24 hours in Manchester
In the latest of our Citybase Tried and Tested series, our intrepid travellers spend 24 hours in Manchester.
A wise Mancunian philosopher* once said: “Manchester’s got everything except a beach” and we think that sums up this colourful, irreverent, music- and sports-mad city quite nicely. Manchester is a real hotspot for Citybase citybreaks, buzzing year-round with conferences, sports, shopping, concerts, festivals, Christmas Markets and some amazing bars and restaurants: there just isn’t a downtime here. We’ve profiled three, very different, short breaks to Manchester – a child-free birthday weekend, an indulgent foodie break and a business trip – showcasing the best the city has to offer. Why not make Manchester the destination for your next adventure?
24 hours In Manchester for…a birthday weekend with Roisin & Scott Hine.
Citybase Apartments’ Senior Client Support Roisin Hine decided to treat Scott to a weekend in Manchester for his birthday, hitting the best bars, restaurants and shops Manchester has to offer. We caught up with Roisin and she gave us the lowdown on her 24 hours in Manchester.
“We headed into Manchester on Saturday morning, catching the train from Lancaster. It only took an hour but was long enough to enjoy our first-class seats, a glass of champagne and some child-free peace and quiet!
We were staying at La Reserve Aparthotel – one of Manchester’s newest and chicest aparthotels. It is literally minutes’ walk from Piccadilly station: take the first right towards the city centre on to Ducie Street and you see the sign immediately.
Entering the glass doors of this tall, modern building and it was like strolling into the lobby of a 5 star hotel, with sumptuous upholstery and furniture fresh flowers and candles.
We were greeted by immaculately turned-out, friendly staff and shown to a smart bar area and outdoor terrace with a view of the canal. The staff were very professional, asked whether we were in town for a special occasion, if we required any information on where to eat or visit. I explained it was my husband’s birthday and that we were visiting the Football museum, have afternoon tea and go shopping. The staff advised that, from late summer 2017, they would be offering afternoon tea in their on-site restaurant.
We took a lift up to the seventh floor and were taken aback by the size of the apartment, in my experience, hotel rooms in Manchester are often quite compact but not this one. We had two king-size bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open plan sitting room and kitchen with a balcony.
Roisin’s places to visit in Manchester
After checking in we went shopping in the Northern Quarter, this area is full of quirky cafes and boutique shops. We treated ourselves to vintage Fred Perry and Ralph Lauren at COW and Pop Boutique and then went on to Great John Street Hotel for the best afternoon tea I have ever tasted.
We headed back for a few drinks in our apartment, got dressed for dinner and went for a few cocktails at The Alchemist in Spinningfields . There are so many places to eat and drink in Manchester, but given we were enjoying a rare child-free night out, we decided to treat ourselves to Australasia. Where the cool kids go to eat, be seen and enjoy a fusion of Australian, Asian and Indonesian cuisine served up in an awesome subterranean setting.
A fantastic night’s sleep
Despite being located close to the train station and in a city centre I was not disturbed once by any internal or external sound. we slept like babies in the extraordinarily quiet apartment. We enjoyed a leisurely lie in and went for breakfast at Evelyn’s which was amazing.
As it was my husband’s birthday, it was his choice to visit the National Football Museum.
Despite not being a fan, I found it really interesting and like many museums in Manchester it is donation-only entry. We went to the new BrewDog bar for a beer before heading home.
Roisin’s Manchester Eating Out guide
During their 24 hours in Manchester, Roisin and Scott managed to visit many of our favourite restaurants and bars but, with a new one popping up every week, you are absolutely spoiled for choice in Manchester.
- If inventive and wonderful cocktails are your thing, look no further than The Alchemist. It really is all about the mixology here, think liquid nitrogen, Cocktail style bar tending theatrics, brightly coloured concoctions and not a mini-umbrella in sight.
- Evelyn’s Cafe and Bar on Tib Street is already a Manchester classic: simple, healthy soul food, with a dash of creativity and the wine list, like the place itself, is small but perfectly formed.
- Beer geeks of Manchester unite, Brew Dog is your mecca. What these guys don’t know about craft beer isn’t worth knowing. If you’re a craft beer novice, they will happily talk hops until you are an expert.
- Experience a pan-Asian fusion at Australasia: stylish, exotic and fresh, the menu will take you all around the Pacific Rim and the venue is – literally – down under. Just go, you can thank us later.
Roisin’s other things to do in Manchester for couples
“There is such an assortment of shopping and places to eat, each area has its own feel and personality. There is also a real friendliness from the people of Manchester and had we had more than 24 hours, we would definitely have been able to fill several more weekends! On our list for next time is…
- Indoor skydiving at iFly
- Hitting the slopes at Chillfactore indoor ski and snowboarding centre
- Perfecting our swing at Trafford Golf Centre
- Taking in a show at one of the theatres, the upcoming season features Miss Saigon, Matilda and Shrek the Musical.
- If you prefer something heavier, there are regular gigs at the Apollo and Manchester Arena, and at smaller venues in the Northern Quarter such as Matt and Phreds, Night and Day and Band on the Wall.
