Newest Review: ... a beautiful view, especially in the morning as the sun came up which is something that sticks with me from our stay. The location of the... more
Up, Up and Wahey!
Member Name: andymcf
Date: 23/08/03, updated on 23/08/03 (82 review reads)
Advantages: Very luxurious, Friendly staff
Disadvantages: None that I can think of, unless you suffer from vertigo!
From Glasgow International Airport, the M8 Motorway wends its way towards Edinburgh or Stirling but by about junction 19, roadworks slow you down to a snail's pace as you cross the bridge over the river Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland's second city, and as it happens, that wasn't an entirely bad thing for once. We'd booked two nights at the Glasgow Hilton and this 20-storey monolith is situated right by the aforementioned roadworks and junction. We saw it coming. We were impressed. We found our way there with ease. We parked in the upper floor of the underground car park and made our way into reception.
A lift took us up to the main lobby area on level 2, which was impressively furnished and decorated; the kind of magnificent lobby that really lets you know that you're in a hotel that means - and clearly nurtures - business. It's an elegant, open-plan area with the hotel's two restaurants and the main bar leading off from the central core. It's an area which combines peace with obvious activity. On the left, you'll find reception.
I approached reception and was swiftly greeted by a friendly and very helpful member of staff, who told me that I couldn't check in there. As a Hilton Hhonors Gold VIP member, I'd been upgraded to the executive floor and would have to check in on the 19th floor. Upgrade! Vertigo! Upgrade! We stepped into the lift and pressed the 19 button. In as many seconds, we were up there. I'm not a huge fan of heights, but this was a treat that simply was not to be sniffed at. We proceeded to the executive reception, and the Vertigo vanished in an instant. I was soon looking out of the windows. I wouldn't describe the view as pretty, but it was pretty breath taking.
Executive floor reception was situated in the executive lounge. Rather than a counter, there
9;s a low-level desk and leather swivel chair and Christine, the receptionist / Maitresse D' was extremely helpful, friendly and informative. Striking a perfect balance between five-star formality and friendly informality, we were checked-in efficiently and introduced to the excellent facilities that were available. The executive lounge was extremely comfortable and at our complete disposal; complimentary continental breakfast was available between 07:00 and 10:30, complimentary high tea between 14:00 and 16:00, pre-dinner canapés between 17:00 and 19:00 and - and here's the massive "Wow" - a complimentary bar from 17:00 until 21:45. I like bars, and I love the word "complimentary". This bar was well stocked, quickly re-stocked and there was a superb selection of drinks from which to choose. Nobody, I am sure, would have been disappointed. I, for one, wasn't! The one thing we didn't try was the "Living Well" club - with pool, gym and the usual facilities. Another time, perhaps!
We were soon off to our room, number 1916, which was very well appointed. Furnished in a warm beige colour, it was very comfortable. The lighting created a subtle ambience that I really liked. To be honest, it didn't scream five-star opulence or over-the-top luxury, but everything was certainly there. Comfortable bed, efficient air-conditioning, colour TV with hotel information services, ample storage space, comfortable seating, decent desk with leather swivel chair. Playstation games, in-house movies and internet access were all available for a charge. The bathroom was very pleasant - typical hotel-style, but well fitted out and - like the room itself - well-maintained and not showing any signs of wear and tear. I was pleased to see that, for once, my request for a smoking room had been accommodated (Yes, I know it's a dirty habit, Mother Superior!), and Baby Josh's cot was already in place. You wouldn't believe the numb
er of times I have to 'phone housekeeping to get a cot installed when, in fact, one has been pre-reserved. It was nice, for a change, to note that the reservation details had actually been read, understood and accommodated!
Having settled into our room, it seemed silly not to go to the executive lounge and enjoy the delights of the complimentary bar. There are those two words again! Baby Josh was made very welcome and the aforementioned Christine made a superb hostess. It's clear that this hotel - and this floor in particular - has a very regular clientele, and I was particularly struck by what was almost a family atmosphere. "Where's so-and-so....He's not here, until Thursday...Oh, that's your birthday". What was even more remarkable was the fact that this was not an exclusive clique. We were soon chatting with new friends and swapping 'phone numbers. Five star hotel perhaps, but stuffy it certainly ain't!
Our rate included dinner on the first of the two nights, so we soon headed off to the lift and rocketed down to the second floor. The hotel has two restaurants - "Cameron's" (the upmarket restaurant), and "Minsky's New York Deli", which is where we ate. You have a choice of ordering from the menu, or - as we did - enjoying a three course buffet.
There was an excellent choice of starters. Amanda opted for a salad concoction, whilst I chose a very tasty vegetable soup. If you know me at all well, then you'll also know that it's rare indeed that I'll ever use the words "tasty" and "vegetable" in the same sentence! For the main course, Amanda had a delicious roast lamb whilst I chose a lamb curry - very tasty, but with, perhaps, too many chickpeas for my liking. Amanda then lavished out on a cheesecake, while I selected a chocolate / mint mousse kind of thing. The selection was, to be honest, very impressive and making a decision was not eas
y. I'd been very excited by the mention of Dim Sum as an option, although the selection did not turn out to be that great. The only disappointment I can think of!
We returned upstairs to the lounge and enjoyed a few more drinks (well, a lot more!) before the complimentary bar closed for the evening. Mindful of the fact that a review really ought to feature the main hotel bar, I decided to pay it a visit. Purely, you understand, in the name of research. I couldn't bear to let you down by filing an incomplete review after all. So - off I went in the lift again to the second floor to sample the delights of "Raffles Bar". This time, I was paying for my drinks. The bar was very comfortable and very much in the style of a British pub. You could sit at the bar and chat, or relax in comfortable leather sofas, or retire to a quiet area of the lobby. The bar staff were very friendly and helpful - and when I visited it the next evening, I only had to quote my room number; Harry, the Chinese barman with a Glaswegian accent had already poured my drink of choice.
And so to bed, which was extremely comfortable. A good night's sleep was had by all and I awoke early, and ready to make the long journey to Aberdeen and back for - sadly - Amanda's grandfather's funeral. We chose to take continental breakfast in the executive lounge, three doors along the corridor from our room, and it was superb. Tea / coffee, a wide selection of fruit juices, and toast, croissants and pastries made a good start to the day. On the second morning, Amanda took a full cooked breakfast in Minsky's and thoroughly enjoyed it - the haggis, in particular, was superb. And so, in Scotland, it should be!
After our second night at the hotel, we checked out quickly and efficiently and were soon on our way. I really, really didn?t want to leave. I loved this hotel and for what we got, I didn't think that a total bill of £223 for two nights was at al
l unreasonable. It's amazing, too, what this place did for my vertigo; I really didn?t feel a thing!
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