I absolutely love staying in a hotel where everything is right on your doorstep. There’s nothing worse than having to worry about travel or driving when you visit somewhere new. CitySuites II in Manchester city centre is just that, right smack bang in the city centre. I spent a night there after a visit to the famous Manchester Christmas Markets to relax and unwind with a dip in the pool and a sumptuous meal.
Where is CitySuites II Hotel?
The hotel is just a stone’s throw from Victoria Station with an incredible view over the nearby Cathedral and surrounding cityscape. Rather than just another Manchester hotel, this building is home to high-spec serviced apartments. My sister and I checked in at a beautifully decorated reception area which smelled like cinnamon and gingerbread. Like Christmas if you will, very apt for the time of year, I wonder what it smells like today?
What are the rooms like?
We were given a 2 bedroom city apartment on the 10th floor with a spectacular view from both bedrooms and living area. The apartment is complete with a shared bathroom as well as an ensuite, a fully fitted kitchen with a Nespresso machine and everything you might need to prepare and enjoy a meal, a living area, dining area, and smart TV as well as all the features you’d expect of a five-star hotel. We slipped straight into our robes and slippers and headed for the pool.
Swimming pool in Manchester
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a hotel in the city centre with a swimming pool, so this really is something special and the pool area is such a relaxing space and is always maintained to a high standard by the attentive staff. The 18-metre pool is the perfect temperature for doing a few quick lengths in the morning or if you’re anything like me and my sister, doing races up and down like children. There is also a jacuzzi which is wonderful to relax in after being out in the cold all day, what is different to the original CitySuites is that this hotel has a steam room available for all guests.
CitySuites II also has a state-of-the-art gym that’s open 24 hours a day exclusively to CitySuites guests. The machines have programmable settings so returning guests can input their preferences and enjoy the same workout each time they visit.
CitySuites offers all the 5-star hotel services such as 24-hour reception, concierge, dry cleaning, fast wi-fi and city centre parking but it’s also worth noting that the building itself is a beautiful, modern space. Corridors and reception areas are filled with art and fascinating light installations and the rooms are all decorated to a high standard with art on the walls and the latest tech to make you feel at home away from home.
CitySuites II has its own restaurant Embankment Kitchen just a hop, step and a jump outside, a vibrant brasserie and bar combining traditional glamour with contemporary twists to create a modern, cosy and inviting atmosphere. We were warmly greeted by Dean who sorted us out with a lovely bottle of pinot grigio and we settled in to talk about all things wedding prep, there were many dramas to discuss…
The food at Embankment Kitchen
The menu changes regularly to make the most of seasonal and local produce and we really struggled to choose what to have on our visit because it all sounded absolutely delicious! We knew we had to have a sharing platter to start as we love what we Brits call ‘picky bits’. The EK Festive Board was piled high with honey and rosemary Camembert, focaccia, sun-blushed tomatoes, pigs in blankets, turkey and cranberry croquettes, olives and a rocket salad.
To be honest we could have had just this as a main meal between us but there was no way I was passing up the chance to try the Braised Short Rib Bourguignon, slow-cooked beef short rib in a red wine, baby onion, mushroom and pancetta sauce served with a beautifully creamy buttered mash and seasonal vegetables. This was comfort food at its very best. The meat was the biggest chunk of beef they could fit on the plate and just fell apart under my fork. Just delicious. My sister went for the classic EK Burger with Montary Jack cheese, all the trimmings and a homemade relish with a bucket of truffle fries and did very well to almost eat it all and half of mine.
Eyes bigger than your tummy?
Then we had a dilemma, our fantastic waitress Joyce had given such good menu recommendations when we ordered that we decided we definitely had to have desserts. However, there was no way I was going to eat a full one so we cancelled the chocolate fondant and shared a winterberry crumble with vanilla ice cream instead. My one piece of advice when dining here? The portions are very generous, so share a starter and a dessert because all the courses are so good that it would be a shame to miss out. Or just be an absolute glutton and have all three, you won’t regret it!
Breakfast spot for people-watching
In the morning my sister got up early and left for work while I enjoyed being sat in the window of Embankment Kitchen, watching the world go by as I sipped my morning coffee while debating if I would be able to eat anything after the night before. The breakfast menu has something for every appetite such as smashed avocado and poached eggs, eggs benedict, vegan breakfast as well as the classic continental buffet option, which looked incredibly fresh and inviting. But I judge any hotel on its full English so of course I had to give it a try. I was not disappointed, or remotely hungry afterwards. A triumph.
On the way back to my room I noticed a hubbub of activity inside CitySuites’s cafe and co-working space, Embankment Cafe, offering a selection of coffees, teas, cakes and pastries for anyone passing by and guests alike. It looked like a lovely place to relax with a brew in the morning.
CitySuites is one of those hidden gems not many people know about, which is hard considering the size of the two buildings taking up space in Manchester’s ever-expanding skyline. The service is always fantastic, the facilities are outstanding and the rooms are modern and so well equipped. A stay is also very affordable and the hotel is the perfect hub for newcomers to the city to find their bearings and explore.
1 New Kings Head Yard