Like the city as a whole, this hotel is contemporary, creative, and stylish. It has a shadowy charm and it is packed full of fun and quirky design features.
The Scottish city of Glasgow is an interesting place, and one which I think is underrated. While its big sister Edinburgh has the dramatic landscape, medieval streets, and the famous festival, Glasgow has an equally long and fascinating history, as well as a beauty all of it’s own – albeit of a different kind. Having long been dismissed as an industrial city, it has undergone successive waves of regeneration and it feels like a city looking forward to seeing what the future has in store. Some of the British Isle’s best museums can be found here, and the city is quickly developing a thriving creative scene (it is a particularly good place if you are a music fan).
The buildings of the center are largely grand Victorian terraces, although in parts these blend with refurbished warehouses, docks, and factories to create and interesting mix of old and new. While we were in the country we knew we wanted to see what the buzz was about, and what Scotland’s second city had to offer, and as it’s less than an hour away from Edinburgh by train, it would have been foolish not to check it out.
We stayed at Dakota Glasgow, an extremely stylish hotel right in the heart of the city center. We are clearly not the only ones who admire its design, as it has won the coveted ‘Scotland's most stylish hotel’ award given out by the Scottish Style Awards. It has the advantage of being extremely centrally located, while at the same time occupying a relatively quiet street. This means that traffic noise is surprisingly low, however Buchanan Street (the city’s main shopping precinct) is just a few minutes walk away.
Dakota Glasgow is the child of a husband and wife team who are also Glasgow natives. Ken McCulloch owns quite a few hotels across the United Kingdom, and his wife (Amanda Rosa) is an interior designer who - apart from working on Dakota - has furnished hotels across Europe as well as the interiors of luxury yachts.
Everything about the hotel is dark and elegant. The facade is black, most of the interior is black (or at least some shade of charcoal or purple), and there is exposed brickwork on display everywhere. In the lobby and restaurant the seating is also largely either dark colors, or it is upholstered with caramel colored leather.
The darkness is offset however, by colorful highlights which help bring the place to life. There are little touches of gold, marble surfaces, and wooden panelling. The decorations also match the classy – yet quirky - theme of the hotel. There are black and white portraits of famous 20th century figures, a bookshelf full of things – ever so carefully placed so as to make it look casual, and (one of my favorite features) a life size dog made out of rope. All in all Dakota was pretty sophisticated, but at the same time it has a sense of humor which makes it inviting. Its elegance was also very contemporary, which was refreshing - this is not a stuffy British manor house style hotel.
Our room was also very modern and despite the dark bedding, walls, and sofa, it was still pretty light thanks to the large window and trendy lamps. It was a good size (perfect for the two of us), and the well placed furniture made it feel bigger than it actually was. As well as the sofa (complete with coffee table), there was a desk which was useful for getting work done. On top of this, we had a safe, a 48 inch satellite TV, and a Nespresso machine. Another bonus was that the sheets and mattress were exceedingly comfortable and they felt brand new, as were the bathrobes and slippers!
We were happy with the bathroom as it had a nice design, was spacious, and had a monsoon shower. We stayed in an executive room, and there are a variety of smaller and larger rooms available. Not all of them have the Nespresso machine and slippers, so make sure to check before booking if these are important to you.
Each evening, we would spend some time in the bar, enjoying the atmosphere, as well as the creations of the skilled bartenders. We told the bartender what our tastes were (mezcal for me and scotch for Chris), and they put together some excellent drinks using our ingredients of choice. We weren’t disappointed by what they gave us, and we are sure that everything on their cocktail menu will be delicious if you don’t want to leave it up to the staff. The bar itself was cozy and (of course) dark, with deep purple walls adorned with bottles of wine (some of which were in picture frames). It was a nice place to be, and the friendly staff made it even better.
Dining in hotel restaurants can sometimes be a little hit and miss. Sometimes it can even feel a bit like the restaurant has been tacked on as a way of making a little extra money out of guests. This definitely was not the case here, and without doubt Dakota Glasgow’s restaurant can be marked up as a hit! Its' head chef trained with famous British cook Rick Stein, so you can be confident that he knows how to make a good meal.
The menu includes a selection of European dishes alongside the various meats from the grill. Breakfast consists of a buffet which includes fruits, cereals, yoghurt, and cold meats, although you can also order off their a la carte menu if you are looking for something a little more exciting…I recommend the avocado toast! Like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is styled to be dark, with shadowy lighting and black panelling.
Right outside the door, Glasgow’s city center awaits you. You can go shopping, see a show, or have a drink, all with less than a five minute walk. You can visit the eclectic Kelvingrove museum and marvel at the impressive building which houses it (it takes about fifteen minutes to walk there). Alternatively you can stroll around the city – maybe take a walk along the Clyde – to enjoy the architecture, and watch people go by.
The concierge was very helpful and was always available with a cheerful smile and gave us some great recommendations for restaurants and bars nearby. Every one of them is dressed smartly (in black – what else) adding an extra bit of grandeur to the experience. They are also happy to sort out a transfers to the airport, and offer discounted parking outside the hotel as they don’t have a car park of their own.
I absolutely loved this hotel, its location was great and it’s design was very cool. It was elegant, trendy, and well designed, without being annoyingly so. With a great restaurant and bar to top it off, we were more than happy with our choice of accommodation. Dakota helped make our stay in Glasgow, and we were glad that we had made the effort to visit.
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