Glasgow hotel with star quality

BILL Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Billy Connolly and Cheryl Cole were all spotted at the Hilton Glasgow last night – and all were distinctly larger-than-life.

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The huge picture of Billy Connolly is projected onto the side of the Hilton building
The huge picture of Billy Connolly is projected onto the side of the Hilton building

Images of presidents, comedians and singers were all projected onto the face of the five-star hotel last night to celebrate its 20th birthday.

All of them have visited or stayed at the hotel in William Street since it opened in November 1992.

Other famous faces projected onto the face included singers Tulisa and James Brown – and Prince Philip, who opened the Hilton 20 years ago.

Former US president Bill Clinton gave a speech at a £125-a-head dinner held by the Jewish National Fund in December 2001 to 750 guests.

Less than five years later, he arrived at the Hilton in a three-car motorcade, having flown to Glasgow by private jet from Helsinki.

He stayed in the same suite he'd occupied during his previous visit – and the hotel presented him with a limited-edition, 30-year-old bottle of whisky.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela was another VIP guest at the hotel when he received the Freedom of the City in October 1993.

The legendary US soul singer James Brown stayed here as he played his last-ever UK concert at the Carling Academy, in October 2006.

Craig Gardner, the then general manager, later recalled in an Evening Times interview: "I'd been a fan of his for many years.

"Half of my staff hadn't heard of him, and couldn't understand why I was getting so excited.

"It was one of those cases where you build yourself up while half-admitting the possibility that you are going to be let down."

Craig, who now oversees several Hilton hotels in Scotland, north of England and Northern Ireland, added: "He arrived in a blacked-out limo, with his cloak over his shoulders, his cane in his hand, sunglasses on, a fedora on his head and black cowboy boots.

"We had a chat and he was the most interesting character I have ever met."

Billy Connolly stayed at the Hilton in October 2009 as he concluded a tour at the SECC, Cheryl Cole was a visitor during a Girls Aloud tour in December 2005 and Tulisa was here with N-Dubz in February 2010.

American boxing legend Mike Tyson booked no fewer than 150 rooms at the hotel to house his entourage ahead of his Hampden fight in May 2000.

And former US Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a speech in January 2006 at a fundraising event for the Jewish National Fund.

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