Room-ance? Professed Valentine’s cynic Kirstin Innes submits to a five star romantic experience at Glasgow’s Hotel Du Vin
that expense. All
I ’ve always been suspicious of Valentine’s Day. It’s not that I’m not romantic, I just object to being told how, with what colours, and on what day I ought to be expressing my love. All that pink. All that expectation. While I can see that hiding away in a hotel room in your own city for a night could feel exciting and decadent, the idea that romance can be packaged and marketed is exactly what I object to about Valentine’s Day. So I arrive to try out the ‘Valentine’s Experience’ at One Devonshire Gardens, the flagship of the Hotel Du Vin chain, if not feeling cynical, then certainly needing to be convinced.
The highly rated hotel sprawls over five interconnected Victorian townhouses, set just back from Great Western Road. Everything from the oak-panelling and roaring fires in the reception area and the excellent (not obsequious) service, right down to tiny details like the cigar shack in the walled garden, gestures to an old world sensibility and a taste for the good life. The word ‘luxury’, often used to reward five star hotels for bland corporate gloss, is far too brash a description to apply here. There’s a great feeling of the history of the hotel, and the history of Glasgow’s merchant- wealthy areas, all around, and this only deepens the experience. The sense of refinement extends to the Valentine’s package, too. Champagne on ice and tiny, indulgent squares of hand-made chocolate, are waiting for us in our
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with The sensual pleasures only intensify over dinner, of course: the bistro has won as many awards as the hotel, and is the current Scottish Restaurant Awards Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year. The menu is French-influenced a contemporary Scottish slant: there’s a special Valentine’s carte with foods chosen for their particular sensual or aphrodisiac qualities, but we choose from the main menu for a slight surcharge, sliding caviar-topped oysters resting in Champagne down our throats and groaning in appreciation of mouthfuls of pigeon breast and lobster soufflé. Master sommelier Sebastian is always on hand, taking positive pleasure in successfully matching a glass of wine to each course.
We stop for a cocktail by the fire in the cosy snug cocktail bar before retreating back to our bedroom. Someone has thoughtfully (and, ah, discreetly) drawn fine black muslin drapes in the windows while we were out: the streetlights come twinkling through, but we can bathe in peace, with our champagne, right in the middle of the bedroom, with each and every one of our senses feeling thoroughly pampered. It’s sexy, and yes, I admit it, absolutely romantic, without a rose in sight.
Valentine’s packages start at £300 for one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast at Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens, Great Western Road, Glasgow. www.hotelduvin.com, or 0141 339 2001 for further information.
THANKFULLY THERE ARE NO ROSE PETALS OR PINK CUSHIONS ON THE BED
room. Thankfully there are no girly flourishes, no rose petals or pink cushions chucked on the bed. There’s no need for them: the gigantic room (taking up roughly the same area as a fair-sized tenement flat) has been designed with sensuality in mind; the décor is a range of deep, warm blues and purples, tactile silks and velvets on the cushions. Then there’s the huge, freestanding rolltop bath sitting on a raised dais under a small chandelier in the bedroom. ‘Yes, people usually find the bath very romantic,’ says the member of staff who brings us up, with a fantastically discreet smile. the window-gable of
HOLIDAYS FROM HOME Enjoy some Valentine’s Day decadence without being too irresponsible: book yourself into a central city hotel and you’ll still make it into the office the next morning. We round up some of the best V-Day packages on offer
HOW THE UPPER-CLASS LIVE Howard Hotel, 34 Great King Street, Edinburgh Treat your sweetheart like a royal, complete with butler service, three- course dinner in your suite, champagne, truffles, Jo Malone goodie bags, relaxation treatment and rose petals scattered on the beds. With so much going on you can even make like the royals (allegedly do) and not bother with conversation. £401 per person for two nights dinner, bed and breakfast. www.townhousecompany.com/ the_howard
CRAZY IN LOVE Tigerlily, 125 George Street, Edinburgh One for the wannabe Beyoncé in your life, this: prosecco rosé and Belgian chocolates on arrival, VIP access to subterranean nightclub Lulu, and breakfast in bed plus a late check out to help you sleep it all off. From £390 per double room for two nights. www.tigerlilyedinburgh.co.uk
BLOW THEIR BLOODY SOCKS OFF ABode, Bath Street, Glasgow Ticks all the ‘romance’ boxes: flowers, petit fours and a half bottle of champagne in the room, and a five-course meal with ‘luxury single rose’ in the Michael Caines (that’s the celebrity chef, not the celebrity Cockney) restaurant, plus breakfast. £110 or £135 per person for one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast. www.abodehotels.co.uk/glasgow
MUCKY WEEKEND Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh In our opinion, nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like inviting your little cupcake to smear mud all over their body. Nice to see that the folk at One Spa at the Sheraton agree with us: they’re offering a day’s mud wrestling – sorry, relaxing in the Serail Mud Chamber at One Spa, as part of an all-day spa experience designed to promote intimacy between couples. Cupid’s Couples Spa Package, £205 per couple. www.starwoodhotels.com