Hotels are opening in Manchester city centre at a rate that’s hard to keep up with, diversifying the overnight offering with every passing minute.
We’ve got plenty of familiar boltholes if you can’t tear yourself away from the familiarity of a Premier Inn purple bedroom, or the reliable comforts of a Hilton, but also plenty of smaller names offering a stylish place to rest your head.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the very best that Manchester has to offer – expect rooftop pools, riverside terraces, grand architecture and celebrity chefs.
And not all of them come with an eye-watering price tag…
If you want a hotel with loads of atmosphere, a grown-up space with a dark and moody interior, then Dakota is absolutely the one for you.
This beautiful hotel opened back in 2019, a huge £30m black box on the outskirts of the Northern Quarter that had celebrity guests including Hugh Jackman and Mel B staying there almost immediately.
The deluxe suites here will set you back around £765 a night, and come with their own living room and loads of luxuries.
Even if you’re not stopping the night, the riverside terrace is an absolute gem for a civilised drink, filled with plants and natural light.
We all know that Manchester has a habit for drawing comparisons to New York (albeit a smaller, soggier version) but nowhere is this more apparent than in Hotel Brooklyn.
The hotel opened at the worst possible time, being thrust in and out of lockdowns within weeks of opening, but since then it’s attracted rave reviews and been named among the top 20 ‘hottest new hotels’ by Traveller’s Choice.
It’s the sister site for the enormous Hotel Gotham down the road, but the little sibling has a characterful 1920s theme across all of its nine floors, a bar with panoramic views up the top, and a casino in the basement.
Just across the border into Salford is The Lowry hotel, and a big curve of class sticking out above the river.
It’s got a global reputation and its guestbook features some of the biggest celebrities of all time – remember when Taylor Swift rented out the entire place, or Jose Mourinho decided to just live there, rather than find an apartment, during his time as Manchester United manager (not to mention Britney Spears, David Beckham, Rihanna, Take That, Lady Gaga and Kylie).
With a £5m bedroom refurb under its belt, The Lowry has one of the smartest and brightest interiors in the north of England, and also one of the region’s most expensive hotel rooms (a casual £4,500 a night for the presidential suite).
The Kimpton Clocktower oozes timeless sophistication, a relic of Victorian grandeur but with a boutique hotel feel to it.
The lobby is one of the most impressive spaces in Greater Manchester, all polished tile and marble beneath a glass domed ceiling, setting the scene for the rooms themselves (high ceilings, big windows, and plenty of historical details).
Another draw for the Kimpton Clocktower is that its in-house bar and restaurant – The Refuge – is a cut above the average offering.
If only walls could talk, The Midland Hotel would have some of the best stories on Earth.
The landmark hotel has been part of the fabric of Manchester for more than 100 years, with 312 luxurious rooms, and it’s storied that it’s where Charles Rolls and Henry Royce (of Rolls Royce fame) were introduced.
Then there are the communal spaces, even fancier now after their £14m refurbishment, including restaurants Adam Reid at The French and Mount Street Dining Room, and the incredible circular champagne bar in the middle of the lobby.
It’s also the place to come for a traditional afternoon tea, and has a cracking spa.
The curb appeal of Whitworth Locke is something else, from its stunning bar housed in a Parisian-style conservatory, to its food and drink offering (Peru Perdu and a Foundation Coffee House are both in here), to its incredible location right on the edge of the Gay Village.
Each of the rooms is a self-contained haven, from studio apartments all the way up to two-bedroom duplex suites, decorated in a Pinterest-worthy palette of greens and pinks (a muted sample of the terracotta bricks outside).
There’s a packed calendar of events too, so whether you’re an out-of-town guest or a local Manc you’ll be kept busy enough.
You have, almost without a doubt, seen photos of the King Street Townhouse before – this is the hotel that introduced the infinity pool to the city centre, with views of the Town Hall (well, currently of scaffolding).
The hotel has its own cinema room, a rooftop terrace bar, a new gym, and incredible afternoon teas.
The smart rooms range in size from ‘snug’ to ‘cosy’ to ‘comfy’ to suites, with suites priced at around £430 a night.
