A new hotel in Glasgow offers a slice of New York style, along with top-class cocktails, accomplished dining and a luxurious night’s stay
A little over twelve months ago, the total transformation of a 1960s Work and Pensions building on Glasgow’s West Regent Street began. The façade was stripped, the interior was gutted and a new luxury hotel eventually emerged. The Dakota Deluxe Glasgow, the latest boutique offering from hotelier Ken McCulloch, joins two other Dakotas in central Scotland but takes the concept up a notch, with more amenities and an upscale ambience.
The interior cost £3 million, and you can see where the money was spent. Amanda Rosa helmed the design, skilfully overcoming challenges such as low ceilings, and kitting out the 83 bedrooms in muted greys and soft browns. Finishing touches such as subdued lighting and subtle music encourage visitors to unwind.
We arrived on a roasting hot Saturday afternoon, welcomed out of the taxi and led through the doors, leaving the grind of the city behind us. We stayed in one of the hotel’s signature suites, a grand room with well proportioned design elements and floor-to-ceiling windows, the view below blurred by wooden shutters. The plump, well-dressed bed, dark brown leather-topped desk and studded chair work a very smart look. Cool grey tiling in the expansive bathroom along with its double shower and freestanding bath add to the overall feel, which is chic and opulent.
The unseasonably warm day encouraged us to peel ourselves away from the room and take the ten-minute stroll into the city centre. One of the main attractions of the hotel is that it occupies a prime location in the heart of Glasgow, yet it’s cut off from the sights and sounds.
On our return, after an indulgent soak in the bath, aided by lush bespoke body wash, we headed down to dinner in the basement-level Grill.
There’s a distinctly New York ambience to the space, the trendy hotels in the Meatpacking district spring to mind. It also emulates the NYC hotel scene by offering a range of services that draw in more than just the overnight guests. There’s the Library, a members-only lounge, the cigar terrace, the champagne room and the cocktail bar, alongside the Grill. And judging by the amount of business that was going on in only the fourth week of opening, it looks like the upcoming Glasgow hotspot.
The Grill is simple in name but impressive in presentation. The Big Apple theme continues with industrial-style furnishing and exposed brick décor. I opted to start with a tangy and delicious yellowfin tuna tartare, with avocado, wasabi and sesame wonton, followed by crispy chicken kiev with wild garlic mash and tenderstem broccoli. The Grill’s take on this old favourite was surprisingly light, and left enough room for dessert, a decadent chocolate and caramel mousse with toffee popcorn and hazelnuts.
Any notion of venturing out for an after-dinner drink vanished when we were handed the cocktail menu. The Dakota takes great pride in its cocktails – with good reason. My first choice was a #euphoria, an in-house Hendrick’s-based creation that combines gin with sugar syrup, lime juice, fresh strawberries topped off with ginger ale.
Inspired, we headed up to the ground floor to continue the evening in the cocktail bar, a cool spot nicknamed Jack’s Bar in a nod to the Vettrianos on the wall and a series of portraits of famous Jacks. The pre-Prohibition atmosphere of America inspired the modern, minimalist design, so in the spirit of that era, we finished the evening with a couple of well-made Old Fashioneds. The whole evening felt entirely old-school, in the best sense, but in a fresh new setting. This could definitely be a weekend destination with friends, if not a romantic getaway.
After polishing off our drinks, it was time to retire. Back in our room, the bed had been turned down, slippers had been left out and music was playing softly; the Dakota may be a modern establishment, but it has all the trappings of a classic hotel, including the service – approachable and attentive throughout.
Sunday morning’s breakfast of avocado and poached eggs on toast restored us after the previous night’s indulgences. Then it was time to step out into the light and head back home.
IN THE AREA
With Glasgow city centre on your doorstep, retail therapy is a must. Hit the high street on Buchanan Street or the high end on Ingram Street. Glasgow is also home to some great vintage shops such as Mr Ben Retro Clothing on King Street. Head to the ever-evolving Finneston ‘strip’ (which is within walking distance, or a short taxi ride away) for lunch or drinks at one of its bars and eateries. Get a dose of culture at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum or GOMA, or, for something a bit different, take the Mural Trail through the centre of town and view some stunning street art. Once you’ve booked your stay, keep an eye out for upcoming pop-ups and fairs in the city.
Rooms from £150, www.dakotahotels.co.uk
Words Caitlin Clements