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Inside Native Manchester: the UK’s largest aparthotel in a former Victorian warehouse


Occupying eight floors of a vast Grade II listed former Victorian warehouse on Ducie Street, Native Manchester is the UK’s largest aparthotel, spanning 180,000 square feet.

The vast building will soon house three independent businesses: aparthotel Native, boutique fitness studio Blok, and Cultureplex.

As well as featuring Bistrotheque, a new restaurant from Pablo Flack and David Waddington, Cultureplex includes a lounge, coffee counter Klatch, events spaces with outdoor terraces and a boutique cinema.

The model is unlike traditional hotel developments as it will be run by three separate specialists independently of each other.

Aiming to strike the balance between home and hotel, the Native aparthotel offers the benefits of apartment living coupled with the service and flexibility of a hotel.

The individually designed 166 apartments offer a variety of living spaces in varying sizes, from studios and one beds to two-bedroom penthouses, complete with private garden terraces.

Designed by the firm behind Chiltern Firehouse and the new Standard Hotel in London, the building’s industrial heritage is prominent throughout.

With towering cast-iron columns, a vast central atrium and exposed barrel arched brickwork, each apartment features a fully equipped kitchen, bespoke Conran furniture and magnificent parquet flooring.

“There’s a lot of pillars and beams that the architects had to work around, so it makes every room very unique,” says general manager Jackie Griffiths, who joined Native earlier this year from Malmaison.

The smallest of the rooms are studios, but they’re still pretty roomy with separate living space and a fully-equipped kitchen area.

“The kitchens in all the rooms all have a hob, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer,” says Jackie.

“And there’s a guest pantry, too, in case you need extras if you’re staying longer – a wok, say, or a mixing bowl.”

Toiletries, from English company Bramley, come in large bottles so they’re more eco-friendly than individual single-use bottles. There are no baths in the building, it’s all showers.

There are also eight penthouses, for a real taste of luxury.

The top floor boasts a duplex apartment across two floors, with an outdoor terrace offering panoramic views across the city.

And as with all of its aparthotels, Native Manchester has reached out to local operators to identify what it calls ‘Native Originals’, in which it champions local businesses and individuals who can provide genuine experiences for its guests.

The ‘Native Originals’ range from food and drink operators including Rudy’s, Dishoom, Pollen, Mackie Mayor and Seven Bro7hers, to cultural institutions such as The Whitworth and the Royal Exchange.

“This has been an extraordinary opportunity to take one of the great icons of Manchester’s industrial past and turn it into a major cultural and social destination for the city,” says Guy Nixon, founder and CEO of Native.

“The vibe here is very much ‘home’,” says marketing director Hardy Sohal. “It doesn’t feel sterile – it’s all about feeling comfortable.”

Why did Native decide to come to Manchester?

“It was always going to be the next choice outside London,” says Hardy. “There’s so much demand. There’s going to be 30,000 more hotel rooms needed by 2020 according to Marketing Manchester.

“And it’s a city that is really on the global map.”

Guy agrees, describing Manchester as “a thriving, culturally rich and fast expanding city.”

Native also wanted to make the food offering better than guests are often used to in hotels, and they are delighted to be working with Bistrotheque.

“We wanted to do something spectacular and recognised that hoteliers are rarely known for operating destination food and drink offerings.

“As well as creating uniquely spacious aparthotel rooms in this magnificent space, we set out to identify an F&B operator that could bring the vast ground floor space alive by offering something truly unique to the Manchester market as well as to our aparthotel guests.”

The former warehouse certainly has become a unique space, from the luxury suites to the intimate boutique cinema.

“There’s nothing else like this in Manchester,” says Hardy. And he’s absolutely right.

Prices for a studio at Native Manchester start from £76 per night.


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