The Midland, Manchester
THE HOTEL: This vast red brick building opposite the Town Hall is a city landmark and just ten minutes from the train station. You can’t but help letting out a 'wow' on entering the atrium of this 100-year-old, Grade II listed hotel, which has been sensitively updated, without taking anything from the magnificent Victorian structure. It is a member of the 21-strong QHotels group.
THE CHECK-IN: The pillared lobby is a cavernous space that almost swallows up the reception area. There was just one person ahead of me and a very personable and chatty bellboy struck up conversation in the interim. The receptionist was equally friendly and did the formalities, and changed my dinner reservation in no time.
THE ROOM: A fabulous, high-ceilinged corner Junior Suite flooded with light, with contemporary décor in neutral tones accented with camel and purple-coloured soft furnishings. A nice touch was a lack of fitted furniture but stand-out matching wardrobe, console and bedside tables etc plus all you would expect in amenities, including desk, clothes press, minibar, tea and coffee-making facilities, free wifi and flatscreen TV. There was a decent-size bathroom with power shower, robes et al.
THE BUSINESS: Wifi that works throughout the hotel at no cost, plus 14 meeting rooms, the largest being the Alexander Suite for up to 600 people, down to the smallest rooms, the historic Rolls and Royce rooms taking up to 25. Day delegate rates are from £59; 24hrs from £189.
THE FACILITIES: The Wyvern restaurant offers brasserie fare, from salads to giant steaks, as well as some risqué photography decorating the walls. There's also the formal French Restaurant, Octagon Bar & Lounge off the hotel lobby and the Colony Room for breakfast – all of them with impressive high ceilings. Leisure facilities include a pool, gym, studio and a squash court.
THE VERDICT: This four-star hotel feels more like a five-star with good, proactive service, breadth of amenities and general opulence. No surprise that it’s QHotel’s flagship property of the 21 in the portfolio. It also has good green credentials (Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme).
THE DETAILS: The Midland, Peter Street, Manchester M60 2DS. Room rates start from £80 per night; Junior suites are from £155. Tel: 0161 236 3333; see: www.qhotels.co.uk.
Reviewed by Gillian Upton (2012)