Great Places to Stay
- Ramada Jarvis, Glasgow Airport

The worst nightmare about air travel these days is not so much security and baggage restrictions; it's all about getting to the airport in the first place. Unlike many 5 star airports around the world with fast speed rail links from the city centre, the UK is behind the times with regards to such essential infrastructure. The M8 is heavily congested because 95% of people travel to the airport by road. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is working on a new direct rail link between Glasgow Central station and Glasgow International Airport, due to be completed by 2010.

To avoid traffic jams by car or taxi at 7am en route to the airport to catch an early morning flight, why not book in the night before at Ramada Jarvis Glasgow Airport. Situated just 500 metres from the terminal, there's free parking at the hotel during your stay and also accommodation with secure parking package while you are away. It's the perfect stopover when travelling in or out from Glasgow ensuring that you can enjoy a good night's sleep without worrying about missing your flight.

The Hotel

Ramada International is the company that owns, operates, and franchises hotels using the Ramada name outside of the United States and Canada. In the UK there are around 40 Ramada Jarvis hotels offering good value quality accommodation for leisure city breaks, business meetings and airport stopovers. Designed as purpose built, contemporary styled hotels, you'll find the key essentials and facilities with a range of bedroom grades and sizes, bar, restaurant, conference rooms and some hotels have leisure centres with a pool and gym.

As I had an early morning flight to Malta from Glasgow airport, I travelled to Glasgow airport by bus from Edinburgh, (changing buses at Buchanan Street bus station in Glasgow), and arrived at the airport terminal. As passengers are not allowed to walk around the airport site, a minibus transfers guests to the hotel. I phoned the hotel on arrival (courtesy phone) and within 3 minutes the minibus arrived to collect me at a designated stop.

The lobby is spacious and welcoming with a curving reception desk beside the lounge bar and the Bagio Italian restaurant. Reception staff are helpful, asking if I needed a dinner reservation, wake up call and what time I would need the transfer bus to the terminal. Settling into my comfortable, cosy bedroom, I felt immediately relaxed - looking forward to dinner and an early night before my journey the next day. This is the way to travel!

All 108 rooms have an en-suite bathroom with glass power shower cubicle, satellite TV with pay to view movies, direct dial telephone with internet access, hairdryer, trouser press, iron and ironing board and hospitality tray. Rooms come in different sizes - Standard, Family rooms with sofa bed, Executive rooms (with luxury extras such as bathrobes, slippers, complimentary newspaper and quality toiletries), and Accessible rooms for wheelchair users.

I had been allocated a Family room featuring a king size bed and a lovely sofa for watching TV. All very homely. I was impressed with the smart modern design and furnishings with a long desk and chair for PC and business work doubling up as a dressing table. A sliding mirror on the wall beside the window also acts as light blackout and sound proofing. It was very quiet all night and I was not disturbed by low flying aircraft. The bathroom has a pile of soft white towels (bath towel more like a hand towel!), and a large container of Dove liquid soap attached to the wall beside the wash hand basin and in the shower cubicle. No nice basket of soap, shower gel and shampoo here. But for the budget price for rooms at Ramada Jarvis, who's complaining!

Wining and Dining

Bagio Restaurant on the ground floor opposite reception is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner (6.30pm - 10.30pm) catering for all the travellers coming and going, day and night. This is an Italian restaurant, featuring a traditional wood fired oven to bake classic home made pizzas. The layout of small blond wood tables in neat rows and severe bright lighting is more like a café than a traditional cosy trattoria. For a more private space to eat, I selected a comfy leather banquette seat at a large table at the side and settled down with a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc to study the menu. On this Sunday night Bagio had a fair number of diners, mainly single people, perhaps jetting off the next morning on a business trip. They cater well here for solo travellers and there's also 24 hour room service - ideal for those arriving late at night.

The selection offered such Italian favourites as Minestrone soup, Melon and Parma ham, Bruschetta and Cannelloni - but could I have a simple mixed salad, I enquired as I wanted to sample the speciality Pizza al Forno, with just a light starter. No problem said the waiter. Five minutes later, a bowl of crisp lettuce and rocket leaves, chopped peppers, fresh and sun dried tomatoes, avocado, olives and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Perfect. As well as a choice of pizzas, you can tailor your own with a choice of extra toppings. I invented a new one - a Margherita (tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil) with added mushrooms and prawns. A gourmet dish indeed, freshly made and baked in the oven which I enjoyed with a glass of l'Emage Merlot.

Elsewhere on the menu, traditional lasagne, pan fried sea bass, lamb cutlets, fillet steak and chips. For dessert, all the classics - tiramisu, panacotta with strawberries and ice-cream. Beside the restaurant is the intimate Bagio bar where you can relax in a booth for a glass of wine, beer or coffee.

Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10.30am and by 7am Bagio was already busy. The buffet is fairly basic with bowls of tinned fruit, sliced bread (make your own toast) and cheap fruit juice. You can order a hot breakfast - bacon, sausage and egg fry up, scrambled eggs etc - from the waiter. Two soft poached eggs swimming in water with two large slices of white toast were presented - greasy spoon café style. After a tasty, well prepared Italian meal the night before, it was surprising to find such a poor standard, unhealthy breakfast menu.

More Information
For more information or to make a reservation see the Ramada Jarvis, Glasgow Airport Web page (or the Ramada Jarvis - Main Site for links to other Ramada Jarvis hotels). The postal address of Ramada Jarvis Glasgow Airport is Marchburn Drive, Glasgow Airport Business Park, Glasgow, PA4 2SJ. Telephone number is 08448 159 083.

The Airport bus from Buchanan Street bus station in Glasgow runs every 15 minutes and there are also regular local buses from Central Station.

By car from Glasgow and the East: Exit the M8 at Junction 28 and follow the hotel signs. From Greenock and the West: Leave the M8 at Junction 29 and follow the slip road, past the Holiday Inn on the left and straight through the first roundabout. Turn left at the second roundabout and you will pass the hotel on your right (with a central reservation in between). Turn back on yourself at the next roundabout and the hotel entrance is first left.

Airport hotels are functional places to stay rather than designed for a luxury stay, so I had a low expectation of the Ramada Jarvis before arrival. However, every aspect of the hotel's modern, sleek design, comfortable, homely accommodation, Bagio Italian restaurant and friendly service was well above average. Check the website for special Park, Sleep and Fly package rates, leisure breaks and good deals. Having read some TripAdvisor reviews by recent guests, people do fly in and then stay at Ramada Jarvis for a few days, taking bus trips into Glasgow, while enjoying a reasonable place to stay out of town. With prices from £59 per person, this is excellent value for money for the standard of hospitality you will receive.

Vivien Devlin, British Guild of Travel Writers
April 2008

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