When one of the most prestigious spa hotels in Scotland invited me to spend the weekend with them over the Christmas period, I couldn’t refuse.
The independently owned boutique hotel nestled within the beautiful Scottish countryside, half an hours commute from Glasgow City centre and ten minutes from Glasgow airport, is under the same ownership as the St James Hotel in Nottingham and the link between the two hotels are clear to see through the high-quality spec and opulent interior styling throughout.
Promoting themselves as ‘so much more than a hotel’, I’d have to wholeheartedly agree, as Gleddoch’s 18-hole championship golf course is one of the most well respected in Scotland and with the addition of their award-winning imperia spa, this makes for a most impressive experience and one night just doesn’t seem enough to enjoy all of what this fantastic 75 bedroomed hotel has to offer…
The hotel is steeped in history having welcomed Her Majesty The Queen and many VIP’s over the years and what’s more you too can experience the royal treatment by booking a stay in their Royal Suite, which comes complete with a bespoke designed emperor bed, separate lounge with kitchenette and large bathroom with free standing roll top bath and walk in rain shower.
Our room was the beautiful Clyde Suite located in the central penthouse of the hotel overlooking the Clyde Estuary, which I am told has attracted whales and other sea life in the past and in the Summer months is enjoyed by holiday makers who sunbathe adjacent to its waters.
The suite boasted a grand four poster bed, traditional sash windows and stylish contemporary furniture and plush drapes, in-keeping with the rest of the hotel.
The en-suite bathroom was impressive, with a twin sink, extra-large shower. temperature controlled heated towel rail and top-quality toiletries- all seemingly very newly fitted.
The suite also contained a large fitted wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, desk, mini bar and the usual hot drinks station but with the added bonus of complimentary Tunnocks Caramel wafer bars (!) which I learnt are produced in Glasgow along with their infamous chocolate teacakes.
The little touches are not forgotten at Gleddoch, with the thoughtful addition of pillow mist and sleep lotion gifted by the bed, robes in the bathroom and a fruit platter on arrival. We were also treated to truffles and chocolate strawberries with a hand-written welcome note from the General Manager, which was a wonderful first impression.
As our stay fell just before Christmas, we were privileged to be able to see the hotel reception decorated in all its Festive glory, with a beautiful tree in the foyer, along with a large hand-made gingerbread house and nutcracker soldiers guarding the doors, plus the impressive Versace flooring personally chosen by one of the hotel owners.
The reception team were all very friendly and welcoming and on hand 24 hours a day for our needs, to which we were even given an exclusive private tour of the grounds in the hotel’s resident black taxicab!
The 18-hole golf course and driving range are both impressive, with an on-site golf shop and hire facilities and even on a blustery, wet day golfers were still wrapped up happily swinging their clubs and driving their buggies.
The 360 degree views of the hotel are simply magnificent and we enjoyed a walk around the outskirts of the golf course, which took exactly an hour from start to finish and took us up to the highest part overlooking the river and as far as the eye could see, where on a clear day the Celtic football ground, airport and centre of Glasgow in the distance could be viewed.
We were booked into Gleddoch for three nights and this was just the right amount of time to relax and take in all the facilities on offer including the spa, restaurant, golf course and of course in-house Dram bar!
The bar has a traditional Highland feel decorated with brown leather, plenty of wood and of course tartan. The barman was highly knowledgeable in everything whiskey and was very proud to show – off his fully stocked dram bar to us and in the process proceeded to give us a whiskey lesson and tasting- bonus!
Time for tea
One of my highlights of the stay was the afternoon tea post spa treatments- the perfect way to end a self-indulgent day of relaxation and self-care. The tea is served in the Camellia Lounge and is one of the most impressive I have experienced. Why? Because so much creativity and thought has clearly gone into the execution of this delicious and colourful two course delight.
The savoury course arrived first- a platter of mini scones, quiche, wraps, rolls and sandwiches with a few blinis thrown in for good measure- all beautifully presented with a tasty combination of flavours.
The second course arrived in what I can only describe as half a birdcage, showcasing the many sweet treats on display, including the traditional home baked Gleddoch scones (which by the way are better than Fortnum’s in my opinion), along with the jams and clotted cream, chocolate dipped strawberries, honey flapjack, white chocolate cube, lemon sponge, chocolate brownie and butterscotch tart (which of course originated in Scotland). The birdcage is finished off with a large white chocolate square containing a deer design, which we took away (along with a few other cakes we couldn’t manage, but which were highly appreciated on day two of our stay).
