With the opening of the new blockbuster V&A Museum in Dundee last year, there was the sense some imperceptible corner had been turned.
Like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, it was hoped the design venue would elevate the home of jute, jam and journalism into a tourism powerhouse.
Some £80 million of investment has a funny way of raising expectations.
But you can’t elevate an entire city’s status to that of a must-visit vacation destination on the back of one fancy building, even one as jaw-dropping as the V&A.
You also need places like the Staybridge Suites, too.
I was a little sceptical about checking into this new hotel in the heart of Dundee.
A chain residential-style hotel, with a particular focus on those seeking an extended stay, or corporate travellers, doesn’t sound ideal for those seeking a couple of nights away.
But this newly-minted place, which opened in February, is ideal for both those dropping in for a business trip or weekenders looking to see what the new Dundee has to offer.
Staybridge Suites Dundee has sprung up in the Grade A-listed building that formerly housed the Baxter Brothers linen mill in Constable Street.
Jute was once spun in this complex, which also houses Hotel Indigo and a restaurant – but things have changed to say the least. Love what you’ve done with the place.
The smell of fresh paint is in the air as we arrive in the extended lobby of this “boutique lifestyle” hotel.
A grey and cream palette is set against exposed brickwork in the lobby, which stretches off behind us as we check in.
There’s an ultra-modern kitchen back there, for some reason. Our receptionist explains this open-plan food-prep area and the adjoining flexible working area/dining room is where breakfast is served, but also networking events are held there.
A businessman taps away on a laptop. Presumably the latte he’s sipping comes from the impressive coffee machine in the kitchen. It’s gratis, as are the gallons and gallons of fresh orange juice in the fridges.
We’re shown to our (spotless) room on the top floor which comes with a kitchen attached, in case the shared one on the ground floor perhaps isn’t enough.
This one has a fridge, pots and pans, knives, another coffee machine and even a dishwasher.
We’d love to have used these facilities, but we were off to Daisy Tasker.
That’s the name of the restaurant in the same complex which is named after a celebrated former employee of the Baxter mill.
Given the history of the building, the slightly industrial look is a perfect design choice.
Our server – sporting Doc Martens and tattoos – is very good and seamlessly slots us into a table, despite a booking calamity of our own making.
A salmon fillet with herb linguine and a lobster bisque is very indulgent for a midweek evening but, hey, when in Dundee…
Speaking of which, I can’t think where else would serve a showstopper dessert like this.
After a recommendation from our server, I go for the Dundee Marmalade Soufflé, which is delicious.
It’s served with the soufflé rising impressively from an upturned silver bucket.
After a great night’s sleep we head off to the jewel on the banks of the silvery Tay – the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The staggered stone prow cutting on to the river is certainly unique, and on an unseasonably sunny day this stunning building genuinely caught our breath.
We explore the main hall, learning centre, auditorium, temporary exhibition galleries and the Scottish Design Galleries over an hour or so.
It’s nowhere near the size of the London V&A and its 145 galleries, but we’re looking forward to returning to see what exhibitions arrive on Tayside.
Clomping round a gallery works up an appetite, so you could do worse than visit Castlehill restaurant, handily located on the waterfront.
With an incredible menu featuring some of the best fresh ingredients Scotland can offer, Castlehill is a real treat and worth dropping into on your next visit.
Elegance in spades, in Dundee. Get used to it.
Staybridge Suites in Dundee, rooms start from £69 per night. Staybridge.com/dundee
For more on what to do in Dundee visit seedundee.com