Though but 40 miles apart, Edinburgh and Glasgow, the two great cities of Scotland, used to be chalk and cheese. Edinburgh was the one with all the history: It was cultured, august, and prim. With its old castle atop an extinct volcano, and its beautiful Georgian New Town across the ravine of Princes Street Gardens, its territory was the glorious past, while Glasgow, its catch-as-catch-can industrial neighbor, occupied the feisty and none-too-pretty present. Edinburgh, the Athens of the North, the home of the 18th-century Scottish Enlightenment and of such leading lights as David Hume and Adam Smith, was the capital, they used to say, but Glasgow had the capital. Known in its heyday as The Second City of Empire, Glasgow was a brash mercantile money-getter, changing its trades from tobacco to textiles to shipbuilding whenever the market demanded it. It was somewhat like New York to Edinburgh's Washington.
Not everything has changed, of course. Edinburgh is now home to the three-year-old Scottish Parliament, and Glasgow still takes pride in its no-nonsense approach to life and its democratic mixing of classes. But in the past few years there's been a distinct trading of personalities between the two cities. Edinburgh today is full of new bars, clubs, and restaurants, particularly in its old port at Leith, while Glasgow has awoken from a post-industrial hangover to discover that it too has a valuable past: one made up of great swaths of parks, extraordinary art collections, and scores of fine Georgian and Victorian buildings. Glasgow has developed a tourist trade of its own these days—and a brand new well of self-confidence. Edinburgh may have its famous International Festival (in August and September), but Glasgow has festivals and fairs one after another throughout the year. Edinburgh may have the National Gallery of Scotland and the Museum of Scotland, but Glasgow has the Scottish National Orchestra and Ballet. And as for buildings: James Craig and Robert Adam, the architects of the New Town, Edinburgh's stunning 18th-century Brasilia, are all very well, but who can match the Neoclassical monuments of Alexander "Greek" Thomson, the Victorian forerunner of Frank Lloyd Wright, or of Glasgow's Art Nouveau nonpareil, Charles Rennie Mackintosh?
The sniping between the two cities may well continue for ages. But both are today prime destinations, each with its own idiosyncratic character. Edinburgh's is perhaps best summed up in the aristocratic harmonies of Adam's Charlotte Square, and Glasgow's in the popular appeal of its Gallery of Modern Art, plopped down in the middle of the old Royal Exchange. And if by chance you tire of either place? Glasgow is within easy distance of Prestwick Golf Club and Royal Troon (among many others), and Edinburgh has 89 golf courses within 20 miles. In both cases, there is fishing, climbing, sailing, and riding nearby. Enjoy.
BEST TIME TO VISIT High season runs from May to September, and temperatures can reach 75š in July, when night doesn't fall until around 10:30 p.m.
GETTING THERE Continental Airlines (800-231-0856) flies direct to Glasgow from Newark, New Jersey; or fly into either Glasgow or Edinburgh via London with Delta (800-241-4141), United (800-538-2929), American (800-433-7300), Virgin Atlantic (800-862-8621), or British Airways (800-247-9297). Flight time is seven hours from the East Coast.
TELEPHONE NUMBERS Country code: 44. Edinburgh city code: 141; Glasgow city code: 131. When dialing in the U.K., the city code should be preceded by 0.
CURRENCY British pound. Scotland also issues its own notes (acceptable in any part of the U.K.). The current exchange rate is £0.65=$1.00.
TAXES Many goods and hotels in the U.K. are subject to a value added tax (VAT) of 17.5 percent.
LOCAL TIME Five hours ahead of EST.
TIPPING Restaurant service is sometimes included and specified on the bill. Otherwise, tip 10 percent.
GOINGS ON The List, a biweekly magazine, covers events in both cities.
PRICES In U.S. dollars.
RATES For high-season double occupancy, from the least expensive double room to the most expensive suite, exclusive of a 15 percent service charge.
RESTAURANT PRICES Dinner for two, excluding wine and tip.
PLATINUM CARD SERVICE (PTS) or Centurion Member Services (CMS). For assistance with travel to Scotland, or any other destination in this issue, call 800-443-7672 (PTS) or 877-877-0987 (CMS). From abroad, call 623-492-5000 collect.