Along with the above selection of sweet and savoury delights was of course a choice of tea to which we selected orange/jasmine and mojito mint; however other flavours are available along with the usual breakfast tea and of course a glass of fizz if you wish to upgrade.
Relax & Revive
The Imperia spa is one to visit, offering a good-sized indoor swimming pool, where I enjoyed doing a few lengths every evening before dinner. This and he jacuzzi and sauna/steam rooms and experience shower are all available to hotel guests to utilise during their stay and there is even an outdoor hot tub should you be so inclined to brave the weather at this time of year.
The treatments (available to both men and women) are a must -try, having experienced a beautifully relaxing one-hour Ishga Invigorating full body massage, combining Marma massage, lymphatic drainage and traditional Swedish techniques, designed to both detox and balance the body. Ishga products contain Scottish seaweed combined with water from a natural spring situated on the beautiful Hebridean Isle of Lewis and contain a high level of vitamins and minerals perfect for maintaining healthy glowing skin. My guest enjoyed a one-hour High Performance Skin Energiser Facial, great for dehydrated skin and tired eyes, whilst the face massage boosts circulation and relaxes at the same time. All products used during the treatments are available to purchase in the boutique spa shop and spa breaks and packages are available with or without overnight stays at the hotel or in the form of gift vouchers.
I have to say I enjoyed all the facilities offered through the spa, though the heated mosaic loungers were wonderful to relax on after a swim, as I read a magazine and switched off from reality for an hour or so.
There is also a fully equipped gymnasium, relaxation room and conservatory should you wish to maintain your fitness or find a quite reading spot during your stay.
Breakfast at Gleddoch offered both a continental and cooked option included in the room rate, with the choice to upgrade to select items on the menu for an additional cost.
We were more than satisfied with the ‘inclusive’ option of tea coffee, juice, smoothies, fresh fruit, pastries, cereals and toast and jam, along with a traditional cooked Scottish breakfast. This turned out to be not too dissimilar from an English cooked breakfast, only with the addition of haggis and Scottish scone cake (a flat triangular scone).
Dinner in the Vista Restaurant – aptly named for its panoramic views of Glasgow, offered the most spectacular sites from the comfort of our table. We chose to eat from the Christmas set menu, however we did also scan the ala-carte menu and selected a dessert, due to it being the traditional salted butterscotch tart (served with praline dust and Whitley Neill blood orange sorbet), which I simply couldn’t leave Scotland without sampling.
To start I opted for the carrot, ginger and coriander soup with sourdough, followed by a generous sized roasted vegetable wellington with red pepper sauce and Dauphinoise potatoes.
My guest went for the duck liver parfait to start, served with cranberry and cinnamon relish, gingerbread crostini and bitter leaves, followed by the traditional roasted turkey Christmas dinner, sage and onion stuffing, streaky bacon and all the trimmings.
Sticky toffee pudding was to follow with tablet ice cream and of course butterscotch sauce.
We shared a bottle of Italian Rose wine during dinner and were delighted to be looked after by the lovely Steve who took the time to point out the sites from our window and to recommend dishes for us adding to what was a wonderful meal.
An impressive touch to the menu was the ‘suppliers’ section’, offering a list of the local suppliers Gleddoch work with to source their ingredients, from the butchers to the bakers to the local forager they obtain mushrooms and seashore veggies from.
Our overall experience of Gleddoch was a 10/10 with each element just as good as the other, from the top quality accommodation and attentive service to the attention to detail and faultless facilities, I would not hesitate to both recommend and return to this idyllic location and the goody bag containing bottled water and Scottish shortbread was also a really nice touch upon departure- thank you Gleddoch you have been amazing.
What else do you need to know?
The Gleddoch is a dog friendly hotel and so your furry friend can stay with you in the lap of luxury for an additional £10 per night if pre-booked in certain rooms.
Stay and play packages are available to golf lovers at £79 per person for stays between November 2019 to 31st March 2020 and £99 per person for stays between 1st April 2020 to 30th September 2020.
The hotel offers free on-site parking, Wi-Fi access, USB charging points, EU and US plug sockets, still/sparkling water, iron/boards and laundry service (additional charge) and a pool table.
Gleddoch offers wedding and event facilities with a spacious banquet room, featuring a dance floor and an exclusive catering service with various packages.
Room rates start from as little as £67 per night for a classic double with junior suites available from around £130 per night. Other styles/sized rooms are available via the website and priced accordingly with the option of the Royal suite from £300 per night should you eish to stay in the same room Queen Elizabeth II once stayed in.
For more information go to their website: www.gelddoch.com
The sleepy Vegetarian