the smallest rooms have super-bouncy doubles and sophisticated furnishings.

Downstairs, popular brasserie and amped-up pub Pie & Brew is temporarily closed, but with cheek-to-cheek bars and restaurants in the area you’re better following your nose anyway. Tip: shop around before booking as the property often runs plenty of online promos.

Doubles from £64, room only; abodeglasgow.co.uk

Neighbourhood: City Centre

Classy decor and regional cuisine awaits at the Dakota Deluxe


Smooth. That’s the overriding impression of this sophisticated boutique hotel created by legendary Glaswegian hotelier Ken McCulloch on West Regent Street. There are dozens of subtle design touches – hand-picked artwork, delicious furnishings – and a striking two-tone palette of muted greys and ivory almost everywhere.

Rooms come in a selection of 83 classic, king, executive or deluxe suites, all with comfy beds and velvety linens, monsoon showers and inclusive Sky TV package. Make sure to ask for one with skyline-busting loft windows.

In the basement, the in-house restaurant specialises in steaks, venison and halibut – dishes that smack of regional provenance – but for the most acclaimed dinner in Glasgow, tootle down the street to Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or. It’s unbeatable and you won’t regret it.

Doubles from £114, room only; glasgow.dakotahotels.co.uk

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