For such a small city (geographically anyway), we’re actually rather blessed with the number of high-quality hotels that we have in the city. Perhaps it’s down to the football or maybe it’s all the gigs, or, more than likely – it’s a combination of both of these things.
From monolithic brand-new 21st century structures to resplendent Victorian and Edwardian beauties – there’s a diversity of options available for all types and all budgets. There’s even a few re-purposed architectural gems, including the city’s old Stock Exchange building, a grand Art Deco former bank and a transformed Refuge Assurance – where insurance was sold for over 100 years before it was transformed into what is now known as the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel.
We asked the question ‘ What’s the nicest hotel in Greater Manchester?‘ on our Facebook channel and you gave us over 800 comments and recommendations. And so without any further adieux – let’s start at number 10 and work our way down to your favourite.
Before I get started on that though, as usual, there were quite a few comments on the Facebook post that were surely put in there to try and get a laugh. So much so in fact that The Britannia Hotel on Portland Street and Sasha’s just off Piccadilly both got 10 votes each – which, considering just how horrible those hotels are – must surely be for a laugh.
Consistently voted the worst hotel company in the UK, The Britannia Hotel Group, who own both of those establishments, have sullied some of the region’s best buildings, chopped them up and charged £30 a night to sleep there. Quite how they can continue to operate and succeed is beyond me. The sooner we see these places go – the better really.
There was also very little mention of some of the city’s more famous hotels, such as Gardener’s and The Merchant Hotel. This is very good news. Instead, let’s look at the positives and the hotels which you love the most here in the city…
Coming in at number 10 is both Native and Cow Hollow, two boutique hotels that reside in the Northern Quarter. You’ll probably know Native through Ducie Street Warehouse on the ground floor, while Cow Hollow burst onto the scene back in 2018 with a sexy, chic and contemporary conversion of an old textile warehouse.
The newest offering on this list is next – The Alan over on Princess Street – a stunning conversion of another Victorian warehouse and one which has had some serious attention over the last few weeks thanks to a visit to their restaurant by Observer critic Jay Rayner.
A design-led creatively charged unique 6-story hotel, The Alan has been a recent revelation in the Manchester hotel scene, one which has been suffering somewhat post-pandemic considerably over the last few years due to a rather disruptive global pandemic. It’s something fresh and experimental, with an emphasis on collaboration, be that with artists, chefs, designers or just “forward thinkers”.
Next up is an old school house, famed for its rooftop bar and terrace probably more than its rooms. Great John Street is a boutique hotel that’s not even been open for a while, as it’s currently in the throes of a full refurbishment and extension. I can’t find any information on when it’ll be re-opening either – which is annoying.
Another hotel famed for its rooftop ascetics is King Street Townhouse, which features an infinity pool overlooking the Town Hall and is perfect for the ‘Gram. And then coming in at number 6 is the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, which was once the Refuge Assurance building before it became the Palace Hotel, then the Principal and now the Kimpton.
It’s been home to the phenomenal The Refuge bar and restaurant since 2018, which really put the hotel on the map – with a menu of small plates from around the world, plus an extensive events calendar culminating in their yearly ‘Come As You Are’ Weekender every August.
Okay, so we’re onto the final five now and there was a massive difference in the number of votes between the hotel in 3rd and the ones that come 2nd and 1st. They were so far ahead that they cannot be touched, and in fact – there was only 1 measly vote between the top two spots.
Stock Exchange Hotel
The city’s old Stock Exchange building was actually a restaurant called ‘Stock’ for many years before it was bought up by Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville and transformed into a boutique hotel with a restaurant overseen by Tom Kerridge. The whole place screams opulence, from the stunning marble detailing to the penthouse – called ‘The House’ and starting from £1,750 per night and with its very own roof terrace with views across the Manchester skyline. The Bull & Bear is an exceptional restaurant to have on the old trading floor, and this summer will also see the Schofield brothers open up a cocktail bar in the basement – ‘Sterling’.
The Lowry Hotel
Launched all the way back at the turn of the Millenium, The Lowry Hotel has been at the forefront of the city’s 5-star hotel experience for over 20 years, and they keep continuing to refresh, renovate and improve year-on-year. Most recently, during the pandemic, The Lowry gave their rooms a big spruce up, and they’ve also recently welcomed a new Head Chef, Dominic Grundy, to the River Restaurant. This is where most of the big celebrities stay when they’re in town – so if you want the same experience and level of service as Cher would demand – the Lowry is the spot for you.
A building so beautiful that it’s (wrongly) rumoured to have been saved from Luftwaffe bombs during the Second World War by Adolf Hitler himself. It’s an absolute stunner from the outside and has benefitted from some extensive work on the inside too in recent years, including a complete transformation of the restaurant and bar area on the ground floor. The Midland is a hotel that is synonymous with Manchester – a symbol which characterises the rich history that people associate with the city.
Number 2 in the list and as I said earlier – there was only ONE VOTE in it. Silver goes to Hotel Gotham though, a relatively new addition to the city’s hotel offering, taking over the stunning Art Deco Midland Bank at the top of King Street back in 2015. Jamie’s Italian is no longer there for a spot of grub but that doesn’t matter, for there’s a seemingly endless supply of bars and eateries literally on the doorstep of this place. There’s also the private member’s rooftop bar to contend with, the perfect place to sip a brandy out of a goblet. This place just oozes class and sophistication and transports you back to 1930s New York elegance.
Here we are – your favourite hotel in Manchester. Surprised? Nah, I didn’t think so – especially considering the huge impact that Dakota has had on the city. A huge, black monolith of a building right on the edge of the Rochdale Canal in the Northern Quarter, Dakota oozes class from head-to-toe, front-to-back. It features immaculate rooms, bold and beautiful décor, sumptuously comfortable beds, rainfall showers and the excellent Dakota Grill restaurant and bar on the ground floor. Oh, and then there’s the stunning multi-million-pound outdoor terrace – perfect for cocktails and a bite to eat in the sun. Dakota is a ‘no expense spared’ kind of place, and the second you step through their doors – this becomes obvious.