Grand entrance for the Grand Central Hotel

09 Sep 2010

The historic Central Hotel in Glasgow has been given a new lease of life following a £20m refurbishment by leading hotel and conference operator Principal Hayley. Following an extensive renovation programme which uncovered many of the building’s stunning original features, the hotel re-opens this month as The Grand Central Hotel.

Located in the heart of Glasgow city centre, above Central Station, The Grand Central Hotel offers some of the most flexible conference space in Scotland with 21 function rooms of various sizes. The accommodation includes The Grand Room of Glasgow - a truly magnificent ballroom with capacity for up to 600 delegates. The hotel also offers 186 stylish guest bedrooms and a chic champagne bar which overlooks Central Station.

The Grand Central Hotel holds a special place in the heart of Glaswegians who remember it in its glory days when it regularly played host to Hollywood royalty including Vivien Leigh, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Laurel and Hardy when they visited the city.

The refurbishment of the former Central Hotel got underway in June 2009 when Principal Hayley acquired the site with over 200 builders involved in the project over the past year.

Tony Troy, CEO Principal Hayley said: "The acquisition of the Grand Central Hotel is in keeping with our strategy of offering dedicated conference hotels in key city centre locations around the UK.

Tony added: "Having already been successful in the East of the country with The George Hotel Edinburgh, Glasgow seemed like the natural progression and the former Central Hotel was the preferred option with Principal Hayley's affection for historic buildings being noted at not only The George, but at The Met Hotel Leeds, The Palace Hotel Manchester and the Hotel Russell in London."

In addition to its conference and banqueting offering, the hotel also boasts 186 guest bedrooms including executive and family rooms and three suites. The suites are named after three people who helped to shape the hotel's history;

•    Robert Rowand Anderson - who designed the hotel and Glasgow Central Station
•    John Logie Baird - who transmitted the first long distance television images to the hotel
•    John F Kennedy - who visited the hotel

Robert Rowand Anderson, Architect

The Grand Central Hotel was designed by Robert Rowand Anderson, Scotland's leading architect at the end of the 19th century. His architecture was eclectic, ranging from Classical to Scottish Gothic and Scots Baronial. Other buildings for which he's famed for include the McEwan Hall and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, both in Edinburgh. For the Central Hotel, Anderson chose the Queen Anne style of architecture - an informal style that includes picturesque details, intricate gables and multi-paned windows.

The spacious A-listed building, dating from 1883 when the station itself was built, takes up an entire city block, with the main entrance on the corner of Gordon Street and Hope Street, and another entrance opening on to the Central Station concourse.

John Logie Baird

With its long history, the Central Hotel has plenty of famous connections, but its link with the invention of television is perhaps the strongest.

On 27 May 1927 John Logie Baird, a quiet, well-read engineer from Helensburgh, transmitted a television signal from London to a room on the hotel's 4th floor. The world hasn't been the same since! The pictures he transmitted, using telephone wires and shortwave radio, were only 2 inches in diameter, but John Logie Baird himself was clearly recognisable in the images transmitted with the help of his assistant, radio expert Benn Clapp.

The John Logie Baird Awards, which honour the country's finest innovators and their achievements, will be staged in the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow in 2011.

John F Kennedy

JFK was just one of many famous politicians and celebrities who have stayed at the hotel over the years. Other famous guests have included Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

The restoration of the Grand Central

A number of stunning original features have been uncovered and restored at the hotel, including Italian marble floors. The Grand Room of Glasgow, will once again become a leading banqueting destination in Glasgow and the glittering champagne bar, which overlooks central station will become a gathering place of distinction.

The Grand Central Hotel has created 150 new jobs in Glasgow, offering a great opportunity to those looking to work in one of Scotland's most iconic hotels.  It will also offer Glaswegians and those who are visiting the city a true sense of history and grandeur. As one of the most historic buildings in the city, the Grand Central Hotel will once again take its place as Glasgow's leading hotel and conference venue.

9th September 2010

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Project details
  • Grand Central Hotel
    • The Grand Central Hotel at Central Station
    • Image of the dining room, supplied by Grand Central
    • Image of the cafe bar, supplied by Grand Central