Glasgow City Apartments Service Apartment Review

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Glasgow City Apartments ♥  ££

401 North Woodside Road, Glasgow Scotland UK Ph. 0141 342 4060 city@mcquadehotels.com

It’s always a gamble when you try a new place to stay. I really wanted a fairly decent 3 star in the West End of Glasgow. This accommodation promised a good location and basic amenities.

I stayed in a single studio apartment that actually ended up having two beds. This is sometimes a good thing if one bed is sub par, the other may be slightly better. Not the case.

Location is the main selling point of this establishment. It is in the Kelvin Bridge area, directly across from the subway station. There is access to the river Kelvin which paths feeds into the astounding Kelvingrove park and is close to the University of Glasgow. The neighbourhood is fairly safe and has a lot of cuisine to choose from, and not too far from Ashton Lane area with cinema.

The basics are represented in this apartment. There is a small kitchenette with a small array of dishes, pans, cutlery, microwave and refrigerator. There is a ironing board.

First impressions did not change over the four day stay. Upon entering I was hit with wall of bleach smell, and the sheets left me a bit itchy. The decor is typical for this kind of a set up, but of course the worst part was the beds. I don’t know why hotel and service apartment owners will not invest in a decent bed. They one thing any traveler really needs is a good bed. This will always get them a bad review, and the bed is cheaper than some other improvements. The carpeting had stretched out and was creating huge wrinkles that you needed to watch.

Clean. Quiet for the most part. The bathroom had recently been remodelled. However I am not a big fan of the at the source heaters that control the water pressure and temp as a whole unit. You really should have taps for that. The shower pressure was never really right. The door to the new stall kept opening during showers. I will be letting the establishment know. The rest of the facilities were in good order.

The kitchenette was very functional and clean when I arrived, the fridge and microwave worked well for me. I did not cook any full meals there, just used the fridge and hot pot for coffee making. It comes with a small stove.

Remember to clean and vacuum before you go or you will be charged a fee.

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Glasgow Art Walk July 2017

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I had been looking forward to revisiting the Glasgow Mural walk for some time and was not disappointed. This walk features a great many murals all over the city with many of them being situated in the City Centre and outlying areas. There is a map you can download and print out, as well as just keeping your eyes peeled as there are many other murals that just keep popping up and unless you are a local, would not be aware of them and where they are situated. Check in out of the way spaces like under the bridges and lots.

These colourful depictions of life and interpretation have become such a part of the landscape, it’s hard to notice that some are suffering the sad realisation that wind and elements are taking their toll. To my relief I had not seen any of the murals suffering from deliberately being altered, although some other tagging and art seemed to be butting up against some of them. Street art is highly respected by fellow artists, and street art has a huge fan base. Indeed, as in other great mural and street art works from around the world, the sides of buildings are slowing giving away and altering some of the murals. Some artists see this as part of the landscape, that the art itself will have to show time. Good news is more are being created, including some new ones dedicated to the comic Billy Connolly.

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 Artist:Vettriano Location Beer Garden at Hootenanny’s at St. Enochs

Start with the City Centre and follow the circuit. You will see a great many parts of the city and get a good healthy urban hike. Don’t forget to stop off at some great restaurants and pubs along the way. Wear sturdy walking shoes. Happy hunting.

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Hip Hop Marionettes by Rogue-One

Download the brochure here:
https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=19649&p=0

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Tiger by Klingatron

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Honey I Shrunk The Kids by Smug

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Panda by Klingatron

 

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Glasgow Musings, So Close and Yet so Far

FullSizeRenderIt’s early in the morning and I have been flying for 9 hours. I am sitting in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which has to be one of the quietest airports I have been in, staring at insane green tile. I have a ridiculous 3 hour layover and flew just past my destination, Glasgow. Such is the traveling life. I can’t wait, it’s been a year and I have so much planned for this trip. I will do my best to cover ground that got missed last trip and revisit some local hidden places and anything free and alternative in between.

