Hotel Highlights

  • Decadently designed interiors with a different theme in each room
  • Central Manchester setting, right on the canal
  • Staff so friendly you’ll feel like family

Overview

Velvet hotel is a decadently camp boudoir-styled boutique hotel with a central setting on Manchester’s Canal Street. This old textile mill has a whole series of indulgent interiors – each room is individually designed with epic beds (including sleigh ones fit for Santa), graphic wallhangings (bordering on S&M, but settling for gently erotic) and statement chandeliers. They’ve taken a liking to exposed brickwork and wooden ceilings, and, in some rooms, huge square baths.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Velvet with us:

Two glasses of sparkling wine on arrival

Facilities

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Velvet hotel - Manchester - United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

19, including three suites.

Check–out

11am but flexible until 1pm for £10 per hour. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $125.87 (£75), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (£9.50 each for Continental, £13.50 for full English).

Also

Spa treatments are available either in rooms or in the local spa, 10 minutes down the road.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, DVD library, off-site gym (five minutes away). In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, iPod dock, Hypnos mattress and Ren bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The split-level penthouse suites are like your own mini apartment – equipped with a dining table (and filled fruit bowl), sofas, a spiral staircase leading up to a bed-filled space and an extra loo. The hunter-inspired Room 25 is a private country cabin in the middle of Manchester – checked wallpaper, wooden ceilings and a vast wooden bed. Room 32 feels like a Victorian garret, with sloping electric windows, Victoriana wallpaper and a painting of ill-fated poet, Thomas Chatterton. If you’re planning on joining in with the revellers downstairs, book a third-floor room with its own terrace overlooking the activity by the canal.

Packing tips

Colourful glad rags – you’re in the flamboyant gay quarter.

Children

A bit lively for families, this hotel is better suited to couples.

Food & Drink

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Velvet hotel - Manchester - United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The Velvet restaurant existed when the hotel was just an apple in the old textile mill’s eye. It spills out onto a canal-facing terrace, which gets lively in the summer. Inside, you have to step over a glass fish tank at the top of the stairs to enter. It’s open for modern Mediterranean food right up until 10pm. You can expect dishes such as spicy prawn risotto, seabass and Asian greens with chilli and soy sauce, and crispy pork belly with black pudding mash.

Hotel Bar

The opulent bar has exposed brickwork, plum-coloured walls, gilded mirrors and a hint of bordello in its decor. It’s liveliest on Friday and Saturday nights. There are two house cocktails – the Velvetini (vodka, dry Martini, crème de cacao and chocolate sauce) and Velvet Sensation (Baileys, Amaretto, Tia Maria, vodka, milk and cream).

Last orders

10pm for food, 12.30am for drinks (2am on Fridays and Saturdays).

Room service

Pick from the full menu until 10pm, then an abridged version is available through the night.

Smith Insider

Dress code

A hint of Moulin Rouge, but leave the PVC for the ones who know how to do it best.

Top table

The street-side tables by the canal for a steady stream of people to watch.

Local Guide

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Velvet hotel - Manchester - United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Between courses at Lounge 10 on Tib Lane have your palm read, listen to the in-house crooner, watch the Latino dancers and check out the erotic art on the walls (+44 (0)161 832 0083). Play ‘spot the soap star’ at Living Room on Deansgate – it’s part of a chain but has plenty of character (+44 (0)161 839 1999).

Local bars

Drinkeries include Cord on Dorsey Street (+44 (0)161 832 9494; http://cordbar.com), and Bluu on Smithfield Market, off Thomas Street (+44 (0)161 839 7195; www.bluu.co.uk).

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Buzzing by the canal

Velvet

2 Canal Street, Manchester, Lancs M1 3HE, United Kingdom

Planes

Manchester airport is the closest, nine miles from the hotel. EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) flies in from all over Europe.

Trains

The nearest train station is Manchester Piccadilly, 200m from the hotel. Major national services call in, including Virgin Trains (www.virgintrains.co.uk) which connects Manchester with London in just over two hours.

Automobiles

From the A57, head in to the city centre on London Road, looking out for signs to Canal Street. There’s discounted local parking at the hotel.

