Business and Golf: Glasgow
In support of its growing destination stature, Glasgow will open more than 1,000 rooms between now and 2011 in seven new hotels.
Glasgow’s 21st-century economy is among the most diverse and productive in the U.K. Traditional industries, such as manufacturing, shipbuilding and education (there are an estimated 168,000 university students in the city) still thrive, but in the last 10 years, the bioscience, arts, technology and finance sectors have also flourished. Since 2001, numerous national and international businesses have relocated or expanded into the newly developed international financial services district, located on the blocks surrounding River Clyde in central Glasgow, including Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays Wealth, Lloyds Banking Group, Aon and Direct Line. Glasgow was also the U.K.’s international conference capital in 2008, attracting more foreign business attendees than any other British city did. In support of its growing destination stature, Glasgow will open more than 1,000 rooms between now and 2011 in seven new hotels, from luxury boutiques to the $200 million Jumeirah Glasgow hotel.
The five-star Blythswood Square Hotel (11 Blythswood Sq., +44 (0)141 248 8888) opened in fall 2009 in the old financial district known as Blythswood Hill. It occupies the former Royal Scottish Automobile Club building, which was completed in 1823 and retains its original Georgian architectural features, such as marble fireplaces, wood paneling and grand staircases.
The Left Bank (33–35 Gibson St., +44 (0) 141 339 5969), set in a modernist tavern, draws crowds for its creative interpretations, such as the Bank Breakfast, a preparation of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and mushrooms.
Seal the Deal
Rogano (11 Exchange Pl., +44 (0)141 248 4055), which has served some of Glasgow’s freshest seafood in its authentic art-deco dining room and oyster bar since 1935, has plenty of room for group dinners and private dining.
The Bistro, Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens (5 Devonshire Gardens, +44 (0)141 339 2001) is located in an elegant, 49-room boutique hotel. The restaurant showcases modern European fare, updated daily and flecked with Scottish accents, to accompany the massive wine list.
Glasgow is central to the best links courses on Scotland’s west coast, as well as innumerable historic inland and highland courses in the surrounding countryside. It’s hard to go wrong.
Two of the planet’s greatest links courses are just 30 miles outside Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde. Royal Troon (royaltroon.co.uk, $290), with its famous Postage Stamp hole (the par-three eighth), out and back routing sandwiched between the beach and the train tracks, and a pedigree that includes eight Open Championships, welcomes guests on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Its neighbor, Prestwick Golf Club (prestwickgc.co.uk, $140–290), hosted the first Open in 1860. The course is beloved for its playfulness and quirkiness, as well as for original holes such as the Cardinal third, with its cavernous fairway bunker, the Himalayas fifth and the famous Alps 17th.
The legendary Cameron House (Loch Lomond, Dumbartonshire, +44 (0)138 975 5565)—formerly a baronial mansion, the residence of lords and the onetime hideout of Scottish rebel Rob Roy, more than 200 years ago—is located 25 miles north of Glasgow on the shore of Loch Lomond. The golf course, called the Carrick and designed by Canadian architect Doug Carrick, opened in 2007 and has stunning views over the loch and holes that roam the Highland heath.
When to Go
Links weather in Scotland is hit or miss at any time of year—but rates are typically lower in late fall and early spring, if you’re willing to brave the elements.