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Hotel Highlights

  • Double-height rooms
  • Roof-terrace bar
  • Hideaway hot tub


School’s in: boutique hotel Great John Street is a charming Victorian conversion, just a free kick from central Manchester’s liveliest areas. The year-round hot tub and Alpine-style hangouts on the rooftop ‘playground’ are as cheekily fun as playing hooky, and views of beloved soap opera Coronation Street’s set add local character. Split-level rooms and suites – theatrically costumed in flowing drapes, cast-iron fireplaces and a hand-carved sleigh bed or two – are some of the city’s most restful, too.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Great John Street with us:

A Temple Spa gift box


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Great John Street – Manchester – UK

Need To Know


30, including six suites.


11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Guests can stash their luggage while exploring the city.


Double rooms from $138.91 (£95), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates don’t include breakfast: a Continental buffet breakfast (£16 for adults, £8 for children) with fruit, cereals, pastries and breads, porridge, eggs and juice, and warm à la carte dishes from £18.


There’s a lift to all floors and the lounges and bars are wheelchair-accessible. Room 11 is particularly roomy and the most easily navigated. The hotel is available for booking on an exclusive basis.

At the hotel

Roof terrace with a hot tub and bar, lounge, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen Samsung TVs with Sky channels, iPod dock, coffee machine, kettle and a selection of teas, minibar and Temple Spa bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Room 19, an Opus Grand, is a stage set for high romance, with cascading ruby curtains and a hand-carved super-king Italian sleigh bed. The upper floor is equally decadent, with his-and-hers bath tubs and a steam shower. The Baby Grands are far from am-dram: heavy floor-to-ceiling drapes, a freestanding bath tub on the mezzanine and an elegant tear-drop chandelier make for a very polished production.


No pool, but the rooftop hot tub is open year round (7am–10pm). Gaze out at the Beetham’s Tower and Manchester’s higgledly-piggledly spires and high rises, and summon cocktails from the petite bar a few steps away.

Packing tips

The former school lives on in framed photographs in the mezzanine lounge; follow suit by packing your essentials in a worn satchel.


The library lounge’s vintage style has a dash of Ralph Lauren with a British sensibility. Squishy sofas are piled with Union Flag pillows, and a gramophone and vintage books add a dash of nostalgia. In winter, a wood-burning stove makes it extra cosy. Take a peek at the bookshelf in your room, too; its contents have been scavenged from charity shops and flea markets, and a few first editions have popped up from time to time.


It may be a former school, but this hotel’s tricked-out bar and roof terrace aren’t for kids.

Food and drink

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Great John Street – Manchester – UK

Hotel Restaurant

There’s no restaurant, but light dishes (salads, pastas, burgers and the like) and afternoon teas are served in the library or the Oyster Bar. Choose a dainty assemblage of sandwiches and pastries, served on mismatched chintzy china (with or without a flute of champagne), or the meatier Gents Tea – mini burgers and Scotch eggs washed down with a Jack Daniels-laced cocktail.

Hotel Bar

The Oyster Bar’s distinctive style – inviting chartreuse- and latte-hued sofas, boldly patterned cushions, tea chests, flowers – is matched by its cocktail picks. The rooftop lounge is a playground by nickname and nature, with a hot tub, barbecue area and dinky rainbow-hued huts. With panoramic views of Beetham Tower and the Coronation Street set, it’s a curious mix of Med hangout and Manc pride.

Last orders

Afternoon tea is served from 12 noon to 4pm.

Room service

Dishes from the bar menu are available till 10pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Let your sleek WAG fly.

Top table

In summer, the roof terrace’s wicker perches are wonderfully laid back; we like the secret indoor nook leading off inside. In winter, get cosy by the library’s log burner.

Local Guide

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Great John Street – Manchester – UK
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

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.

Local restaurants

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.

Local bars

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.

Local cafés

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).

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Cultured corner of Castlefield

Great John Street

Great John Street, Manchester, M3 4FD, United Kingdom

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 a five-minute walk from the hotel.


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Great John Street – Manchester – UK
Great John Street
Great John Street Great John Street Manchester M3 4FD Manchester United Kingdom

Anonymous review

Rating: 10/10 stars
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this intimate boutique hotel in the Castlefield district and unpacked their retro togs from the Northern Quarter and armloads of labels from Harvey Nichols and Flannels, a full account of their laid-back city break will be w…
Read more

Great John Street

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this intimate boutique hotel in the Castlefield district and unpacked their retro togs from the Northern Quarter and armloads of labels from Harvey Nichols and Flannels, a full account of their laid-back city break will be with you. In the meantime, take note while we school you about Great John Street…

The cheers of enthused United fans, a pulsing club beat or stage-storming band: Manchester’s a joyously outspoken city. However, Great John Street hotel – a former schoolhouse with a handsome, red brick Victorian façade – turns the volume down a bit in its intimate, inviting rooms. Super-soft beds inspire trial belly-flops, original radiators trigger nostalgic flashbacks, and you’ll soon feel at home amid hand-picked books and tchotchkes, another example of the city’s ‘come in and have a cuppa’ demeanor. You needn’t wait for the bell to frolic on the ‘playground’ roof terrace, and lounges are an extension of your room, where you can wander and slouch on the sofas with abandon. The only thing you need study is the cocktail list and afternoon tea menu (and thankfully there will absolutely not be a test afterwards).

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