Manchester is within easy reach and offers a chance to experience the bright lights in a friendly - and lively - atmosphere. Stephanie Smith discovers a grand old hotel and spa in the heart of a city on a high.
There’s a vibrancy to Manchester that few other UK cities can match. It’s on a high at the moment, with many building projects creating a constantly evolving skyline. On the streets, Mancunian camaraderie and humour is an experience in itself. The Midland Hotel is a venerated landmark and meeting place at the heart of the action.
Location: Opened in 1903 to serve rail travellers from London, this instantly recognisable, polished red, Grade II listed, 4-star hotel is minutes from Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations. Bang next door to Manchester Town Hall and Albert Square, it’s an ideal location for exploring all the city centre’s hotspots for dining, drinking, shopping and culture.
Ambience: The Midland Hotel has all the grandeur you might expect of a grande dame who has hosted royalty and rock stars, presidents and prime ministers. This is where Rolls met Royce and where David and Victoria Beckham had their first date. Stepping into The Midland’s cavernous and opulent lobby area feels like a portal back to more impressive times. Winner of a Best Luxury Urban Escape in the World Luxury Spa Awards 2019, the Spa at the Midland has a heated relaxation pool, alder wood sauna, aromatherapy steam rooms with sea air to clear the mind, hanging pod cocoons and ergonomic sleep chambers.
Accommodation: There are 312 bedrooms, including suites, all spacious and decorated with restrained opulence. Grand but not imposing, our room had two double beds side by side, and views over the square. There are robes you can pop on and wear as you take the lift down to the Spa.
Food and Drink: There are two award-winning restaurants, Adam Reid at The French and Mr Cooper’s Restaurant and Bar, with a decidedly holiday atmosphere and dishes including grills, fish and Goosnargh chicken breast. The bar is a popular meeting place for business people, visitors and locals (it’s where we celebrated my daughter’s graduation, along with many other proud parents and their offspring).
What to do: Manchester Library and Town Hall are both well worth a look (book now to catch the famous Christmas Market). Spinningfields continues to evolve as a vibrant dining quarter. The Royal Exchange Theatre sees Macbeth open on September 13 with female lead Lucy Ellington, while The Palace has The Book of Mormon until August 24 and then Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5 The Musical September 17-21.
Worth writing home about: The vast range of treatments at The Spa at the Midland. Many use products by British brand Espa with many options to soothe, detox and beautify, including skin lifting facials, Rasul mud treatments and a Serene Sleep treatment with aromatherapy back massage using hot stones, plus facial and scalp massage, for £85. Heaven.
* A one night spa break costing from £150 per guest includes a two-course lunch, dinner and full English breakfast in Mr Cooper’s, overnight stay, one of seven Spa Ritual Treatments and full access to the Thermal Experience, Relaxation Suite and gym.
To book call 0161 932 4086 or email spa@TheMidlandManchester.co.uk and see www.themidlandhotel.co.uk