The Balmoral Formerly called The North British and one of Britain's most august and baronial railroad hotels, the 100-year-old Balmoral is now, after successive refurbishments, one of the finest luxury hotels in Britain. It has everything you would expect of a grand Edwardian establishment: doormen in full Highland rig, a towering reception area, expert concierges, and a Palm Court for informal meetings and refreshments. It also has two exceedingly good restaurants (see "Dining Out"); a brand-new state-of-the-art business center; a handsome Roman-style pool, gym, and health spa; even a pub. It's the top spot for Edinburgh's social gatherings, and its 188 rooms and suites are as well-designed and comfortable as any in the city. The room decor is Scottish country-house: bright, solid colors and tartans. The best views are on the west and south sides, and ask for a deluxe room or a suite, since the standard doubles are on the small side. I favor the third-floor corner suites, which have gas fireplaces. Rooms, $430-$1,850. At 1 Princes St.; 556-2414; fax 557-3747.
Malmaison The "Mal"—one of a chain of small hotels managed by Radisson in several of Britain's major cities—is on the waterfront at Leith, and is the place from which to explore Edinburgh's old port. Housed in what was once a monumental seamen's hostel, it's a short walk from the new Ocean Terminal mall and the Royal Yacht Britannia, and right in among the restaurants and pubs and warehouse developments that make this the city's up-and-coming area. A new extension has brought the number of rooms to 101 (all of them done in either large checks or wide stripes in a palette of coffee, cream, navy, and olive). But ask to stay in the old building, preferably in one of the rooms or suites that look out over the water (second-floor rooms, some of them with fourposter beds, have extra-high ceilings). Rooms, $225-$300. At 1 Tower Place, Leith; 468-5000; fax 468-5002.
The Scotsman This unmissable red sandstone Edwardian building with a large marble staircase once housed the offices of The Scotsman newspaper, and it remains something of a labyrinth. It's now a luxury hotel with 56 rooms and 12 suites, all with nice touches: a privacy hatch for deliveries; fresh milk for coffee; an Edinburgh Monopoly game. It also has a well-equipped health club, a brasserie with a sushi bar, and a fine small restaurant. Excellent views from the upper floors, particularly over North Bridge toward the Firth of Forth. Rooms, $270-$1,600. At 20 North Bridge; 556-5565; fax 652-3652; www.thescotsmanhotel.co.uk.
The Bonham An elegant boutique hotel bordering the New Town, whose Victorian facade hides 46 rooms and two suites, each sleekly minimalist, with a mixture of antique and modern furniture and works by local artists. Room 402 has a telescope; room 1 a large copper bath. Rooms, $300-$500. At 35 Drumsheugh Gardens; 226-6050; fax 226-6080; www.thebonham.com.
The Witchery by the Castle This is an offshoot of James Thomson's eccentric restaurant operation (see "Dining Out") and has been expanded from two to six suites, each sumptuously and theatrically furnished with Gothic antiques and tapestries. Rooms, $300, including a bottle of Pol Roger on arrival. At Castlehill, The Royal Mile; 225-5613; fax 220-4392; www.thewitchery.com.
Number One The Balmoral Hotel's outstanding restaurant is elegantly appointed, with red lacquer and gold leaf on the walls and banquettes in gold velvet. The cooking, by chef Jeff Bland, is as unfussy and deceptively simple as the surroundings. Don't be fooled, though, for art, as someone said, consists in the hiding of it—and this is high art indeed. Among the highlights are foie gras parfait with Champagne jelly, succulent venison and quail, and a tasting menu of six courses (offered with wines selected for each by a superb sommelier) that is a gastronomic tour of the best Scottish produce handled with aplomb and style. Lunch here—at $19 for two courses, or $24 for three—is one of the city's best bargains. Dinner, $120; tasting menu, $80; with wines, $115. At 1 Princes St.; 557-6727.
Restaurant Martin Wishart Edinburgh's only Michelin-starred restaurant, in a pair of modest shopfronts on The Shore in Leith, is booked for dinner weeks ahead. Wishart's cooking is innovative and restlessly experimental, with a stage manager's eye for detail: tartlet of broad beans with wild mushrooms, grilled langoustine tails, and celeriac cream, for example; or roast loin of lamb with eggplant caviar, basil mousse, and braised fennel. The desserts—such as tarte Tatin of pineapple with a fromage frais sorbet, or coupe of strawberry jelly with apricot compote and almond cream—are equally inventive. Dinner, $125. 1 At 54 The Shore, Leith; 553-3557.
