The tourist trade in Glasgow is less seasonal than in Edinburgh, with fewer visitors in general coming to Scotland's largest city. However, it has become a popular spot for business conferences while the increase in budget-airline flights from the European continent seems to have increased the overall number of visitors. So if, for example, an international association of dentists is in town, finding a room can be difficult.
Until recently, many tourism industry observers said Glasgow suffered from a shortage of hotel rooms, but new places such as the Radisson SAS have changed the equation. Whenever you're coming, it's recommended that you reserve a room in advance. Some rates are predictably high, but many business-oriented hotels offer bargains on weekends, and the number of budget options is increasing.
The Glasgow and Clyde Valley tourism office (www.visitscotland.com) offers an Information & Booking Hot Line (tel. 0845/225-5121 from within the U.K., or 01506/832-121 from outside the U.K.). Lines are open (local time) Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturday from 9am to 5:50pm, and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. The fax number is 01506/832-222. The fee for this booking service is £4.
Tourist Board Rankings
VisitScotland ranks the lodgings at hundreds of hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, and self-catering apartments. While helpful, these stars are largely based upon available amenities, such as 24-hour room service, ironing boards, or spas, which may not be relevant for each and every traveler. Also, not all hotels and guesthouses are part of the scheme, which costs them money to join, although they may be no less attractive.
House-swapping is becoming a more popular and viable means of travel; you stay in their place, they stay in yours, and you both get an authentic and personal view of the area, the opposite of the escapist retreat that many hotels offer. Try HomeLink International (www.homelink.org), the largest and oldest home-swapping organization, founded in 1952, with over 11,000 listings worldwide ($75 for an annual membership). HomeExchange.org (6,000 listings) and InterVac.com (over 10,000 listings) are also reliable. Many travelers find great housing swaps on Craigslist (www.craigslist.org), too, though the offerings cannot be vetted or vouched for. Swap at your own risk.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.