The best hotel in the North of England is right here in Manchester according to The Sunday Times, which has just revealed its list of 100 top British hotels.
Overlooking Piccadilly Basin, Ducie Street Warehouse is the latest of the city’s heritage buildings to take on a new purpose. The vast building now houses three independent businesses: a design led apartment hotel by Native, boutique fitness studio Blok, and Cultureplex which includes the Bistrotheque restaurant.
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. Prices start from around £84.
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.
It also has “what might be the swankiest hotel corridors on the planet,” says The Sunday Times.
The industrial vibe is “lightened with pops of warm colour from the linen and cushions,” says the paper, while all the rooms have “comfy Gainsborough beds, thick curtains and bold black and grey bathrooms with rainfall showers.”
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, which have “a deco/maritime feel, with huge mirrors, velvet chairs you can’t stop stroking and a sprawling private terrace with Peak District views.”
These rooms start at £315, which is “a steal” if there are four of you.
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.
And you don’t need to leave the building for great food and drink, either – just head down to Cultureplex.
The food menu includes steak tartare, fish and chips, and a deeply comforting potato and Comté cheese pie with green mustard sauce – all Bistrotheque staples from their London menu. But there are some dishes unique to Manchester, too: cured duck breast salad; goats cheese with truffle and honey; and tender sea trout with savoury miso and confit tomatoes.
The Sunday Times flags up our favourite pudding, too – the “wondrously wobbly panna cotta.”
And the cocktails list is fun, too. Who can resist a sparkling Joan Collins (£8.50), made with gin, cherry liqueur, apple, lemon and soda? A Jackie version is made with vodka.
You can work it all off at Blok, the “trendy in-house gym” with three studios offering classes including power yoga, ballet fit and “the ominous-sounding ‘cardio killer’.”
“We loved this place, and are planning to go Native the next time we visit Manchester,” says the paper.
Luckily for us, it’s right on our doorstep.