Advantages Amazing food, friendly and professional staff, lovely rooms
Disadvantages £20 cab ride away from airport, sound proofing not as good as it could be
The City Inn, Glasgow is located at Finnieston Quay, Glasgow, G3 8HN. For anyone unfamiliar with Glasgow this is an area that has been redeveloped in recent years, and is home to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. The area has the feel of somewhere on the up, with big businesses (like SMG) and developments all over, although its not totally there yet, and I'd compare it to the London Docklands 5-10 years ago before all the shops and businesses had moved in.
When I first was told I had to go to Glasgow I discussed the accommodation options with the person in my office that books the accommodation. They said to me, "I'll try and get you in to the City Inn" I thanked them, but at that point just had the impression it would be a fairly bog standard chain hotel. My manager enthused about the place though, saying the food was really good.First Impressions
The building is large and very modern looking. White fronted with lots of glass. The entrance wasn't anything to speak of particularly. I happened to notice that there was a very interesting old round building across the road from the hotel, which is now a Chinese restaurant/casino. I'd love to know what it would have been used for originally.Inside there is a reasonable sized lobby, that has quite boldly coloured paintings on white walls, and various lounge furniture dotted around.
There was one person behind the check in counter, but room for three people in total based on the check in computers. I was greeted politely by a young man dressed in a suit. He quickly located my booking using my surname, and then asked for a credit card to secure my nights accommodation. I was informed that they would also take a deposit of £50 which would be against any items I may wish to put on my room. At the time of check out that would be taken off the card if unused. In total my card was authorised for £130 which included the £80 room rate.
I was then issued with a key card for my room, told where to find my room, and asked if I would like to book for dinner that evening. I was told that while breakfast is a way in affair, booking is essential for lunch and dinner. As I was expecting a colleague to join me later that night I made a booking for 9pm in the restaurant.
On arriving at my floor I walked the length of the corridor and entered my room. I was instantly pleased to see that my double room also included a very fair sized bed. I do hate a poky bed. To describe the room then, there was an en-suite immediately to my right on entering. This featured a walk in shower, toilet and small sink area. All fittings were modern, high specification and rather sparkly. A large stack of fluffy white towels were located on a towel rail above the toilet, and on the back of the door were two large white dressing gowns.As you walked out of the bathroom and in to the main room there was a full length mirror on the wall, turning right into the room there was to your left a flat screen TV with DVD player and a generous office style desk that you could use to work on or set up a laptop. The window overlooked the river Clyde which runs along side the hotel. There is also a very modern bridge which is lit up with purple lights at night and is quite a nice view. In the rest of the room were two small cupboards, a nice full length lamp, a stylish red armchair and the large bed that I mentioned. On the whole it was a good sized room, nicely furnished with pretty much everything you could want for a one night stay.
There was a leaflet on the desk called hotel information. I had a brief scan through and it seems that the hotel offers free broadband for laptop users, but only if you bring your own cable. You can also connect using a standard modem set up into the phone line. It explained all about the hotel, where the fire exits and assembly points are, all the information you'd need.Room Service
I tried out the shower, which was really good. Good temperature, easy to adjust and good water pressure, and tried out the lovely toiletries. After a good wash I felt very relaxed and chilled out. I didn't try out the robe as I was going to get dressed again straight away, but it did look very comfy. After that as I was still early and had work still to do before my colleague arrived I made myself a cup of herbal tea, and settled down at the desk.At 8pm my colleague called to say she'd arrived and did I want to meet her for dinner. I said yes and went downstairs.
To get to the bar and restaurant you have to walk through the lobby. Its entrance is opposite the check in desk.
We walked to the door of the restaurant and a very confident professional woman informed us that she couldn't seat us immediately as she had a big group all coming down at the same time, and since we were early would we mind waiting 10 minutes? We didn't mind, so went and sat through in the bar and finished our drinks. Almost exactly 10 minutes later she returned and informed us our table was now available.
Walking through the restaurant I noted it was fairly large, with floor to ceiling windows all down one side. The lighting was set quite low and there were candles on each of the tables. We were seated at a nice table for two in the middle of the room. There were probably around another 30 diners besides us in the restaurant, and this filled up even more quite soon after we'd sat down.
The original server handed us our menus, and explained how they worked. There was the a la carte menu, and then one called the kitchen menu, and finally the garden menu. Idea of the latter was a fixed price 3 course menu for around £16. The garden menu is dedicated to vegetarian dining, so I didn't study it too hard.
