Glasgow might well be the hippest metropolis in the United Kingdom; Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2009 (Lonely Planet Publications) ranks it among the Top 10 World's Best Cities. According to the editors of the quirky travel book series, "Forget about castles, kilts, bagpipes and tartans -- you come to Glasgow for the cocktails, cuisine and designer chic (plus the legendary native wit)."
Glasgow's stylish reputation is in no small part due to its eclectic architecture. One of the most iconic buildings is the armadillo-shaped Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre. The facility is adding the 12,500-seat Scottish National Arena, to open in 2012. The design, by architects Foster and Partners, includes a performance area with a combination of fixed, tiered seats and flexible seating systems to accommodate a large range of events, including meetings.
The city's hotels also display a sense of style, the latest example of which will be the very modern 25-story, 160-room Jumeirah Glasgow Hotel. The property, to be operated by the Dubai-based namesake luxury hotel management group, is slated to open in 2011 in the International Financial Services District. Features will include a spa, a gym, a rooftop cocktail lounge, and several restaurants and bars. Meeting facilities will be "extensive," says the company, and will include a 630-seat ballroom.
One of the city's most famous historical buildings, the former Royal Scottish Automobile Club, will reopen this spring as the luxurious Blythswood Square hotel. The property, which has undergone a $25 million conversion, will have 88 guest rooms, a spa with 12 treatment rooms and several meeting rooms, including a 50-seat screening room.
A new (and as yet unnamed) 320-room hotel with a spa, a health club and conference facilities is planned for a new development in the city center. The $209 million hotel and office space will feature a 270-foot-tall glass tower and is slated for completion in 2011.
Glasgow will become the first city outside of the Netherlands to host a citizenM property. The high-tech hotel will have 180 guest rooms offering remote-control ambient lighting and touch-screen mood pads that allow guests to select their preferred music, temperature level and lighting. The rooms will be built from scratch in Holland and shipped to Scotland for assembly.
Cameron House on Loch Lomond, a baronial manor house that dates back to the 18th century, has completed a $37 million refurbishment. The luxury property, just 20 minutes from Glasgow Airport, has added 35 guest rooms and four suites, giving it a total of 135 rooms. The resort also includes the Carrick Golf Course and a spa with 17 treatment rooms.
The famed Turnberry Hotel and Golf Course, on the Ayrshire coast an hour's drive from Glasgow, is now undergoing a $45 million makeover. The historic property, which was acquired in October by Dubai-based Leisurecorp, will be returned to its original splendor under the direction of designer Mary Fox Linton. The hotel and course closed in November and will reopen in July, when it will host the British Open Championship.
Visitors can indulge in some of Scotland's finest potables without worry, thanks to the launch of the Whisky Bus. Incentive winners and delegates can hop aboard in Glasgow for a 35-minute drive to the Glengoyne Distillery, where they will study the history of the beverage, tour the place and participate in tastings. Visit glengoyne.com for details.
Glasgow Airport, featuring a new $46 million terminal extension, offers the Glasgow Airport Link, which stops at the conference facility and major hotels throughout the city's center.