by Lisa Grimaldi | March 01, 2006

Glasgow City Halls

Grand reopening: Glasgow City Halls completed a two-year renovation project.

It is a wee bit of an understatement to say this vibrant Scottish city is in transition. Most notable is a change that took place last April: The Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley Tourist Board was dissolved in the wake of an extensive reorganization of Scotland’s tourism infrastructure.
    The city now is being promoted to the meetings and incentives market by the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (, which is a nonprofit organization funded by the Glasgow City Council and the private sector; leisure travel is handled by the VisitScotland Glasgow office.

Venue update
The country’s main convention facility, the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, is adding a 12,500-seat arena, scheduled to open in 2009. 
    The Glasgow City Halls  and the Old Fruitmarket, two major arts venues in the same complex, reopened earlier this year after completing a two-year, $23 million facelift. Glasgow City Halls, home to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, is the city’s oldest purpose-built performance and meeting space. The Old Fruitmarket, a landmark musical performance space, now has a new stage. The combined venues offer a total of 12 meeting rooms and can host events for up to 3,000 people.

Hotel news
The Arthouse Hotel, one of the city’s trendiest properties, l has been renamed ABode Glasgow.  The 60-room hotel was taken over by British celebrity chef Michael Caines, who lends his culinary skills to his on-site eponymous fine dining restaurant, as well as to the property’s MC Café and MC Vibe Bar.
    The chicly distinctive Malmaison Glasgow, housed in a former Greek Orthodox church, recently completed a $3 million refurbishment. In the course of the project, the property’s 72 guest rooms were updated, as were the public areas. Among the improvements: The penthouse suite, newly redecorated and renamed, now is called the Big Yin and features a tartan-patterned bathtub.
    The Hilton Glasgow, one of the city’s main meeting properties, has kicked off the first phase of a refurbishment project by renovating 84 of its 331 guest rooms; plans call for six of those rooms to be converted from singles to doubles. 
    The former Glasgow Moat House is now the Crowne Plaza Glasgow. The property renovated its 283 guest rooms and public areas, and added an executive lounge.
    The city will get another upscale hotel late next year: The former Royal Scottish Automobile Club building in Blythswood Square is being converted to a 109-room hotel with conference facilities and a spa.

Also of note
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, closed since 2003, will reopen this summer following a $500 million refurbishment. Among the new features are a study center, a history discovery center, an art discovery center, a temporary exhibition space, a conference and lecture theater, and the Campbell Hunter Education Wing. The venue will be able to host dinners for up to 500 people and receptions for up to 1,000. 
    Riverside Walkway, a scenic pedestrian area winding along the banks of the River Clyde, opened a year ago. Also in this neighborhood, the new Riverside Museum is under construction. The facility, which will be completed in 2009, will house transportation and technology exhibits. 
    A rail link between Glasgow International Airport and the city center will be completed in 2008.