The Glasgow hotel that Suzi Quatro thinks is haunted

Advice

Any hotel that has a ghost story attached to it involving Suzi Quatro is a hotel that I want to stay in. For those readers under 45 who didn’t book tickets for her show at the Royal Albert Hall in April, Quatro is the Detroit-born leather-clad rock chick who took England by storm in the 1970s with her track Devil Gate Drive, appeared in Happy Days, and has a cameo as a nurse in the Hospital episode of Absolutely Fabulous. She was never off the TV when I was growing up.

The haunting

She was also at the Cathedral House Hotel not so long ago, staying in room four, off the main turret staircase, where she reported a ghostly apparition to the manager. I only found this out after asking, in all seriousness, if the hotel was haunted.

I’d have been disappointed if it wasn’t: this 19th-century Scottish Baronial corner building was once a halfway house for women, and given its gothic brickwork and the proximity to the Necropolis over the road, it’s almost a parody of a Hammer horror. Sadly, I couldn’t stay in room four – even though it was available and has the best views of the Victorian cemetery that looms over everything in the area – because the shower wasn’t working. Not to mind, all was fine one floor up, albeit without any hauntings.



Glasgow hotels, Cathedral House Hotel, family-owned hotels, the best restaurants in Glasgow


The owners of this Glasgow hotel have created a genuinely boutique spot with appealingly designed rooms and a unique atmosphere


Credit: Chris Watt Web

An epic family project

Cathedral House Hotel has been an epic project for its family owners, who took it from being one of the worst reviewed hotels in Glasgow and a wreck, Farrow-and-Balled it back to life and created a genuinely boutique hotel with appealingly designed rooms and a unique atmosphere. The institutional elements are still there, in the spiral stairwell, hallways and room proportions, but the place is more interesting for it. And there’s lots of chic artwork and tiling in the bathrooms. This isn’t the kind of place that would suit a spa, but for a fiver you get full use of the University of Strathclyde gym, pool and squash courts, a short walk away.

The main reason that this gloriously ominous architectural landmark has attracted so many locals to it again on a nightly basis, without prior incarceration, is because the on-site modern Italian restaurant Celentano’s is so good. The hotel and restaurant operations are managed separately, but work in partnership, so this is where you’ll have breakfast – an artfully arranged platter of yogurt, pastries, charcuterie and coffee in fancy ceramics – even if you don’t have dinner.



Celentano’s restaurant, Cathedral House Glasgow


The on-site modern Italian restaurant Celentano’s is so good the locals love it


Credit: NAOMI VANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

The layout, across several small levels connected by short staircases, gives the space a great, buzzy dynamic. The woodwork is painted in a lush dark Studio Green (yes, Farrow & Ball), and the flooring is black-and-white chequered tiles. During the summer, there’ll be a big outdoor terrace.

A tasting menu for £38

Though things start light and effervescent, they get progressively heavier. I went for the tasting menu, which is £38. The week before, I’d gone to the Lecture Room & Library at Sketch for date night, and three courses was £165, doubled by the wine. I didn’t begrudge paying a single penny of that, because I only go once every few years and Pierre Gagnaire is a culinary wizard, but I couldn’t understand how Celentano’s can pull this quality of food off for so little.

I added pork fennel salami to my starters, and lasagne fritte. I always think the idea of fried lasagne is going to be everything I like in the world in one bite but am always disappointed. My record of disappointment remains unbroken. There was a seaweed cracker with pickled squash and pumpkin seeds, like the poshest, most delicious crisp and dip ever. Then antipasti: I’m never excited by the idea of charred leeks, but lush, milky-sweet Stracciatella and a sprinkle of sourdough breadcrumbs made this one of the best dishes of the evening.



Celentano’s, Cathedral House Glasgow


Seaweed cracker with pickled squash and pumpkin seeds – the poshest, most delicious crisp and dip ever


Credit: NAOMI VANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

I’m sure Celentano’s can accommodate non-meat eaters adeptly on request, but the leeks are probably as good as it will get for them. I say this, because the agnolotti that followed, with bone marrow, wild mushrooms and Lanark white cheese, is the kind of pasta dish that reminds you just how magical authentic Italian cooking can be. I’d like to drench its sauce on every strand of linguine in my house and shave a pound of cheese on it.

There was then the option of short rib or a fish dish (lest we forget, this is still all for £38!). Both were good, and both came with a cube of potato strati – a gratin stack roasted in beef fat to give a crisped outer shell, and soft inside. This is the kind of food that is so rich, and so pleasurable, you feel you might die on the spot, but still be totally fine with it. You could go on to haunt the building.

The details: Doubles from £98, cathedralhouseglasgow.com. See more amazing places to stay with our guide to the best hotels in Glasgow.

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