Tried and Tested: 'The Lowry Hotel, Manchester'

The Lowry Hotel in Manchester is put through its paces

The rooms are spacious yet cosy.
The rooms are spacious yet cosy.
Ergonomic-style furniture in the bedrooms.
Ergonomic-style furniture in the bedrooms.

BACKGROUND: Hailed as “Manchester’s most fashionable hotel” by its owner/operator, UK-based The Rocco Forte Collection, the Lowry Hotel is situated on the banks of the River Irwell in the recently-developed Chapel Wharf area on the Salford-Manchester boundary. The company claims The Lowry is the first five-star hotel in Greater Manchester.

THE ARRIVAL: When traveling by car, it is a little tricky finding The Lowry as it is currently tucked away behind a construction site on one of Manchester’s city roads. However, once you have found the side street leading to the property, the glass structure stands impressively as a statement of modern architecture and parking is secure, right outside the hotel where you are greeted by a doorman. The lobby of the property is expansive and the décor is minimalistic.

ACCOMMODATION: The Lowry Hotel has 165 rooms including the Charles Forte Presidential Suite and six Superior Deluxe Suites. All rooms are spacious with walk-in wardrobes and the décor is contemporary with sleek modern/ergonomic-style furniture in neutral tones and dark woods and funky art pieces. Yet comfort is by no means compromised as big cushions and soft fabrics provide the counterbalance. The rooms cater to the needs of today’s business and leisure traveller with facilities including two phone lines, high-speed internet access, interactive satellite TV, and iPod docks.

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RECREATION: Facilities include a spa, gym, male and female relaxation rooms and saunas. There are also two ballrooms, eight meeting rooms and two pre-function rooms.

DINING: The Lowry Hotel’s F&B outlet is The River Bar and Restaurant, both of which have indoor and outdoor dining areas. The outdoor area overlooks the river and there is also a private dining room that can seat up to 20 people. Whether eating breakfast or dinner, the emphasis is on local food and seasonal ingredients, combined to create traditional British dishes with a modern twist. Service standards at dinner were very good, but the breakfast service was lack lustre — staff looked disinterested and ATN spotted one waiter sending text messages behind the service counter, which was not well camouflaged.

PRICES: Start from £385 (US $644) for a Deluxe King Bedroom per night. A Superior Deluxe King Bedroom is priced from £415 ($694), a Deluxe Suite from £950 ($1588) and The Charles Forte Presidential Suite from £2195 ($3669) for one bedroom and £2450 ($4095) for two bedrooms.

SELLING IT: This 165-room luxury property is suitable for top-end leisure and business clients. It is close to all the main shopping, cultural and commercial areas of Manchester and boasts meetings facilities and dining for groups.

BOOKING IT: The Lowry can be booked on all GDS or visit www.rfctraveltrade.com

EDITOR’S VERDICT

This property lives up to The Rocco Forte Collection’s core values in that it creates a sense of place.

This is achieved by displaying artwork by famous painter Lowry and other local artists while food is sourced locally. Manchester now has an established arts scene and is fast being recognised for its contemporary architecture and so The Lowry, with its curved glass structure, is a riverside landmark in this respect. Overall, this hotel is a good quality, functional and aesthetically-pleasing five-star establishment, but the service in the restaurant was not up to scratch.

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