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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.
The hotel’s lobby was modern and airy, if not a bit sterile.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The view of Manchester would have been quite nice in theory, though the dots all over the windows sort of hindered that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then towards the back the lounge became a bit bigger, as there was the bar area where food is displayed.
Perhaps the highlight of the lounge were the views of Manchester, which were top notch.
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.
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).
There was also a 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.
The food, on the other hand, was pretty underwhelming. It consisted of some not-so-great looking meat options…
…as well as two types of pizza. Seriously?!
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.
Then there were (pretty runny looking) scrambled eggs and bacon.
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.
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?