Review: Hilton Manchester Deansgate

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We were spending two nights in Manchester, which I think is a good amount of time to visit a city you’re not terribly excited about, but still want to see. Manchester’s hotel selection is surprisingly limited for a fairly large city. There’s not a single Hyatt or Starwood property, which are my two preferred hotel chains. And on top of that there aren’t any American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso properties.

So we ended up booking the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, which I was told is one of the best hotels in the city. We booked last minute, and the cheapest available rate was 138GBP (~$210) for a Twin Deluxe Room.

We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel, which took about 20 minutes. And the exterior of the Hilton sure is impressive, especially in comparison to the otherwise charmingly past-its-prime Manchester skyline.

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Hilton Manchester Deansgate exterior

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Hilton Manchester Deansgate exterior

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Hilton Manchester Deansgate exterior

The hotel’s lobby was modern and airy, if not a bit sterile.

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Hilton Manchester lobby

Reception was located upon entering to the left (just past the buckets with dripping water in them), where we were greeted by a rather unfriendly associate.

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Hilton Manchester lobby

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Hilton Manchester lobby

It was around 1PM when we checked in, and she informed us that it would be a couple of hours before our room was ready. We were dead tired at this point and wanted to nap before exploring Manchester in the evening, so I asked if there were any other room types available.

She said “well, you booked a twin deluxe room which we don’t have available, but we have a twin room. It’s the same room except on a floor lower. The only difference is that it doesn’t have bathrobes and slippers, but I can send those up.”

That certainly worked for us, and while I realize it was technically a downgrade, I figured an associate would have at least proactively presented that as an option.

I’m an HHonors Gold member through the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, so further asked about the possibility of receiving access to the club lounge. While club lounge access is a guaranteed benefit of being an HHonors Diamond member, it’s on a space available basis as an HHonors Gold member, and is only guaranteed when you’re also upgraded to a club level room (which we weren’t).

She informed us that the lounge was at capacity… “but what I can offer you is breakfast in the restaurant,” which she said with a tone as if she were somehow making a huge exception. I guess this was the first time I noticed a difference in treatment between being a Gold and Diamond member (status I previously had from spending $40,000 on the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card).

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Hilton Manchester lobby

We headed up to our room, which was located at the end of the 13th floor. The hallways were modern and in good condition, though once again quite sterile.

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Hilton Manchester hallway

I did appreciate that upon exiting the elevator there was both an ice machine and shoe shine. Not all hotels in Europe have ice machines, an amenity which I greatly appreciate as an American who likes my drinks at arctic temperatures.

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Hilton Manchester ice machine and shoe shine

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Hilton Manchester twin room entrance

The twin room was exactly what you’d expect. It was in good condition and a fair size, though not huge. It featured two twin beds, a chair with a side table by the window, and then a desk with a TV across from it.

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Hilton Manchester twin room beds

The twin mattresses were wedged together, as seems to be the norm for hotels in Europe, for reasons I can’t understand. Fortunately we were quickly able to redecorate the room and instead put the nightstand between the beds rather than on the side.

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Hilton Manchester twin room beds

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Hilton Manchester twin room

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Hilton Manchester twin room

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Hilton Manchester twin room seating by window

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Hilton Manchester twin room desk

The view of Manchester would have been quite nice in theory, though the dots all over the windows sort of hindered that.

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Hilton Manchester twin room view

The bathroom was on the very small side, with a sink, shower/tub combo, and a toilet literally wedged in the corner behind the door.

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Hilton Manchester twin room bathroom

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Hilton Manchester twin room shower

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Hilton Manchester twin room toilet

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Hilton Manchester twin room sink

The toiletries were Peter Thomas Roth, as is standard for Hiltons. Among mainstream hotels, I find them to actually be among the more decent amenities out there.

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Hilton Manchester twin room toiletries

We didn’t have breakfast the first morning. While it had been a sleepless trip up until this point, we ended up sleeping for 12 hours that night, and only woke up at noon, long after breakfast ended.

The second day the keys stopped working, so I went to the front desk to get them fixed. There was a different, much friendlier, associate working at this point, who asked if we wanted to move to a deluxe room today. I said we were fine where we were, though asked if we could get club lounge access. He responded with “of course, let me code your keys for access.”

The executive lounge is located on the 23rd floor, and requires a key to access.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge entrance

Physically the lounge is gorgeous. It’s one long room with tons of seating by the window, as well as seats with booths further inside.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge seating

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge seating

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge seating

Then towards the back the lounge became a bit bigger, as there was the bar area where food is displayed.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge buffet area

Perhaps the highlight of the lounge were the views of Manchester, which were top notch.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge view

As you’ll see in the first couple of pictures of this report, the building the Hilton is in has a very unique shape, as about halfway up the building becomes wider. The first floor where that happens is the 23rd floor, which is also where the club lounge is located. That means the club lounge is basically “hanging over” the building. There’s a glass bottom floor in the lounge, which allows you to look all the way down.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge view

Throughout the day the club lounge had juice, whole fruit, as well as pastries available (which seemed to be left over from breakfast, and not especially fresh).

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge daytime snacks

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge daytime snacks

There was also a coffee machine.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge coffee machine

Then in the evening from 6PM until 8PM there were cocktails and appetizers. The alcohol selection was decent enough, with more than a handful of liquor options as well as beer and wine.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge evening drinks

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge evening drinks

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge evening drinks

The food, on the other hand, was pretty underwhelming. It consisted of some not-so-great looking meat options…

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge evening snacks

…as well as two types of pizza. Seriously?!

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge evening snacks

Perhaps the funniest part of the lounge was how dressed up people were in it, as if it’s the place to see and be seen in Manchester. There was just something funny about seeing dozens of over-perfumed people wearing their Sunday’s finest while loading their plates with slice after slice of pizza.

