San Antonio is great. My sister lived there for many years and I had several opportunities to enjoy the city. But this post isn’t about that Alamo or Texas, it’s about Scotland – Glasgow, specifically – and my guest house de rigueur whenever I’m in town.
Stays at the Alamo Guest House bookended the three-week trip around Scotland that Sarah and I took in 2006, and I remembered my stay with such fondness that I decided to return for three nights on my last jaunt to Glasgow. As you can imagine, Glasgow is loaded with accommodation choices that are all priced competitively at levels you would expect of a large city. The Alamo shines in a few key areas that puts it on my shortlist of places to stay in Glasgow.
The Alamo Guest House sits in a row of uniform Victorian houses along Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow’s West End. Every accommodation choice is a balancing act between location, cost, and quality. I’m happy to bend a little on cost if the location or quality is superior, and, for my money, the Alamo Guest House has one of the best locations in all of Glasgow. A small street separates the guest house from gorgeous green Kelvingrove Park and stunning views of the university. The university area, replete with energetic pubs, coffee houses, and interesting shops, is a picture-perfect stroll across the park, and downtown Glasgow is a straight shot down Sauchiehall.
The Alamo’s interior is warm with large windows bringing in light that filters into the cozy Victorian corridors. Rooms are on the ground floor and sublevel, and a large breakfast room with a high ceiling overlooks the park. Tasteful modern décor works with the classic architecture, and, since my last visit five years ago, Steve, the proprietor, and his crew have updated the place from comfortable and homey to borderline elegance.
My room was downstairs with a window partially looking over the sidewalk; no view to speak of, but it brought in a significant amount of light. A very nice queen bed filled the majority of the room while a comfortable window seat and wash basin flanked it. At the moment, the Alamo has some rooms without ensuite bathrooms (like mine), though Steve mentioned he’s working to change that. Two high-end shared bathrooms were in the hall right outside my room, so it wasn’t an issue for me. The room also had a nice flat screen TV on which I could have watched DVDs from Steve’s immense library.
Powerful wifi was available throughout the Alamo, and Steve makes available a laptop in the dining room for those traveling without a computer. The dining area/breakfast room is one of the best parts of the Alamo. The view over Kelvingrove reminded me just how green Glasgow can be, and it was the perfect spot to read, relax, or do work when I needed a break from sightseeing. Breakfasts are buffet style with scrambled eggs in heating trays, which was a little disappointing considering the rest of the guest house is very top shelf.
Friendliness of staff is so important for B&Bs and guest houses – guests need to feel welcome in what is often the proprietor’s home. Whether or not I enjoy my accommodation (barring hotels and self-catering) often boils down to how welcome I was made to feel. Steve and his staff knock this out of the park. He was quick to tell me about his favorite spots in the area and we traded some recommendations for single malts. When he heard I needed to leave very early to catch my flight out, he made sure I had transportation to the airport and had breakfast out long before sunrise, when I needed it.
Location, quality rooms and furnishings, and a strong feeling of welcome make the Alamo Guest House an easy choice when staying in Glasgow. But why “the Alamo?” I asked Steve this question, and he mentioned the previous owners had found a painting of the battle of the Alamo behind the wall. Maybe one of their ancestors had fought in the battle? Perhaps we’ll never know, but it’s a hell of a find. Kind of like the Alamo Guest House itself.
Disclosure: I received a discounted rate from the Alamo Guest House, and See Glasgow covered one night. All thoughts and opinions and expressed here are my own.