Reviews

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Velvet hotel - Manchester - United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Fairfax Hall , Gin Smith

Manchester as a destination for a cheeky weekend away isn’t the obvious choice. Arriving in the lobby of Velvet hotel, and suddenly it feels it should be. Or else we’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in an upmarket bordello. Purple padded check-in desk, velvet-covered walls either side, crimson-striped carpet, low purpley ceil...

Read more

Velvet

Anonymous review by Fairfax Hall, Gin Smith

Manchester as a destination for a cheeky weekend away isn’t the obvious choice. Arriving in the lobby of Velvet hotel, and suddenly it feels it should be. Or else we’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in an upmarket bordello. Purple padded check-in desk, velvet-covered walls either side, crimson-striped carpet, low purpley ceiling – it all whispers seductively ‘Shall we go upstairs?’

I’d called ahead for clarification on its location on ‘buzzing Canal Street’. I was told it gets hectic at weekends and unless we’re going to party until the bitter end, we’d be better with a room at the top or at the back. Perhaps because I hesitated he wasted no time in offering a special ‘clubbing’ package: discounted room above the bar, a bottle of bubbly to get us in the mood and a late check-out. Not sure we could handle that pace, I opted for one of three suites out of the way on the fifth floor. Had it been summer, a balcony that opens onto Canal Street might have been tempting. Take some beads, pop Mrs Smith out there and pretend it was Mardi Gras. (Funnily enough, Canal Street isn’t just a hub for August's Manchester Pride – a road of the same name in New Orleans hosts their carnival. So feel festive you must.)

‘Shall we go upstairs,’ asks the chap behind the desk. If I’m taken aback, I hide it well, realising a moment later he means showing us to our room. He steers us into the ground floor of our split-level suite, then demonstrates how to work the enormous retro light that arcs across it. Next he shows how to juice my iPhone through the stereo. Loving that – I always forget my charger. Explaining we can have breakfast in our room, he gestures towards a table big enough for four. (When we do eat in, we discover it’s a breakfast that just keeps on giving: full English coronary, selection of pastries, coffee, orange juice, fruit salad, toast. It only just fits.) After declining a cup of tea, he vanishes for a couple of minutes, re-emerging with a clinking ice bucket and some fresh lime wedges. ‘Just in case...’ It’s a nice touch, so I don’t mention that I only drink gin during the day when I’m working.

Mrs Smith is something of a bathroom fetishist. The walk-in shower must have an adjustable head (so you don’t get hair wet unless you want to). The roll-top bath must be big enough for two (and come with a cute rubber duck). A basket of REN goodies is mandatory (and include glycolactic skin renewal peel mask). This is an ensuite that presses all of her buttons – in a good way.

Automatic ceiling blinds inspire a puerile moment – I'm soon re-enacting a scene from ‘Les Visiteurs’. Cue a 16th-century knight propelled into the future finds a light switch for the first time: ‘nuit – jour – nuit – jour’. I work up an appetite for a bag of lobster flavour crisps (random) and a beer (cold) from the well-stocked bar, flop onto the enormous corner sofa and flick on the plasma on the exposed brick wall. It feels just like home. Home, that is, in a parallel universe where I have a cool pad in every major metropolis.

My reverie is interrupted by Mrs Smith who has by now made her way up the curving staircase to the galleried bedroom. (This is essentially all bed with a bit of open hanging space and shelving tucked underneath the original iron roof supports.) ‘We’re not here to watch TV,’ she shouts down. Clearly Velvet is already working its magic. ‘We could go to the Lowry exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery,’ she continues. ‘Or hit Selfridges…’ Hmmm.

And so a short walk to the centre of town precedes a spot of culture, then some serious credit card spanking. I’m left feeling short of breath; Mrs Smith is positively beaming. I have another surprise in store. A friend’s tipped me off about Cloud 23. It turns out to hit the 23rd floor of the city’s tallest building in time for a sundowner, we needed to book this bar a month in advance. Rather than join a long line of people trying their luck with the clipboarder at the bottom, we settle into chairs next to the floor-to-ceiling windows and, over an excellent martini, we watch Manchester’s nightscape develop.