Breakfast was served in the lounge from 6:30AM until 10:30AM, and was perhaps a slightly better spread than in the evening. There was cereal, granola bars, yogurt, fruit salad, cold cuts, pastries, toast, etc.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge breakfast spread

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge breakfast spread

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge breakfast spread

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge breakfast spread

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge breakfast spread

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge breakfast spread

Then there were (pretty runny looking) scrambled eggs and bacon.

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Hilton Manchester executive lounge breakfast spread

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there’s a fitness center as well, which is actually an independent membership club, so it’s largely used by non-hotel guests. For a non-hotel gym I thought the setup was pretty lackluster. There was a nice pool, however, which I wasn’t able to practically snap a picture of, given that it was quite full.

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Hilton Manchester gym

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Hilton Manchester gym

After two nights we had a mid-morning flight out of Manchester Airport. Check-out was quick, and we were excited for our next port of call.

Hilton Manchester bottom line

The Hilton Manchester exceeded my expectations, all things considered. It really is the “star” of the Manchester skyline, and is housed in a beautiful building. The rooms, service, etc., were all perfectly average for a Hilton. Physically I though the club lounge was really impressive, though unfortunately the hotel really skimped on the food spread.

Maybe there’s not a market for luxury hotels in Manchester, but I feel like if there were a “true” luxury hotel in Manchester, it could have easily been housed in the building the Hilton is in.

If I return to Manchester I’d certainly consider staying at the Hilton again.

If you’ve been to Manchester, what hotel did you stay at, and how was your experience?

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Comments

  1. For a “luxury” hotel in central Manchester you would be looking at one of the boutique options, like the Lowry or the Malmaison – not easily accessible on points*, which obviously (for better or worse) drives your hotel choices.

    *Although the Lowry is on hotels.com, so presumably accessible via their rewards programme.

  2. The Doubletree is a way better hotel overall, and has a much better location with better views. The rooms were extremely clean and nice (we even got a comp upgrade to a suite). It’s right across from Manchester Piccadilly so if you are ever there again, I would recommend staying there. It is not to mention cheaper.

  3. When I hit Manchester I try to stay at the Lowry, just love the hotel & the restaurant is offering a pretty good afternoon tea aswell. The Malmaison isn’t as nice and the location is a bit to close to the train station in my opinion.

  4. This is a rather remarkable statement coming from someone who blogs travel/loyalty for a living: “I guess this was the first time I noticed a difference in treatment between being a [HH] Gold and Diamond member.”

    The exec lounge access policy that made it available to HH Golds only if they also got upgraded to the exec floor went into effect way back in 2008. That @Lucky would notice the difference in 2015, considering what he does every single day, tells you what should make of his past statement (now largely discontinued) about how “there is no material difference between HH Golds and Diamonds.”

    @Lucky sez: “There’s not a single Hyatt or Starwood property [in Manchester]”
    Well, imagine that! 😉

  5. I live in Manchester and the best hotel by far is the Raddisson Edwardian. It is set in the old free trade hall, with a modern extension on it housing the rooms. The staff are all excellent and it really does have British charm. If you ever return I would recommend!

  6. @Ben : As a Starwood Loyalist with over 100 nights every year, its sad for me to have no Starwood option in a city I visit often. Nonetheless, my place to stay in Manchester infact feels more luxurious and value for money than most of my starwood stays. Hence, if/when you’re in manchester next, DEFINITELY try the Lowry Hotel.

  7. Stayed in this a couple of times. Not the best Hilton in the area but you know what you will get (including totally overpriced daily car parking charges).

  8. A picky colleague of mine is loyal to the Gotham Hotel in Manchester. And that is the extent of my knowledge of the Manchester hotel scene.

    On an unrelated matter, I would like to demonstrate the power of this blog. This relates to Matt’s recent review of the Park Hyatt in Vienna. My Christmas present this year is a trip to Vienna (I’ve never been), which includes a night at the opera!!! We were booked at the Park Hyatt…until I pondered Matt’s critical assessment of the PH’s service. It gave me reason to pause. And to eventually ask if we could stay at the Sacher instead. I was moderately looking forward to staying at the Park Hyatt but I now have a child-like glee knowing we’ll be at the Sacher.

  9. Sooooo many gorgeous hotels in Manchester (as a resident of the place, I know there are hundreds) but unfortunately for points purposes, there isn’t much of an option.

    The Gotham, The Midland and The Lowry are all beautiful properties and definitely worth checking out if you don’t mind spending a few £££

    As for the club lounge, is it the same place as Cloud 23? If so, it kind of IS the place for pretentious people in Manchester, though there are much nicer places to go!

    Great review as always!

  10. Ben,
    I stayed in HILTON CPH for 2 nights in July and very surprised to see sign on the minibar. (SEE PHOTO)
    Sometimes I need to use the Minibar to keep stuff cold – in this case in HILTON cream I bought from a nearby supermarket (HILTON CPH do NOT provide CREAM for my coffee – only 0.5% skim milk.
    Since I had no access to the minibar I use a bowl with ice cubes to keep my coffee CREAM cold.

    Outside door to the minibar has following text: This is an automatic minibar. When an item is removed charges are automatic made to your account.
    What is your experience with this ? Is this a special for HILTON or ? First time I had this experience myself.
    ps how can I upload photos here and
    pps how can choose my on pasword and change the one there was send to me?
    Thanks for all respons and help

  11. Sadly the lack of Starwood and Hyatt properties is not unsurprising – compared to Hilton and IHG the international footprint of the first two brands is quite limited in comparison – obviously quite different when travelling within the USA.

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