“ Address: No 1-19 Albion Street/ Glasgow G1 1LH / Scotland „
Fraser Suites location at Glasgow's Trongate (at one end of Argyle Street where the shops peter out) doesn't initially seem like a very good draw. Glasgow is suffering the effects of recession as much as many other cities across the United Kingdom and as the boutiques and high street regulars are looking a little ragged, with the few new stores opening consisting of pound shops and other discounters.
There are ambitious plans for the area and I hope they reach fruition. Having left Glasgow after living there for fifteen years I'm sadly too aware of the fact that so many attempts at regeneration have fallen by the wayside in the city and it would be sad to see a great shopping location turn into a ghost town.
The suites themselves are discreetly tucked away on Albion Street (address at the end of this section) and the attractive while not particularly memorable 19th century façade designed by architect JT Rochead is a bit like the hotel - discreet, tasteful and excellently maintained.
1-19 Albion Street
Glasgow, G1 1LH
0141 553 4288
Rather reasonable rates...
I have to confess that I didn't pay for my stay at the Fraser Suites. I was in Glasgow for a work event and chose it using the standard rationale, which consists of seeing which hotel in our approved list comes highest on Trip Advisor and booking accordingly!
That said, looking at the rates online I think that they're very good value for money if you want a suite with all mod cons with a degree of class, as opposed to another soulless chain hotel room. The Fraser Suites website claims to offer the cheapest prices available online for their rooms and at the present time you will pay £80 a night for a studio (I stayed in one of these), or £99 for a one bedroom apartment. The only downside to this price is the fact that breakfast isn't included, but this probably won't be a deal breaker for most.
One word for check in - smooth! The helpful member of staff asked my name, checked one list and told me everything that I needed to know. I was presented with my room key card, told where to go for breakfast and where the fitness centre was (conveniently on my floor) and made aware of when the front door was locked for the evening etc. Having travelled for business a few times over the last year, this was far and away my best luck at a hotel reception.
Call this a studio? It's bigger than my house!
When I chatted with the member of staff from our travel team she seemed a little disheartened when she said that I was getting a studio. Any doubts, however, were quickly dispelled when I walked into the cavernous room that passes for a studio in the Fraser Suites.
It was a lovely merchant city room, with a generous open plan expanse and windows that were easily 10' high. These flooded the room with light during the day and my only gripe is that the curtains were actually physically hard to close as they were so long.
The neutrally decorated entrance hallway led on to a tastefully furnished sitting area (a comfortable leather couch, chairs and a low coffee table), a small kitchen area and a large bedroom/sleeping space. Everything was clean and tidy and while the provision of 'stuff' (decoration) was minimal, this was very much in keeping with the style of the hotel and the rooms.
The bed was spacious and soft and I was sad to be going home to my own less comfortable bed once the trip ended. There was more storage space than any man travelling for business could have needed, but this would have been very useful if my girlfriend had com with me, or if I was there for a longer stay.
The bathroom was everything you'd expect - with a deep bath, a shower that could skin you alive with its powerful blasts of hot water and a profusion of puffy soft towels. The free toiletries were by L'occitane and had a refreshing herbal scent to them.
The kitchenette consisted of a small combi oven/microwave, a two ring hob, a fridge and all the pots, pans utensils and other chicanery you'd expect in a small kitchen. There were even a few more unusual accessories including a colander, various wine openers and some kitchen cleaning products.
Let me entertain you...
Whether travelling for leisure or business, everyone appreciates a little entertainment to help them relax after a busy day doing whatever. Every room in the Fraser Suites has a good sized TV with a selection of terrestrial and Freeview channels, in addition to various radio stations.
There was a small stereo complete with CD player tucked away in one corner of the room over the desk and while the radio reception was terrible, this seems a minor complaint.
I didn't use the gym as I only had hand luggage with me (and because I'm a lazy sod), but it looked very modern and had a reasonable selection of exercise machines and the like. There was no extra charge to use these facilities and they weren't too busy when I went to inspect them.
I find it hard sleeping in a new bed...
My two nights at the Fraser Suites didn't really let me sleep very well, despite the soft bed. The lack of familiarity and the fact that I was missing my girlfriend weren't made any easier by the low level but persistent noises of the occasional reveller passing by outside. Glasgow's merchant city can be fairly loud at times and my first floor room perhaps exacerbated this. I spoke to a colleague who had a room on the fourth floor and he had no complaints... Despite feeling somewhat washed out, I couldn't really blame the hotel for outside noise, as they had provided robust blackout curtains to baffle noise and exclude light.
Food - it's what you make it!
The Fraser Suites doesn't have a restaurant, although I don't think that's a drawback. Glasgow caters to most tastes - from black pudding suppers and Irn Bru to a gourmet feast at some of Scotland's most highly regarded eateries. I hadn't been expecting a kitchen, but probably would have used it if I had been on holiday. As I was travelling for work, I was able to claim back reasonable expenses and went out to explore and get food (I recommend this approach to anyone unfamiliar with the city).
There is a breakfast room, which is where I traipsed in the morning to fill up on carbs! Conveniently for me this was also on the same floor as my room and I felt very spoiled very quickly.
The selection was good for the price (about £6 for breakfast) and there were juices, hot drinks, a range of cereals and granola, bread, toasters (important!), croissants, muffins, fresh fruit, cheese, spreads and jams and a few other light snacks. Breakfast was decidedly continental (not the continental which means platters of cheese and ham as is often practised in London hotels). I felt relaxed and able to fill up for the day watching the news on the breakfast room TV, all the broadsheets were provided and the staff were polite and unobtrusive - pleasant when you're trying to wake up in the morning.
Other bits and pieces...
In addition to the features already mentioned, there was:
'Telephone with private number and voicemail facilities
Additional line for fax/internet with broadband access
Alarm clock radio
Iron and ironing board
In-room electronic safe
Individually controlled heating
Self service laundry'
This small section was lifted from the hotel website and I've included it for the sake of completeness.
I'd love to go back...
As my family stay seven miles outside of Glasgow, I only really get to stay in hotels there when I travel for work purposes. Tourists, or those who don't have relatives so conveniently placed will struggle to do better for a hotel in Glasgow.
Check it out!