Constructed in the age of the steam train, the Grand Central Hotel is both grand and central. Built by the Caledonian Railway Company, it officially opened on June 27, 1883, sharing a rich history with the newly established railways that were vitally necessary to both trade and a growing passion for leisure travel among the Victorians. Inspired by their 1849 Buchanan Street Station, the first in Glasgow, and envious of the St Enoch Station built by the G & SW Railway in 1876, the Caledonian Railway Company pushed for and was finally granted permission in 1879 to build a four-track bridge across the Clyde that would bring travellers and trade goods to central Glasgow. Recognizing the success of the St Enoch Hotel built over that station entrance, The Caledonian Company spared no time or expense in creating a hotel that was as grand as possible with 390 bedrooms, 13 public rooms including billiard and smoke rooms, 40 lavatories and 34 bathrooms. Designed by Sir Robert R. Anderson, one of Scotland's leading architects, the Central Hotel, as it was named, was to become and remains to this day one of the city's most prestigious buildings.
With the growth of the city and the increasing passenger travel through the station, the building was enlarged and added to over the decades. The “modern” amenities and its location on the corner of Hope Street and Gordon Street, two of Glasgow's main thoroughfares, were all that was needed for it to succeed. It welcomed prominent guests and witnessed over a century's worth of history. Eventually, however, it fell into decline. But the Grand Dame of Glasgow was not to be neglected for long. Purchased by Principal Hayley Hotels, it underwent a £250k refurbishment and re-opened in 2011 to much acclaim as the newly named Grand Central Hotel.
If I have any regrets, it is that we did not travel to Glasgow by train. It would have been an adventure to pull into the station and walk directly to the doors of the hotel, much as the Victorian ladies would have done. To my immense satisfaction, much of the architectural features and period décor remain, including the grand circular staircase with its stunning chandelier that drops from five stories above. I love the vintage feel of the public spaces and the 21st century creature comforts. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be a guest at this iconic Glasgow hotel, following in the footsteps of the famous...
All images and reviews copyright 2018 by Ginda Simpson
Grand Central Hotel
99 Gordon Street, Glasgow GI 3SE, UK
Grand Central Hotel ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson