When Apex Hotels bought Marks Hotel in Glasgow’s Bath Street late last year it revealed plans for a total refurbishment of its public areas, and rooms too, and that’s exactly what it has done. The new look Apex re-opened its new lounge/restaurant concept last month, and it now bears no resemblance whatsoever to its former incarnation.
You can enter the lounge/restaurant area directly from Bath Street, or via the entrance to the hotel. The wall to ceiling glass frontage not only makes it bright and inviting, but if you are inside looking out, you can watch the world go by from bench-like high tables that line the windows. These tables, and the marble bar, are the only two areas which have any significant height, with the rest of the furnishings being at waist height.
General Manager Helen Gallagher told DRAM, “Everything has been created to be waist height to allow people to connect with each other. You can see all of the lounge/restaurant area easily from, just about wherever, you are sitting. It’s a Japanese courtyard-like concept.”
The high bench-like tables all have plug points, and are accompanied by high stools which have red seats and black legs. The red accent on the seats is continued throughout the venue with small red coffee tables, and red lamps warming the otherwise quite minimalist look. Plug points are also an integral part of the lounge. Helen explains, “We have invested in Wi-fi and connectivity. We have plug points all around and we also have USB ports. This will allow our guests and customers to fully utilise their mobile devices either for work or pleasure.”
Facing the windows are three large booths – with beech-effect round tables and light leather-like fixed seating, accompanied by three upholstered chairs. The colours are all quite neutral – a light browny/grey colour, and the grey is continued on the walls which have been tiled and on the floors which are also tiled in grey. Above each of the booths there are large bell-like dark grey, almost black, shades which are suspended from the ceiling, and on the wall beside these booths is a large Plasma TV.
The centre of the lounge boasts a large, long rectangular conference-like table – again fully equipped with plug points, which is split by a rectangular pillar. The table has been built around the pillar and hanging above are glass globes with feature lightbulbs. This table can be used by individuals or booked out for large parties.
Along the left-hand side of the room there is a large marble-topped serving area, which is complemented by a marble bar on the opposite side.
Says Helen, “It’s Carrera marble imported from Italy, and has a lovely feel. The servery area will be used to display a continental selection of nibbles including soup pots, spelt scones and artisan breads with unlimited tea and coffee. In the evening it will offer a stylish spread including antipasti and gourmet popcorn. The grazing menu will include sweet and savoury platters serving up everything from breaded monkfish cheeks and arancini balls to strawberry jelly lollipops. We hope this will appeal to people who are in the city, and who require business facilities. They will be able to sit and work while enjoying our hospitality too.”
“The bar on the opposite side is also marble and has a quirky, Japanese-style screen, which is a sliding wall. It is in fact from Italy, but it has a Japanese look with a lovely white and floral design with red flowers. The back of the lounge has some smaller square dining tables. This is the restaurant area which is more intimate. The lighting and the softer furnishings contribute to this. There are a couple of large booths which seat six. They are divided from the rest of this area by a partition that looks like a wall but with large oblong vertical cutouts, spaced with small glimmering lights. There are also two smaller booths at the very back which feature a wall, with a black and grey speckled design. Just in front of these booths are four tables for two and the wall features a large mirror which reflects the lighting. All the chairs feature the grey colour which has been used throughout.
On the opposite side of this dining area, which is the side nearest the hotel foyer, there is a more casual area with smaller red round tables and grey armchairs, which have a quirky red button.
The hotel public areas have all been improved from the foyer area, which now has a glass wall which looks into the lounge, and the signature Japanese-style imagery on the wall behind the reception, to the bespoke carpet, which is a dark grey, which has been renewed on the stairs and in the corridors, as well as in the rooms.
This new concept from Apex certainly offers customers flexible spaces to work, rest and play as well as all-day dining if they require. Perfect for business and leisure customers.
Helen concludes, “This dining concept is a first for Apex Hotels and set us apart in the Glasgow market. We’ve listened to guests and looked at the market elsewhere. What is clear is that we needed to create an offering that provides flexible working and dining options that suit our customers, not expect them to fit in with the confines of traditional mealtimes. Glasgow is a bustling cosmopolitan city with a thriving corporate market and social scene and our lounge concept has the flexibility to meet a diverse range of needs without compromising on quality or style.”