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 and Bird Merchants' Bridge showcase the city from conception to regeneration. The Granada Studios backlot, home to the hallowed Corrie set, is on nearby Atherton Street for the foreseeable future, and St John’s Gardens is a pretty green spot. The Museum of Science and Industry (+44 (0)161 832 2244) 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 (+44 (0)870 401 9000), or explore LS Lowry's life, work and matchstick men at The Lowry (+44 (0)870 787 5780) – 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 (+44 (0)161 839 1999) is popular among the Manchester chic set. San Carlo Italian restaurant, King Street West (+44 (0)161 834 6226), 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 (+44 (0)330 024 9433), 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. Just north of Spinningfiels, on Bridge Street, is Manchester House (+44 (0)161 835 2557), where maestro Aiden Byrne has dreamt up a menu by turns tempting and bonkers: langoustines are sprinkled with obscure Mediterranean herbs, steamed pigeon bathes in a cherry broth and chocolate panna cotta is paired with cauliflower ice-cream.
The Living Room, a sophisticated bar on Deansgate, is a very popular spot (+44 (0)161 832 0083). Nab one of the tufted waltzers lined along the walls, and get stuck into the exceptional cocktail menu's globally diverse drinks. Panacea (+44 (0)161 833 0000), 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. 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, such as the Duke Spirit and Besnard Lakes (+44 (0)161 276 9350). Its Bar and Kitchen is pleasingly slapdash too. The Manchester Academy (+44 (0)161 832 1111) 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.
Federal Café and Bar (+44 (0)161 425 0974) 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 brunch and lunch menus are excellent (tropical granola sundae, a chorizo sandwich with Manchego and caramelised onions and a citrus avocado bagel).