Top Alternative Things in Glasgow

When you find a really great city that just feels like a great adventure, you can cram the few days you have there with so many activities and end up with your body flat on the couch at the service apartment, exhausted beyond belief. That’s what happened last year, and I expect it to happen again this week. I’ve been in endurance training for the last 3 years because I planned some travel, and it still may not be enough. I think it’s the traveling excitement we all get, you explore every inch you can in a short space of time, because you don’t live there. Last year I spent most of my time in the City Centre/ Clyde Side and West end. I decided this time to stay in the West End, the first 4 days to recover from jet lag and really try to know the city a bit better.

Glasgow is great for day excursions outside of the city to historical sites and a land filled with mountains. Stay tuned as I take and review a tour for you. Glasgow is the perfect travel hub, taking my flights out to Dublin and back, then off to Skye after a few days, then ending with Edinburgh Fringe. Each time coming back and spending a few days at Scotland’s biggest city. I hope this plan allows me to keep exploring places that the locals know, the hidden great people and things places that aren’t in guide books. I’ll be sharing that with you in the coming weeks.

I guess it’s also because this has been a rough year for many of us on this blue ball. I feel the need to take a three week asylum out of the US and see and meet people with some different mindsets than some of the locals where I live. I need to be out in a world that may think a bit less isolated, however we seem to have a growing trend in the world of isolationism. I hope that we can all be open and fight this trend. Stay tuned as I explore every inch of what I can in these fine cities this trip and share them with you.

Topolabamba (Glasgow, Scotland) — Caitlin Jean Russell

Earlier in the week I was lucky enough to collaborate with Topolabamba Glasgow, a Mexican restaurant on St Vincent Street. In recent years, this area of the city centre has flourished with new and exciting restaurants, and Topolabamba fits the bill perfectly. Glasgow has very few sit-down Mexican restaurants, so it’s great to find one…

via Topolabamba (Glasgow, Scotland) — Caitlin Jean Russell

5 Return Flights from Glasgow for under £100 — Caitlin Jean Russell

If you’re looking for a last minute trip to book from Glasgow, then there’s ten countries in Europe that you can fly direct return from this month (July 2017). Using Skyscanner.com I’ve collated a list of five European locations where you can fly for up to and including £100, but if you want to see the…

via 5 Return Flights from Glasgow for under £100 — Caitlin Jean Russell

Americans Are Not The Only Annoying Travelers, and Other Musings

C9B37BCF-8421-41F5-8796-03EE44B59278I’ve just read through several ,”What Not To Do”, articles for traveling in Europe. I have to say that I know most of what is being said as true, Americans can be so annoying. I spend most of my traveling sitting and hearing other annoyed travelers going off about things. I keep my mouth shut, cringe at most things, get off a bus and find a place to just have a good laugh. Really, what saddens me is that people spend so much time and money to travel, that they waste time complaining about the most ridiculous things. Yeah, the airlines misplaced my luggage last year, so there are some things that can really mess with your trip. However, there are bombings going on. Some of what you are complaining about is really trivial in the greater scheme of things.

Oh, and I do realize that the people of Ireland and the UK shouldn’t be considered Europeans unless they decide to be. People are from their countries, and have cultures quite their own.

In the summer of 2016, I spent a few weeks traveling in Scotland. Of course with my luck, both the Clockwork Orange and Scotrail were not running, one with improvements, the other with strike actions. When I was heading back to Glasgow from Oban, we were rerouted on a luxury tour bus. Could have been worse. I actually got the tour bus free, didn’t have to pay £100.00 for the trip. But from the minute I stepped in the Oban train station, I heard that classic, 60 plus year old woman’s, greater London accent on a dirge of sarcasm voice. I stared at the wall, the suitcase, anything to keep my face still and silent. I love a good sarcastic rant as much as anyone, but she didn’t know when to stop.

The bloody Scots can’t keep a train going. It’s a good thing Teresa May has just got in, she’ll sort this. We’ve paid good money…

I’m sure some similar conversation was happening on the East Coast of the US, somewhere about changes afoot, the state of traffic.

