When you live in a major city for long enough you get to know where all the best places to eat, drink and socialise are but you rarely know where the best places to stay the night are. Now that restrictions are finally easing, so many of my friends and family are eager to visit and I am usually stuck for where to recommend. Because how often do you stay in hotels in your own city? Luckily I was invited to Native in Manchester city centre and found a place with more than a few hidden delights to please all ages.
Located a hop, skip and a jump from Piccadilly station and smack bang in the city centre, Native aparthotel is part of Grade II listed Ducie Street Warehouse. Consisting of 162 luxury serviced apartments ranging from studios, 2 bedroom and duplex penthouse apartments the hotel is only a small portion of what’s inside this magnificent building. With a lounge, restaurant, bar, all-day deli counter, takeaway shop, cinema, outdoor terrace and fitness classes at award winning studio Block, there’s certainly enough here to keep guests entertained throughout their stay.
On a typically rainy day in Manchester I arrived at Ducie Street and was immediately taken aback. As you enter the foyer you are standing in a vast space that somehow feels smaller, like a familiar place you know and are comfortable in. Live music is being played by a singer and guitar duo by the DJ decks and there’s a dozen or so people working, reading, drinking and socialising in the lounge area. The industrial heritage of the building has been kept intact with the exposed iron girders and huge columns drawing your gaze to the ceilings where the natural light comes in and you can see the apartments stacked above. I plan to come back down once I’ve checked in and join what seems to be one of the coolest places to hang out in the city, but then I see my room…
As I invited a friend to stay with me for the night I was given a premium two bedroom apartment which is perfectly designed for getting together with family and friends. Wonderfully roomy it has 2 large bedrooms, one ensuite and a separate bathroom for the second bedroom (which also has handy pull-apart twin beds), a large lounge and dining area as well as a fully equipped kitchen. Now when I say fully equipped I don’t mean it has cutlery and a few plates, I’m talking dishwasher, washing machine, hobs, pans, coffee machine, chopping boards, wine glasses, tea towels, literally everything you’d find in any home’s kitchen. And even with all that, what I was most excited about was a tiny bottle of fresh milk in the fridge as opposed to vile UHT portions. It really is the little things that make an impression.
What I liked most about entering the space was the dim lighting in the entrance that gave way to gorgeous natural light in the shared space and master bedroom. The original windows have massive windowsills perfect for sitting on and watching the city move below or just taking a few hundred photos of you looking pensive for your Instagram. The furnishings are mostly blues and warm pastel colours that pop against the exposed brickwork and eclectic lighting dotted throughout the lounge. While I waited for my friend to arrive I cranked the heating up, played my ‘getting ready for girls night’ playlist, had a hot shower using all the lovely Bramley toiletries and generally had a fabulous time.
Heading to dinner you get to have a good look at the whole ground floor and the amazing use of space that just brings people together. There’s every kind of seating for whether you want to sink into a sofa with a creamy latte or perch at a table with a martini and bob along to the live DJ. The lounge is an all-day space to socialise, graze, dine and drink which really is a destination in itself that I vowed to go back to. But first, dinner.
The restaurant menu is described as ‘Something for everyone’ as even the pickiest eater would find something they would love. Made up of small plates, something light, large plates and larger sharing plates as well as a number of sides and snacks, there is certainly plenty to choose from. As someone who likes to try a bit of everything, I had to go for the small plates. Our waiter recommended 2 to 3 dishes per person so we got 6 and some chips. We should have listened to him because it was definitely more than enough!
We gorged ourselves on Salt and pepper crispy calamari with wild garlic aioli, Chilli, sesame and peanut crispy chicken with miso buttermilk dip, Macaroni cheese with lemon and herb pangritata, Ox cheek croquettes, deep fried cod with minted mushy peas and chilli and garlic prawns with lemon mayo. I have to say the food was absolutely superb and there wasn’t even a stand out dish as they all had deliciously moorish qualities that meant we were almost too full for pudding. Almost.
For dessert we chose the Date Medjool sticky toffee slice with miso butterscotch sauce and Chai seed ice cream and Honey blossom white chocolate blondie with raspberry sorbet. Like good friends should, we shared each one between us and agreed on two things; Number one, the sticky toffee pudding was the absolute perfect amount of moist and chewy and almost didn’t need the accompanying ice cream. And number two, that the raspberry sorbet was one of the best things we’ve put in our mouths in a long time. Simply superb.
The restaurant also has a fabulous cocktail menu with a number of classic cocktails and many signatures such as the Native Peach Spritz and the wonderfully Manc ‘Yeah Mate’ consisting of Don Julio Blanco tequila and Yerba Mate stirred with watermelon sherbet and rosemary infused Oloroso sherry.
With full bellies and a few large glasses of Pebble Dew Sauvignon Blanc down, we dragged ourselves up to bed. Drawing the curtains on the bright lights of the city and sinking into a huge comfy bed I had a most restful night sleep thanks to complete darkness and an almost eerie silence considering the activity surrounding the place. As we reflect on our stay we agree it would be a great place for students from further afield to club together for a great night out or for older couples to stay for a few days and explore the city. Either way, this hotel is so on trend, luxurious, in keeping with its heritage and so thoroughly Mancunian that you will feel like a Native.
Warehouse at Ducie Street