CitizenM Glasgow Hotel Review

Posted by admin | Posted in Review, Scotland | Posted on 17-08-2010

I grew up in Glasgow and have visited a good number of European cities in my time, but I can safely say that Glasgow is one of the coolest ones. So I was really excited to be given the change to try out Glasgow’s newest ‘uber cool’ budget boutique hotel at the weekend prior to the official opening.

The hotel I am talking about is called CitizenM – a Dutch company with two hotels in Amsterdam so this is their first venture with the brand outside the Netherlands.

The hotel is located at the corner of Renfield street and Renfrew street, next to the theatre Royal (see below) which is right in the heart of the city and extremely central.

Reception
The communal hotel area has been designed to feel almost like a house (a big house) with different areas to relax and chill out in. There is plenty to read and there are TV’s dotted around the whole communal area, so you can really chill out without feeling like you are in a hotel lobby!

The hotel uses a computerised self check in service – it wasn’t fully functional when I was there – but the process should mean that you can check in and be in your room very quickly.

Rooms
The rooms are pod rooms – but roomy luxury pot rooms at that. The finish in the rooms is of an extremely high standard and all luxury brands.

The rooms are pimped with so many gadgets I was kept amused the whole time I was in it, infact to the point that I didn’t leave the room. You can control the Lighting, TV, Music, Temperature, Blinds and Black out Curtain from the remote control next to your bed. Plus there is free Wifi too.

You can change the colour/lighting of the room to any colour you like (see below)

The bed is also a huge 2 meters by 2 meters so you can sleep anyway around it you want. And there is really good sound proofing and the black out curtain means that you get a really good nights sleep.

The room doesn’t have a bathroom as such, it is a glass pod with the toilet and shower combined. The shower is a rain shower and hand shower and has its own delicious shower gels to use. Outside is your wash basin, there is a full length mirror, space to hang clothes and plenty of plugs (one of my bones of contention in many hotel rooms).

The entertainment system comprises of literally hundreds of channels – more than you get on Sky TV and from all around the world too. The movies are all free to watch and there are plenty of different music channels you can listen to to suit your mood.

Food
I never tried any of the food – there is no restaurant as such, but there is a bar in the communal area where you can buy food – and you can buy food for breakfast or food and drinks to take up to your room.

Checkout
Checking out was painless and done and dusted in about two minutes, I also really liked when you leave you can reuse your room key as a funky luggage tag for your next trip away.


Negatives

If there were any negatives I would say the only things are:
1. There is no Ipod connector so you cannot play your music through the stereo system.
2. You need to know your room mate very well – the toilet/shower is a glass cubical in the room. I never saw the twin rooms so cannot comment on those.

Prices for a room are exceptionally reasonable ranging from £49 – £79 which beats any premier inn or other cheap hotel chain in the city hands down.

In all this is one super funky hotel and a definite asset to the city – if you’re heading to Glasgow for any reason check in at CiticenM

60 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G2 3BW
www.citizenmglasgow.com/


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Barcaldine House Luxury Hotel Oban – Review

Posted by admin | Posted in Review | Posted on 04-08-2010

Review – At the weekend I was given the opportunity to stay at Barcaldine House luxury hotel which is 9 miles outside of Oban Scotland. I stayed for two nights dinner bed a breakfast and this posting is my review of the hotel.

I have broken my review down into a number of areas – accommodation, facilities, food and service. In my opinion these are the four key elements that are the makeup to every good hotel.

To give some background Barcaldine house was originally a country house which has gone through a number of transformations over the years and now happily resides as a luxury hotel.

Located in the small town of Barcaldine outside of Oban it is perfectly situated for exploring the west coast of Scotland. There are a number of walks around the hotel, but if you want to fully explore the area you do need a car.

Accommodation

The hotel has 8 bedrooms so it is small by many hotels standards, but there is plenty of space in the hotel so you feel like it’s almost your own house from the moment you arrive.

We stayed in a superior room facing the back of the hotel. The room was lovely and spacious, the bathroom was traditional with a cast iron roll top bath and traditional sink.

The room had sky TV, and an Ipod docking station so you can bring your own music to listen too. One nice touch that I really liked is that they have a DVD collection that you are free to use at any time, there was a good selection of films so something to suit most people.

There are also a good selection of teas and fresh coffee in your room and complementary still and sparking water.

Food

Food is where the Barcaldine sets itself apart from many hotels I have been too. I really cannot express how good the food was. I am vegetarian and often this is something of an afterthought to many chefs, but on both nights the menu changed and on both nights the food was outstanding.

The restaurant has two AA rosettes and won a number of awards. The head Chef Oskar previously worked at Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant in Gleneagles so this is the quality of food to expect.

What we did on both nights was to have a pre dinner drink in the study next to the restaurant. I can imagine in winter the study being magical with a roaring log fire and Christmas music playing. With our drinks we were given canapés which were hand-made and different on both nights.

We then went through to the dining room and had our meal. I really like the fact you got a pre starter soup and sorbet between courses. I also loved the fact that you got homemade tablet at the end of the meal too with your coffee. Lovely touches.

Breaksfast was fantastic too – it is served in the dining room and there is a selection of cereals, muesli and porridge to start, as well as fruit juice, coffee, tea and toast. You can then order a full cooked breakfast, I opted for eggs Benedicta minis the ham. All delicious and kept me full till well into the afternoon.

Service

Again service is really important and the hotel pulled this off very well. All the staff were extremely friendly and very helpful. They had lots of suggestions about things to see and do in the area, and were a pleasure to be served by in the evening.  And I liked the fact that they didn’t have a cocktail menu but they made a perfect cosmopolitan for me regardless (It did cost £15 however)

Facilities

Barcaldine House is a hotel to come and relax in – the study had a daily supply of news papers, I also loved the billiards room, will full sized snooker table and large selection of board games, including family favourites (cluedo, monopoly) in addition to chess, backgammon and a cards table.

Outside the hotel there are some nice walks to take which will let you explore some of the nearby countryside.

Things To See And Do

This part of Scotland is quite a treasure trove if you have not been before.  Oban is the main gateway to some of Scotland most iconic islands including Mull, Iona, Jura and Scappa and you can get daily ferries to them from the ferry terminal in the town. Oban itself has a selection of shops, restaurants, bars and places to chill out during the day.

However having been to Oban many times we decided to explore some of the surrounding areas and saw the following.

1. Atlantic Bridge
2. Arduaine Gardens (National Trust)
3. Port Appin
4. Glencoe

Overall Outcomes

I stayed in a superior room which was £215 a night (high season) and dinner was £50 per person a night for food.

This is a really special hotel and definately one to keep an eye on if you are looking for somewhere unique to go to for a relaxing weekend with excellent food!

http://www.barcaldinehouse.co.uk/