- Challenging ourselves to finding some of Manchester’s hidden bars and speakeasies.
24 hours in Manchester for a foodie break to spoil the mum-to-be
Citybase Head of Client Reservations – and lover of the finer things in life – Martin Collins definitely knows how to stay in his girlfriend’s good books; he treated Lizzie and their baby bump for a weekend of shopping, pampering, fabulous food and basically exploring the city by Uber.
“We arrived on Saturday morning on the train from Lancaster to Manchester Oxford Road. We were staying at Citysuites, another of Manchester’s newest luxury aparthotels. It’s very central on Chapel Steet but, as we had bags (and a baby on board) we got an Uber from there to the property (£6 ish). It is a fairly short walk across Albert Square, down Cross street to Exchange Square, nip down the back of Harvey Nics, and cross over the river on Victoria Bridge Street. It was really easy to get to and there are plenty of car parks nearby if you’re coming by car.”
Martin’s places to visit in Manchester
“The location of this aparthotel is absolutely perfect for a short break in Manchester as you’re right in the heart of the action. Spinningfields, The Manchester Arena, Manchester Cathedral, National Football Museum, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges are all very close.
Citysuites offers an extremely high standard of accommodation in Manchester. It offers beautiful contemporary design, great facilities, a pool, sauna, steam room and gym. Everything is finished to a very high standard and there is a very calm, relaxing ambience.
We checked in and dropped off luggage; staff were extremely helpful and friendly and offered to book a taxi for us. When we returned, our luggage was in our room and a member of the team showed us our apartment and talked us through the facilities. We really could not have asked of anything more from the City Suites team.
This weekend was one of the last we would enjoy together before the arrival of our first baby. We were spoiling ourselves with the best that Manchester has to offer in shopping and eating (I may have enjoyed the odd glass of wine but wild partying is definitely off the agenda these days). Luckily, Manchester has plenty to do for grown-ups and we happily hammered my credit card with some serious retail therapy.
We headed back to Citysuites and, while I relaxed in the room with a glass of wine, Lizzie headed to the spa and swimming pool to chill out before we headed out for the evening.”
Martin’s Manchester eating out guide
We started off with lunch at Jamie’s Italian: always a good shout for an excellent and great value lunch.
But, it’s the setting of the Manchester restaurant that makes this a special choice. It’s a grade II listed former bank on King Street, with many of the quirky original features retained. We shared antipasti, some amazing calamari and the oxtail lasagne was the best we’ve ever tasted. I had the prawn linguine and a pizza, and we shared a clotted cream pannacotta which was fabulous.
In the evening, it was more Italian at San Carlo. A perennial favourite on the Manchester restaurant scene, San Carlo has been top of its game for longer than I can remember. It never disappoints with a fresh seasonal menu and faultless service. The Carpaccio and mushroom bruschetta is to die for and the wine list alone is worth a visit – although Lizzie had to watch me drink a whole bottle!”
The following day, we started the day with breakfast at the Alchemist at Spinningfields. As we were in Manchester, it was only fitting that I tried the Eggs Bury, a Mancunian twist on the classic benedict with, you guessed it, black pudding instead of ham! And I can report that it was pretty good.
It was then time to hit the shops (again) and we spent many happy hours in Selfridges and House of Fraser, as well as picking up a few things for baby Collins.
Just before setting off for home, we had time for lunch and, after our Italian fest the day before, we decided to go for Thai at Chaophraya. For anyone who’s not eaten at Chaophraya, you are missing a treat. The food is amazing, the service impeccable and, the restaurants are decorated beautifully with a fabulous, authentic atmosphere. It was the perfect tranquil end to our decadent weekend.
We reluctantly left the city a good deal poorer & a bit chubbier but blissfully happy after our amazing weekend. Citysuites was one of the nicest apartments I’ve stayed in, in one of the best cities in the world. Thank you Citysuites, and thank you Manchester!
24 hours in Manchester for…the HBAA conference
Alison Makosz, Kurtis Murphy and Victoria Jackson spent 24 hours in Manchester for the HBAA conference, the annual industry forum for businesses that specialise in the procurement of accommodation, meetings and event facilities.
This year’s conference was held at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly; very handy for the station but we easily parked at the NCP Chorlton Street using the PayByPhone Parking app which was only £12.10 for 24 hours. The Mercure was a great venue for the conference, it was spacious, comfortably cool (despite the sun beating down all day outside) with great food and drink.
The main hall was perfect for the daytime business sessions and, come the evening, was transformed into an opulent and fabulous ballroom for dinner, drinks and dancing. Anyone looking to host a business event, conference or Christmas party should definitely check it out.”
Have our teams’ travels inspired you to take a trip to Manchester, you can see the apartments they stayed in here…
CitySuites is in the heart of Manchester and offers the finest quality serviced accommodation.
La Reserve Aparthotel offers all the space and flexibility of an apartment, with an on-site restaurant, bar, and great city views. Outreach list
*Well, Ian Brown