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A fine Townhouse hotel in a central Manchester location.
With my daughter studying in Manchester, there’s a perfect excuse to explore this exciting northern city. I was delighted by a recent opportunity to go to Manchester with a friend, visit our respective children and stay at The Townhouse Hotel for a couple of nights.
Perfectly located at the heart of the city, The Townhouse is an ideal base for exploring everything this vibrant metropolis has on offer. Often referred to as ‘The City of the North’, Manchester was once the epicentre of the cotton industry, the city evolving around its canals, mills and impressive warehouses, which juxtapose strikingly today with sleek 21st-century architecture. It’s always been a thriving hub of culture, sport, art and commerce – and there’s a real buzz about the place.
With two Premier League football teams and two of the UK’s largest Universities, the city is a bustling melting pot of people, cultures and influences – which perhaps accounts for it becoming the backdrop to a thriving music scene in the ’80s and ’90s, as well as its continuing prominence on the global stage.
The Townhouse Hotel is situated in the heart of Manchester, within easy reach of Manchester Piccadilly Station, Manchester Opera House, Art Gallery, Arndale shopping complex and the bohemian Northern Quarter, just 5 minutes walk away.
Constructed in 1870, The Townhouse was a prominent textile warehouse throughout the late 19th century. In 1982 the imposing Grade II listed building was converted into a hotel, and the grand façade of the cotton warehouse was lovingly restored to its former glory.
The Townhouse Hotel offers 85 spacious, light and airy rooms, each with large Victorian sash windows looking out onto the busy town centre below. We stayed in a stylish bedroom of ample proportions, decorated in a contemporary palette of purples and moss green. From a large screen TV to a well-endowed bathroom stocked with White Company products, a statement sofa and comfortable beds – the accommodation had everything we wanted to ensure a comfortable and relaxing stay. Attention to detail is clearly hotel priority, with an espresso coffee machine, Lily O’Brian’s chocolates, glass bottles of sparkling and still water, and a discreet cupboard full of all you’ll need; dressing robes, ironing board, plenty of hangers, and extra bedding if required.
After an easy drive from London, we dumped bags and took a moment to refresh before setting off to enjoy our first evening, heading to the Spinningfields quarter on the recommendation of The Townhouse’s Hotel Manager. With its high-end restaurants and bars, it was perhaps more suited to us than the kids – but we were able to find something for everyone without much effort, as everything’s pretty much within walking distance, or a short Uber ride.
Waking from a very comfortable night we headed down to breakfast…
Friendly staff showed us to the Bistro/Dining area and invited us to help ourselves to a well-stocked continental breakfast buffet – fresh fruit, cereals, Danish pastries, yoghurt and continental meats and cheeses, with cooked breakfasts to order. Poached eggs on toast didn’t disappoint, beautifully presented and served with fresh juice and pots of steaming fresh coffee.
Thus fortified we headed off to explore…
First stop, The Whitworth Art gallery, set in Whitworth park and boasting an international program of contemporary art and exhibitions. Next; the Northern Quarter, with its myriad vintage clothes shops, independent bars and restaurants, and the magnificently restored Mackie Mayor; once a meat market and now hosting a must-do drinking and dining experience.
Ready to drop, we made our way back to the welcoming Townhouse, pleased to be able to unwind in our comfy room before meandering down to the bar for early evening drinks with our children before dinner.
The large bar/lounge area continues the neutral contemporary theme of soft green hues, oak flooring and upholstered chairs – a stylish place to kick back and unwind. We stayed in the hotel to enjoy dinner at Brasserie 101.
Past the sweeping bar and set out on the mezzanine, carefully considered lighting and mood-music transforms the breakfast area space into a lovely evening venue.
We ate from the Table D’Hôte Menu, which offered plenty of appetizing choices at very reasonable prices.
Freshly-baked hunks of warm crusty bread were served alongside a dipping bowl of balsamic-and-oil reduction, or fresh butter if preferred.
Followed by starters – Warm grilled goats’ cheese, beautifully presented on thinly sliced poached pear, with walnuts scattered into the mix – creamy, fragrant, sweet and crunchy – all married together in a fruity jus.
And, Thai-inspired chicken skewers which were tender and flavoursome, served on a bed of sweet-crunchy brightly coloured Asian pickled slaw.
For our main courses, my friend declared her succulent pan-seared hake just heavenly – beautifully complimented by a fresh pea purée, Salsa Verde and a splash of citrus from charred lemon, served with buttery melt-in-the-mouth fondant potato.
Meanwhile, I tucked into an excellent juicy rump steak, with a creamy pepper sauce, and tasty double-cooked chips and crisp salad leaves on the side.
We accompanied our meal with by a perfectly chilled bottle of Rare Vineyards Maryanne 2017 – Viognier, Pays d’Oc. Unoaked, rounded, smooth and fresh, with lively citrus and peach notes.
Chocolate ice cream and a bowl of fresh fruit concluded our delicious meal – the perfect way to end a busy day, with all the luxurious benefits of ‘staying in’ and relaxing in the dining room.
In the morning another equally satisfying breakfast set us up for our journey home, having enjoyed a most wonderful weekend. The Townhouse is warm, friendly and comfortable, with everything you need – all in a really excellent location. My daughter is only in her first year at university, so I will definitely be back soon to discover more of Manchester. And when I am, I would be delighted to stay at the Townhouse again.
The Townhouse Hotel Manchester
101 Portland St,
Manchester M1 6DF
Phone: 0161 222 8748
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Disclosure: We were guests of the Townhouse Hotel for the purpose of this review – all content is editorially given.
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