Five honey-colored Victorian townhouses joined at the hip make up the 49-room Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow’s leafy West End suburb.
A complimentary whisky awaited me in a cozy sitting room opposite twin reception desks at the end of a narrow, carpeted hallway, a precursor to the hotel’s proud display of more than one hundred varieties of the traditional drink in its aptly called ‘Whisky Room.’
Bordering the tree-lined Great Western Road, it offers a classic, old-world ambiance with high ceilings, ornate stucco and moldings designs, low-slung tables, open marble fireplaces, gilt-edged mirrors and elegantly embroidered drapes.
Ornate oak banisters lead to rooms on the upper floor, but much to my surprise, we were guided to a door beneath the stairs, to what once must have been a spacious basement, perhaps even servants’ quarters in a bygone age. Descending the steps, I felt like an apprehensive Harry Potter on a search for secret underground passageways where goblins might gather. Instead, a short set of carpeted stairs led us to a door marked ‘Klug’ within which was an elegant, plush three-roomed suite in subdued colors, mainly gray and charcoal, with touches of dark red.
Open burgundy and wine satin curtains grant a view below to a charming inner patio courtyard set about with chairs and tables, much used by guests no doubt during warmer weather.
Furnishings in the sitting room area are comfy and stylish, consisting of a soft aubergine-colored settee and two armchairs set around a low-slung coffee table.
A small bar area with tea and an espresso machine stands in one corner while an elegant chess set, a metal sundial and a hardback biography of Ralph Lauren adorn a polished mahogany side-cabinet.
A couple of steps lead up to a small hallway, where two exercise machines and a set of hand weights stand, with the bedroom to one side and the bathroom the other.
The latter provides the most delightful surprise: a private sauna with a Jacuzzi roll-top bath right next to it. It also has a refreshing multi-jet shower and twin porcelain sinks. The bedroom is as equally elegant as the sitting room with similar thick carpeting, a central canopy four-poster bed and an oval, cherry-wood standing mirror.
Breakfast is hosted in two separate rooms linked by an open doorway with tartan carpet, an old-style fireplace in the middle and glistening chandeliers above.
Framed black and white photographs adorned the walls depicting the rich and diverse architecture of Glasgow including specific buildings, fountains and street statues and sculptures.
Honoring age-old tradition, breakfast features that Scottish cuisine stalwart – Ayrshire haggis, a savory mix of sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and stock, as well as black blood pudding. A bearded doorman in a kilt who walked by added a heightened sense of authenticity to the scene.
Dinner is served in the same restaurant, Bistro du Vin, with three options: a fixed menu, à la carte or a more comprehensive tasting experience.
The special three-course menu of the day reflects a classic, simple approach to the dishes with starters such as chicken liver pate on toasted brioche, vegetable veloute and smoked kipper parfait and salsa verde. I was delighted with the veloute of pumpkin and sweet potato – mouthfuls of velvety autumn flavors followed by bites of fresh rosemary bread.
Three choices are offered for the mains, including pan-fried coley with warm potato salad and tomato, and herb risotto, but not being in a vegetarian state-of mind and having caught and tasted a few coley along the Irish Wild Atlantic Way the previous week, I opted for the third option, pork belly confit, served on a bed of parsnip puree and braised lettuce. The chef allowed the flavor of pure meat to dominate the plate while complementing it with the earthiness of the parsnip – a typical Victorian approach to food. A blueberry and yogurt panna cotta made for a fine send-off to the downtown King’s Theatre for a lively performance by Elkie Brooks.
One of 15 townhouse and city center boutique properties in the London-based group, Hotel du Vin Glasgow offers a serene atmosphere in a tree-lined suburb with classic, old-world furnishings 30 minutes outside the city’s bustling downtown area.