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Abode Glasgow, Scotland
Tel: 44 141 221 6789
If you can't get into Malmaison, this is the place to book. Constructed in 1911 and converted into a hotel in 1999, this former Department of Education office building (on the historical register) was reopened by hotelier Andrew Brownsword and Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines at the end of 2005. Thanks to clever, subtle renovations, the boutique property retains its Arts and Crafts detail—tiling in the entrance, bronze lions rearing up on the walls surrounding the grand staircase, a wrought-iron elevator, and a waterfall. Its 60 rooms, decorated in shades of green and robin's-egg blue, are divided into four categories—Comfortable, Desirable, Enviable, and Fabulous. To avoid being stuck in a somewhat cramped space without much daylight (so much for "comfort"), spring for an Enviable or Fabulous room—they're bigger and have original touches such as cornicing and stained-glass windows. Throughout, bathrooms are small (the curse of older properties), but there are handcrafted beds, satellite TVs, DVD players, and free broadband. In the basement, the informal MC Café Bar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Vibe is a cool lounge with sheer curtains and subtle lighting, where DJs spin until 1 a.m. Eminem and Beyoncé have both tucked up in bed here. Separately.
Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire, Scotland
Glasgow G12 0UX, Scotland
Tel: 44 141 339 2001
Set in a grand 1886 terrace of five three-story town houses in the genteel West End, One Devonshire is generally reckoned to be the finest hotel in town. A recent $3.8-million makeover added an upscale bistro, while the acquisition of the final house in the terrace—once owned by the shipping magnate and art collector Sir William Burrell—has increased the number of rooms and suites to 49. The spacious rooms are individually furnished, some in airy cream and silver, others in opulent chocolate and crimson, with silks, wools, rich woods, and judicious use of Victorian-patterned wall coverings. Many of the Classic and Grand rooms have four-poster beds, open fireplaces, and huge bay windows. The hotel's elegant suites are exceptional; our favorite is the Mews Suite, a private duplex with its own entrance, sauna, and bar facilities, as well as a door to the hotel's magical garden. Downstairs, settle into one of the Whisky room's leather sofas and enjoy a dram—there are 300 to choose from, ranging from $6.50 to $148 a nip. One Devonshire does traditional in a thoroughly stylish way. Perfect example: the bell boys who manage to look wonderfully hip in straight-legged Cameron of Erracht tartan trousers.
Tel: 44 141 572 1000
Part of a gradually expanding hotel chain that makes a big deal over its boutiqueness, this hotel is housed in a handsome 19th-century deconsecrated Greek Orthodox church in the business district and near the city center. Its 72 rooms (8 of them suites) vary from fab to difficult depending on their size and location; ask for the Big Yin suite (named after Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly), which has a tartan stand-alone bath in the living area, or one of the standard rooms in the original building, which have higher ceilings than those in the extension. Generally, the decor is dark and moody, featuring gray or mahogany tattersall checks, black-stained wood paneling, and a lot of purple. In-room amenities include free Internet access, their lovely own-brand aromatherapy toiletries, and good wines in the minibar (Malmaison is affiliated with the estimable, self-explanatory Hotels du Vin chain). There's a small fitness room and a rather marvelous stone vaulted brasserie in the old church crypt next to a Champagne bar with a partial-glass ceiling.
Radisson Blu Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow G2 8DL, Scotland
Tel: 44 141 204 3333, Tel: 800 333 3333 (toll-free)
This purpose-built glass-fronted low-rise with a concave blue-tiled facade isn't going to have you e-mailing home with excitement on your iPhone, but it does have some great little perks. Efficiency and clean Nordic modernity are the order of the day in the 250 rooms (including 12 business-class rooms, three suites, and one apartment). These have floor-to-ceiling windows covered in sheers and drapes of either taupe, beige-and-blue, or screaming orange, from which you may get a great city view—the hotel is next to Central Station (on the other hand, you may face inward, with no view at all.) As for the extras: Bathrooms have heated floors and mirrors, minibar prices have virtually no markups, there's free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and there's a basement health club with a sizable pool (which you don't get in the boutiques). Upgrade to one of a dozen business-class rooms and they throw in unlimited in-room movies. Art and design feature heavily in the hotel's three bars and two restaurants, including the Collage restaurant, which offers modern Med cooking along with art by Sir Peter Blake (the Brit Pop artist who put together the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper cover).
