If you are looking for fantastic shopping, a huge range of hotels, great bars and amazing food all in one easy to explore on foot location – then a Manchester Citybreak could be just what you are looking for.
We have a Manchester Citybreak at least twice a year. It’s one of those cities where there is always someonewhere new opening to eat or stay and I think the shopping is only second to London in terms of range and quality of stores, both in terms of big brand names and unique boutiques.
Where to stay
My top picks for city centre Manchester hotels would be
- Great St Johns Street – a quirky luxury boutique hotel with mezzanine floors and roll top baths in a converted school
- The Lowry hotel – large stylish modern and opulent with the option of taking a room with a river view
- Malmaison – within short walk of the station and does an amazing Sunday brunch that will last you all day
- This time we stayed in one of our other top picks – the Radisson Blu Edwardian on St Peters street.
- Radisson are one of my favourite chains as they look after repeat customers (my last stay was free as I had built up points on my Club Carlson Card) so it’s well worth sigining up for their loyalty programmme. We stayed in a standard room but it was modern, clean and felt newly refurbished. Loved the room – the bed was very comfy, great range of toiletries provided and a good amount of wardrobe space and mirrors. Only things missing in my opinion are a pod cofffee machine rather than a kettle with sachets of instant but Starbucks is just around the corner so coffee fans can always head there first thing for a good caffeine fix or send their partners to bring them back to the room.
Great places to stay should be warm, welcoming, decadent and have their own sense of style. Whilst this is a chain, the styling means that is has a distinct to feel to it that is unique to this hotel. Too often chains just simply roll out a single look and feel which means that once you step inside you could be in any city and for me means they are places I just don’t want to stay. Every Radisson I have stayed in feels slightly different, only the service and room standard is the same.
If you like the reliability of a chain but want every experience and city to be unique then I’d also recommend Andaz hotels. Check out and compare San Diego, New Orleans and Amsterdam and you’ll see what I mean. They are all fantastic but in very different ways.
Shop til you drop then drink some Champagne
Selfridges and Harvey Nichols are always an obvious starting point for me in Manchester as not only do they offer a huge range of the best designer brands and high street names all in one location but they are also the perfect place for a Champagne stop – and what’s a great city break without one of those!
On the doorstep of these retail giants you will also find large stores of many other leading brands from Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton to French Connection and Jack Wills. If you are short on time then head to the Arndale centre which has had a facelift over recent years and now offers a huge range of stores and eateries all under one roof. Apple and Victoria’s secret both have great stores here and a great selection that you don’t sometimes find in smaller branches.
If you are looking for the more unusual head to the Northern quarter and discover the eclectic world of Afflecks. Here you will find a collection of shops selling everything from vintage hats and one off bags to handmade jewellery and collectable vinyl – I guarantee you will probably find something that you never knew you wanted but just have to have.
If you’re looking for designer rather than distinct then head to Spinning fields. This is a relatively new development area in the City centre but here you will find a huge Flannels store, Armani, DKNY and All Saints as well as my favourite restaurant Australasia (see below for more on that tasty morsel!).
So many shops and a lot of ground to cover. Even though Manchester is a very walkable city my advice would be to pace yourself and allow plenty of time for those oh so important cocktail and champagne breaks. My suggestions for a luxury pit stop are:
- Mentioned it already but worth mentioning again Harvey Nichols champagne bar on the 2nd floor. Great whether your just want some fizz or are looking for a great lunch too.
- Opus One – the bar inside Radisson Edwardian is well worth a visit even if you aren’t staying in the hotel
- Epernay Champagne Bar – huge selection of champagnes and cocktails. It also has a balcony so great city views, especially at night.
- Manchester House in Spinningfields does the most amazing Champagne afternoon tea – just head to the lounge on level 12!
Time for dinner at the amazing Australasia
There are lots of great places to eat in Manchester but I think the very best restaurants combine great food with fantastic service and a unique environment that envelops you as soon as you open the door – Australasia does all that and more and it’s one of my favourite restaurants in the UK.
Other places I’ve tried and would definitely recommend include:
The Grill on the Alley – Ridgefield Street
El Rincorn – 244 Deansgate – fabulous Tapas
Michael Caines Restaurant at Abode Manchester