Please note our writer visited Manchester prior to the coronavirus pandemic
On a romantic break to Manchester, city centre neighbourhoods such as canal-side Castlefield, achingly cool Ancoats and the bohemian Northern Quarter compete as charming spots to stroll hand-in-hand while dipping in and out of bars and restaurants. And Manchester’s historical attractions, green spaces and cultural sites are appealing for couples to explore. A number of Manchester’s finest hotels make romantic retreats special too, whether you’d like to stare out over the city centre’s rooftops while soaking in an infinity spa-pool, eat where Becks wooed Posh or even sleep in the unashamedly opulent “sexiest hotel in Europe”. Here's our pick of the of the most romantic hotels in Manchester.
This charming 40-room boutique hotel impresses on many levels, from the spa’s infinity pool with knock-out views of the Town Hall clock to the classy public areas. Rooms come with ridiculously comfy beds and luxury bathrobes, and some categories have free-standing bathtubs. There’s a small cinema in the hotel’s vaulted cellars where, subject to availability, tickets are free of charge for hotel and restaurant (buzzy King Street Tavern) guests Sunday to Thursday. Yes, visiting King Street Townhouse is like staying with a rich friend who has extremely good taste.
First impressions of this hotel are undeniably grand – from the Grade II listed ornate red brick and terracotta exterior to the pillared, glass-ceilinged reception area, which often has a striking floral arrangement at its centre. Its claims to fame include being where Rolls decided to go into business with Royce, Becks wooed Posh, and the first tango in the UK was danced. There’s a good-sized spa (costs £10 extra) with a large relaxation area, treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, whirlpool tub and small relaxation pool.
Opulence and bling rule here, from the gold-tiled private members’ club on the top floor to the dark and decadent 60 rooms and suites, all grey walls, large comfy beds, leather bed heads and faux fur throws. The hotel aims to be “the sexiest hotel in Europe” with its five Inner Sanctum suites have leather-clad black walls, with no windows, and a huge “wonderwall” with a projection of the city skyline or a film about the hotel’s characters. The 60-cover restaurant, Honey, has a small menu with some interesting options and delicate portion sizes. Ask for a seat next to one of the arched windows for a great view of the city below.
Public areas at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel positively drips with ornate original features, including glazed bricks, tiles and faience, stained glass and carved wooden staircases. Glossy contemporary fittings add sex appeal. Rooms may lack the glamour found elsewhere but minibars come stocked with complimentary mineral water and fresh milk, and there’s also a tuck-box of free treats including posh crisps and chocolate bars. Room service operates round-the-clock and includes naughty late-night indulgences such as a mug of Ovaltine and chocolate Hobnobs.
Tucked away on a quiet residential street in the south Manchester suburb of Didsbury, this hotel is a peaceful escape from city life, with bold gilt mirrors in the halls and tasteful knick-knacks. The walled garden is a lovely extra space with a range of seating options including a swing and loungers if it’s sunny, and a covered heated area if it’s not. Entry level Classic Rooms feel spacious, but for something different consider room 42, an eclectic villa with two roll-top baths – one in the room and one on a private terrace overlooking the garden outside.
It's right in the heart of the Northern Quarter action, so there are bars and restaurants galore on the hotel's doorstep, but you don’t really have to leave your room here. There's no food offering but the hotel has deals with local restaurants and will order takeaways to rooms. A light breakfast is included in the rate and is brought up to rooms in a bag. There's even a Whatsapp number to message with any requests from your room if picking up the phone is too much of an effort. If you do want to socialise, The Plantation Bar, is the place to go for free prosecco and nibbles (between 6pm and 8pm), cocktails and free coffee.
This former Victorian schoolhouse, just off Deansgate, is a decadent retreat. It’s all about indulging yourself here – whether that’s by relaxing in the cast-iron roll-top bathtub in your room or cosying up with a glass of red in the library. Toweringly high ceilings allow 26 of the 30 rooms to be duplex and massive windows span both floors. From the entry-level Baby Grand rooms to Opus Grand suites, each room is unique but they all share the same sense of decadent style with crushed velvet fabrics, good quality linen and huge comfortable beds. There are also elegant communal spaces including the chic Oyster Bar and a rooftop lounge.
Velvet is in the heart of the Canal Street action. The buzzy bar is a great place to start an evening out and, if you’re embracing the local nightlife, a discounted clubbing package is available including a bottle of fizz. As soon as you step into the hotel, the glamorous scene is set by a huge, gold gilt mirror and crystal chandelier. Every one of the 19 rooms has its own unique décor, but have chunky crystal glasses, robes, and striking beds. Bathrooms vary from having oversized square tubs designed for two or roll-tops to showers only. Hotel guests get 20 percent off food and drink in the Marco Pierre White-branded restaurant.
Occupying the bottom 23 floors of the 47-storey Beetham Tower skyscraper, there are some fantastic views from the hotel's huge floor-to-ceiling windows and the use of glass and natural light makes it a memorable place to stay. At the top of the hotel, the panorama over Manchester and beyond from Cloud 23 and the Executive Lounge is the highlight. There's a swimming pool with a glass roof and walls, along with a whirlpool tub, steam room, sauna and spa. Views from the rooms (and even the Standards are spacious) are either south of the city and beyond or into the city centre down Deansgate.
Contributions by Rhonda Carrier