This is the third in a series about my August/September 2018 trip to Manchester, England and Scotland. You can read a preview of the trip here.
As a large city, there is no shortage of hotels in Manchester, with all the major international and European chains represented. The city is super-walkable, and also has reliable bus service, but I decided I wanted to stay near Piccadilly Station, which is very close to the Gay Village, and also made sense given my arrival and departure by train. Prices for Pride weekend were all over the place, but were especially insane on Saturday night. I ended up with my first night on a cash rate at the Doubletree Manchester – Piccadilly, for about 109 GBP, and then the next two nights at the Holiday Inn across the street—using 30,000 IHG points for the first night, and then paying 85 GBP for the second. Both hotels were perfectly fine. I had thought the Doubletree would be a little nicer, but liked the room at the Holiday Inn better actually. I would stay at either again.
Doubletree Manchester – Piccadilly
The Doubletree Manchester – Piccadilly is a very short, few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Station. The hotel is modern glass building, and about 9 stories high. The hotel was originally a Mint property, and based on my last experience at a former Mint now Doubletree (in Amsterdam), I had some doubts. Thankfully, this property had gotten rid of some of the “signature” Mint aspects.
Although I got to the front desk at 9:35 am, my room was ready. The front desk agent apologized that no upgrades would be available, which was appreciated. There’s no lounge at the property, but I was given a drink ticket for the bar on the ground level, along with the signature cookie.
My room on the fifth floor was fairly spartan, and on the smaller side. It had the same wardrobe/shelving unit as the Doubletree Amsterdam, with an empty mini fridge and a coffee/tea set-up adjoining. There was a desk and chair and a small little table that didn’t serve any real purpose. Instead of an iMac, there was a real TV mounted against the wall. There were two free bottles of water awaiting in the room. There was a single open outlet by the nightstand, and a clock radio – which seems rarer and rarer these days.
The bathroom was on the smaller size as well, with a small, stall shower. Like the rest of the room, it was very white and sterile looking, and not particularly luxe. The bathroom had Crabtree & Evelyn toiletry dispensers in addition to mini-bottles.
I don’t know if any rooms at the property have much of a view; mine overlooked some office buildings. I didn’t find it particularly noisy.
The gym in the building was pretty nice, with a range of cardio and weight equipment. It was pretty empty when I was there.
The ground floor of the hotel doesn’t have much in the way of a lobby, but there is a bar, the Store Street Craft Bar, on one end, and the restaurant, the Store Street Exchange, on the other. When I went down to redeem my free drink at the bar, the staff was friendly despite it being pretty crowded. They had a bunch of craft beers on tap, and I had one.
Breakfast was the most disappointing part of the stay. I was seated promptly when I arrived, but no one ever came to my table at any point during my meal. There was a menu on the table, featuring various cooked-to-order options. I’m not sure if any were included in the Diamond breakfast, but I’d never know. I tried to signal wait staff multiple times but eventually gave up. The buffet itself was pretty spare, with typical English breakfast options. The scrambled eggs looked revolting. There were some fried eggs and a few other hot items that were passable. There was a separate yogurt, fruit, and juice station which was okay. The pastry selection was fairly limited. I made do, but it was a bit substandard. Coffee was also self-serve which made for some clustering and dangerous walking of hot liquids.
In all, a perfectly fine hotel, but not luxurious by any means. If I wasn’t going to Pride and looking to stay at a Hilton property, I’d check out the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, which is a bit more upscale.
Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre
I’ve stayed in a bunch of Holiday Inns in Europe over the past few years, and they’ve been quite good – exceeding my expectations and the image associated with the brand here in the U.S. The Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre was no exception. Located literally across the street from the Doubletree, the property is very comparable, and I’d say I had a slight preference for the Holiday Inn, largely based on the room alone.
The property is a new building, like the Doubletree. When you walk in on the ground floor, there’s a large bar and restaurant open space that kind of resembles a cafeteria in terms of layout and lighting. On the right is the check-in desk and guest elevators, and there’s also an outdoor patio overlooking the canal.
My room wasn’t ready when I checked in in the morning, but the agent was very friendly about it. I had emailed in advance to make sure my reservations were linked, so I wouldn’t have to change rooms, and that properly been noted in the system – though I would have to check out and check in at the front desk on my second day. My IHG Platinum status was noted, and I was offered a choice of a drink or points as my welcome gift. I asked for points, and they posted in hours.
As you walked in, there was a nice-sized modern bathroom on the left, closets on the right, and a little column that had some shelves, coffee and tea set up, and a mini fridge. Inside the fridge was a large Kit Kat and two bottles of water.
There wasn’t much of a view, but that’s just the location I think.
Two random notes. One, this was one of the few occasions where I actually wanted ice for my room, and there was no ice machine for guests. The bartender gave me a pint glass full of ice, though, and was friendly about it. Two, there was an extremely loud event going on at the hotel. There was a band playing 90s music, so I assume a straight wedding. But it was so loud you could hear it from the elevators on the 8th floor. It wasn’t a big deal, though, because when you passed through the doors between the elevator area and the guest hallway, you could no longer hear a peep (so long as the doors were closed).
I’d stay here again.
Tags: Doubletree, Doubletree Manchester Piccadilly, England, Europe, Hilton, Hilton Honors, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Manchester City Center, IHG, LGBT Travel, Manchester, Manchester Pride, pride, Train Travel, United Kingdom