THE PROPERTY: The 116-room property is in the Oxford Road Corridor business and academia hub of Manchester and is attached to an education centre that is part of the University of Manchester. It is a short walk to Manchester Oxford Road rail station; Manchester Piccadilly is about one mile away. The hotel is on the 13th to 18th storeys of the building, with a Crowne Plaza underneath.
THE CHECK-IN: Reception is on the 18th floor and fronts the lounge and breakfast area. Check-in was quick, friendly and efficient, and my room was on the same floor, so only a short walk away.
THE ROOM: I had a corner room (1801) with great views of Manchester, particularly attractive at night. The bedroom was generous with a large double bed, crisp sheets and a firm mattress, allowing an excellent night’s sleep. There were light controls both sides of the bed and no irritating corner light stayed on after you thought you had turned them all off. There was a shower over the bath and the shower screen made access to the bath slightly tiresome but lights in the bathroom were bright, which was useful for putting on make-up; lighting was thankfully more subtle in the sitting area, where a comfortable sofa and chairs faced a generous widescreen TV. The kitchenette had a Nespresso machine with four free capsules supplied and a detailed guide to the room left no stone unturned – hob, dishwasher, air conditioning, central heating were all clearly explained. Cards on the magnetic notice board explained how to order pizza from the ground floor kitchen and supplied further menu details.
THE FACILITIES: A large breakfast buffet caters to every requirement, with pancake maker, yogurt, nuts, seeds, several types of bread, salami, cheese, cooked breakfast and fruit. The lounge has a gas fire, floor to ceiling windows and a conservatory area. Free Wifi, self-service laundry room and The Pantry convenience store are complemented by guest access to Crowne Plaza facilities such as a 24-hour gym, meeting space, The Graduate Bar – which has a great cocktail list and a bar menu – and the Laureate Restaurant with open kitchen and good food and wine.
THE VERDICT: Everything ticks over very smoothly at the hotel and staff were warm and welcoming, which creates a nice atmosphere; add excellent business facilities and it’s a good place to stay. It is worth asking for a corner room to take full advantage of the views.
THE DETAILS: 30 Higher Chatham Street Manchester, M15 6ED. Rates start from £75 per night + VAT for a 29-night stay or more (NB: 20% VAT for first 28 nights, 4% thereafter), including breakfast and evening social events. Tel: 0161-359 5556. Ihg.com.
Reviewed by Catherine Chetwynd (2019)