Great Places to Stay
- Millennium Hotel, Glasgow
Location, Location, Location
Whatever your reason for visiting the city of Glasgow you will surely find it easier to stay bang in the centre where things are certainly Happening, day and night. No hotel could be more perfectly located than the Millennium on George Square: Queen Street mainline and underground stations are immediately behind the hotel, the tourist information office opposite, with the Buchanan Galleries shopping mall and international designer stores a few minutes walk away. Within a few blocks are the city's best restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, art galleries, museums and lively nightlife.
A Four-Star Deluxe Hotel
The Millennium Hotel opened in June 2000 and is housed within three adjoining 18th century townhouse properties which today have been tastefully renovated and updated to a cool and stylish Art Nouveau period. The original high ceilings, pillars and cornicing of the lobby and restaurant, blend with contemporary furnishings, high backed chairs and bold diametric designs, which reflect the influence of the renowned Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The renovation won the Hotel Spec European Hotel Design and Development award for its stylish period design.
There are one hundred and seventeen en-suite bedrooms with a choice of good-size Standard, elegant Clubrooms and luxury Suites. There is one bedroom adapted and fully equipped for a wheelchair user, with an adjoining room for a companion or PA.
The standard and homely comfort of fabrics, carpets and drapes featuring a subtle soft colour scheme of cream and coffee, black and white, are all fresh, crisp and new. This is a four star deluxe hotel and compared to some higher graded hotels, the Millennium could easily rank five star based on the top quality and sophisticated, ultra-contemporary design and facilities.
I would recommend the Clubrooms, especially for a couple, to appreciate a good deal more space. These are almost like suites, featuring an almost separate sitting room area with an armchair and long sofa, scattered with animal print cushions, and two huge table lamps for nice soft lighting.
There's a neat desk with phone suitable for laptop work, and a giant satellite TV on a revolving swivel to face both the sofa and king size bed on the far side of the room. The cotton sheets are top quality as are the large soft pillows. The bathroom is a decent size where you could swing a cat if you so desired and had brought Topsy with you. The shower and taps are by Grohe with easy, instant temperature control. Good selection of Millennium branded toiletries in neat plastic tubes.
The mini-bar has a good selection of complimentary soft drinks as well as beer and miniature spirits. No wine I was sorry to note, but a wide range is available through room service - which also has a terrific menu of snacks and meals so that you wouldn't have to leave the room at all. With this great TV, numerous channels, radio, and choice of in-house movies (for a small fee) - you could easily become a couch potato.
But no, however lovely the bedroom, don't be lazy and go downstairs to the lobby bar for a drink before dinner. The Millennium Lounge has a wonderful glass-fronted conservatory, built right out at the front of the hotel, with fabulous people-watching views across George Square. This is perfect for coffees, lunches, snacks and drinks all day long with no set "lunch hour" which can be annoying. After a busy day out in the city, I was able to order a superb sandwich at around 2.30pm - grilled vegetables, mozzarella cheese and hummus on olive bread, served with a salad and potato crisps. The bar menu has an excellent choice of hot panini, sandwiches, salads, soups, smoked salmon, or coffee and pastries.
Immediately adjacent to the hotel is La Mirage Bar with a separate entrance next door. This has a famous Glaswegian "Happy Hour" from 5pm to 8pm offering an alternative lively Pub ambience for an evening drink.
Dining at the Millennium
The hotel restaurant, The Brasserie, just off the lobby and with direct access from the street, is a beautifully designed open and airy room with a continuation of the glass fronted conservatory if you wish to dine overlooking the Square. The main room retains some of its 18th century original features but overall it has been updated to model the Rennie Mackintosh art nouveau design of the turn of the 20th century.
An L-shaped wall of comfy tan suede banquette seating, as well as thin high-backed chairs are set against a row of neat varnished tobacco coloured tables. This is dining casual style with no linen tablecloths. Several screens and pillars decorated with tall green plants divide up the wide spaces. The lighting is soft and low.
With its French sounding name, The Brasserie is staffed by an army of young waiters, dressed with the traditional long Parisian café white linen apron draping down to their ankles. The menu is not so much French but more in Auld Alliance mood - the best of Scottish produce with a touch of the traditional French style of cuisine. The great house speciality are the famous, internationally acclaimed oysters, scallops, langoustines, mussels and smoked salmon from Loch Fyne.
The head chef is Stewart Goldie and the menu offers a limited but an imaginatively created choice of starters and main courses, with daily specials. For instance Asparagus Spears wrapped in tissue thin filo pastry, or for something rather different Chilled Avocado Soup. This had an unusual consistency of yoghurt but delightfully presented, the pale green liquid dotted with spring onions in a square white bowl. Or what about Fig, Parma Ham and Melon Salad? One of the specials that night was a pear, rocket and blue cheese salad - a delicious sour-sweet taste.
Next up - select between Sea Bass, Pan Fried Loin of Venison, Double Cooked Poussin, Rump of Perthshire Lamp or a Chargilled steak. Quality fish, game and poultry simply presented - what could be more appetising and of general appeal for a hotel restaurant, catering for an international guests.
There is no vegetarian dish listed on the menu but on enquiring I was informed that I could have "anything with reason" - pasta of various descriptions with vegetables, tomato sauce or pesto, a stir-fry, risotto, omelette or whatever I wished. This is a conscious decision by Chef Goldie not to just offer a token veggie dish but to offer something suitable for whatever your diet and taste.
Wishing a change from meat or fish that night, I put the chef to the test and I was presented with a fabulous rectangular platter filled with tasty, spicy, stir-fried baby asparagus, sweetcorn, parsnip, red and yellow peppers, onions, mushrooms and goodness knows what else. This sat on a nest of thin noodles and it was absolutely superb.
I sipped a half bottle of chilled Muscadet and then studied the pudding menu. The lady at the table next to me was debating on whether to have the Trio of Brulées, chocolate, lemon and ginger. I believe she requested a special trio of chocolate ones! If I had the room to consume I would have selected the Coffee and Rum Soufflé crepe - warm French style pancakes, served with vanilla ice-cream. Next time perhaps. There's also a Raspberry and Drambuie Trifle and a Scottish cheese board. Again, a choice of just a few traditional desserts, but imaginative and appealing.
"Citta scozesse piu glamour del momento" Lo Donna, Italy
I don't think I need translate this phrase literally. "A glamorous Scottish city" indeed. It is now widely accepted and proven through careful retail analysis that Glasgow is Britain's second city for fashion and retail outside London. It was Glasgow which Gianni Versace selected for his first UK outlet which now enjoys an expanded store as part of the Italian Centre on Ingram Street. And this is just five minutes walk from the Millennium hotel. And nearby you'll find Armani (located in what used to be a bank head office), Cruise, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss amongst all the great designer names.
Geraldine McKay, Revenue Manager of the hotel comments: "With our location in the heart of the city the hotel is perfect for a weekend away shopping break. It's a common sight to see a guest leave with a good many more bags than they arrived with."
For more information, or to make a reservation, see the Millennium Hotel Web site
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