You’d be a real dunce not to consider this former school, now a boutique hotel, if you want somewhere comfortable and different in which to stay in central Manchester.
Fashioned from a Victorian school building, it has only 30 rooms, the temptation to cram in as many as possible being resisted. Artfully retaining some of the associations with its previous use, such as framed original old school class photos on the walls, chunky old-style radiators and sash windows, and retention of some of the signs like “boys’ staircase”, makes for a unique and rather special place to stay.
A feature of the hotel is a heated roof terrace with views of the Coronation Street set, for Corrie fans and a good view of Manchester for the rest of us.
The lounge bar has comfy sofas and reading lights; on the upstairs mezzanine is the pretty breakfast bar with daily newspapers. The Continental choice offers almost everything you could image apart from full English: buffet options might include fresh strawberries, just-baked pastries, cold meats and cheeses, fresh juices, hot toast, decent tea and coffee plus a couple of hot options from the kitchen.
Taking advantage of the tall ceilings, the design cleverly incorporates a mezzanine floor for most of the bedrooms, affording space for the bathroom or shower room. There are five grades of room, all named “grand” with the best two suites being particularly sumptuous and the ones that are snapped up first.
One of the “eclectic grand” rooms has as a commanding centrepiece a magnificent French rococo style carved king-sized bed with large chaise longues at the foot, a crystal chandelier, sumptuous floor to ceiling curtains in deep burgundy, the colour of which is picked up in the lightshade, chair and cushions and a distinctive roll top bath with claw feet in the corner. Upstairs are his and hers square sinks with decorative mirrors, rainforest shower and separate toilet. Temple Spa toiletries, fluffy white towels on a heated radiator and towelling robes (in the cupboard downstairs) ensure that sybarites are mighty happy. An adjustable radiator, air con and the possibility of opening the window means you can get the room comfort you want. WiFi (chargeable) is available; there is a flat screen TV and music system.
The mini bar is expensive as always but there is complimentary tea, coffee and fresh milk, a nice touch. Another nice touch is the “teacher’s note” – a sweet concoction to enjoy from the kitchen with a hand written note suggesting you have an enjoyable stay.
It would be hard not to have an enjoyable stay here. The staff are friendly and helpful, there is little noise at night in this quiet part of town, the bed is extremely comfortable and all the wonders of Manchester are a short walk away. If you can drag yourself away from your room, that is.
Contact tel: 0161 831 3211, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost standard double room: £££, suite: ££££
Services hotel bar, internet access, air-conditioning
Great John Street Hotel, Manchester