Manchester is one of, if not, my most favourite northern English city. It has everything you need for a great visit regardless of what you are interested in. With a great mixture of high-street, designer and boutique shops, sports teams galore and more bars and restaurants than you can shake a stick at, together with a million and one other amazing and unique things; I genuinely do not think I would or could ever tire of visiting the cosmopolitan city with the laid-back vibe.
Living in East Yorkshire on the East Coast of England, Manchester is a mere two-hour drive away and one I make on a regular basis, whether it be to visit the city itself or just to get to Manchester airport, which is always my airport of choice because of the number of destinations you can fly to from it. In fact, the route to Manchester is always in my recently visited destinations list on my sat nav. Therefore, when I was invited to stay at the newly opened Roomzzz Aparthotel at the Manchester Corn Exchange there was no way I could turn the opportunity down.
It is located in the heart of the city making it very easy to find. The closest car park is Deansgate Q-Park which is only a 5 minute walk away and Roomzzz validated my parking ticket meaning I only had to pay £10 for 24 hours, opposed to the usual £16. It also only around a 20 minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly train station and a 5 minute walk from Manchester Victoria train station, making it very accessible.
Roomzzz at Manchester Corn Exchange
The Manchester Corn Exchange is a grade II listed building and has over the years been home to a corn exchange, markets and shops and has been redeveloped a number of times yet still retains a number of its original features which Roomzzz have carried through and complimented in their aparthotel. With beautiful tile work and amazing art the stairways and corridors in the building are simply stunning and very tasteful mix in the contemporary modern design of the apartments and suites in the property and this place is right up my alley.
I’m a massive fan of self catering accommodation, and have stayed in aparthotels, apartments and villas all over the world. I like that they give you that extra freedom to cook, if you want to obviously. This can save you money of course but it can also create an intimate setting if travelling with your significant other. Each apartment at the Roomzzz Manchester Corn Exchange offers a compact yet fully functional kitchen including dishwasher and microwave making cozy nights in an option and perfect for longer stays when eating out all the time simply becomes too much. I love having a fridge wherever I am staying regardless of if it’s a hotel or apartment – I’ve got to keep my prosecco chilled after all! In fact, it was the first thing I did when I arrived at my apartment, loaded the fridge with a couple of bottles of the fizzy stuff to enjoy whilst I got ready for my evening later in the day.
Another thing I love is having a separate bedroom and sitting area because no matter how much you love your partner, family or friends, when you are in a confined space with them sometimes you just need your own area to chill out in, nope? Just me? In my apartment I had a dining area with table and chairs, a sofa to chill out on and a very spacious bedroom, which was perfect for emptying the contents of my suitcase on whilst I decided what I wanted to wear. There was even a full length mirror which loads of hotels always forget is an absolute essential! The layout of the apartment actually felt very similar to my very first apartment which gave me all the feels and again reiterated the home from home feel of the place, making it the perfect base for my weekend in Manchester.
Starting the weekend as we intended to go on, we headed to the Banyan Bar and Grill located a couple of doors away from the Roomzzz Aparthotel for afternoon cocktails and to pick up our itinerary for the weekend. I love Banyan and have visited both branches in Leeds previously, therefore I knew exactly what to expect and exactly what to order. A testament to how popular the bar and the Manchester Corn Exchange is in general, it was packed to the rafters by mid-afternoon. My personal recommendation is the Berry Punch cocktail – it was delish!
As I mentioned before Roomzzz Aparthotels are designed to be homes away from home and what better way to make you feel at home then having walk-in showers, large well-lit mirrors and plenty of space to get ready for a night out on the tiles. How about a bit of in-room pampering? The only time I have ever had my makeup professionally done was for my wedding and when I was the Maid of Honour at my best friend’s wedding.
Therefore, when Emma from Blow Ltd turned up to give me a makeover, I actually squealed. Even though I always wear makeup, it’s never a lot and I’m never adventurous, so I gave Emma complete free range to do as she pleased and I couldn’t have been happier with the end results, as a teenager of the 90s who had been overly eager with the tweezers, I now actually had eyebrows for the first time in over 10 years.
