How To Do 24 Hours at Manchester's The Midland Hotel
Putting one of Manchester's finest hotels to the test
Manchester is full of stunning hotels, but one which has captivated the city with it's history, interior and charm is one of the cities oldest: The Midland Hotel.
Situated in the heart of Manchester on Peter Street, The Midland boasts a beautiful building used for various events, such as weddings, business conferences, dinners, balls, and more importantly - general stay overs.
I've experienced afternoon tea at The Midland, part of Q Hotels, earlier last year, to celebrate the opening of The Tea Room. But it's not a hotel I've ever stayed over at or spent a lot of time at, although I have always wanted to.
So last weekend, I got myself booked in at The Midland and set out to spend a whole 24 hours there, arriving at 3pm on a Saturday, and leaving at 3pm on the Sunday.
So how did I find it? Read on to discover...
The Midland Hotel
First of all, the interior is just as elegant as the exterior. I was greeted by an enormous reception area with almost mirror-like glossy flooring, and the most beautiful tree stood central before the desks.
The iconic four star hotel prides itself with its impeccable appearance, yet holds on to it's historic roots. As you walk the corridors which are home to it's 312 pristine bedrooms, it's like old-school glamour with flowing drapes, traditional wall art and soft carpeting.
The Midland is also home to two award-winning restaurants, Adam Reid at the French and Mr Cooper's, an elegant Tea Room, a newly refurbished bar and lounge and 14 impressive conference and meeting rooms to fulfil business needs.
There is also the luxurious The Spa At The Midland, which many people are familar with from the 'hanging pods' photograph in which guests can relax in dome style pods in darkness, after or before their treatments.
I stayed in one of the larger suites, and it was literally like an apartment. The bedroom area was huge, complete with a desk area, a sofa, a wardrobe area around the corner and it's own bathroom.
The bed was huuuuge - potentially a King - but I'd argue it was bigger. There were copious amounts of tea and coffee in the room, so I spent the first part of my stay just relaxing on the bed, watching TV and helping myself to all the caffeine.
I had an evening meal booking at Mr Cooper's for 7.30pm, meaning a short trip from my 6th floor hotel room down the lift to the side of the reception was all I had to go to get to the restaurant.
Mr Cooper's has a reputation for fine dining and quality menu choices, but I had heard a number of negatives on the run up to my visit in the form of portion sizes. Now I'm a girl who loves her food, and I like a good sized portion on my plate. I had heard a few comments about small food servings on a large plate, and people leaving still 'feeling hungry'.
So I'm not sure if these comments have been rectified, or if I just didn't experience it, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this not to be the case. Firstly, the menu choice was extensive, and I was torn between the whole spatchcock spring chicken, red wine & thyme jus, slow roast pork belly, cavolo nero, spring onion & chilli and the 250g minimum 28 day aged sirloin.
I decided on the Spatchcock Spring Chicken, and my guest went for the Swordfish. Both portions came out large sizes, and between us we ordered three sizes to share (creamed kale, buttered mash and new potatoes), and we literally struggled to finish them.
We experienced what I would describe as standard serving sizes - generous portions that qualified (in my eyes) as a large main dish.
I skipped over starters just then, but I'll quickly fit this in: the Pulled Pork & Apple Croquettes were delicious. My guest went for the Buttermilk tiger prawns, kimchi, crème fraîch, and again, portion sizes were great. Both starters were tasty, well presented and good quality.
And now for dessert. We opted to share what Mr Cooper's say is one of the most popular desserts, the Caramel Tarte. If you have a sweet tooth, then there's nothing you can dislike about this. It's super super sweet with thick, rich caramel loaded into the softest pastry. Perfect for sharing, if you don't want all the guilt...
Overall, service was fantastic. We shared a bottle of Rose wine which again was a delight, and the waiter was more than attentive and helped us with our choices. The prices were also more affordable than I expected. The Spatchcock Chicken was £11, in which I thought reasonable for a restaurant of this high quality, and starters around the £5-£6 mark.
A gorgeous dining room (which had that outdoor feel to it - a refreshing change), delicious food and award winning service in my opinion!
The Lounge and Bar
After our meal at Mr Cooper's, we headed to the bar at the other side of the reception area to enjoy a drink before exploring the surrounding bars.
It's a more dimly lit, piano-style bar, with that 1960's glamour and elegance feel towards it. It has an impressive round circle bar and cosy booth areas. It's fairly quiet, so you wouldn't stay here for the main part of your evening (unless you wanted a more peaceful drink) - for me it served the purpose for a classy pre-drink before heading out.
It's a super comfy, luxurious bar, with a quiet, relaxed and chilled out vibe. The cocktail list is extensive, and the glasses they serve up the spirits and mixers are those special crystal serving glasses.
Breakfast takes place in the mornings from 6 am at Mr Cooper's House & Garden restaurant, so we once again enjoyed the lovely interior of this place for our morning dining.
I can't really fault anything from the breakfast situation - it was a self serve station of all your breakfast favourites from bacon, sausages, hash browns and beans to your cereals, fruits, meats and cheeses.
There was also a ginormous bread section, with every type of bread imaginable, along with bagels, waffles and all sorts. Plus bircher muesli versions and a large gluten free section.
The eggs came as scrambled, and were very creamy (perhaps a little too much butter and milk for my liking), but you had the option to place an order for any other type of eggs. The juices were all fresh, and had everything from tomato juice to their special fresh juice of the day.
In my opinion, it caters for everyone and there is so much choice to kick-start your day...
The Spa at The Midland
A very impressive spa experience, from start to finish. I was booked in for a Swedish Massage at 1.30 pm, in which I spent the time from 11am - 1.30pm enjoying a red hot bubbling jacuzzi, a swim in the heated pool, various sauna and steam room experiences and of course - a relax in the infamous relaxation room.
The pool, jacuzzi and sauna areas are all in the dimly lit pool room, which is fairly quiet and has that serene experience. For me, I personally prefer the dimly lit experience, but I know others prefer a brighter, daylight lit area. Each to their own I guess, but this perfectly suited me.
The jacuzzi was probably one of the hottest I'v experienced, and it has a real strong bubbling feature, making it very effective on my back!
The treatment carried out by the professional therapist was one of the most enjoyable massages I've had in a long time. The Swedish Massage involves a fair bit of pressure, but utilises essential oils to condition the skin at the same time and also to uplift the senses.
I felt incredible after it. It was 55 minutes of pure bliss. The pressure was just right, and all my knots and aches were eased away gently, and I really noticed afterwards just how tight the muscles around my neck had become.
I'll rave about the relaxation room - because you simply cannot - and just how much I wanted to climb into the beds complete with duvets and sleep for a few hours. But instead, I swung lightly in the hanging pods and sipped on the herbal teas and fruit waters, just relaxing and chilling out in the dark room.
I ended my day with the loveliest of Afternoon Tea sessions. I have to say, any afternoon tea serving which brings 4 scones instead of 2 wins in my books. But they were warm, soft and delicious. Scones are always the focal point for me.
I can rate the chocolate jaffa cake mini desserts that came with this afternoon tea as just incredible. The whole food offering, from the sandwiches to the cakes, scones and tea couldn't be faulted.
Overall, a fantastic 24 hours at The Midland. I wasn't disappointing by anything I came across during my stay, except perhaps the noise of the trams early in the morning was a little irritating. Just take some ear plugs if you are staying in one of the side bedrooms...
Images from What Emma Did
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