Peter Ranscombe ‘goes native’ as he reviews an apartment-hotel in Glasgow city centre.
MENTION the phrase “ocean liners” and a series of names trips off the tongue – The Titanic, The Queen Mary, The QE2.
But how about The Caledonia, The Cameronia, and The United Kingdom?
Glasgow’s often forgotten role as the home of the Anchor Line transatlantic steamship company and its evocatively named fleet is being kept alive by Native, an apartment-hotel chain that opened its branch in the Dear Green Place in 2018.
The brand moved into the shipping line’s former head office at 14 St Vincent Place and took the golden age of the transatlantic cruise ships during the roaring twenties as the inspiration for its fixtures and fittings.
White tiles, art deco details, and framed posters advertising sailings to New York decorate the hallways, providing enough of a theme to give the hotel identity and cohesion without straying into tacky territory.
Inside the apartments, the high-quality of the fixtures and fitting continues, with dark grey and deep green hues abound.
The kitchenette in the premium one-bedroom apartment I reviewed was particularly impressive – a two ring halogen hob, a combination microwave oven, and even a slimline dishwasher.
It was the little touches that made a big difference though: a wee bottle of fresh milk in the fridge; washing-up liquid and a dishcloth under the sink; teabags, coffee sachets, and a cafetiere on the countertop.
Whoever designed the kitchen had clearly spent enough time on self-catering holidays to know what the weary traveller needs in a hurry.
The bathroom – or shower-room – was equally well-quipped, with a washer-dryer discretely tucked away behind a cupboard door.
While I’d argue that a big bathtub might have fitted in better with the luxurious ocean liner theme, I realise that the massive walk-in shower is, perhaps, more practical, and certainly provided a pleasing amount of power for something that could have been competing against 63 other apartments.
Giant bath sheets and Scottish shower gels and shampoos also won big ticks in my book.
There were a few niggles though; the toilet seat felt cheap and plastic-y when compared with the rest of the fittings in the bathroom, while a lack of coat hooks or hat stand in the apartment’s vestibule meant soggy jackets had to be thrown over the back of chairs.
Yet those are small niggles, making the apartment a mere slither away from the standard I’d expect from a four-star country house hotel.
For the most part, Native combines quality and practicality, making it a great choice for business travellers or those on a short break in Scotland’s biggest city.
While its kitchenette was well kitted-out, the apartment sits right at the heart of the action for eating and drinking in Glasgow, with Merchant City on its doorstep and Finnieston a brisk appetite-building walk away.
Downstairs from Native sit the Atlantic Brasserie and The Anchor Line, two of Di Maggio Restaurant Group’s (DRG’s) eateries, taking French and New York bistros respectively as their inspiration.
Next door, DRG’s The Citizen offers a buzzing lunchtime atmosphere in a former newspaper office – and its steak pie is as good as legend says.
On the opposite side of the street, chef Kevin O’Neill is cooking up some excellent Scottish fayre at Ralph & Finns – including excellent venison – while the brasserie style continues just around the corner at The Ivy Glasgow.
A couple of blocks further along St Vincent Street lies Pizza Punks’ maiden restaurant, which opened in Glasgow in 2016 before spreading further south.
A salt and chili pizza washed down with a pint of fresh Staropramen Czech lager was an ideal lunchtime treat before checking in at Native.
A wee bit further afield, Vega is serving up delicious beige bounty to accompany the burgers in its roof-top bowling alley, while the newly reopened The Griffin opposite the King’s Theatre is pouring its new owner’s Isle of Skye beers just an energetic walk over the top of the Blythswood hill in Charing Cross.
While The Griffin was on the cusp of serving food again when I last visited, I’m looking forward to trying the chicken strips it’s advertising on its website.
Find out more about Native Glasgow on its webpages.
Plus, read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s travel pages.