Hotels with character

The Connich

Hilton’s hotels in Scotland have been getting a refresh over recent months. In the capital, the Caledonian has become a top-of-the-range Waldorf Astoria Hotel, with dining under the direction of Chris and Jeff Galvin, the Michelin-starred chef brothers. In Glasgow, to mark its 20th anniversary, the Hilton in William Street has had a multi-million pound rejuvenating face lift. The Connich (pictured) – Gaelic for encounter – is the perfect meeting place to eat and drink, day or night. This clubby bar has a choice of round booth tables and wing armchairs to suit the time and mood, coffee or cocktails with a quirky menu from “wee nibbles” to hearty comfort food. Indulge in afternoon tea with a modern twist and chocoholic treats in the sleek Ti Lounge. The Morblas Restaurant – Gaelic for great taste – is designer chic, sleek and minimalist for casual fine dining, specialising in Scottish seafood and steak. On Sundays, reserve a table for a traditional carvery lunch. Bedrooms are dressed in soft shades of mushroom and cinnamon with quality fabrics and furnishings. Chill out at the Living Well Health Club with its pool, fitness centre and spa.

At Dunblane, the Doubletree-brand Hydro traces its history back to the 1870s when hydropathic spas were all the rage. Today the Victorian building retains its grand architecture, elegant drawing and dining rooms, but bedrooms are designed for superior, homely comfort. And you can experience the leisure centre – swimming pool, sauna, gym – and spa for a heavenly facial. The most exciting reason to visit the hotel, however, is to dine at the Kailyard, created by the TV celebrity chef, Nick Nairn. First enjoy a drink in the bar, while studying the appetising menu of imaginative dishes which emphasise seasonal Scottish provenance. Start, perhaps, with crab cakes and spicy Asian salad, then Nick’s own-recipe rump steak burger with hand cut chips, or a truly scrumptious halibut, Avruga caviar, herb mash, butter sauce. Traditional apple pie or trifle for dessert.

Dunblane Hydro, Perth Road, Dunblane, FK15 0HG. 01786 822551

Hilton Glasgow Hotel, 1 William Street, Glasgow, G3 8HT. 0141 204 5555

The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2AB. 0131 222 8888

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