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Business Travel Guide: Glasgow, Scotland

Today's Glasgow is a vibrant mix of historic buildings, exciting contemporary architecture and cutting-edge chic. The city, once one of the world's great shipbuilding centers, suffered badly in the 1960s industrial slowdown. In the 1990s, though, it began to slowly pick itself up. Within a few years, Glasgow transformed itself into Scotland's style capital and did it with typical grit and verve. That momentum continues today with a series of projects that range from the massive, £1.2 billion regeneration of Glasgow Harbour and the site for architect Zaha Hadid's Riverside Museum to the development of a six-star hotel due to open in 2010. Add Glasgow's famed friendliness to the mix, and you have a winning, world-class city.

Facts to Know Before You Go

Transportation:

Arriving by plane: Glasgow has two airports. Glasgow Airport is 20 minutes by taxi from the city center and is Scotland's busiest airport. Glasgow Prestwick International is 32 miles south west of Glasgow.

Taxi: The easiest route into central Glasgow is by taxi, available 24 hours a day. Fares from Glasgow Airport to Glasgow city center vary from £18 to £20, depending on traffic. Fares from Glasgow Prestwick International are around £55.

Train: From Glasgow Airport: Paisley Gilmour Street is a mile from the terminal reached by taxi or regular bus services. Tickets are around £3 single to Glasgow Central; the journey takes from 11 to 15 minutes depending on the trains which run frequently.

From Glasgow Prestwick trains run directly from the Airport every half hour and cost around £6 single.

Arriving by train: Virgin Trains run regular services between London, Cheshire, the Lake District and Glasgow. Journey time is around five hours, with the fastest taking four and a half hours. Fares from London to Glasgow start from £18.50 standard one way for tickets purchased in advance. First Class advance fares start at £46 single. Virgin Trains also operates a two hourly service from Birmingham to Glasgow with advance fares starting from £18. For bookings and to check train times visit www.virgintrains.com or call 0845 222 333.

Information:

All the daily national newspapers have extensive business sections. The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent are all comprehensive. The major business paper is the Financial Times. In Scotland, The Herald and The Scotsman carry regular business news.

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Where to Stay

Hotel du Vin
1 Devonshire Gardens
Great Western Rd.
0141 339-2001
www.hotelduvin.com

A room at Hotel du Vin
The former One Devonshire Gardens is now the Hotel du Vin Glasgow though you'll find some people, particularly taxi drivers, still using the old name. Since the take-over, the historic hotel has been expanded and now stretches over the whole terrace of five town houses. The redecoration has resulted in the chic, unusual Hotel du Vin style in its 49 bedrooms and suites which are either Victorian style or contemporary. All the bedrooms have satellite TV, CD and DVD players and free Wi-fi. Four meeting rooms and a terrace and one complete house, which can be hired separately, plus a wine cellar for tastings or drinks party make the hotel popular for small business groups. Beauty treatments and a gym complete the package.

Glasgow Hilton
1 William St.
0141 204-5555
www.hilton.com


A room at Glasgow Hilton
This 319-room, glass-and-granite behemoth, just 15 minutes from Glasgow Airport and accessible to downtown business, shopping and entertainment, ticks the right boxes for business guests. It's not right in the center, and overlooks the motorway, but its location makes access to the Conference Centre (the SECC), very easy. Top floor executive rooms are furnished with good-sized desks and equipment for the business traveler, though note that Internet access comes as an extra. Executive rooms have the advantage of a very good executive lounge providing complimentary breakfast and refreshments throughout the day. fifteen meeting rooms and boardrooms, and a Grand ballroom for 1,100 make this one of Glasgow's top business hotels. You can relax in the swimming pool, work out in the fitness center or tuck into a cut of succulent Angus beef in Cameron's. Minsky's offers more casual dining. The hotel is always buzzing; the staff is charming and the bar is first rate.

