The beautifully restored red-brick building is on a quiet central street by St John’s Gardens, just below Spinningfields’ shops and bars. Albert Square is a 10-minute walk away.
International hub Manchester Airport is the closest, a 30-minute drive away. If flying from the US, you’ll connect via Istanbul, Dublin, Iceland or London Heathrow (British Airways runs a frequent direct service), and flights from Asia stopover in central Europe or the UAE. The hotel can arrange a taxi on request (roughly a 10-minute ride).
Manchester is well served by four main train stations: Deansgate is the closest, a five-minute walk away, and Manchester Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria are all within 15 minutes’ drive. Trains from London Euston arrive at Manchester Piccadilly in around two hours and Northern Rail runs frequent services from regional destinations such as Liverpool, Leeds and York.
The joy of Manchester is an easy peasy A-to-B. The hotel’s central location makes hiring a car redundant; however, if you want to explore the green stretches of the Peak District or further reaches of Greater Manchester you can acquire some wheels at the Avis booth in Manchester Piccadilly and store them in the Q-Park for £30 a day – it's a five-minute walk from the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s a (Betty’s) hotpot of Mancunian history co-existing in the hotel’s neighbourhood: canal-threaded Castlefield. A reconstructed Roman fort, Victorian red bricks, the steel-and-glass Beetham Tower, ornate 19th-century railway viaducts and the winged Whitby Bird-designed Merchants' Bridge showcase the city from conception to regeneration. The Granada Studios backlot, home to the hallowed Corrie set, is nearby on Atherton Street (though sadly not open for tours anymore), and St John’s Gardens is a pretty green spot. The Museum of Science and Industry is just next door to the hotel on Liverpool Road, where tech advances are exhibited with informative showmanship, drawing in elements of art, gaming and design. Go to the opera or ballet at Manchester’s Opera House on Quay Street, or explore LS Lowry's life, work and matchstick men at The Lowry – an award-winning concrete-and-steel building on the striking Salford Quays waterfront. Or watch Manchester United at Old Trafford; you can get hold of tickets on the website, and Stretford is easily reached on the tram’s A line. Get your shopping, socialising and fine-dining fix in one in the Spinningfields development five minutes from the hotel. Armani and Mulberry branches rub elegantly dressed shoulders with wordly eatery chains (Argentinian Fazenda, Middle Eastern Comptoir Libanais, mod-Chinese Tattu and hip tapas joint Ibérica) and super-cool bars where both molecular cocktails (the Alchemist) and craft beers (the Oast House and the Dockyard) flow freely.
Restaurant Bar & Grill on John Dalton Street is popular among the Manchester chic set. San Carlo Italian restaurant, King Street West, has an impressive daily chalkboard menu, open kitchen and bustling atmosphere. Fish is a speciality here. Catalan cuisine is well represented at tapas joint Lunya, with tempting small plates: pomegranate-and-mint-sprinkled slow-cooked lamb, chargrilled octopus in smoked paprika and cumin-infused black pudding with piquillo peppers. Cold picks from the on-site deli are plentiful too. Order the tapas banquets if you have a hard time choosing. Venture a little outside the city to dine at Where the Light Gets In: a lofty former coffee house in Stockport where much of the – delicious – food hails from the family farm.
Federal Café and Bar is run by Aussie and New Zealand transplants in the Northern Quarter, with charming lemon yellow seats and scuffed-wood tables. The brew is strong and the breakfast and brunch menus are excellent (French toast with a white chocolate and almond crumble, cheddar corn fritters with bacon and lime sour cream, a chorizo and manchego sandwich with caramelised onions).
Panacea, on John Dalton Street, serves cocktails and delicious small plates. Decor is a mod-baroque extravagance of neon-orange mosaics and platinum and gold detailing, and its cocktail club has coolly kooky drinks. For laidback night-starting drinks, try Manchester's alt-neighbourhood the Northern Quarter; shabby-chic hangout Night and Day Café has vintage furnishings and live music (plus, a great menu of stomach-liners), Dusk Til Pawn is stuffed with retro curios and the Fitzgerald is a more groomed Gatsby-esque drinkery. Despite its ironic name The Deaf Institute – housed in a gorgeous Grade-II-listed building – is a great place to catch indie up-and-comers. Its Bar and Kitchen is pleasingly slapdash too. The Manchester Academy on Oxford Road draws bright and bold acts from different disciplines and eras. Local big hitters the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses have trod the boards here, but there are plenty of newcomers to discover too.