To give you some context, Brexit stage 1 had just happened, and May had just entered into office. The husband of the woman said nothing the next two hours of highlands travels around Loch Lommond and down Glasgow way. Probably best, he pretended sleep I think. I tried not to grind my teeth, put the music on. Listened to the Gaelic being spoken, imagining some of it was commentary on the “woman”. I fantasized for about 20 minutes out from Glasgow about the bus driver being overcome by the passengers, and the woman being put out. Then I though the bus driver might just do it himself, without any encouragement. Bus drivers are only so patient.

Two days later in the West End of Glasgow, I was sitting in a eatery and having an Americano, I made the mistake of being friendly with the Brit next to me. Honestly, I was wondering what had happened with the Brits I was meeting, it must be this Brexit thing? True, any one I met from the north (Liverpool and such) seemed just fine. I had had great encounters all over Scotland with Scottish people. I could just turn to a stranger, smiling and a conversation would just happen. The Scots are just so happy about their country and proud of living there, always a fun conversation on just about anything. I Just avoided talking about politics unless it was brought up. But when faced with a Brit in that age range of 55 to 65 last summer, from the south, it was utter sheer annoyance that I dared to talk to them. Sadly, it got to the point where I just listened to people before uttering a word, and well you know we Americans just smile too much, tried to look aloof instead.

Guess it was the summer of malcontent both sides of the pond. Was it the age group?

Traveling This Year 

I am a bit apprehensive about this past year and political events coloring tourism for me on this trip. I love traveling and meeting people, hearing about their lives if they care to share experiences with a stranger. I try not to be offensive, and I really do not consider myself as typical American tourist. I come from Northern California, not LA. Please don’t lump me in. I’ll try not to stand there in pure wonder over a geographical location or castle with mouth hanging open. But really, shouldn’t the locals enjoy such things and still wonder at them? I am just happy to see any of it still standing, given acid rain and all.  With recent terrorist actions, can’t we all just embrace one another? Smile?

I wonder how it will be after the recent American elections fiasco and political atmosphere? Will people think I voted for current government, I can assure you I didn’t. I am a non violent person and try to respect other people’s rights and countries, and assume that I DON’T know everything. Hate to have to go around and not talk to anyone.

Don’t Go On About Your Ancestry. It is Assumed That’s Why You Are There.

Yes, I will be really be spending time in Ireland this year, and work really hard to not be annoying and ask really stupid things. Yes, the Irish went everywhere and much of the US population does have a drop or two of the blood in us. Quite a bit on my mother’s side. Can you blame me for wanting to see the country? It’s been on the bucket list for years. So was Scotland, for the same reason. I am going back this year because Scotland just has so much depth, I barely scratched the surface on the last visit. It told me to come back. But no, I will not be silly and fake an accent. Why would I insult someone? I’m going because I stood with feet on the ground last year for 3 hours and smelled the air in Ireland. It told me I was home, why are you leaving?

I come from California, but I am not LA. So I think I know a little bit about being type cast. I am hoping that if I talk to people, kindred spirits will pop up and a solidarity of humanity will prevail. There’s enough going wrong in all our countries, and many people are displaced and seeking asylum. How about some solidarity and familiarity? Oh, and I promise I very rarely use the word “awesome”, and I cringe at the words “awsome sauce”. There are so many better words to be used in this world.

My Travel Thoughts This Trip

1. Last year I did indeed go to that country where one of my favorite tele series is filmed. I did not fan girl once or mention it to anyone at all. I went to visit the country and people.

2. I am contemplating bringing my MacCallum kilted skirt and wether to wear it in Scotland. Would love to have annoying Americans come up and start talking to me and see what happens. Honestly though, I wear the thing all winter here in Portland, and well summer too sometimes because well, it’s Portland. We wear kilts. We wear anything for that matter. Oh, and the women’s is not a kilt, true kilt is worn on the right and much deeper pleats (filleadh beag). And more women are opting for bespoke men’s kilts these days. Break that stereotype.

Think I could get away with it?

Fraser Suites and St. Enoch Apartment Service Apartments Glasgow

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Ratings ♥ to ♥♥♥♥

My last 2 stays in Glasgow were two different types of accommodations. One was a standard small boutique affair, Fraser’s Suites, and the other was a service apartment off the Clyde in St. Enoch’s shopping area. Both were in the heart of the city. If you like to be in the thick of it, downtown is the place to be.

