Only twenty minutes from Glasgow, on the banks of the Clyde, sits the newly opened, newly refurbished Gleddoch Hotel. Following a major transformation and a multi-million pound facelift, bold flair and a new spa facility have been brought to this Clydebank institution. It also boasts a Championship standard golf course, but is this the kind of place to bring your kids? We attempted a spa weekend to see how children fit into the Gleddoch scene and to have a thorough nosy around the new look of the hotel.
CHECK IN – Arriving at Gleddoch, with the proud stag at the front door, really felt like we’d arrived. Built in the 1920s, home of Shipping Baron Sir William Lithgow, it’s a grand country seat set in 360 acres of land. Check in was swift and friendly, but this is no traditional country pile. The glamour and sparkle of the lobby gave me a clue about the new style of the venue.
A stag’s head on the wall in shining silver, golden walls, geometric patterned furniture and a burnished silver seating area encircling a central glass pillar reflecting the light. It was bold but I admire when an establishment takes control and sets you in their scene. It’s a distinctive look, we were entering the world of Gleddoch and leaving everyday life behind.
Our accommodation was a very short drive away from reception so one small tip, don’t waste time carrying your babies and bags into the front hall like we did!
OUR ROOM – If you take a peak at some of the suites they are magnificent, and decorated with gusto. Our bedroom (an Executive Family Twin) was smart and comfortable. Everything felt so new. The bright pink tartan throws and pillows were Scottish, with added vibrancy. The views were breathtaking. The shower room was smart, modern and spotless, with a couple of shower-heads to choose between, and Elemis toiletries to indulge in. I left the boys with Mr Husband, watching TV and playing with their toys, as I set off in search of the spa.
IMPERIA SPA – At the spa I was gently whisked into a reception room to meet my therapist and fill out the obligatory paperwork. The 70’s vibe palm wallpaper is on trend, and again it’s bold, but I felt I’d been whisked away from the hum drum into a new world. The calming brown and maroon hues of the relaxation room took things down a notch before I was escorted for a 30 minute back massage. The products, the treatment and the calming tones of the therapist were spot on. Thirty minutes doesn’t sound long but it was idyllic. I’d love to return here with my girlfriends for a longer spa weekend with prosecco, gossip and laughs, but, before I knew it, it was time to ‘enjoy’ a raucous reunion with the tots at the pool.
THE POOL – I’ll start by saying that the views from the pool lounge are absolutely fantabulous. Just stunning. Sitting on a heated lounger, with twinkling crystal light-fittings overhead, it was really beautiful for the 30 seconds my kids allowed me to take it all in. They adored the pool, and they weren’t the only kids there. Gleddoch, I was discovering, is a real mix of girls weekends away, romantic couples, golfers and families: it’s a great leisure escape for a cross section of the population. The sauna, jacuzzi, steam room and outdoor hot tub were out of bounds for those under 12 so there were some limitations on the tots. The outdoor hot tub, located on decking with sweeping views over the Renfrewshire hills and the Clyde, was the most beautiful spot that mild autumn evening, and I wish we could have lingered.
DINNER – Dinner is served in The Vista Restaurant. It’s almost getting predictable stating how great the views are but, yip, they were fantastic. The setting was stylish and slick. For some reason I didn’t know what to expect of the food. First off, the children’s menu worked really well. It was a la carte, so we weren’t tied into an unhealthy meal deal. For £2 each, the boys got Mozzarella Sticks with Tomato Dipping Sauce, and a Prawn Cocktail. Excellent value. For a main they shared a bowl of spaghetti bolognaise at £4, and finished with ice-cream at £2 each. I wrote recently about how much I appreciated the kid’s menu at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen, well this is in that territory.
The adult menu was simply good food done well. I started with the Pork Belly Terrine, followed by Peterhead Landed Cod with Fennel. Mr Husband copied my starter (I said it first) and opted for the Borders Lamb with Potato Terrine for his main. He unwillingly ‘shared’ his bread and butter pudding with the tots, who’d inhaled their ice-cream in about twelve seconds, and I was more than happy with a decaf coffee with chocolates from the Highland Chocolatier.
Service times were reasonable and the vibe was really good. Many of the guests were from Glasgow or the west coast of Scotland. People at other tables were talking to each other, the staff were great with us, with our kids, with all their diners. It’s an area known for friendliness and banter, and I love this corner of Scotland.
LOCATION – For a rural retreat this is a really handy location. In twenty minutes you can be shopping or visiting the art galleries of Glasgow. You can fly into Glasgow Airport and catch a cab out to Gleddoch no problem. Equally, head south from Gleddoch to explore Ayrshire and Arran, the land of Burns, eat ice-cream in Nardini’s or meet vikings at Vikingar! in Largs, and the islands of Cumbrae, Arran and Bute are a mere Calmac away (I’ve just invented a new verb). Or you can just stay put, pamper yourself, eat, drink, swim and drink in those views. Gleddoch was a lovely escape for a family, and it does work for kids, but I’d love to spend the day shopping in Glasgow then escape to Gleddoch with my pals. Its mix of friendly service, good food, pampering and sheer va va voom is a great combination.
OUR STORY – On a Friday we drove from Aberdeen directly to Gleddoch, which took 3.5 hours. When travelling without a proper stop we pull into the Wild Bean Cafe at the BP Garage, just south of Dundee, for an M&S lunch, coffees and hot pastries. After spending one night at Gleddoch, we headed south to Largs on Saturday, sailed to Cumbrae and spent one night at the Royal George Hotel, before returning to Largs and visiting Vikingar! on Sunday. Then we headed over to the Falkirk Wheel and overnighted with a good friend in Stirling before returning to Aberdeen on Monday. More info coming soon.
If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the ‘Follow’ box then click ‘Follow’ or join the conversation on Facebook. For any queries or opportunities please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We experienced a complimentary overnight DBB stay at Gleddoch, and I tried 30 minute back massage, for review purposes. All images copyright of Tots2Travel.