Our walk starts at Grosvenor Terrace, outside the Grosvenor Hotel. The hotel is part of a Grade A listed building that stretches along the terrace. The architect of the terrace was John Thomas Rochead who also designed the Wallace Monument & Northpark House, the former BBC HQ on Queen Margaret Drive and The Counting House pub (a former bank) on George Square. For Grosvenor Terrace, he took inspiration from Venetian or Greek architecture, the terrace is built with three equal superimposed storeys, perhaps based on the Procuratie Vecchie or the Procuratie Nuove in Piazza San Marco in Venice. In common with those buildings, the style of the columns has the lower level in the simple Doric style, the middle floor has Ionic columns with their scrolled features at the top and the top floor has the more ornately styled Corinthian columns.
Originally built as a terrace of houses, a hotel opened on the site in 1938 incorporating Nos. 1 and 2. In the 1970s, Glasgow hotelier Reo Stakis took ownership of the hotel and expanded it to include eight adjacent houses along the terrace. Born in Cyprus, he came to the UK as a 14-year-old and sold his mothers lace door to door. He ended up in Glasgow, started working in restaurants and eventually acquired 30 hotels including Dunblane Hydro. He was famed for his Stakis steakhouses and casinos. This was his flagship hotel.
In 1978 the hotel was destroyed in a fire during a strike by firefighters leaving just the façade. It reopened in 1982 using Glass Reinforced Concrete to reconstruct it.
Stakis was a generous benefactor to the Greek Orthodox church in Glasgow, buying both their first church in the city in 1953 and their Cathedral of St Luke the Evangelist in 1960. We will see this Cathedral on our walk today.
He sold his empire to the Hilton Group in 1999 for £1.2 billion. Jack Webster wrote the Reo Stakis Story if you would like to read more about him.
Walking Route Instructions: We now can either look across at our next stop, the Oran Mor church on Byres Road, or cross at the traffic lights for a closer look.