JC Stays: Radisson Red Glasgow

Checking out the first of Radisson's funky RED brand in the UK


From digs to gigs in two minutes is one promotional line for the latest addition to Radisson’s more relaxed RED brand. And yes, slap bang opposite the hotel stands the SSE Hydro, Glasgow’s major concert and events venue, whose impressively illuminated exterior is an unarguable nocturnal attraction.

I check in as those checking out are sharing recollections of the previous night’s Britney Spears show. And the concert crowd seem a decent fit for an enterprise geared unashamedly towards a more youthful market, yet with an appeal across the age spectrum.

The hotel is the first of the RED brand in the UK (other locations include Brussels and Minneapolis) and it is resolutely true to its colour, both in the open plan reception space leading to the dining area and the 174 rooms of varying size.

It also serves as a showcase for the work of local artists Frank Quitely and Adrian McMurchie, affording a pleasingly comic book appearance to walls and wardrobes.

Apart from a funkier feel than most major chain hotel rooms, the essentials are as expected. But bonus points for the extreme comfort of the king-size bed, the 55-inch TV and decent toiletries.

There are also VIP extras for special occasions and some rewards customers. Mine included a chilled beer, a welcome accompaniment to the night time view (other local sights are also lit up), although a more social option is the rooftop RED Sky Bar, where the window berths are the hot tickets.

There is a more informal drinking option at ground level, whose dining space is the place for breakfast — and other snacks during the day — and leads on to a snug-like pool room.

A massive touch screen display in the heart of reception is a popular gathering point. While the opportunity to take a gigantic selfie is well nigh irresistible, guests also can also access details of local and wider attractions, shopping and nightlife.

But a young and enthusiastic staff are happy to elaborate too, proffering their own suggestions. And general manager Michael Weston — who stands out in a crowd on grounds of height — prefers to describe his role as “curator, tailoring the guest experience”.

If that “experience” does not incorporate a concert at the Hydro, local knowledge is useful for those without a car (although there are parking spaces for drivers).

It’s a fair walk to the main shopping areas and a longer one to Ibrox Stadium around 30 minutes away, as I discovered when taking in a Rangers game, although quicker than trying to beat the crowds on public transport. It’s also around a mile on foot to the city centre Garnethill Synagogue.

If it does seem at times that the hotel is trying a little too hard to be quirky, it’s preferable to the many in the more mainstream market which do not try hard enough on so many levels.

In Britney’s words, hit me baby one more time.


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