Meal at Salvi’s
Makeup done, dress on, my next stop was literally next door. With so many restaurants offering a range of different cuisine from Brazilian barbecue to Vietnamese street food I would have been happy to try any of them. I’d been booked a table at Salvi’s a traditional family run Italian restaurant, which was authentic and fantastic. The restaurant felt intimate and welcoming, making it a great choice for dining alone, with friends or with your significant other.
After ordering a bottle of pinot grigio, I sat back, glass in hand and perused the extensive menu which featured a number of my all-time favourite dishes. In fact, I genuinely would have been happy if anything off the menu had been placed in front of me. After much deliberation, I opted for a mozzarella bruschetta to start and spicy Italian sausage pasta for my main course. Both were phenomenal and very filling and the limoncello to finish the meal with was a lovely touch – Saluti!
Drinking and dancing the night away
I’ll be honest I would have been happy to admit defeat and head to bed straight after my meal, however after a very stressful few months, I was determined to make the most of my weekend away and not head back to my apartment to have a hot chocolate and watch a couple of episodes of Friends on Netflix.
I bit the bullet and battled through, heading back to Banyan for a couple more cocktails before heading across the road into The Printworks. From there it became very, very hazy. Needless to say, I drank and danced the night away in the numerous bars and pubs in there, before crashing into my big comfortable bed at nearly 3am, which is for this lady super late indeed. I had a great night, what I can remember of it.
Breakfast to go
With my hangover raging I made it to the Grab and Go breakfast station located in the reception area. I quickly grabbed a couple of pastries and a coffee and scurried back to my apartment hoping no one saw me in my dishevelled state on my travels. The Grab and Go breakfast is a great idea as it gives you the option of doing what I did or simply grabbing and hitting the streets.
Open from 6.30am until 10am every day of the week, it’s also great for early risers and people who like to have a lay-in like me. With a choice of pastries and fruit, there isn’t a massive choice but enough to keep you going or you can do what I did and accompany it with a bacon sandwich which was made using the kitchen in the apartment, it was a Sunday morning after all.
Street art walking tour
After a refreshing shower and facemask, I headed out onto the streets of Manchester to take part in a street art walking tour of the Northern Quarter. The sun was shining and the skies were blue making the two-hour walking tour of the vibrant and bohemian Northern Quarter of Manchester an absolute delight. We met at Shudehill Coach and Bus Station just a 5-minute walk from Roomzzz Manchester Corn Exchange, it was the perfect thing to do to clear my head and help with my hangover.
The area is home to a number of bars, restaurants, boutique shops and masses of colourful street art. During the afternoons and evenings, the area comes alive, yet on the lazy Sunday morning I wandered the streets, they were next to deserted, making it a leisurely tour. Street art is not for everyone, I’m sure if you asked my nana she’d say it’s ugly, but I love it, so getting to learn about the history of the pieces was right up my alley. It was also a great way of getting to know more about the Northern Quarter, which is now officially my favourite area of Manchester.
Afternoon tea at Browns Brasserie
The last stop of the weekend was Browns Brasserie for a divine champagne afternoon tea. Even though the sun was shining, it was still bitterly cold, so a big pot of tea was in order to warm the old cockles, accompanied by a glass of fizz too darling. Browns was a lovely place to have afternoon tea, with its dark wood panelling and laid back atmosphere and the waitress could not have been more friendly and helpful and asked if there were any dietary requirements etc. After a morning of wandering the streets, I was ready to see what delights were on offer and when the tiered stand was placed in front of me I was not disappointed.
With fresh sandwiches including egg, smoked salmon and crab on different breads, warm scones with lashings of jam and clotted cream and lots of delicious little cakes and buns this afternoon got a massive thumbs up from me. However, there was simply too much and I admit it defeated me, something that rarely happens when it comes to food. It was the perfect way to end such a magnificent weekend. From start to finish it was just what the doctor ordered – a full weekend away from the ‘real’ world, great food, lots of (probably too much) booze, a big dollop of art and culture and an amazing apartment to base myself. Manchester is an awesome city which truly does have something for everyone.
You can also find Roomzzz Aparthotels in Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Chester and soon London Stratford.
- Thank you to Roomzz for organising and hosting my weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed every second!