Hotel Missoni Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh EH1 1AD, Scotland
Tel: 44 131 220 6666
Edinburgh is many amazing things, but fashion destination it ain't. So Italian label Missoni's decision to open its first hotel here in June 2009 came as a bit of a surprise. (We'd guess there was some appeal to being a big fish in a small pond, since it would be harder to attract attention with the same concept in Milan.) The hotel—spearheading Missoni's global charge into South Africa, Oman, Kuwait, and Brazil—has bagged a prime spot on the corner of the historic Royal Mile and George IV Bridge, a five-minute walk from Edinburgh Castle. The six-floor modern sandstone building rubs shoulders—rather brazenly—with the Old Town's narrow medieval town houses. But you don't expect understatement from Missoni. Indeed, the brand's trademark vivid stripes and zigzags are spread throughout the public spaces and 136 guest rooms, in geometrically patterned artwork, jewel-toned bedspreads and upholstered chairs, black-and-white floral rugs and drapes, and even a seven-foot reel of yarn in the lobby. Judicious doses of neutral shades help prevent sensory overload, however, and a few Scottish pieces—such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Ladderback chairs—serve as a reminder that you're not in Italy. The bathrooms are a sultry study in dark Vitrex mosaic tiles and purple or red walls, with spacious glass-paneled showers (five out of the seven suites also have tubs). Missoni's own colorful toiletries complement the decor, as do the cool, patterned robes. Fourteen rooms are housed in an adjacent older building, but with the exception of the Lawnmarket suite—accessible by a spiral staircase—they're not worth booking: The charm of period features such as exposed beams is offset by small windows and a lack of soundproofing (the drone of bagpipes on a loop from outside can get aggravating). Stick to the new building with its 21st-century fittings, like AC and floor-to-ceiling windows with postcard-ready views. A hip little lobby bar and Cucina, an authentic Italian restaurant, complete the most stylish addition to Edinburgh's hotel scene. If you want to bed down somewhere cool and contemporary in this ancient city, the Missoni hotel is your place.—Nicola McCormack
Hotel du Vin, Scotland
Edinburgh EH1 1EZ, Scotland
Tel: 44 131 247 4900
The Bonham, Scotland
Edinburgh EH3 7RN, Scotland
Tel: 44 131 274 7400
Once a maternity hospital and then an Edinburgh University dorm, this four-story building on an elegant Victorian street was reincarnated as a hotel in 1998. Nineteenth-century ornamental cornices, wood panels, and high ceilings satisfy the historical cravings of period enthusiasts, but contemporary furniture, oversize lampshades, and huge modern canvases by area artists keep it from feeling frumpy. There are a few playful touches: Two clocksone marked Glasgow, the other Edinburghsit side by side in the library, the Glasgow one running a few minutes behind. In the restaurant (spruced up from its days as the student refectory), French chef Michel Bouyer uses local, organic ingredients in modern European dishes such as pan-fried Aberdeen Angus beef with porcini sauce. The 50 bold-toned rooms are large, with big windows overlooking a large private neighborhood garden (hotel residents are given a key) at the front, or the city's rooftops and church spires at the rear. Each has a combination Internet/TV/DVD/CD unit; most baths have stand-alone showers. For those with rental cars, the hotel's parking lot is an all-important extra in this central neighborhood.
Ardanaiseig Hotel, Argyll, Scotland
Taynuilt, Argyll PA35 1HE, Scotland
Tel: 44 1866 833 333
Tucked away several miles down a single-track road and perched at the head of the appropriately named Loch Awe on the west coast, this rambling 18-bedroom hotel has "romantic hideaway" carved into its Victorian foundations. It is owned by an antique dealer, which makes for some idiosyncratic fixtures and fittings. While the Kilchurn room has a gothic four-poster, the Tromlee room boasts an antique hookah, and the palatial drawing room has two golden thrones, gilt-edged mirrors, and a magnificent Bechstein grand piano. Spicing up the country-house vibe are quirky touches such as the oil painting in the dining room that depicts Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, and Mick Jagger. The food is less eccentric, with zucchini soup, cèpe risotto with summer truffles, and sea bass with potato scales and samphire typical dishes. There are seven master bedrooms with views to the loch; 11 more (including four doubles) overlook the extensive gardens. The woodland gardens are worth a stroll, and guests can hire boats to fish the loch or explore its islands.