One of the newest hotels to open in Manchester (and they are popping up like daisies) is The Alan, which has stripped the old Princess Street Hotel back to expose and celebrate its original features.
There are 137 bedrooms, each with high ceilings and warm textures, an open-plan kitchen, restaurant and bar, and event spaces.
The devil is in the detail here and the design has been carefully thought-out. The floor is made from a collage of discarded marble, and the dried flowers illuminated beneath the bar were actually foraged by the hotel’s owners at the time they secured plans for The Alan… while they were broken down on the side of the motorway.
Stock Exchange Hotel
Famous names absolutely litter Stock Exchange Hotel, which is easily one of the grandest spaces in Greater Manchester.
Not only does it come from Gary Neville’s rapidly-booking hospitality empire, it’s also backed by world-famous hotelier Winston Zahra, and then they got celebrity chef Tom Kerridge in to run the hotel restaurant, the Bull & Bear.
You could be looking at as much as £1500 for a night in the suites, but the rooms start at a much lower rate – and then there’s The Residence, an enormous fully serviced, ultra-exclusive apartment with its own roof terrace.
BrewDog’s Doghouse Hotel
The youngest, coolest name on this list is the BrewDog Hotel, which has taken over a hideous old office block and made it into a beer hotel.
There’s beer everywhere – in the huge bar and restaurant on the ground floor, on the rooftop terrace, a pint handed to guests on check-in, beer taps in every bedroom, and even beer fridges in the showers.
Other little luxuries include acoustic guitars and vinyl record players in the rooms, complimentary Brompton bikes, and some pretty epic chicken wings flying out the kitchens.
Handwritten notes addressed to strangers are being left around Manchester city centre
Handwritten notes penned by a stranger on the other side of the world have been appearing on the streets of Manchester, giving a heartwarming lift to eagle-eyed locals in need of a few kind words.
The letters, all titled ‘Dear Stranger,’ are brimming with kindness and positivity and have been bringing a smile to the faces of passers-by in the city centre over the past few weeks.
Written by author and adopted Manc Jay Ventress, to date the campaign has spread across the globe with letters appearing in the UK, Belgium, Australia, and the United States of America.
His letter writing campaign first began as a coping mechanism at the start of the pandemic, because, as he says himself, “at the time everything felt dark, I was a Brit trapped in Australia, so to brighten up my life I began writing little letters to make a stranger smile to make me smile.”
Three years on, they have been spotted in both Manchester and Leeds – with one person in Manchester even taking the time to post a letter back in response.
Jay’s letter, which has been taped to a box on Stevenson Square, advises its readers: “When life turns cold, that’s life’s brutal gift to remind you to open your eyes to the hidden beauty of the world. To grab that hidden beauty and gift it to another stranger who might feel down.”
“If you’re stuck in a job you hate, failing school, lost and lonely living in a big city, it’s the little memories in your day that stand out and make you smile for a second.
“Moments like a stranger smiling at you, somebody opening the door for you, or finding a little letter of encouragement to remind you how special you are.”
The full letter reads: ‘Dear Stranger, sometimes when life feels tough, when everything feels painful, cold, that’s when you wake up.
“You desperately search everywhere and anywhere for a slither of hope. Like right now, look at you!
“You found my secret letter! You’re more observant than most!
“I started writing my letters in Australia, during the pandemic, because at the time everything felt dark, I was a Brit trapped in Australia, so to brighten up my life I began writing little letters to make a stranger smile to make me smile.
“If you’re stuck in a job you hate, failing school, lost nd lonely living in a big city, it’s the little memories in your day that stand out and make you smile for a second.
“Moments like a stranger smiling at you, somebody opening the door for you, or finding a little letter of encouragement to remind you how special you are. When life turns cold, that’s life’s brutal gift to remind you to open your eyes to the hidden beauty of the world. To grab that hidden beauty and gift it to another stranger who might feel down.
“Like you are doing now, if you choose to open your eyes too see, you’ll find so much beauty and if you gift that beauty to another soul, I assure you, life will reward you too.
In response to Jay’s letter, at least one local person has taken it upon themselves to write back to thank him for his efforts.
