The Lowry Hotel, Manchester

The Lowry is Manchester’s only 5 star hotel, located a little outside of the centre it is nonetheless easy to reach by foot or taxi from Manchester Piccadilly Station. The dramatic glass exterior is very striking and contemporary against the city backdrop. Walking into the modern building, I felt like I was arriving for a conference, the design is geared towards business rather than leisure.

Staff immediately relieved us of our bags and escorted us upstairs to our room, which was spacious and stylish overlooking the River Irwell. Noticing the quirky, colourful furniture and a trendy assortment of magazines, all thoughts of business were soon banished… I felt completely at home. The combined bedroom and living area boasted an Olga chair and writing desk, and a luxurious super king size bed. The spacious bathroom was finished in Italian porcelain with a big bath and shower, bright white towels, shining mirrors and a selection of REN toiletries. The rooms are very quiet and the soft furnishings have a calming effect on your mood, after a relaxing bath I spent a while flicking through Wallpaper magazine and admiring the impressive views.

It is easy to reach the eateries and bars of central Manchester, and there are plenty. We chose to stay nearby and after a fun evening at nearby cocktail bar, Under New Management (which I highly recommend for masterful mixology) I slept soundly below the Salford skyline. Next morning we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. All my favourite things were on offer: French toast with berries and crème fraiche, fresh orange juice and a creamy cappuccino. The food was swiftly delivered to us, fresh and flavoursome.

A lovely spa and great dining facilities are available for all guests to enjoy, so if you don’t want to leave the hotel, there is no need to. The Lowry can also cater for business needs. There is a dedicated Conference and Banqueting floor with a wide range of flexible meeting rooms. They can host all kinds of occasions and pride themselves on top quality facilities with exemplary service and attention to detail.

Despite its highly regarded position as part of the Rocco Forte hotel family, the Lowry stands strong with its own individual style and modern features. It is a much loved home from home for tourists and Mancunian celebrities alike.

More information and book here.

Many thanks to Manchester Tourist Board for their help with this trip, more information here.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with Virgin Trains.

Typical journey time between London and Manchester is just 2h 7m on one of the state-of-the-art tilting trains, six days a week. Engineering works slow things down a little on Sunday mornings, but by lunchtime they’re operating services – at 2h15m – just a shade slower than Monday to Saturday. Trains every 20 minutes, six and a half days a week.

Booking in advance and travelling off-peak is the best way to get great deals – including some fantastic First Class bargains. Single fares start at: Advance Standard £12.50  and Advance First £38.00, book here.

The Midland Hotel, Manchester

When I was at university in Manchester there was never much need to take notice of the hotels around town. The Midland however, is a difficult establishment to miss. Opened in September 1903 it was built by the Midland Railway as convenient accommodation for those coming into the northern terminus from London St. Pancras. The hotel is very central near to many of Manchester’s key attractions and concert venues and just half a mile from the main Manchester Piccadilly train station.

The Midland certainly has some stature from the street, with over 300 rooms the hotel is ideal for big business groups or wedding parties. The entrance is grand but old fashioned with fading décor, patterned carpet and a giant bouquet of flowers dominating the lobby. There was a lot of activity in this communal area, guests drinking at the bar and milling around the restaurants getting ready for a night out in town.

After a short lift ride and walk down a long corridor, we reached our room, a lovely spacious suite. The room was decorated in muted shades, a dark beige carpet, olive green velvet sofas and maroon and ochre cushions and blanket on the bed. Behind the bed was an intriguing glass dome illustration, that added colour to the bedroom. Everything we needed for a weekend away could be found within our room: a desk, a mirrored wardrobe, even a shirt press. In the living room area we could sit and relax whilst reading the magazines (This is Manchester, The Sunday Times Travel, and Homes & Gardens) arranged for us to enjoy. A basic coffee machine and small minbar was also on hand.

The bathroom was clean and well equipped, a big bath-shower surrounded by glittering black mosaic tiles with Pecksniff’s Mood Therapy toiletries lined up ready to use. Huge, thick towelling robes were a comforting extra. I found everything extremely comfortable, and though the design wasn’t completely to my taste, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the incredibly indulgent bed.

With the recent arrival of famed chef Simon Rogan, the Midland has a new culinary appeal. Rogan has taken control of both the restaurants on site: casual eatery Mr Cooper’s House and Garden and the prestigious The French. As the first fine dining experience of its kind in Manchester, The French has brought prestige and excitement to The Midland.

Those wishing to use the hotel for leisure or meetings will be delighted with the options: 14 conference rooms, a gym, a pool and a squash court, there is no requirement they can’t meet.

More information on The Midland hotel here.

Many thanks to Manchester Tourist Board for their help with this trip, more information here.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with Virgin Trains.

Typical journey time between London and Manchester is just 2h 7m on one of the state-of-the-art tilting trains, six days a week. Engineering works slow things down a little on Sunday mornings, but by lunchtime they’re operating services – at 2h15m – just a shade slower than Monday to Saturday. Trains every 20 minutes, six and a half days a week.

Booking in advance and travelling off-peak is the best way to get great deals – including some fantastic First Class bargains. Single fares start at: Advance Standard £12.50  and Advance First £38.00, book here.

Lowry Spa, Manchester

Whilst staying at the Lowry Hotel I was tempted to remain in the building all weekend. The weather in Manchester is often dreary, wet and cold and this homely five star establishment offers a warm and luxurious place to relax and indulge.

After a long, deep sleep and a leisurely breakfast, I visited the Lowry spa. It was relatively early on a Sunday morning and couples were wandering around enjoying the facilities and rejuvenating treatments. Although there is no pool, the spa offers sauna and relaxation rooms so guests use these as they wish.

I enjoyed a Signature Back and Scalp massage followed by an express therapeutic facial. I can never decide between massage and facial so this was the perfect compromise for me. My softly spoken therapist managed to instantly calm me, and it helped that the bed was wonderfully warm and enveloping. As I directed, she pressed through my knots with strength, methodically pushing through the tension in my upper back and shoulders. Gradually the tightness loosened as she patiently massaged oil into my muscles. Then she moved onto my head to relieve all pressure in my scalp.

It felt like an added bonus afterwards when it was time for the mini facial. Cleansing and exfoliating (a step I fail to remember regularly in my skin routine!) my face instantly felt fresher and brighter. A moisturising mask left my cheeks plump and my forehead silky soft. It was lovely to leave the treatment room with a clear head and relaxed body. I could then go and read a magazine and enjoy the rare opportunity for total tranquillity.

With many alluring spa packages and day offers, the Lowry spa is ideal for both staying guests and outside visitors… the perfect retreat away from the loud and lively city.

More information on the Lowry Hotel spa here.

Many thanks to Manchester Tourist Board for their help with this trip, more information here.

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with Virgin Trains.

Typical journey time between London and Manchester is just 2h 7m on one of the state-of-the-art tilting trains, six days a week. Engineering works slow things down a little on Sunday mornings, but by lunchtime they’re operating services – at 2h15m – just a shade slower than Monday to Saturday. Trains every 20 minutes, six and a half days a week.

Booking in advance and travelling off-peak is the best way to get great deals – including some fantastic First Class bargains. Single fares start at: Advance Standard £12.50  and Advance First £38.00, book here.