(fitz) Henry A wonderful brasserie presided over by Hubert Lamort, a passionate and fiercely idiosyncratic chef from the Lubéron. It's Provence transplanted to Scotland: full of wild, earthy tastes in a menu that changes weekly. Top dishes include warm artichoke barigoule with broad beans and Tuscan olive oil and roast halibut with fresh borlotti beans in salsa verde with lemon-and-anchovy vinaigrette. Get to know the young proprietor and sommelier Alan Morrison, whose wine list is another work of art. Dinner, $80. At 19 Shore Place, Leith; 555-6625.
The Witchery by the Castle Two idiosyncratic and popular restaurants in one building (I prefer the more romantic Secret Garden, downstairs), outfitted with Gothic wood paneling, tapestries, and oil lamps, offer a mixture of traditional and adventurous Scottish cooking—and one of the longest and deepest wine lists on earth. Dinner, $110. At Castlehill, Royal Mile; 225-5613.
Fishers A cheerful, informal bistro next to the Malmaison in Leith. There's much of what you'd expect—Loch Fyne oysters, fine fish cakes, grilled scallops, a modestly priced wine list—and some of what you wouldn't: king prawns and chorizo with eggplant-and-chile chutney, tuna with Szechuan pepper, butternut squash and olive oil mash. Dinner, $60. At 1 The Shore, Leith; 554-5666. Fishers in the City is downtown—and slightly more upmarket. Dinner, $70. At 58 Thistle Lane; 225-5109.
Crombie Retail is the oak-paneled home of the classic Crombie coat beloved by American presidents (63 George St.; 226-1612). John Dickson & Son has high-quality country clothing and a full range of hunting and shooting accessories (21 Frederick St.; 225-4218). Karen Millen offers dresses, sweaters, and coats by the London-based fashion designer (53 George St.; 220-1589). For bespoke and prêt-à-porter cashmere, seek out Belinda Robertson (22 Palmerston Place; 225-1057). Jenners (48 Princes St.; 225-2442), the oldest independent department store in the world (known as "the Scottish Harrods"), has six floors of merchandise, including international designer wear, a huge toy department, and a food hall stuffed with the best Scottish products. And the first Scottish outpost of Harvey Nichols (30-34 St. Andrew Square; 524-8388), the ultra-chic London-based department store, just opened this summer in the New Town.
Hamilton & Inches (87 George St.; 225-4898) is the premier Scottish contemporary jeweler, housed since 1866 in a late Georgian building, complete with ornate plasterwork and gilded columns. For antique jewelry, the best port of call is Joseph Bonnar (72 Thistle St.; 226-2811).
Shopping/Cashmere and Kilts
The Royal Mile, between Edinburgh Castle and The Palace of Holyroodhouse, is full of shops selling woollens and cashmeres, among them The Cashmere Store (2 St. Giles St.; 225-5178) and Islay Clothing $ (479 Lawnmarket; 225-4088). Different versions of Scottish heritage are also available: at Royal Mile Whiskies, which has a vast selection of single malts (379 High St.; 225-3383); at Bagpipes Galore! (82 Canongate; 556-4073); and at Hector Russell, Kiltmaker (137-41 High St.; 558-1254) and Geoffrey (tailor) Kiltmaker (57-59 High St. 226-4162).
Places to Visit
The Royal Mile Stretching between the castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse (and assuming four different street names in the process), the Royal Mile is the heart of Old Town. Along the way, downhill: Gladstone's Land (477B Lawnmarket, with expert guides), a reconstruction, in a mid-16th-century tenement, of life and living in 17th-century Edinburgh; St. Giles' Cathedral (High St.), the mainly 15th-century headquarters of the Scottish Reformation; The John Knox House (45 High St.), the oldest townhouse in Edinburgh, with an exhibition of the fierce reformer Knox's life and works; Canongate Tolbooth (163 Canongate), built in 1591 as a tax-collection point and now housing The People's Story, a museum of popular history from the 18th century onwards.
Palace of Holyroodhouse and Holyrood Abbey The abbey, founded in 1128, is now a picturesque ruin, but the palace, mostly 17th-century, is still the official royal residence of Scotland. The tour includes the Great Gallery, with its portraits of 110 Scottish kings (both real and legendary), and, in a 16th-century tower, Mary, Queen of Scots' bedchamber, where her jealous husband, Lord Darnley, murdered her secretary, David Rizzio. Bottom of Royal Mile; 556-1096.
Royal Museum and Museum of Scotland The Museum of Scotland, opened in 1998, contains a fascinating collection of important historic objects from the country's past. It's an extension of the Royal Museum, an eclectic gathering of everything from fossils and animal skeletons to Greek sculpture and decorative objects from around the world. At Chambers St.; 247-4219.