Rocpool Reserve, Scotland
Inverness IV2 4AG, Scotland
Tel: 44 1463 240089
Since opening in 2006, Rocpool Reserve has added some much-needed pizzazz to the Inverness hotel scene. The 11 rooms increase in size and gadgets (sorry, amenities) along with the rack rate. Rooms 5 and 10, for instance, have terraces and hot tubs. The decor is very flamboyant, with a dramatic red and white color scheme, marble floors, eye-catching sculptures, and towering flower displays. The hotel's Chez Roux restaurant serves up dishes such as Albert Roux's signature twice-baked floating souffléé made with both Gruyère and Mull Cheddar cheese.—Jonathan Trew
Dunne & Crescenzi, Ireland
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 677 3815
This rustic Italian restaurant lies at the heart of the growing food empire of husband-and-wife team Eileen Dunne and Stefano Crescenzi. Many of the dishes at Dunne & Crescenzi are Stefano's family recipes—a mix of Roman and Piedmontese cuisines, such as bresaola (cured beef, thinly sliced) with Parmesan shavings, wild baby arugula, fresh lemon juice, and Tuscan olive oil served with warm ciabatta bread. The "bruschetteria" and mozzarella bar (the cheese can be ordered with char-grilled vegetables, peppers, or tomatoes and basil) are a nice touch, and the quality of ingredients is made clear up-front: The kitchen uses only D.O.P. products and extra-virgin olive oil, and no trans fats. Laid out across three rooms on South Frederick Street, the trattoria's shelves are stuffed with hundreds of bottles of Italian wine, and though service can be brusque, prices are forgiving. If you judge a restaurant by the number of clients, you're in the right place—there's a line here most nights. Curiously, Booker Prize–winning novelist John Banville will only dine at table 14.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 7:30 am to 11 pm, Sundays 10 am to 10 pm.
Cliff House Hotel, County Waterford, Ireland
Tel: 353 24 87 800
Brooks Hotel, Ireland
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 363 1 670 4000
You can't fault the location of the comfortable, efficient four-star Brooks Hotel. A stone's throw from St. Stephen's Green, and a quick skip from funky Fade Street, it's in the thick of all things Dublin. Its 98 rooms are compact, laid out on six floors, and decorated in classic contemporary style: muted floral wallpaper; blond wood; peachy fabrics on the headboard, desk chair, and chest. A bottle of San Pellegrino and a pastry are left by housekeeping—as is a pillow menu, to be returned to reception by 6 pm. Downstairs, a small lobby leads to the Jasmine Bar and Francesca's Restaurant, tidily styled contemporary spaces emphasizing cocktails and a mix of Irish and international cuisine, respectively. Both are linked by a lounge area where the breakfast buffet is served (this gets busy between 10 and 11 am on weekends, and service of cooked breakfasts can be slow). The lower ground floor squirrels away an oak-panelled residents' lounge, replete with newspapers, vintage bookshelves, rotator dial phone, and a case of reading glasses. As you'd expect of a hotel doing brisk corporate business, Wi-Fi is complimentary. All told, it's a tidy proposition boosted by long-serving staff (in particular Conor, the concierge so beloved of John McKenna's Bridgestone Guide). Shame it looks out on a multistory parking lot.—Pól Ó Conghaile
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Ireland
Tel: 353 95 31006
Inn of the Anasazi, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Tel: 800 688 8100 (toll-free), Tel: 505 988 3030
Under the steadying corporate hand of Rosewood, which owns New York's Carlyle and Baja California's Las Ventanas, the Anasazi is Santa Fe's most refined and best-serviced hotel. Built in 1991, the recently renovated 57-room property is in the center of downtown, just around the corner from the Plaza. The understated room decor—Southwestern, but at low volume—includes simple Native American–style rugs as bedspreads, gas-burning kiva fireplaces, and high wood-beamed ceilings. The result is a warmth and comfort that's amplified by luxury touches such as large, fluffy bath towels, flat-screen TVs, and humidifiers placed in the rooms at turndown. Service is personalized to perfection: Staffers learn your name and will organize private guides and sightseeing tours tailored to your wishes. On the downside, the views are unexceptional, and there's no spa or gym (although they will haul fitness equipment to your room on request). The in-house restaurant is excellent, and treads just as lightly on the Southwestern theme.
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Tel: 505 758 3502, Tel: 888.213.4419
When this 36-room lodge opened in 2003, it gave Taos the destination resort it sorely lacked. The stand-alone suites and many secluded, landscaped acres made it feel at once open and intimate. In fall 2007, however, the room count was more than doubled, to 84. The good news is that the staff is as well trained and gracious as ever, and the additions are set away from the original suites. The bad news is the new "Rocky Mountain" rooms are in a mundane two-story building, intended to accommodate conferences and wedding groups. Stick with the original rooms, which have more character and charm than the additions. The least-expensive casitas are sweet (some have patios), but the top-of-the-line Global Suites are worth the premium: Set among terraced waterfalls and ponds, they have one or two bedrooms, massive showers and tubs, and well appointed living rooms with a wet bar and dining table. Each is decorated in the style of a different country, a gimmick that's nonetheless pulled off particularly well (handpainted tiles and Andalusian shawls in the Spain suite, bamboo shades and kimonos in the Japan room). All rooms have wood or gas-burning kiva fireplaces. The spa has been enlarged to accommodate the added guests, but it's hard to believe that groups won't invade the serene public spaces such as the plunge pool or De La Tierra restaurant, which serves New American food with Southwestern accents (try the elk chop and chicharrón chimichanga).