Just as Barcelona is associated with the architecture of Gaudí and London
linked to the churches of Christopher Wren, Glasgow is proudly home to
the work of Scotland’s best-known architect-designer, Charles Rennie
Mackintosh (1868–1928). His style, characterized by curves and floral motifs, is often
regarded as the epitome of Art Nouveau; but he’s also cited as an Art Deco influence thanks
to the clean lines and abstract shapes he favored. His major achievement, heralded as
one of Europe’s finest examples of Modernism, is the Glasgow School of Art, completed in
1899 when Mackintosh was just 32. The only church he ever designed is at Queen’s Cross;
it’s now headquarters for the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society,
which organizes tours of all his key sites. Mackintosh’s tearooms were renowned,
and he ultimately became as known for his furniture designs as for his architecture.
Experience both at the Willow Tearoom on Sauchiehall Street; some of the tables and
chairs may be reproductions, but the atmosphere is authentic. Ask to be seated in the
Room de Luxe, an Art Nouveau fantasy.
Beyond specific addresses, the artist’s inimitable style remains vividly alive throughout
town—from designs found on wrought-iron gates and decorative motifs used on restaurant
menus to the ubiquitous, stylized rose that has become a kind of Glasgow logo.
Also emblematic of the city is the Grand Central Hotel, another Glasgow landmark,
built in 1883 next to the main train station and newly refurbished. Fans of architecture and
design will also appreciate the elegant style of the Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens.
You may need to ring the front doorbell upon arrival, but it will be the last time you’ll lift a
finger here. Five exquisitely renovated Victorian town houses have been connected to
create a chic jewel box, where superb service and a much touted restaurant (and a whisky
bar with more than 300 varieties) may tempt you to see not a whit of Glasgow beyond its