Travel: ABode, Glasgow

ABode is part of a B-listed building that has had several lives.
ABode is part of a B-listed building that has had several lives.

Just five minutes’ walk from Queen Street Station, you’ll find this imposing Edwardian townhouse.

It’s part of a B-listed building that’s had several lives, from being the childhood home of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who had the dubious honour of being the only prime minister to die at 10 Downing Street, to its incarnation as an office for the education board.

There are four tiers of rooms ' Comfortable, Desirable, Enviable and Fabulous.

There are four tiers of rooms ' Comfortable, Desirable, Enviable and Fabulous.

In its latter years, it’s been a hotel, The Art House, and these days it’s a four star branch of city hotel chain ABode.

Apparently, the current owner sees his job as custodian of the building. Thus, the evidence of all of this history is well preserved, with the original purple The Art House sign in reception (it also switched back to this name temporarily), the marble fountain in the stairwell that was installed when it was a municipal building, the original Thirties lift and the golden lion rampant on the walls.

Budget or boutique?

Boutique, though it’s certainly not stuffy. Staff are warm, with some friendly Glasgow patter.

Room service

There are four tiers of rooms – Comfortable, Desirable, Enviable and Fabulous. We’re in an Enviable room, which, indeed, could give a nonresident a touch of the green eye, with padded headboards that go all the way up to the ceiling, huge windows, prints of paintbrushes in pots 
(another throwback to The Art House days perhaps) and a few judicious touches of tartan.

The bed is huge and comfortable – two large twins stuck together, which is my preference since I’m sleeping next to a midnight thrasher. The bathroom is perfectly functional, if a little dated.

We do get a sneak peek of an impressive Fabulous room, part of which has been preserved in its original Edwardian splendour, complete with 19th century books.

Wining and dining

New to ABode is the basement level Pie & Brew bar, which opened at the end of last year. As the title suggests, it serves a huge selection of Desperate Dan’s favourite snack, including beef and ale and veggie haggis versions, as well as a selection of cocktails, Harviestoun on tap and craft beer. With white tiled walls and a retro feel, there’s also a small stage area and a programme of acoustic sets and DJs.

Although we’re always in the mood for a pie, this place was shut, as it is every Sunday and Monday, so instead we visited the ground floor, white-tiled Brasserie ABode, which serves equally hearty fare, though fancier. We had French onion soup and a pretty beetroot and goat’s cheese salad, as well as haddock with a poached egg and mustard sauce. For the Plat du Jour, Sunday is roast day and, on our visit, it was beef with Yorkies and all the trimmings.

Breakfast is also served in this space, with a decent cold buffet (we liked the huge choice of smoothies) and a hot menu, with options including crushed avocado, toasted sourdough and poached eggs.

If you want to venture further afield, there’s endless choice, from meze to sushi and kebabs, in this central area, with a new eatery opening practically every week.

Worth getting out of bed for

If you’re in the market for some high-street shopping, you’re only a short stroll to Buchanan Street, Sauchiehall Street and Argyle Street. There are also various theatres, galleries and concert venues on the doorstep, from the ABC to Cineworld, GoMA and the CCA.

Catch an underground on Buchanan Street to Hillhead if you want to explore the delights of Byres Road, the Finnieston Strip and Kelvingrove Museum.

Little extras

We were over-excited by the contents of the complimentary tuck box. “Are you sure this is all free?” asked my other half, as we tore into crisps, fancy chocolate, nuts, juice and other goodies.

Guestbook comments

“This hotel still has a lot of the authentic décor in the communal stairwell which adds real character. Our room was lovely and food served in the dining area was excellent”.

Rates start from £119 on a bed and breakfast basis. ABode Glasgow, 129 Bath Street, 0141-221 6789,