WITH the (relatively) long, hot summer a fast fading memory, it is fair to say that the time was right for a break.
What’s more, after protracted negotiations with various sets of parents, parents-in-law and step-parents-in-law, my wife and I had somehow managed to organise it so that we would be child-free for a whole weekend.
It is also fair to say that, given our child-free status, we were in the mood to kick back and relax. And while we were delighted to be away, we knew that we had to stay relatively close by in case of emergencies.
However, finding somewhere to stay that would tick all those boxes turned out to be harder than it might sound. Indeed, it was only after some frantic last-minute searching that I found Bowfield Hotel & Country Club.
The hotel is situated in Howwood, Johnstone, just 20 minutes from Glasgow city centre. Tick. It recently underwent a £1.5 million refurbishment which included an amazing new spa and restaurant. Tick, tick. And it had availability. Tick, tick, tick.
Despite being so close to the city, Bowfield feels distinctly rural.
As we drove up to the country club, the road snaked through the rolling Renfrewshire fields. The feeling was enhanced when we stopped off on the way at the Church of Christ the King in Howwood.
The church stands out in the small village because of its outdoor altar and ornate statues in huge glass shelters. It is an intriguing scene that speaks of a time that is largely forgotten in much of the rest of the country.
The nostalgia-inducing smell of wood smoke drifted from the nearby houses. And as we stood looking out from the church on the cold, clear day, planes powered silently through the cobalt sky as they took off from Glasgow Airport.
At Bowfield, a pretty hotel set in acres of grassland and which dates back to the 18th Century, we were ushered in out of the cold and greeted by a roaring fire at reception.
And it wasn’t long before we were fully in relaxation mode as we were shown to our luxurious room with panoramic windows looking out to a bucolic scene of lush, green fields, tinged with the first signs of frost.
The hotel’s recent refurb included a new Aura health and wellbeing spa. And with recreation at the front of our minds, we wasted no time in making a beeline for the treatment rooms. With its luxe cafe area, saunas and relaxation rooms, the new wellness area is easily the best we have visited.
Normally I am not one for lying around in the relaxation room after treatments but the decor was so opulent I couldn’t resist lying back on the lounger and reading a book for a while.
Suitably refreshed, our attention soon turned to letting our hair down, metaphorically speaking.
The beauty of being so close to Glasgow was that we could jump in the car and be in the city centre in no time. So that’s just what we did.
Our destination for the night was Kelvinbridge, where we met some friends at a bar. It was the sort of place with low ceilings and dark-wood beams exposed over cream stucco walls, so retro it’s trendy.
The next morning, after a superb breakfast at Bowfield, we were back in the car and off to Glasgow again.
This time, we were in the mood for some festive fun so we headed to the Christmas market at St Enoch Square.
It had all the faves – crepes smothered with chocolate, bratwurst hotdogs, pastries, sweets and loads of handmade Christmas toys. After a leisurely stroll – and the odd mulled wine to stave off the chill – we took our time making our way back to the hotel.
At dinner in the new Plumpy Duck restaurant, the staff were ultra attentive and chatty. From the host to the bar staff and chefs, they couldn’t do enough to make our visit special.
The restaurant itself was fantastic and praise has to go to the designer for the beautiful burnished wood ceiling, mix and match furniture and stylish patterned feature walls.
After our sumptuous meal, we moved through to the bar for a drink. There was a quiet hubbub from the other patrons. In one corner a businessman and woman, obviously taking advantage of the hotel’s proximity to the airport, chatted over their laptops as they caught up on some work.
“One more sleep,” my wife said to me. No, she wasn’t talking about the impending Christmas, but the fact that this would likely be the last good night’s kip we would have in a while.
For more information visit https://www.bowfieldhotel.co.uk/