National Gallery of Scotland Built in Neoclassical style (1859), the gallery houses one of the most important collections of old masters outside London, including Tintoretto, Titian, Holbein, Rubens, Vermeer, El Greco, Rembrandt, and Poussin. At The Mound; 624-6200.
Charlotte Square This monumental collection of five long, palace-like facades was Robert Adam's architectural masterpiece. It features (at No. 6) the Scottish first minister's official residence and (at No. 7) Georgian House, a townhouse museum with an extremely good collection of paintings and furniture. 226-3318.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Set away from the center in an 1820s William Burn building surrounded by a sculpture park, the gallery has an outstanding permanent collection of works by such artists as Picasso, Matisse, Magritte, Mondrian, and Giacometti, as well as by a large number of Scottish painters. On the grounds there are sculptures by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Eduardo Paolozzi. At 75 Belford Rd.; 624-6326.
Royal Yacht Britannia Now moored in the old port of Leith, the yacht Britannia was the royal family's home away from home during foreign visits and the occasional cruise (it was decommissioned in 1997). Surprisingly unpalatial (some of it is reminiscent of a 1950s bungalow), the 412-foot ship nevertheless once housed not only the royal family but also 45 staff members, 20 officers, and 220 yachtsmen—not to mention a Rolls-Royce squeezed into a garage on deck. At Ocean Drive, Leith; 555-5566.
1 Devonshire Gardens This wonderful small hotel (with the extraordinary Amaryllis restaurant; see "Dining Out"), made up of four Edwardian townhouses with gorgeous stained-glass windows lighting each stairwell, has long been Glasgow's premier boutique stopover. The 39 rooms are handsomely decorated; 12 have fourposter beds. No. 27, on the ground floor, gives out onto a small patio. Rooms, $285-$655. At 1 Devonshire Gardens; 339-2001; fax 337-1663.
Saint Jude's Originally affiliated with London's hip Groucho Club, this tiny six-room downtown hotel, now on its own, is still the last word in cool. But it's also intimate and friendly, with a busy downstairs bar and a fine restaurant, presided over by Australian-born Martin Teplitzky. The pale-green rooms are very comfortable, and the Penthouse Suite, with a huge stainless-steel tub in one of the bathrooms, is big enough to lose yourself in. This is the place to find out what's happening without even having to go out. Rooms, $180-$285. At 190 Bath St.; 352-8800; fax 352-8801; www.saintjudes.com.
Malmaison Set in a converted Greek Orthodox church not far from the city center, Glasgow's "Mal" has 72 brightly decorated rooms and suites, a gym, an airy reception area, a grand staircase, and a very good brasserie in the pillared basement. If it's not quite as hip as it thinks it is, it's still comfortable and close to the fine Georgian buildings on Blythswood Hill. Rooms, $185-$240. At 278 West George St.; 572-1000; fax 572-1003.
The Arthouse Hotel Behind the poky reception area here there's a high and wide tiled stairwell, with a wall-hugging waterfall and the Glasgow Education Authority building's original elevator, giving access to three floors of rooms. There's gold-embossed wallpaper in the hallways, and paintings and prints are hung everywhere. Rooms, $155-$280. At 129 Bath St.; 221-6789; www.arthousehotel.com.
Lanes Hotel A high-concept designer hotel, with an eye more to international chic than to comfort. With a lofty atrium bar, a Japanese-style restaurant (with Asian-fusion cooking), a spa, and funky low beds in the penthouse suites, it seems anxious to not have one hair out of place—and slightly too self-conscious for scruffy Glasgow. 100 rooms. Rooms, $155-$285. At 2 Port Dundas Place; 333-1500; www.laneshotel.co.uk.
Amaryllis Opened last year under the direction of London-based perfectionist Gordon Ramsay, the Amaryllis, in a suite of double-height rooms at 1 Devonshire Gardens, earned its first Michelin star in just one year, and it shouldn't be long before it gets a second. The setting is elegant; the service, impeccable; and the cooking, by Glasgow native David Dempsey, both beautiful to look at and full of grace notes. Pigeon breasts, for example, come with a ravioli of wild mushrooms, port-and-prune sauce, braised shallots, and a host of complementary tastes and textures. The amuse-bouches and desserts, too, are brilliantly inventive. This is high-style cooking as good as any in Britain. Dinner, $110. At 1 Devonshire Gardens; 337-3434.
