It was one of the ‘grandest’ buildings in Glasgow, full of glamour and decadence – and yet it is gone forever.

Yes, the Grand Hotel certainly lived up to its name when it opened at Charing Cross in 1878.

The area was originally formed as part of the affluent Blythswood Hill linking the city centre to the West End, and was noted for its stunning red sandstone structures – the St George’s Mansions and the Charing Cross mansions.

It was a bustling area, and in the centre of the fanfare was the Grand Hotel.

View of the Grand from Sauchiehall StreetView of the Grand from Sauchiehall Street (Image: Newsquest)

With 105 rooms, a grand ballroom, a cocktail bar and nine function rooms, the hotel embodied the opulence and glamour of the Victorian era, with the architect James Thomson taking strong inspiration from the mansard roofs and bay windows of buildings in Paris.

A report from the Glasgow Herald in its opening year marvelled at the attention to detail in each room, the use of luxury fabrics and the overall feeling of grandeur at the Grand.

“The building occupies a convenient and commanding site, of which its architectural features are in every way worthy,” it read.

(Image: Newsquest)

“Decidedly the most elegant apartment in the hotel is the ladies' drawing room.

"The walls are finished with peacock dado border, richly filled in, with frieze decorations.

“The room is luxuriously furnished, in keeping with the style of decoration adopted.

“The frames of the chairs, sofas, and settees are ebonised, and are covered with stamped Utrecht velvet, while the tables, cabinets, etc. are made of real oak ebonised, showing the grain of the wood, and imparting to it a peculiarly rich appearance.”

Indeed, in its truly ‘grand’ days, staying at the hotel was something only to suit the rich, and they enjoyed staying in the luxurious rooms, fine dining and serenading the night away at many an evening ball.

Charing Cross in the 19th centuryCharing Cross in the 19th century (Image: Archive image. Newsquest.)

As explained by Evening Times reporter Jack House in a later tribute to the hotel: “These were the days when the sprigs of West of Scotland society held big, snobbish assemblies.

“The bachelors would hold their assembly in the Grand and take over the whole of two floors. They would be followed by the spinsters, and the spinsters’ ball in the Grand was the Glasgow equivalent of being a debutante.”

In its later days, the Grand – in particular its ballroom - became a popular destination for Glaswegians to get married. It was always a lavish affair and ballroom suite carpets would be rolled up while the floor would be dusted in chalk for the dancin’. Many couples also checked into one of the hundred-plus rooms for their honeymoon.

When news broke in the late 1960s that the Grand Hotel was to close and be demolished, many couples who spent their honeymoon there immediately rang up the hotel asking if they could book their old room again for one final night.

One family was said to have called asking to book a room for a wedding in April 1969, but when told that the hotel would be no more by then, the wedding was moved forward to October 1968, days before the bulldozers came in.

Demolition of Grand HotelDemolition of Grand Hotel. The fountain (left) is still standing today. (Image: Archive image. Newsquest.)

The Grand Hotel was demolished to make way for the new inner-city ring road, now part of the M8 motorway. It was regarded as one of Glasgow’s best hotels, competing with the glamorous Blythswood.

For those who are unsure where it once stood, the nearest landmark is the Cameron Memorial Fountain, built in 1896 as a tribute to politician, newspaper editor and doctor Sir Charles Cameron. It has a distinctive lean, and some speculate that the ring road construction caused this.

Can you remember the Grand Hotel in Charing Cross before the ring road?