Malmaison
278 West George St.
0141 572-1000
www.malmaison.com


A room at Malmaison
Created from a row of converted warehouses, a seaman's mission and a church, Malmaison stands out for its distinctive modern design and good service. The 72 rooms and eight suites, which are decorated in strong colors of red, gold and purple, have the usual gadgets and free Wi-fi. One of the suites is distinctly tongue-in-cheek, with a roll top tartan bath in the living room and a huge four poster bed, inspired by the Scottish larger-than- life comic, Billy Connolly. There are small meeting rooms for up to 30 people and a gym. Nearly as compelling is the central location and the sophisticated basement brasserie.

Marks Hotel
110 Bath St.
0141 353 0800
www.markshotels.com


A room at Marks Hotel
This smart, new, family owned and run independent hotel in Bath Street has a cantilevered front, with the top rooms offering unparalleled views over the south of the city and the Clyde. These penthouse suites are on two levels and are spacious and brightly decorated. Most of the 103 rooms have the capacity for a third bed to accommodate families and all have CDs, satellite TV and free Wi-fi. The décor is bold and not for those after a pastel experience. They make a point of catering to women (and hen parties), so ask for their special in-room goodies for female guests. The bar is comfortable with a good value bar menu served all day; a la carte offerings in the restaurant feature seasonal local dishes.

Saint Jude's
190 Bath St.
0141 352 8800
www.saintjudes.com


A room at Saint Jude's
This chic, new, six-bedroom boutique hotel makes an alternative to the larger hotels in Glasgow. Spacious rooms, bold decorations, the usual electronic gadgets plus iPod docking stations, espresso machines and fully stocked Martini bar (and Hangover Cure Kit for the morning) give the hotel an edge and excuse the slight hiccups in service which can occur. There's a beautiful breakfast room and bar upstairs which can be used for private functions; the funky Mama San restaurant in the basement serves well-prepared Asian'tapas' dishes.

Where to Dine

Michael Caines Restaurant
at ABode Glasgow

129 Bath St.
0141 572 6004
www.abodehotels.co.uk

Contemporary European
16/20
£££££


Michael Caines Restaurant at ABode Glasgow
The dining room of the ABode Hotel is coolly modern with bare wood floors, dark colors and a dominant wine room at one end. It's known as MC though the peripatetic chef leaves most of the cooking in the capable hands of Martin Donnelly. Much is rightly made of seasonal and local Scottish produce though the style is modern European with Asiatic touches. A starter salad of wild rabbit comes with poached rhubarb and lemongrass jelly; a roast loin and braised shoulder of lamb arrives with olive gnocchi and confit tomatoes. It's confident cooking, well done. The cheese board is predominantly British and skilfully sourced; try Iona Cromak, an unpasteurised sheep's milk cheese from Tobermory washed with its famous whisky. Desserts are excellent, and a good wine list, good value lunches and smooth service add extra luster to the experience.

Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery
Seafood, Scottish
652 Argyle St.
0141 221 818
www.twofatladiesrestaurant.com

Seafood/Scottish
14/20
£££££


Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery
Recently bought by Ryan James's Two Fat Ladies group, the venerable restaurant is one of Glasgow's great institutions, founded in 1869. It's a great venue; think dark mahogany bar, wooden booths with wood paneling everywhere, tartan chairs and stained glass. The atmosphere is more informal than its previous incarnation as The Buttery and it buzzes like a good restaurant should. The menu is full of popular, modish dishes with their own twist: Ullapool smoked salmon terrine with sesame crispbread and a sharp cucumber chutney; monkfish tail wrapped in Parma ham and flavoured with rosemary with green beans; or a simple rack of lamb with ratatouille and rosemary jus. No gimmicks, just solidly good cooking.

Brian Maule at Chardon d'Or
176 West Regent St,
44-0141 248 3801
www.brianmaule.com

Modern French
16/20
£££££


Brian Maule at Chardon d'Or
The rather pompously named restaurant is not pompous at all and nor is the first-rate cooking. The dining room is large and airy with some unexpected abstract art on the walls and a relaxed vibe which many top London restaurants operating at this level would do well to emulate. And the food is worth going a long way for. Classic French cooking in chicken liver parfait with artichokes and leeks in hazelnut oil; supreme of duck with a sweet and sour sauce, pommes Anna and celeriac—such traditional staples are given a light touch. You should expect the best here, as Brian Maule was head chef at Le Gavroche before returning to his native Scotland in 2001. With his arrival, Glasgow upped the ante in the Scottish gourmet world.