Farfelu A bright and airy upstairs room in the burgeoning Merchant City quarter, that features original and extremely intelligent cooking by chef Kenny Coltman. Seared scallops on horseradish mash with mustard oil and parsley juice; sautéed monkfish tails with braised oxtails, endive, and woodland mushrooms. Dinner, $90. At 89 Candleriggs; 552-5345.
Rogano Dating from the 1930s, this restaurant's interior, with bird's-eye maple paneling and chrome trim, is a replica of that of the Queen Mary, which was then being built on the river Clyde. Rogano is a Glasgow institution, full of lawyers in the oyster bar at lunchtime and families at night. The cooking is comfortably traditional, but the fish and shellfish are immaculately fresh, and the wine list is strong on good French whites. Dinner, $110. At 11 Exchange Place; 248-4055.
Nairn's, a below-stairs affair supervised by Scottish celebrity chef Nick Nairn. Offerings include risotto of butternut squash and roasted fennel; terrine of chicken livers, potato, and Parma ham with a mustard beignet; grilled scallops in squid-ink pasta. Dinner, $115. At 13 Woodside Crescent; 353-0707. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Glasgow is often said to be Britain's busiest and most popular retail center outside London, and it has a number of large shopping malls in the center of the city, boasting a wide range of familiar high-street and international fashion names. Of the malls, Princes Square (48 Buchanan St.), an Art Nouveau makeover, is easily the most beautiful, and it's home to both The Scottish Craft Centre (212-0324), which offers work from Scotland's best craftspeople in every medium and Linens Fine (248-7082), which has beautiful embroidered and embellished bed linens and textiles. Elsewhere, Catherine Shaw (24 Gordon St.; 204-4762) offers high-quality giftware in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh style.
Art has played a vital role in Glasgow's resurgence. The Compass Gallery $ (178 West Regent St.; 221-6370) is the city's oldest contemporary art gallery, and every July it offers New Generation, a show by recent graduates of the city's art colleges. The Transmission Gallery (28 King St.; 552-4813), which sells everything from photography to glass and pottery, reflects Glasgow's new status as a hotspot of conceptual art. At the Glasgow Print Studio (22 and 25 King St.; 552-0704) you will find etchings, lithographs, and screenprints by many of the city's established (John Bellany, Hock-Aun Teh, Peter Howson) and up-and-coming artists. Nearby, Tracey MacNee, a knowledgeable art consultant who formerly worked for Christie's in New York, runs Pivotal Art (2 Merchant Square, Candleriggs; 552-5627), where she offers first-rate work by some of the best-known of the city's painters.
Places to Visit
Glasgow Cathedral Most of this pre-Reformation building dates from the 13th to the 15th centuries, but it stands on ground that's been hallowed for 1,500 years. Its finest features are the 15th-century stone choir screen and the fan-vaulting around the crypt of St. Mungo, Glasgow's sixth-century patron saint (nearby is St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art). At 2 Castle St.
Gallery of Modern Art A cheeky makeover of the city's august, colonnaded 1829 Royal Exchange building, this gallery, which contains work by artists from around the world, is unashamedly populist, eclectic, and fun. At 111 Queen St.; 229-1996.
Merchant City East of George Square is this 18th-century development, where Glasgow's sugar and tobacco merchants built warehouses, offices, and homes. Later, when the money shifted west, the whole area became neglected and run-down. Now, though, it's been largely renovated, and it's full not only of cafés and bars but also of remarkable buildings. Hutcheson's Hall (1805) at 158 Ingram Street, is an elegant Neoclassical structure, with a neat white clocktower and spire. It's now the headquarters of the Scottish National Trust, and has a shop offering china, giftware, and textiles, many handmade, exclusively designed for Trust properties. The Italian Centre (1828), between South Frederick and John Streets, is a revitalized warehouse with lively cafés, outdoor sculptures, and fashion boutiques, including the first Versace outlet in Britain. Despite many alterations, The Trades Hall (1794), on Glassford Street, still retains its original Robert Adam facade. Also notable are the City Hall concert hall (1817) and old Merchants' Square, both on Candleriggs.
The People's Palace At the northern end of Glasgow Green in the East End is this fascinating museum of social history, told from the point of view of the city's working-class families. This is the place to get a real taste of the tenor of Glaswegian life, from its comedians and old communal laundries to its bars and pubs and passion for football. Glasgow Green; 554-0223.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum This Victorian cathedral of culture in the West End houses one of the finest municipal collections in Britain. The ground floor has a rather jumbled gathering of armor, tapestries, and costumes, but upstairs are rooms full of remarkable paintings by Goya, Botticelli, Giorgione, Rembrandt, and all the big names of Impressionism, Fauvism, and Scottish painting. There's also a room dedicated to that great Glaswegian architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with a marvellous collection of his furniture. At Argyll St., Kelvingrove; 287-2699. Call for information, since a major refurbishment is planned.
