Mackintosh at the Willow by Leela Soma

willow outside

So how is Celia Sinclair’s £10 million restoration of the iconic Mackintosh at the Willow and the Salon Deluxe in particular? To find out we had to treat ourselves to an afternoon tea. The restoration of Mrs. Cranston’s tearoom by the business woman Celia Sinclair intrigued me after seeing the BBC documentary  The documentary showed the coordinated effort taken to make each and every aspect of the tearoom perfect – meeting the exacting standards of Mrs. Cranston’s as conceived and built by CRM. The distinctive motif of CRM on the outside wall can’t be missed. (217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3EX.)

willow tea room 1

Upon our arrival we were led up to the Salon Deluxe on the top floor, you have to pay an additional £5 per head for the experience. I can assure you it was well worth it. The custom made carpet along the stairs and the beauty of the door and the room is incredible. Inside the Salon Deluxe, my eyes were drawn to every piece. The chandeliers take pride of place; each bulb is hand made with bubbles in white and green shades making the chandelier visually stunning. Additionally it is adorned with beautiful pink and white beads threaded by craftsmen.  Also gorgeous is the design of the glass door.

Each hand crafted chair, (we sat on these pieces of art!) with their exact measurements and finish created with layers of aluminium powder buffed and polished to a perfect glossy sheen.  It was a pleasure to sit on them and they were comfortable.

The decorative gesso panel was a glorious work of art.  We sat beside it admiring the work of the dedicated artists who reproduced it for the tearoom.

willow margaret mackintosh

We thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon tea with a wide selection of teas and the sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and cakes were delicious.  It was a treat in every way.

willow cakes

Even the bathroom was in handsome style.

willow bathroom

We sneaked a look at the mezzanine floor as we came down and took some photos of the coffee place downstairs.


Then a wee look and some buying at the ubiquitous gift shop and out to balmy Glasgow.

outside again

PS: Did you know that Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret took their inspiration from the street name, with ‘Sauch’ meaning willow in the Lowland Scots language?

Leela Soma, 27 December, 2018

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This section: Cafes and Bistros, Eating and drinking Glasgow West End, Leela Soma writing and blogging

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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