Grill Room at the Square
23-29 Royal Exchange Square
0141 225 5615
www.29glasgow.com

Scottish
13/20
£££££


Grill Room at the Square
This is the place for beef, top quality Aberdeen Angus straight from the hoof as it were. The meat is properly certified and each cut comes with a full description, wine-list style. My'Great tender steak that practically melts in your mouth', an 8 oz fillet, certainly fulfilled the promise. You can eat other things, but the main point here is the beef. The Grill is the public restaurant of a private club which occupies the whole of the first floor of this handsome 19th century building. It's a handsome room with windows onto the Square, and has delightful service and a good wine list.

The Ubiquitous Chip
12 Ashton Lane
0141-334 5007
www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk

Scottish
13/20
£££££


The Ubiquitous Chip
This long-time favorite was a pioneer when it opened in 1971. Then it wasn't fashionable or common to champion local producers and give provenances for ingredients but Ronnie Clydesdale worked hard to establish such practices. The restaurant continues to use local, seasonal food to great effect. The venue has expanded over the years adding a new mezzanine dining room, reached over a bridge, and a new bar sporting some odd décor like an imported tin ceiling. The main restaurant remains airy, welcoming and buzzing. Long may the chip reign.

Off the Clock

Loch Lomond Seaplanes
PO Box 26613
Helensburgh G84 9YG
01436 675030
www.lochlomondseaplanes.com

Glasgow Seaplane Terminal of Loch Lomond Seaplanes

After flying from central Glasgow in one of Loch Lomond's luxury amphibious seaplanes, you might want to return to the old days of leisurely, relaxed travel, taking off and landing on the waters of the Clyde and Loch Lomond. You can either take a sightseeing trip, which we thoroughly recommend, or use the service as a taxi to Tobermory on Mull, or to Oban. Alternatively you can charter a seaplane for a round of golf at the Carrick Golf Club and overnight stay at the fabulous De Vere Cameron House on Loch Lomond.


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Argyle St.
0141-276 9599
www.glasgowmuseums.com

St. Mungo at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove re-opened in July 2006 after a massive three-year refurbishment. The museum had always been a real favorite (it's the most visited museum in the UK outside London ), and its radical restructuring of the collections brought yet more plaudits, awards and visitors. It's grouped into four sections: Art and Design, Human History, Natural History, and Transport and Technology and mixes objects together to tell a story rather than arranging them either chronologically or by artist. It makes for a fabulous visit. For a delightful extra, make sure you're there from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. when the glorious organ is played in the main hall.


Waverley Excursions

Waverley Terminal
36 Lancefield Quay
0845 130 4647
www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk

Waverley Excursions

Step aboard the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world and a glorious sight with her restored funnels, wooden decks and gleaming brass. Various trips are available with morning, afternoon or evening cruises that will give you a different view of Glasgow as you slip past her once mighty docks.



Tron Theatre

63 Trongate
0141-552 4267
www.tron.co.uk

Tron Theatre Auditorium

The Tron Theatre has always had a reputation for putting on Avant-garde and experimental theatre and was a much sought out venue way before Glasgow acquired its reputation as one of the UK's most exciting cities. It continues to champion new work and you can often see productions here before they go on tour. There is also a good café/bar and restaurant in this venue housed in part of a church which dates back to the 15 th century.


Oran Mor

Byres Road
0141-357 6200
www.oran-mor.co.uk

Oran Mor Dining Room

"Oran Mor" means the "great melody of life" and it takes place, appropriately for such a wide sweep of existence, in a former church, originally built in 1862, but then allowed to rot. It was rescued in 2003 and refurbished, leaving splendid spaces, vaults and stained glass in the two restaurants, two bars, nightclub and private event space. Scottish produce in the Brasserie Restaurant and great sounds in the nightclub.


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