In a post shared to Jay’s Instagram of different responses from around the world, one like-minded Manc wrote: “Hi! I hope you are well! I saw your note in Manchester today, and I just wanted to share how touching I found it.
“As someone who as also struggled in the past, I keep a long notes list in my phone of ‘moments of unsaid love’ that I witness to remind myself of how much around us goes unnoticed.
“It was so lovely to read something from someone likeminded, and I saw your note just when I needed to be reminded myself. Thank you again, I hope you have a lovely day Jay!”
The 26-year-old letter writer originally hails from Yorkshire, but moved to Manchester as a teenager and worked in the city before deciding to travel the world four years ago.
An Aldi billboard dispensing free rosé wine has appeared in Manchester
A blush pink billboard dispensing free wine has appeared in Manchester’s St Ann’s Square today, and it is causing quite a stir amongst shoppers.
Set up by budget supermarket chain Aldi to celebrate the start of the rosé drinking season, according to the team the jazzy wine-dispensing billboard is something of a ‘world’s first’ – designed to dispense rosé only when the weather hits the perfect temperature (19.2C, apparently).
According to research from Aldi sales, the north west is the biggest rosé-loving region in the UK. In response, the team decided to celebrate the arrival of the perfect rosé weather by launching the billboard – which will dispense the summer tipple when the weather hits the perfect temperature.
With the North West identified by Aldi sales data as the UK’s biggest rosé-loving region, the supermarket set up the billboard in the centre of Manchester ahead of National Rosé Day (10 June).
After researching over 1,000 rosé drinkers, the taps poured out free glasses as temperatures hit the ideal 19.2C at around 1pm in St Ann’s Square.
Two-thirds of those surveyed describe rosé as the ‘perfect summer drink’, while almost half think it’s best enjoyed in shorts and t-shirts – and a quarter start drinking it as soon as the winter coat comes off.
But ice is a divisive topic, with the country split in half when it comes to cooling their rosé; 55% think it’s acceptable when the weather is hot, while 45% claim they would ‘never’ dilute their drink.
Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, said: “Everyone’s heard the saying ‘it’s wine o’clock’ but we wanted to find out when it’s ‘rosé degrees’ – and according to the nation of rosé lovers, the ideal temperature is 19.2C.
“Setting up the world’s first billboard to dispense rosé at a certain warm temperature was a challenge in Manchester, which is noted for rain.
“But as the centre of the region which loves rosé more than any other in the UK, fortunately, everything came up rosé.”
Research by the supermarket also found that rosé lovers enjoy an average of 63 glasses throughout summer, spending £11.34 a bottle, with the preference being a glass of Provence at 5.18pm.
But despite a liking for Southern French vino, shoppers are decidedly more British when it comes to pairings, with over a third (34%) claiming crisps are the ultimate accompaniment to rosé.
Unexpected answers also include a roast dinner (16%), cake (13%), curry (10%), ice cream (6%) and doughnuts (6%) – rising to 11% of 25–34-year-old rosé drinkers.
And one in three rosé drinking Brits claim to have tried last year’s ‘spicy rosé’ TikTok trend in which sliced jalapeños are added to a glass of pink – rising to over half of millennials, with 15% claiming to add one to every glass.
The activity comes as Aldi is fast becoming a destination for rosé wine. Last year, the supermarket saw a 134% uplift in spring/summer sales year on year – with the most successful day coinciding with the August heatwave.
Sam Caporn, Mistress of Wine, added: “Rosé is the ideal summer drink; it really does add a sense of summer fun and al fresco vibes to any occasion with friends and family.
“When it comes to ‘whether’ to put ice in the glass or not, I’d advise rosé fans to be led by personal preference – which as ever – is all that really matters. Don’t worry too much about dilution as with rosé it’s all about refreshment and I love it being served super chilled.
“So let’s raise a glass to the nation’s favourite vino for summer sipping, a drop of pink!”
Aldi’s Rosé Billboard will dispense free rosé when the weather hits 19.2C (approx. 1pm) until 7pm in St Ann’s Square, Manchester on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th June.