Hunterian Art Gallery A short walk from the Kelvingrove, the Hunterian, part of Glasgow University, has a fine collection of European paintings, as well as the largest gathering of works by James Abbott McNeill Whistler outside the United States. Attached to it is The Mackintosh House, a superb reconstruction of a house that the architect and his wife, Margaret Macdonald, occupied in Glasgow between 1906 and 1914. It contains his designs, original decorations, and 80 or so pieces of his furniture. At 82 Hillhead St.; 330-5431.
The Burrell Collection In an airy gallery in Pollok Park southwest of the city is the extraordinary collection of shipping magnate Sir William Burrell, which was donated to the city in 1944. Glasgow's most popular attraction, it contains everything from Chinese porcelain and medieval furniture to carved Romanesque doorways and ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. It also has paintings by Rembrandt (Self-Portrait of 1632) and Manet, Rodin's The Thinker, and stunning Degas pastels. At 2060 Pollokshaws Rd.; 287-2550.
On the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Trail
A visit to the Burrell Collection can be combined with one to Mackintosh's Scotland Street School (225 Scotland St.; 287-0500), now a museum of education. This is one of the most modern of his buildings, with a tiled entrance hall and twin leaded-glass stairtowers with fine stonework detailing and conical roofs. On the same trip you can also see his House for an Art Lover (10 Dumbreck Rd.; 353-4773), in Bellahouston Park, designed in 1901 but only completed (from his original drawings) in 1996. A striking white villa, its two long side walls are decorated with Art Nouveau reliefs, and its interiors are marked by space, light, and an absence of clutter. It's top floor is now a center for graduate students of the Glasgow School of Art, but a number of rooms are open to the public.
Other notable points of call on the Mackintosh trail are:
The Glasgow School of Art (167 Renfrew St.; 353-4526), his defining masterpiece, which the architect Robert Venturi once compared to the work of Michelangelo. Built in warm sandstone in two halves, a mock-Scots Baronial east wing and a softer west wing, it has four-story oriel windows that light the studios. Interiors have oriental reliefs, stylized Celtic illuminations, and a fine selection of furniture. Queen's Cross Church (870 Garscube Rd.; 946-6600) has an asymmetrical exterior with a box-shaped tower, a barrel-vaulted roof, and floral motifs in the large chancel window. It's now the headquarters of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society. The faithful reconstruction of The Willow Tearoom (217 Sauchiehall St.; 332-0521), one of the four gathering places Miss Kate Cranston, a temperance advocate, commissioned Mackintosh to design and decorate. The Daily Record building on Renfield Lane (exterior only); and the Glasgow Herald building on Mitchell Lane, which includes a new architectural and design center, The Lighthouse (11 Mitchell Lane; 225-8414). Here there is a Mackintosh Viewing Tower, with remarkable views over the city he helped build and make famous.
Alexander "Greek" Thomson This great Glaswegian Neoclassical architect (1817-75) left every bit as strong a mark on the city as did Mackintosh (though much of Thomson's work was destroyed in the 1960s). There are four great monuments left in the city to Thomson, who built in a deeply idiosyncratic Greek style incorporating modern innovations such as iron beams and plate glass. His strongly horizontal work prefigures in many ways Frank Lloyd Wright's much later Prairie-House period. Holmwood House (61-63 Netherlee Rd.; 637-2129), in Cathcart on the South Side, was built for a paper manufacturer in the 1850s. With a complex, asymmetrical design, a spectacular cupola, and chimney pots in the shape of Egyptian lotus-flowers, the richness of Thomson's color schemes is slowly revealed, though his original furnishings, as elsewhere, have been lost. Grecian Chambers, a former warehouse on Sauchiehall Street, has been turned into The Centre for Contemporary Arts: a low three-story building with a Greek-style central doorway and a long row of Egyptian columns on the second story. Thomson's Egyptian Halls, on Union Street, comprise a four-story cast-iron building with elaborate Assyrian scrollwork on the ground level and squat Egyptian columns on the third. Finally, his St. Vincent Street Church, with six fluted columns supporting a substantial Ionic portico and a tower that would not be out of place in India, is one of the World Monument Fund's 100 most endangered sites.
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Disclaimer: The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication in October 2002, but we suggest you confirm all details with the service establishments before making travel plans.