Tried & Tested

Hotel check: City Inn Manchester

30 Sep 2007 by Mark Caswell

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Opened in June, this new-build hotel is a four-star plus, and is modern and light with pristine décor. The group also has properties in Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham and London (Westminster). Leeds, another London property and the first international hotel (Amsterdam) are in the pipeline.

WHERE IS IT? Opposite Manchester Piccadilly Station across a footbridge.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 285, including 252 City rooms (minimum 19 sqm), 26 Club rooms, six suites and a penthouse mezzanine Auburn Suite with corner views and a spiral staircase. There are 14 rooms adapted for disabled use.

ROOM AMENITIES All rooms have air-conditioning, a queen-size bed or bigger (with larger duvets), a hair dryer and laptop safe. Club rooms are larger, with a seating area and floor-to-ceiling windows, and include a fruit platter, newspaper, flexible booking and a complimentary daily drink in the Piccadilly Lounge. All rooms have iMac multimedia stations which can be used as computers, TVs or for listening to music and watching DVDs. Suites have one in the living area and another in the bedroom (and work with wireless mice). For security the iMacs wipe all information off the hard-drive (with “deep freeze” technology) when they are shut down. My room was a suite with a separate living area and trendy (but not particularly comfortable) furniture, and the iMac. It was easy to use although the sound kept cutting out when I was watching TV. The bed had a crisp duvet and plenty of pillows and the views over the city were great. The bathroom had White Company toiletries and mist-free mirrors with white dressing gowns. There is 24-hour room service.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS City Café serves modern British fare and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the main draws is the terrace and I had lunch outside in the sunshine. There are three menus on offer: à la carte, the Garden menu (full of vegetarian dishes) and the Kitchen menu, showcasing the chef’s specialities. Starters are generous: I had Whitby crab with chilli, coriander and pickled ginger with wasabi mayonnaise and pumpkin seed bread (£7.95), which was delicious, followed by seared peppered tuna steak with coriander, lemon and confit tomato salad (£14.50), cooked exactly as I’d asked, medium rare and beautifully tender. Breakfast is served from 7.30-10.30am on weekdays with continental breakfast (£9.95) including smoothies, fruit salads, nuts and cereals, smoked salmon, cheese and ham. English breakfast is £13.95 (includes continental too) and you can also order à la carte. For a drink, the Blue Bar is a cosy blue room with blue lights and furniture, while the Piccadilly Lounge is popular for business meetings during the day (free wifi) and cocktails in the evening.

MEETINGS AND BUSINESS The first floor is dedicated to meetings, with a capacity for 195 people across the 13 rooms. All have natural daylight and sound-proofing, and there is also a large room for around 600 people. On the top floor the Sky Lounge is a fantastic space with a terrace and views of Manchester City football ground (United is on the other side). There is free internet access throughout.

HEALTH AND FITNESS The fitness suite has three treadmills and other cardiovascular machines. It is not staffed and and you can access it at all day with a key card.

VERDICT Modern and bright, this is a well thought-out business and leisure hotel with great F&B options and a superb location moments from the station.

PRICES Fullly flexible internet rates for a mid-week stay in mid-October started from £109.

CONTACT One Piccadilly Place, 1 Auburn Street; tel +44 (0)161 242 1000;

Felicity Cousins

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