First look: the new hotel that brings a touch of west coast cool to the NQ


What was once a textile warehouse in the Northern Quarter has been lovingly restored into a handsome boutique hotel by husband and wife, Muj and Amelia Rana.

Named after a chic neighbourhood in San Francisco, Cow Hollow Hotel offers a touch of the soul found in old warehouses from London’s Shoreditch to Manhattan’s meatpacking district. But it still retains its Victorian majesty and a nod to Manchester’s industrial past, with pieces of old textile machinery among the eclectic and individual decor.

The hotel offers a luxurious yet comfortable home-away-from-home, with a striking attention to detail.

King size beds are handmade from railway sleepers and draped with goose down duvets and pillows, while beautiful bathrooms come equipped with large bronze rainfall showers, REN toiletries, and ready-wired hairdryers, curling tongs and hair straighteners.

A familiar complaint by frequent travellers is a lack of easily accessible sockets in rooms, but here you’ll find plentiful UK sockets dotted about the place, as well as European and American formats.

In fact, the owners have considered all the necessary tech guests might require, so there is superfast fibre optic Wi-Fi, Smart TVs with Netflix, Jacob Jensen phones, and lamps with built-in USB for easy phone charging in each room.

But while the husband and wife team have embraced practicality, they have also created an aesthetically pleasing space, full of quirky details and accessories.

Original features from its illustrious past have been retained, with exposed oak beams, Carrara marble fireplaces, walnut sash windows, wrought iron machinery and original textile factory doors complemented by antique mercury mirrors and bronze chandeliers.

Vintage hardbacks by CS Lewis and HG Wells grace the bedside tables. And in a nod to the future, artwork by local artists adorns the walls of the rooms.

The hotel’s rooms offer the same service, floorspace, technology and bespoke design with a set price that won’t change, and with no hidden extra charges. Standard rooms are priced at £120 per night, every night, with suites priced at £150.

A few nice touches are included in the price. Hotel staff will bring up gourmet breakfast bags at any time of your choosing, consisting of Dorset Cereals granola (with flaxseed and berry coulis), ice cold milk, fresh orange juice, a selection of fruit, warm croissants, a yoghurt pot, and proper barista-quality tea or coffee.

They also offer complimentary prosecco and nibbles in the evenings, and hot drinks can also be delivered to your room from the lower-ground floor Aviary Cafe.

The consistency in pricing extends to the bar, which is open 24 hours a day for residents and until 2am for guests. You’ll fork out £8 for all cocktails, £6 for wines, £5 for beers, and £5 for spirits, which include some Manchester brands as well as international award-winners.

The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, but it does have tie-ups with several local eateries, some of which will happily deliver food directly to your room at no extra cost.

As far as locations go, Cow Hollow Hotel is in a great spot, slap-bang in the middle of the Northern Quarter, with all the restaurants, bars and shops on its doorstop. It’s just a 5-minute walk from Piccadilly station and the business district, a 10-minute walk to the Manchester arena, and 15 minutes to Spinningfields.

The redevelopment has been a three year labour of love for  Muj and Amelia, who describe the process as “blood and sweat – but no tears.” And their enthusiasm for the project is infectious, proved by the 900 applications they received for just eight jobs.

The hotel grew from an idea that hotels should be good at what they’re supposed to be – beautiful, affordable, and consistent. In true Mancunian style, they’ve done things a little bit differently here.

Each room has a subtly unique style, and their own music playlist adds a touch of personality. Seasonal window boxes of flowers add prettiness and will also, the owners hope, attract bees in the summer months.

Despite its west coast vibe, Cow Hollow Hotel tells a story true to its Northern roots and warehouse linearity. The seamless fusion of old and new feels aesthetically very modern while also respecting the history of the building, once a key player in Manchester’s Cottonopolis.

The Northern Quarter just got cool again.

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