Style shopping: off the beaten track in Glasgow, Galway and Reykjavik
Your guide to indulging in the holy trinity of activities – sleeping, eating and shopping – in these three vibrant cities
Left, from top: Shop Street in Galway; Laundromat Cafe in Reykjavik. Middle: a model wears a Chouchou Couture hood-scarf combo; right, from top: shoppers on Laugavegur, one of the oldest shopping streets in Reykjavik; Princes Square in Glasgow; Aniar in Galway
Lay your head in the Grasshoppers Hotel (grasshoppersglasgow.com), a boutique hotel on Union Street in the centre of the city, tucked away on the top floor of a mixed-use office and apartment block. This isn’t high-end luxury, but rooms are clean and cosy and the self-service kitchen where you will eat breakfast (try the great sausages) is a lovely, homely touch. Singles from £65.
A three-minute walk away is Princes Square, the shopping centre whose cast-iron facade was designed by the Glaswegians behind print designers Timorous Beasties (timorous beasties.com). Stop by their shop on Great Western Road.
Eat your fill at 29 Private Members Club (29glasgow.com) at Royal Exchange Square, right around the corner from Prince’s Square, two floors of drinking and dining options in a stunning 19th-century building. The Grill Room restaurant is great for lunch, with views over Exchange Square and locally sourced seafood and beef. Don’t be put off by the name: all are welcome and a two-course lunch with coffee will set you back a mere £15.50.
For more laid-back dining, head for the Gannet (facebook.com/thegannetgla), where you’ll start off with still-warm home-baked bread and unsalted butter before moving on to the menu. Think home-smoked salmon served with a quail egg or butternut squash gnocchi with braised leek. Three-course set lunch is £15.
Shop in style, starting with a trip to milliner William Chambers’ Bath Street studio (williamchambers.co.uk). Make an appointment to discuss your bespoke headpiece. Chambers sells his designs at Harrods, Fenwick and Fortnum & Mason, with prices starting at £90-odd for a gorgeous acrylic bow headband (up to £900-plus for a hand-beaded work of art).
Italian designer Silvia Pellegrino (chouchoucouture.com) has made Glasgow her home, and from her studio on Argyle Street she designs and hand-makes Chouchou hoods – faux fur-lined scarf-hood combos that can be worn beneath coats or, belted, over dresses. Collaborations with local tartan designers have resulted in 100 per cent wool check hoods, lined with the softest off-white luxury faux fur. £125
Rosemary Mac Cabe was a guest of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. Peoplemakeglasgow.com
Lay your head in the five-star Philip Treacy-designed G Hotel (theghotel.ie), where rooms are designed with luxury in mind. You can even stay in the Linda Evangelista suite, with panoramic views of Lough Atalia and a super king-sized bedroom, which is alleged to be the very bed Evangelista wouldn’t leave for less than £10,000. A regular bedroom, costs from €112 per night.
For something a lot less showy and a little more central, the four-star House Hotel (thehousehotel.ie) is right in the centre of Galway, on Spanish Parade, with rooms from €79 per night. It boasts a great-value brunch menu (€6.95 per menu item) and the cocktail bar is worth a look, too.
Eat your fill at Galway’s only Michelin- starred restaurant, Aniar (aniarrestaurant.ie) on Dominick Street (just a few doors away from Galway’s best live music venue, the Róisín Dubh, roisindubh.net). Aniar, which is brought to you by the same folks who run Cava, a Spanish restaurant and tapas bar in the city, and Eat at Massimo gastropub, prides itself on a menu of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. You’ll pay for the privilege – starters are €12.50 while mains all hover around the €32 mark – but it’ll be worth it.
For something more exotic, not to mention pocket-friendly, head to the Asian Tea House Restaurant on Mary Street, where prices begin at €5.50 for starters and only push past €20 when you’re talking super-fresh local seafood (try the Malay crab claws, €22.90). Ingredients are fresh and MSG-free and the restaurant has recently seen an influx of the trendy Friday-night crowd. (For an authentic west of Ireland experience, head to McSwiggan’s on Eyre Street for a post-dinner tipple.)
Shop in style at Don’t Call Me Dear on Mill Street (dontcallmedear.com), a ladieswear boutique with an old-school feel. That translates to hand-me-down furniture (like granny’s antique cabinet, currently acting as a brooch display) and extremely friendly customer service. The focus is on occasionwear, with a particular emphasis on millinery from Irish designers Carol Kennelly, Edel Ramberg, Mary White and Michael Mullins.