It's been a while since I've had the chance to stay in an 'upmarket' hotel, so this trip was a little of an eye-opener.
The V&A positions itself as an upmarket 4-star hotel - you realise this as soon as you roll up and are offered valet parking (for £16/night - though we did know in advance). The hotel is a converted Victorian warehouse, full of exposed brick, wood and pillars with plenty of charm.
The rooms are large and comfortable, if starting to look slightly careworn, but now only at the standard of some 'budget' chains, such as Premier Inn. We only had warm-ish water for our showers on late Saturday afternoon, but in the morning it was hot again. Curiously, I lost my mobile Internet for quite a time inside the building - though you can buy wifi at £6/hour, £15/day.
It's not really fair to judge the evening catering as we were there for a large catered event, but dinner was mediocre, service was slow. Breakfast was a more bustling affair, with plenty of choice, but again far too much cooked food was left standing for far too long; the scrambled eggs certainly weren't worth eating.
For me, you now have to think long and hard as to whether you pay the premium between a good budget hotel and an upmarket chain. The difference should be service. You get the corporate stuff fine - the meet & greet, minibar, staff in ties, business services (often expected to pay handsomely for these) - it's the more personal stuff that's missing. The two extra teabags begrudgingly wrenched from reception, as, heaven forbid, you might want more than one cup of tea in 24 hours (only two tea bags in the room??); the lack of free wifi throughout the building; having to wait 15 minutes in a queue for the concierge on Sunday morning (surely that's predictable); bar staff who know what "Port" is and keep a bottle behind the bar (I kid you not - I asked for a Port, only to be told "What is that?", and sure enough, they didn't have any).
Marriott and their ilk cater for a certain market, mainly business users, who really aren't bothered what it costs as someone else is paying; others see these as 'treat' weekend/city breaks - and I understand that. Some people take comfort in the predictability of a chain. But when I'm paying for all this myself, I'd have to think twice about an upmarket hotel over a good budget hotel, with a good offsite breakfast, and municipal parking.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in the vibrant Manchester city centre on the banks of the River Irwell, the Manchester Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel in England exudes a historical charm. Our cozy 4-star Manchester hotel's location across from Granada Television Studios is ideal, as guests enjoy a short and pleasant stroll to the Opera House, Spinningfields and Deansgate areas and Palace Theatre. Very convenient to reach the Manchester United and Manchester City football grounds. Since our Manchester city center hotel's origin was a warehouse built in 1844, you will find many authentic details in our guest rooms including exposed brick and oak beams. Our £3 million renovation in 2014 highlights the old architecture and new contemporary flair, along with modern comforts and services. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marriott Manchester Victoria And Albert Hotel
- Marriott Manchester Victoria Albert Hotel
- Manchester Marriott