I actually adapted well to lockdown, spending time at home with my fiance and the pets and not having to think of an excuse to cancel plans, it was all very enjoyable for me. But then spending the night in a gorgeous hotel suite, relaxing in a jacuzzi followed by a sumptuous meal with a bottle of wine then waking up to a perfectly cooked breakfast all whilst in the centre of the UK’s greatest city (Manchester. Obviously) was a feeling of pure joy that you just can’t find at home. When I started to write this review there were 3 more nights until the nation was once again put into lockdown and all non-essential businesses closed. I even watched the announcement whilst in my suite, in my bathrobe sipping champagne and thought ‘well at least I was spending my last few hours of freedom somewhere lovely!’
I had been invited to CitySuites, just a stone’s throw from Victoria Station with an incredible view over the nearby Cathedral. Rather than just another Manchester hotel, this building is home to high-spec serviced apartments. The 237 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments occupy floors 1–10 and 12–15 of the 16-storey building. Each studio at CitySuites has king-size beds, lounge areas with sofas, fitted kitchens and dining areas giving guests the chance to feel as though they are in a home away from home. This is a fantastic option if you are staying in the city for a few days and want to live and work in the same space. CitySuites is also ideal if you don’t always want to eat out all the time.
But don’t let that give you the impression that it’s not got all the luxuries of a great hotel. One of my favourite features of City Suites was its serene 18-metre swimming pool and hot tub. 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 always maintained to a high standard by the attentive staff. The hotel 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. I’d like to tell you I tried this out but I don’t spend my leisure time sweating unless it’s in a sauna thank you very much.
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.
One of the most welcome editions to the hotel is it’s restaurant Embankment Kitchen, a vibrant brasserie and bar combining traditional glamour with contemporary twists to create a modern, cosy and inviting atmosphere. The evening menu has a homely Italian feel, with pastas and pizzas as well as burgers and a wide variety of vegan options. The menu changes regularly to make the most of seasonal and local produce. I immensely enjoyed my starter of crispy halloumi fries with a harissa yoghurt dip, followed by a classic Marinara pizza that was bursting with flavour, thin crust and crispy just the way I like it, followed by a wonderful sticky toffee pudding with vanilla pod ice cream. I think it’s important to try as much as you can of a menu when passing judgement but let’s just say I was glad I didn’t have far to go to lay down after all that!
In the morning I was looking forward to a good breakfast (it’s honestly one of my favourite parts of staying in hotels) but it was a pleasant surprise to enjoy the morning light sat in the window of Embankment Kitchen, watching the world go by as I sipped my morning coffee while browsing the menu and wondering if 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 it’s full English so of course I had to give it a try. I was not disappointed, or remotely hungry afterwards. A triumph.
I believe CitySuites is one of those hidden treasures not many people know about. It’s usually in the press as a celeb haunt or where the footballers and their managers call home due to its practicality as a living space and luxurious facilities. But this is a place widely accessible to everyone and is a place I’d be more than happy to spend a few days and nights exploring the city and coming home to a couple of hours in the pool then a delicious meal in gorgeous surroundings followed by cocktails and laughter into the night. Treasure worth seeking out!
Visit citysuites.com to book your stay.
16 Chapel Street