On Argyle square, just a stones throw from Kings Cross station, a very american style street basketball game is juxtaposed with a very British Victorian townhouse directly opposite. If this feels like a stark contrast, wait until you get inside.
Upon entering the Gyle, your senses are tested with an exciting mix of scottish print, scientific imagery and sculptures, green and mossy textures that brings the outside in. The decor is contemporary and glossy, eclectic yet underpinned with victorian tradition, confused? Oh and your host, Archie the Scottie dog, well his face is everywhere.
What sounds like a chaotic mix match of themes, is delightfully co-ordinated and sumptuously held together, each element a very purposeful nod to the establishments history, location and owner.
The site itself, Argyle Square has a colourful history from Ash dumps to blitz bombs to a site for secret scientific experiments. In the most curious of experiments, it is said that scientists messed up some electromagnetic fields creating a space-time wormhole. It is these legends that account for touches such as the giant mossy crack that runs along the ceiling of the B&B lounge.
The B&B lounge (Booze and Breakfast in case you were wondering) is the place to sample the Gyle’s fine single malts, regional wines, craft beers or sip on cups of tea. In the morning for breakfast, it also offers up charcuterie boards, continental breakfast, cheeses and smoked fish. You may also find that the cook has thrown in something they just fancy cooking that day.
Although no dinner was on offer, you can head around the corner to Pop Sapori serving tasty Italian food at the Megaro, The Gyle’s sister Hotel.
The eclectic themes of the Gyle run through all of the rooms. Victorian cast iron details, metallic and charcoal palettes accompanied by the same green, earthy and mossy textures. There are the expected quirks like airline trollies for cabinets and yes….lots of Archie. The rooms, however, all have their own feature to show off about. Fancy your own courtyard? A balcony perhaps?
We preferred the enormous bathroom with a huge sunken bath and glass of cabernet of course to complement the soak.
For what could have been an assault on the senses, this establishment manages to treat the senses. Helped along by the superb, friendly and knowledgeable staff, you leave the Gyle feeling rested, and strangely more educated. Wacky? Quite possibly, nourishing? Most definitely.
The Gyle is open and accepting bookings.
Written by Rick Hartley