Hotel review: Paul Kiddie
When competition is strong, it’s important to do something a little different to stand out from the crowd.
For businesses, a unique selling point is key if it is to prove attractive to potential customers; something to make it noticed. This is especially true in Scotland’s increasingly fierce hotel accommodation market.
Regardless of what city it may be, each year seems to bring a fresh explosion of properties vying for the hard-earned cash of tourists and staycationers alike. It must be a challenge for any hotel manager to try to regularly fill their rooms to capacity in the face of such stiff competition.
Just over a year old, the Ibis Styles Glasgow West is doing what it can to be noticed, or at least hit the right notes with a theme inspired by the city’s vibrant music scene.
Located less than five minutes’ walk from Central Station on Waterloo Street, a lack of kerb appeal is quickly forgotten when checking in at reception – which is actually a vintage London piano!
Guests are even encouraged to tinkle the ivories during quieter periods.
It doesn’t take long to notice references to iconic Glasgow music venues with local contemporary touches, including walls adorned with the names of musical greats who have rocked the city such as Franz Ferdinand, Texas, Travis and Primal Scream.
It is no Hard Rock Cafe but an eclectic mix of original album covers on the walls from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, The Beach Boys and Billy Connolly make for interesting viewing. Being on Waterloo Street I’m sure there must be a reference to Abba somewhere, too!
On each floor the room numbers are highlighted on a disc-shaped sign, though I have to admit I didn’t immediately notice this represented a vinyl record!
Food-wise, there is unlimited continental breakfast with every stay and the choice is impressive. Certainly more than enough to set you up for the day if exploring Scotland’s largest city.
The dinner menu has pizza, burgers and hot dogs featuring prominently.
But if you’re in the mood then there are loaded nachos (£5.95), spicy beef chilli (£12.50) or beer battered cod (£13.50) to tickle your taste buds. Vegans are also catered for with the likes of the delightfully-sounding Cambodian street vegetable curry (£13) and buffalo cauliflower wings (£4.95).
And make sure enough room is left for the ‘guilty pleasure’ desserts such as sticky toffee pudding (£6.50) and chocolate brownie ice cream sundae (£6).
From Monday to Friday there are also daily specials available. The ‘Monday Curry Monday’ offers a curry and large glass of wine or a pint of beer for just £13.95, while Friday brings two stone-baked pizzas with a portion of dirty fires for £20.
There are a number of booths with TV screens so you can relax with a drink while catching up with the day’s latest news, though they’re maybe not ideal if you’re sitting having a meal and keen to chat to your dining partner.
There can’t be many establishments offering free pool to customers in this day and age and not surprisingly the table proved a big hit, as did the old authentic jukebox, all adding to the lively buzz in the lounge bar area.
Backing on to the bar is a Tinderbox, part of a small chain of Glasgow espresso bars that originated in the West End of the city. It does a range of speciality coffees, cakes, sandwiches and lunch items – ideal for a little pick-me-up or small business meetings.
In keeping with the music theme, for special occasions and long-stay guests the hotel provides a delightful violin case packed full of goodies with a distinctly Scottish flavour. From Tunnock’s caramel wafers, to haggis flavoured crisps, bottles of Schiehallion and Irn-Bru, there’s plenty to to keep those hunger pangs at bay!
Unlike a lot of its competitors, the hotel doesn’t take itself too seriously and benefits as a result.