The woman who served us gave really top service. She'd obviously worked in good restaurants before, in fact that's a comment that applies to all the staff in the restaurant. They are all really professional and act like they enjoy their work.
I chose for us a bottle of long beach Chenin Blanc, stellenbosch, 2006 which is a South African wine. That was £14.95. The bottle was brought out and tasted, and it was a really nice drop.The meal
For our main course I ordered mey estate Scottish beef, with hand cut chips, you could have this either as the fillet or rib eye, I opted for fillet. I must say I was influenced to get this by the man sitting next to us also eating this dish. My colleague chose roast rump of Perthshire lamb, with lyonnaise potatoes. Mine cost £21.50, hers £13.95
There were also, among other things:
When mine came out I was so glad I'd chosen it, although my colleagues lamb looked fabulous too. My steak was round and thick and very juicy, I'd asked for it to be cooked medium and it was, although definitely on the rare side of medium. The meat was succulent and delicious and definitely worth the cost. The chips had been cut thickly and stacked like jenga pieces on one side of my plate. There was 8 of them which was absolutely plenty. The gravy for the steak came out in a tiny white jug on my plate and was really thin and tasty.I didn't order any vegetables to go with my main, although there was a choice of; onion rings, French peas, cauliflower cheese, rocket and parmesan, and bubble and squeak, plus two sorts of potato. All sides were priced at £2.75
Although we were rather full by the end of our second course we decided to push through the pain barrier, well when I saw there was sticky toffee pudding, my absolute favourite, I didn't have much choice. My colleague chose pecan pie with treacle mousse.
Both desserts were like a work of art. Mine came with a separate thick piece of the pudding, then a large dollop of caramel ice cream in a brandy snap basket. It was really heavenly.
Both our desserts cost £5.25.
The lovely thing was that at the end of the evening my colleague picked up the tab! Thanks boss! But total cost was around £38 a head which for the quality of food and service I think was fantastic.Back to my room
After another shower, I got dressed and packed up by things then came down to meet my colleague for breakfast. I always really love hotel breakfasts as its so fun picking all the things from the buffet. The City Inn excelled in this area I felt. As we walked in to the breakfast room which was the same room we'd dined at the night before we were greeted politely by a new staff member. He showed us to a table and then explained the set up. You either could have the continental breakfast, which was basically anything on display at the buffet table, plus eggs if you wanted them. Or you could chose a full breakfast. We both went for the continental option.
First off they brought us out coffee and tea, in nice silver pots, and asked if we wanted any toast. We did and ordered both brown and white. This came very quickly and there was too much for us to finish. 4 small pots of jam also came out with the toast, I went for strawberry.
On display at the buffet were cheeses, meat like salami, smoked salmon and lots of different bread products such as croissants and rolls. There was also lots of cereal and juices.
After my gut busting dinner I just nibbled on a slice of toast with jam and enjoyed the coffee and juices. Pink grapefruit, my favourite.
Update - 8th Feb 07
Having returned to the City Inn last night, this time alone, I decided to give myself a night off as it were. I decided to try out the room service option.
Just to let you all know, there are the same options available to you as a diner in your room as there are in the restaurant. You can order off the Al A Carte at any time up to 10.30 which is when the restaurant closes for last orders. You can also order a selection of sandwiches, Panini, different versions of egg dishes etc.
The food arrived within the 25 minutes that the reception stay had advised and apart from a lack of condiments, which I had to ring to ask for, everything was very nice.The room I stayed in was exactly the same as before in terms of facilities, but somehow felt cosier. I very much enjoyed my night of relaxation and room service snuggled up in one of the complimentary giant white bath robes on top of the fantastically soft and comfy duvet.
Breakfast was not as good this time though I have to say. I came down to breakfast but was not greeted by a server so I just had to take a seat myself. The table I chose which was laid up for one had obviously on closer inspection been a two table that they had just stripped down the serving for one person from. This meant there was a few crumbs over the other side of the table, no spoon on my tea cup, no real butter only margarine and no jam left. I was left to sit unattended for slightly longer than I would have liked, and when I went up for grapefruit juice what I got didn't taste very nice to me. So few niggles on that front this time. Also the two gents seated next to me had the issue of one of their breakfasts being forgotten and having to ask after his companion had finished his as to the whereabouts of his smoked salmon and eggs.
This time my stay cost £110 which is still very good in my opinion. This covered my room, my dinner, my drink a newspaper and a bottle of water out of the mini bar.
Additional features that I did not try out at hotel
Apparently there is a 24 hour fitness room available including gym and full cardio suite.
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