DESIGN FEATURE: BOCLAIR HOUSE HOTEL
The new Boclair House Hotel in Bearsden is now open. The latest addition to the Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group’s portfolio has had £3m lavished on it, and you can definitely see where the money has been spent at this new luxury boutique hotel. From the manicured garden out front with its pergola complete with a chandelier, to the sumptuous lounge bar, there is no doubt the residents of Bearsden and wedding planners will not be disappointed.
The new venue now boasts a stunning ballroom, a Parisian-styled restaurant and lounge bar, a private dining room and 12 luxurious bedroom suites.
In fact, the transformation is even more stunning when you take into account this was a former Municipal building, which although ‘B’ listed had almost no internal features at all.
The building was constructed in 1890, commissioned by three Buchanan sisters of Bellfield. It was called the Buchanan Retreat and provided accommodation for poorer members of the Buchanan clan in their declining year. Latterly, it became a home for elderly gentlemen until acquired by the Burgh of Bearsden and opened as the Municipal Buildings by Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon in 1962. Most recently the building was used as an office by East Dunbartonshire Council.
The iconic building now has a glass entrance, and once you are through the glass entrance there are two further glass doors on either side leading to outside portico style terraced areas. These are not entirely enclosed due to the buildings listed status. These outside areas now boast small round marble tables and comfortable looking all weather chairs.
However, if you are heading into the hotel you still have a large wooden door to enter through. This takes you into an elegant spacious reception area with a striking maze-like patterned bespoke carpet of cream, black and gold. Immediately ahead of you is a grand staircase which leads to the bedrooms, and on the right is an original marble tiled wall which is one of the few remaining listed features of the building. It has inscribed upon it the names of former local Provosts. The marble and brass reception desk is situated to the left of the main entrance, and the rectangular inset chandeliers on the ceilings, add glamour and an art deco feel to the reception. This is further enhanced by the carving at the foot of the bannister and the specially created stained glass window which is located half way up the staircase.
Says Manorview Managing Director Steve Graham, “I stayed at the Hôtel Costes in Paris last year and I really like its style. We have taken some of the inspiration for the décor from there.”
Turning left past the reception area you will find yourself in the Ballroom bar area. This area features an opaque glass and brass bar with a tented rich chocolate coloured star cloth ceiling and chandelier. It has a bespoke beige carpet with a stunning swirly chocolate motif, which complements perfectly the dark wood panelling and heavy wooden doors. Immediately adjacent is the glamourous Ballroom. It boast ten glittering and spectacular LED chandeliers, supplied by Wired, glass pillars which inset with brass which in a diamond-shaped design. The pillars are also edged with brass. In fact, you will see the mirrored diamond glass and brass theme throughout the hotel. (I hope housekeeping has plenty of Brasso!) Another feature in this area, and which features around the hotel, are the framed black and white photographs of famous brides and grooms.
The main Ballroom which can accommodate 16 x tables of 11, plus top table, features the same carpet with parquet flooring between the areas to allow the carpet to be lifted to create a dancing area. It has large, almost floor to ceiling, windows on two sides with bronze hanging beaded curtains giving the room a degree of privacy. Says Steve, “I think the main suite is my favourite area.”
Well, my favourite area is still to come – Annabel’s. The Parisian-styled art-deco lounge bar and restaurant which is located to the right hand side of the reception area. It is everything you would imagine a sumptuous Parisian bar and restaurant would be. From the red velvet drapes that greet you, as you enter, to the fringed red wall lights, and the charcoal and gold damask wallpaper. It boasts rich red velvet chairs with fringing on the armrests and around the bottoms and square dark rosewood tables, edged with brass, with crystal table lights a top. This combined with an art deco style carpet in shades of grey, deep red and black, and a back wall which features a library-style shelving above rich red velvet banquette seating, and bric a brac of the era – vintage telephones glassware and ornaments, creates a warm and luxurious room.
The piece de resistance though is the ornate rosewood, glass and brass back bar. It’s traditional but with the modern element of the cut glass and brass shelving. Down below there is a bank of four stainless steel fridges. The bar top is brushed zinc with a rounded edge while the bottom of the bar features copper and studded panelling. Adorning the bar, on either side are two lamps with red fringed lampshades. These lamps also appear in the library area at the back of the bar.
The antique feel carries through to some of the bar ware used – the copper shakers and strainers, look the part. Framed pictures with the feel of the Moulin Rouge set the scene and are lit by antique style uplighters and low-lighters.
There are three large windows framed with rich velvet curtains and fringed pelmets. The window wall has a vintage wallpaper on the bottom half which looks like it part of the plasterwork. It is dark grey with a brushed gold motif. It is subtle but totally in keeping with the feel of the room.
Even the menus come in a copper cover…
You just have to visit the Ladies… I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a sumptuous Ladies room in Scotland. Each cubicle has its own chandelier and a padded velvet wall at the back. It’s certainly a wee bit out of the ordinary.
Annabel’s has its own kitchen which also caters for the private dining room which is separated from the bar area by an archway and velvet curtains. The traditional rosewood dining table in this room fits perfectly with the character of the building.
Upstairs is just as sumptuous. At the top of the stairs, there is an oval balustrade which overlooks the reception area and which has a striking chandelier. Says Steve, “Originally the designers, Space I.D., wanted to glass this over, but I preferred it open.”
The heavy wooden doors and dark green walls, the bespoke carpets and brass lights create an almost understated elegance. The names of the suites being projected onto the wooden entrance area in front of each door is a nice touch. All the rooms are named after Scottish islands, however, the suites themselves have more of a French theme with regard to the beautiful embossed wallpapers, and sumptuous soft furnishings. Each has been individually styled and all feature stand-out bathrooms with a variety baths ranging from claw bathtubs to a copper round bath in the wedding suite. Each room has delightful cornice which looks like it has always been there, but which in fact was created for each room.
The wedding suite has French-style furniture and the most spectacular shower-come-bathroom you are every likely to see! Set in the original tower part of the building this room boasts exposed stone walls which stretch more than 20 feet, a round spiral staircase (which is roped off, but which would take you up the tower) and a square shower which is set in the middle of the room and which looks more like a feature light. It’s certainly romantic and different. I can imagine magazines wanting to rent it for photo shoots!
All the rooms come with Tvs, not just in the main rooms but in the bathrooms too and top of the range coffee facilities.
The hotel has definitely got off to a busy start, with the first wedding taking place in April 2016 and a further 78 weddings and special occasions booked, up until the end of 2017.
Steve concludes, “We are delighted to be opening Boclair House Hotel. It is a stunning venue and we expect to host many happy occasions over the years. The fact that we already have bookings for 78 weddings and special occasions shows the level of interest in this stunning new venue.”
New GM Mark Currie is also looking forward to the challenge, “I just love the hotel. Everything has been thought about , no corners have been cut. I think that shows. We are delighted to be open and welcoming our first guests. I think we have a great team, and we certainly have a fabulous venue.”
He is not wrong!