For my latest football trip to Manchester to watch the City v United derby, I decided to linger a little, so stayed the night and took a walk around Manchester’s Northern Quarter next morning.
First up in the quirkiness stakes was my hotel. I stayed in the newly completed Ibis Styles hotel near Piccadilly Station. I had stayed at the hotel before in its former guise, the staid & predictable Portland Hotel, but you would not recognise the place such was the makeover.
In line with other new Ibis Styles hotels in Liverpool (Beatles), Leeds (Yorkshire) & Glasgow (Poetry), the Manchester hotel is themed, with the subject matter Manchester’s famed weather – four seasons in a day and all that!
I booked a single with included (fabulous) breakfast at £76 for the night. As soon as you arrive you are smiling – the main door handles are silver Wellington boots, the reception ceiling is covered in open umbrellas, the lights are all balls of sunshine.
Gone is the square reception desk stuck against the far wall and in its place a bright and airy open plan check-in area.
My small but perfectly formed room continued the weather theme with wall art, whilst the bathroom naturally had a rain shower instead of a waste of space bathtub.
I took my pre-match meal in the hotel restaurant called Jamboree. Burgers inspired by different countries & regions (including a crab burger!) steaks and craft beers or cocktails were on offer. A limited choice, but well prepared & presented. The restaurant was also funkily decorated with a variety of imaginitive lighting and plenty of varied style seating areas.
Breakfast was served in the same place – fresh orange juice, great coffee and enough continental choices to make you forget BREXIT.
A huge thumbs up from me and I will definitely stay again next time and look forward to trying the others.
So what did I get up to on my free morning? I had heard about the Northern Quarter, a stone’s throw from the hotel. The area is Manchester’s answer to Camden. The former industrial wasteland has been transformed into an incredibly cool location with independent bars, cafes, boutiques, theatres, barbers and much more. Trendy is the word. I am writing this post in a great cafe called North Tea Power, situated inside part of an old warehouse.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the quarter is all of the wall art. Local & international street artists have been invited to adorn the walls, shutters and even the bins with their artwork. There are some great examples to be found and this has spawned an army of photographers, especially at weekends.
I particularly liked the huge bottle painted on the side of a red brick building. The message in the bottle is a stunning drawing of a fantasy city that would look right at home in Lord of the Rings. There is so much to see in the bottle and all around the area.
I understand from people in the know that a lot of the art is by very well known creative artists. My knowledge starts and ends with Banksy, so I will let you be the judge.
Every time I come to Manchester (about eight times a year) there is something new to see. The vibrant city should definitely be on your list if it isn’t already.
I used to go up to Manchester annually 7 or 8 years ago while a friend of mine used to live there. Wish I had known therr was such a creative talented street art side to the city!
I think it’s quite a recent initiative and a very good idea for what was a pretty rough area.
I’ve seen Manchester in a new light! My hubby is from there but we rarely get to enjoy the city as we visit family! I love that Bowie one
I was on a mission to find Bowie but didn’t spot Prince.
Manchester is on my to do list to visit the museums. I think I will make it an overnighter and stay at the Ibis. Shame about that football match!
Now in Doncaster to watch a proper match with Exeter City!
Who are you rooting for?
I am a Devon boy! Come on Grecians! Need 3 points to get in play offs.
Ah, Manchester. Thank you for reminding me of what a great place it is, although all this is after my time I reckon. Fabulous hotel too! Not sure about the four seasons bit, but the rain is surely right.