Supper at Velvet’s restaurant is next, and by 8.30pm it’s packed with people dressed to party. I once delivered furniture to Elton John’s house in Nice; I wouldn’t be surprised to discover his interior designer had dropped by here to give a few tips. Fabulously camp and fantastically over the top, a fishtank is built into the stairs, gilded mirrors hang everywhere, and chairs and booths are padded in jewel-coloured velvets. And a life-size wooden African tribesman, despite having a terrible scowl on his face, is clearly very pleased to see everyone too. Service is attentive and the food – Mediterranean small plates, brasserie snacks and pizzas – is good. It seems more about having a great time and fuelling up for the evening ahead though.

After a couple more drinks in the fabric-clad bar and it’s past our bedtime. I pop the key-card into the lift and we head upstairs. Crashing out this early isn’t that lame – there’s always another night. As I lie in bed drifting off to the just-audible music sufficient to tempt me back down but not enough to disturb, I can’t help but think that sleeping in a hotel so geared towards hedonism is somehow missing the point. But if this is missing the point, it still feels very, very pleasurable.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Velvet's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on 7 Feb 2014

We loved

This is a cool hotel with excellent staff, in a great location.

Don’t expect

The parking arrangements could be improved.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 6 Feb 2014

We loved

I liked the nice decor and good service.

Don’t expect

The Strictly Come Dancing end-of-tour party was there, so it was very noisy until at least 3am. The hotel had forewarned us and offered us a (paid) upgrade to a penthouse further from the noise.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 10 Dec 2013

We loved

I liked the good customer service, lovely big and comfortable bed, and the fact that it's close to public transport.

Don’t expect

The club/bar below was loud pretty late into a Tuesday night.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 8 Oct 2012

We loved

The suite was very large with a living and dining area, separate bathroom, mezzanine bedroom with an additional en suite toilet. The selection of excellent Ren products included eye cream and moisturiser. The top of the range Hypnos mattress ensured a good night's sleep. Fresh milk, biscuits and fruit was replenished on a daily basis. In the bar there were great cocktails, and the restaurant served top quality British food at pub prices. Staff are attentive and helpful.

Don’t expect

The location of the hotel remains a mystery to some taxi drivers, so rather than using the Canal Street entrance (which is on a pedestrianised street) we would suggest directing people to the Richmond Street entrance.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 28 Aug 2012 Not really the kind of place you'd go with children!

We loved

Felt like a treat the whole time, but without being pretentious. Very friendly and helpful staff. Lovely bar and restaurant attached. Creative attention to detail in both decor and little finishing touches. Minibar and tuck box – you never know when the midnight urge for Haribo is going to strike. It is on Canal Street, which could potentially be noisy at night, so ear plugs are available from reception. To be honest, if you pick a hotel on Canal Street, you know it isn't going to be like a Carthusian monastery, but it was actually just a gentle re-assuring city hum, helped by there being no traffic on the actual street. Maybe people who go out in the Village are more civilised and up for more fun than the usual town centre brawling? The hotel is minutes away from Piccadilly station, strolling distance from Oxford Road and Deansgate stations, and just a few tram stops from Victoria. Great to have a radio, iPod dock and not just pre-selected radio channels on a tv. I can't believe we were sitting outside by the canal close to midnight without a coat on. Take mozzie cream if the weather forecast is good. It was wonderful to have fresh milk topped up every day in the minibar. Most hotels show contempt for tea by giving you rubbish teabags and UHT, but there was a selection of good 'honest' teas with real milk - someone here is a real 'chaiophile' (I made that word up).

Don’t expect

In an ideal world, in the future – if money were no object – how about building a rooftop heated swimming pool?! Seriously, we had a great stay and are looking for excuses to come back.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 16 Aug 2012

We loved

Loved everything about this hotel: friendly and helpful staff, gorgeous rooms, comfy bed, lots of luxuries, well-stocked minibar and really cute tuck box in the room! We had the rose petal turndown on arrival, which was a nice touch! Slippers, dressing gown and a rubber duck for the bath – couldn’t fault it and can’t wait to stay again. Room charge to have breakfast delivered but worth it: it arrived on time and had a wide selection – hmmm, fantastic!!

Don’t expect

The only thing that could have made our stay better is if it had lasted longer. We did not want to go home!

Rating: 10/10 stars