Set just off busy Portland Street with its own piazza, the hotel is very close to Piccadilly Station, the Gay Village and Chinatown (you can see the Chinatown arch from the reception doors). Business guests also appreciate its close proximity to the Conference Quarter.
As with many chain hotels, you know what to expect in the standard and executive rooms – cream and white walls, a grey sofabed and a small en-suite bathroom with separate toilet. However, reliability isn’t always a bad thing and the bathrooms have lovely rainwater showers over the baths, stylish glass tiles dotted about and – as the hotel is in the process of being renovated – are sparklingly clean and new. The Executive Rooms (£15 to upgrade) have nice extras such as a Nespresso coffee maker, a Bose iPod docking station and free internet access through the TV.
On quiet Sunday nights, it is possible to upgrade to a suite for as little as £25 – this will get you an extra living area with lime green and red leatherette seats, a TV in each room and two views of Manchester (as all suites are on the building’s corners). If you want a view from any room type, ask on check in as some look into the central piazza.
The large lobby, with a bar on one side and Elements restaurant on the other, has plenty of seating options. I like the leafy theme the hotel has opted for with big tree-like structures as lights and a collage of leaf pictures around the lift.
Eating and drinking
Breakfast is served in Elements restaurant and costs £10 if you add it on when booking or £13.50 on the morning. Lone business travellers have the option to watch the breakfast news with their meal as “TV dining” is offered on a few tables with headphones to avoid disturbing other guests.
Throughout the rest of the day, food can be ordered from the restaurant’s menu to be eaten in Elements, the bar, or your room. Personally, I would venture out though as there are so many good restaurants on the hotel’s doorstep.
A decent sized glass-fronted gym can be used by hotel guests – although you have to sign a disclaimer at reception before you are given a key. For relaxation, there is also a sauna, steam room, massage shower and two tiled and heated loungers for guests to enjoy.
All of the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. The last time I was there, I watched the reception staff help the parents of a synchronised swimming team find their daughters’ stored bags despite the fact they had all managed to lose their tickets.
Who stays there
Young couples enjoy the cheap rates at the weekend and spend the money they have saved in the nearby bars and restaurants, and gay visitors love how close the hotel is to Canal Street. During the week, business guests make the most of the central location and European guests who trust the brand visit all year round.
On a quiet Sunday night room rates are extremely reasonable but prices really go up on a busy week day (for example during the Labour Party’s Annual Conference). Parking is extra and it costs £13 for 24 hours to leave a car in the Q Park beneath the hotel. WiFi is also extra.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Pets Allowed
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
Pros & Cons
- Great for families
- Cheap room rates
- Friendly staff
- Some rooms overlook the courtyard
- Uniform rooms
- WiFi and parking are not included in the price