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Fraser Suites Glasgow $$$ ♥♥♥
Albion at Trongate, Glasgow, Scotland 44+ 141 553 4288

The pictures are quite charming, a rambling set of rooms in the Trongate area. Well, what I stayed in was not a suite. I came off the plane and dropped my cases. The very small and cramped room was as far away as i could get from the very busy pub down below, and next to a car park. No need for an alarm, because you have seagulls waking you at 05:00 am. It was basically a place to get over jet lag and get a footing in Scotland before I continued with my journey. For the most part it was clean, and there was a small gym where no one seemed to bother me at the weird hours I went in. I said jet lag, right?

This is where I first experienced Glasgow’s expansive nightlife. The noise of it can be going till the wee hours of 03:00 easy. Massive groups of people clamped on for dear life and the love of their city. So, just remember to try to get the rooms a floor more above the busy restaurant.

The apartment was a serviced apartment in a one room style with kitchenette. The room was small, and a bit tired. I could see this was set up to be a more business staying affair with desk and small living area. The lecky plugs monitored very heavily. The bed was hard. For the most part it was clean, which a clean place and monitored hotel is sometimes what you need when you just get to a country. You are not your best on jet lag. There was a hotel safe which was convenient. I did not use the breakfast services, what I could see was very limited. The staff though was very friendly and as helpful as they could be.

Plus: Location for first time in Glasgow with transit and access to George Square where many of the tour buses depart from. You are walking distance from the train stations and the Clockwork Orange (tube). The prices are manageable and there is a full staff and it’s accessible most hours. The kitchens are fairly well equipped.

Minus: Bed is hard, the rooms a bit warn. There were recent remodels but still a bit sterile. Great to just crash, and the room was actually larger than some I stayed in in Glasgow previously.

Clyde Side

St. Enoch’s Apartments $$$$ ♥♥♥♥
101 Maxwell Street, Central Glasgow , Scotland
Sweeney Service Apartments 00 44 (0) 141 423 2001

This is where I fell in love with the rented apartment concept. The serviced apartments I had stayed at before had been very sterile, this had more of a home feeling about it. I thought as my last splurge on the way out of my trip, I would have a furnished apartment by the Clyde. I live by two rivers and enjoy them, walking the bank side parks are always a great treat. So I booked 3 days in a service apartment and lived among Glaswegians in the St. Enoch’s area.

St. Enoch’s is by the Clyde river, north side across from Laurieston. It’s in the heart of the shopping district and plenty of music and pub venues are in the area for your entertainment. Access to parks are a plus, and public transport hubs make it easy to get around if you are not walking. Noise is a bit of an issue, music venue around the corner, but the apartment was an interior one and buffered a bit. Also the view was narrow, you could see the Clyde, but a bit squished. The apartment had two rooms and could sleep up to 4 comfortably. Facilities were working, but the at the source water heater was a bit tricky, with the fuse switch chain having to be a bit of a twiddle.

Plus: Location was great for the second time in Glasgow. My first had been very close to George Square that was even more busy. If you like vibrant and somewhat busy, this is a good place. You have a tranquil side facing the Clyde that allows for a good morning jog or hike. The kitchen was well equipped. You are close to some of the downtown marts like Tesco which means you can get by, get things in a pinch. But if you want whole foods you will need to travel into the West End or outskirts to a super. Visit a wine merchant.

Minus: Price. The apartment was really too large for me, but when booking was the best I could find for the dates price wise. You are stuck with downtown restaurants. The heart of good food in Glasgow is usually in the West End and Northern parts, around the with some East End food areas getting to be rather tasty. But one of the pluses is to use the kitchen and supplement your eating. Inner city markets are very pricey and limited. Noise level is high on Friday and Saturdays. Check for weekend events as this is a transit hub area.

My first few visits to Glasgow were amazing, and I am heading back. However I will be staying in the West End this season as I found I was spending a great deal of time there each day and found that area around the university more to my type of neighborhood feel. I had one service apartment cancel on me due to building sale, so we will see how this trip goes in the West End as I check out other lodgings.