Tucked away on a leafy square near King’s Cross sits the bonny hideaway, The Gyle. Inspired by the Scottish Dukes of Argyle, these discreet lodgings are housed over three 19th-century dwellings and are newly opened.
The magic of this place is what lies behind its doors. Its unprepossessing facade makes its interiors all the more striking. Imagine a mossy glen, all hushed and private and lots of high-end whisky with nooks in which to sip it. As the staff insist, it’s a “home away from home” and from the minute you set foot in the door, you’re made to feel like this is your own fabulous wee hideaway.
There’s no formal reception area, you’re just greeted by a friendly host and led to the bar and lounge/dining area – The Toast. Think Alice in Wonderland meets John Macnab. The space is brimful of whimsy. It’s topsy turvy – the ceiling is covered with lush British lawn and you tread upon sky reflected in Loch Fyne which you can admire from a swinging love seat. And storm sounds and “lightning” add even more drama. The hotel’s interior draws its inspiration from Scotland, naturally – from the Scottie dog mascotry to the tartan accessories to sporrans on the walls.
The bar also boasts scores of different types of whisky. You’ll be spoiled for choice for your dram. The bar staff are very knowledgeable about their wares and for those discerning enough to appreciate it, there is even a Glenfiddich 30 Year single malt. The fridge is also stocked with bottled craft pils, ale, beer and porter – all from the Scottish Highlands brewery Harviestoun as well as a curated selection of gins, focused on the Scottish Western Highlands and Islands.
Townhouse hotels can sometimes be a bit of a dreary, dark affair. A place to drop your bags then dash off to the theatre, spending as little time in your room as possible. Not here. The 33 rooms are all modishly decorated with bespoke furniture and accessories that are a cheeky nod to Victorian scientists and writers. But you also get your own tablet to control the technology in the room. The whole effect is elegant but a bit pleasingly mad.
We were lucky enough to say in one of the rooms with a vaulted bathroom – that means a sunken tub and rain dance shower in what used to be the building’s old coal hole. Perfect for soaking with a glass of wine all snuggled up in the underbelly of the place.
In a very COVID-19 aware touch, all the rooms are sealed to show they have not been occupied before you. All the details matter, from the rubber embossed “do not disturb” sign to the organic toiletries to the Nespresso machine – you can tell each room has been carefully thought through.
Again, what makes The Gyle especially agreeable is how you feel it’s your place. Guests are invited to raid the bakery pantry and the self-service fridge, which offers a selection of fresh juices, house-made charcuterie and salads in Kilner jars. Both sparkling and still mineral water are on tap, too.
Breakfast is a seamless affair, you can have it whenever you like – no scrambling down to a packed breakfast room at 9.59 a.m. Take it louchely at your leisure. We had warm fresh bread, pastries, Scottish oats and berries, hot-smoked salmon, Mull of Kintyre cheese and heather-honey raspberry granola.
Everything at The Gyle was so brilliantly decadent and bonkers. Rahul, in particular, was great – a real whisky aficionado. All the staff make you feel like they’ve invited you over and the place is yours to enjoy. Combine that with the hotel’s excellent location and proximity to King’s Cross, you’re on to a real find.
To discover more, visit: thegyle.co.uk
B&B doubles from £159, dog-friendly (+£40)
All photos courtesy of the property