It’s a city rich with culture and personality – and Johanna Payton says CitizenM hotel Glasgow makes for a great base
Scotland is a country brimming with beauty – and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t spent nearly enough time up there.
Determined to remedy that this summer, I popped up to Glasgow for a two-night break with a friend and our two sons.
My almost-teenager repeatedly told me this was the best hotel he’d ever stayed in
Family railcards at the ready, our Virgin Train tickets were ridiculously good value and we booked two rooms at the hipster, happening and rather affordable CitizenM hotel Glasgow.
The journey north was easy. Our train was direct and thanks to Virgin’s new on-demand entertainment system, BEAM, we were all nicely occupied. (At one point, my son actually looked up from his tablet and was shocked to see the size of the mountains out the window.)
I love concept accommodation and CitizenM blew me away. Modern, minimal and functional, rooms at the hotel are identical pods with just enough space for a night or two. You control the lighting, TV and alarm with an iPad and the screen directly above the bed was a huge hit with my almost-teenager. As he busied himself choosing between Daddy’s Home and Zootropolis/Zootopia (12 is a funny age), he repeatedly told me this was the best hotel he’d ever stayed in.
The rooms are bijou, but the idea is you use the hotel’s communal spaces for socialising, dining and chilling out. Bedrooms are for sleeping in, just like home. It’s a fantastic idea.
On the ground floor the lobby is more like a living room; there’s a coffee shop, meeting spaces and sofas galore where you can work or relax with a cuppa and cake.
On the first floor, there’s CanteenM a self-serve eatery and bar, open around the clock. We ate in there on our first night. The daily special (“chicken curry like mammy used to make” and a veggie version) was delicious and the bartender made a mean mocktail, too. Prices were incredibly reasonable and with fickle boys in tow, the freedom, flexibility and informality went down a treat.
After dinner, we settled next to one of several TVs and created our own little lounge. Due to some fantastic design, our “area” felt private, even though we were in a large, open-plan space, and we snuggled down to watch a bit of E4 before bedtime.
One satisfying sleep later and we were ready to explore the city. CitizenM is slap-bang in the centre of town, an easy wander from the main shopping centre, so we had our pick of places to visit, even on a short stay.
We grabbed breakfast in Cafe Fame on Hope Street, a grand little place for poached eggs and delicious lattes. It’s a short hop from there back to the station, where we caught the underground train (who knew!?) over to the Science Centre: the waether was, sadly, inclement, so an indoors activity seemed sensible.
And how glad we were that it bucketed down. The Glasgow Science Centre was fantastic, from the interactive planetarium show to the seemingly endless experiments and hands-on activities the boys could get stuck into.
By the time we’d exhausted three floors of educational fun, the rain had stopped.
We walked back into town along the river and, after time to recharge our batteries at the hotel, headed to Nanakusa for a lip-smackingly good Japanese feast (my boy’s verdict: “as good as Wagamama”).
It was a short stay – too short – and we had to pack our bags on the second morning.
Still, there was time to take in the city’s breathtaking architecture – and bag a traditional Scottish brekkie – on the way back to the station. Cafe Wander on George Street is the place. Friendly staff, crazy good value, a little basement cafe with local art on the walls and a breakfast to die for: £6.25 for a full Scottish with bacon, lorne sausage, black pudding, potato scone, beans, tomato, egg and toast.
No better way to start the day.
Even though we were sad to leave, the sun shone as our train sped back towards London and we vowed that we’d get back to Glasgow at the earliest opportunity. More “flat sausage” and another incredibly groovy hotel stay? Aye!
How to get to Citizen M hotel Glasgow without flying:
Johanna took a Virgin Trains service from Euston direct to Glasgow. The journey took 4.5 hours.
From Glasgow Central station, the hotel is easy to find: it’s a direct, 10-minute walk up Hope Street.
Words: Johanna Payton for Feet on the Ground
Images: Johanna Payton