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Golden Tulip Hotel (Manchester)
Member Name: gollygumdrops
Golden Tulip Hotel (Manchester)
Date: 07/05/01, updated on 24/05/01 (418 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to find, Great food, Comfy rooms
Disadvantages: View of Old Trafford, MUFC branding, Rhodes branding
I usually stay at the Jury’s Inn in Manchester, but I found myself booked into the ‘Quality Inn’, eeek! If you’ve ever stayed at one you’ll know that the brand name is just a cruel joke. I was therefore delighted to learn that they had been taken over by Golden Tulip and were to have a refit before my stay.
I was less delighted when I arrived, at 7:30 on a match day to find that the hotel had been re-branded as ‘The Manchester United Hotel’. Obviously as no MUFC fans seem to come from Manchester or the surrounding area they need an increasing number of rooms in which to store the ‘loyal fan base’. I was booked in way before the cup fixture that evening was booked so I felt more than a little disappointment as I edged around the mercs and beemers in the car park looking for a spot. I couldn’t find one so I parked across the main exit and handed my keys to reception to find me a spot.
The reception area is clean spacious and bright. It is also an affront to right thinking sports fans. There’s Manchester United shirts in glass cases, adverts for Red Devils merchandise and overpriced tat for sale. Even the apples in the bowl on reception were red. I checked in quickly and tried to avoid looking at the self congratulatory photos on all the walls. My efforts were in vain as I was given a key card with an advert for a tour of the ground on it.
Fortunately the rooms are not painted red and black with Beckham duvet covers. They are very relaxed, spacious studies in pastels. I only had to hide one flyer for the trophy room tour and a brochure rack for MUTV before I could settle down for the evening.
The room has all you need, a TV with a limited channel choice, a comfortable bathroom, a desk and coffee table as well as telephone and modem points. The coffee making facilities were good, but ‘Granny Wilds’ cookies were beastly. They saved themselves wi
th the nice offer of fresh milk if you want it rather than the little pots of vegetable fat product. Copies of the Guardian and the Manchester Evening News are available all over the hotel.
Room service has some reasonable if limited options, but the best thing about this hotel is the restaurant. That well known Mancunian (pah) Gary Rhodes opened his first venture outside London on the ground floor of the hotel, and ‘Rhodes & Co’ is well worth a visit.
Sadly on match nights this isn’t always possible as they do a pre match sitting, and then close the restaurant until 9pm when they run a post match supper. The menu on these occasions is seriously cut down with just three options for each course. Whilst these are all good, it’s more hassle than it’s worth.
On a regular evening you can expect a much better dining experience. The staff have been hired to look good in black, but there are a couple who can wait tables very effectively. If you find one, hang on to them if you want efficient service.
The restaurant itself is minimalist with a clean café bar look with a large window into the kitchen, allowing you to watch your meal being cooked. The atmosphere is only spoiled by the Gary Rhodes books, Gary Rhodes videos, Gary Rhodes gift packs, and other items to remind you that this is the Gary Rhodes restaurant in the Manchester United hotel. The evening clientele carry on the theme by wearing all their labels on the outside of their clothes. There are plenty of affluent looking men of limited intellect wasting good money on salad for nice but dim stick insects. Whilst these characteristics are allowable weaknesses in ‘Posh and Becks’ if these are your defining characteristics it really is rather sad.
Even more horrifying is the smoking policy. I have never been asked if I wanted a non-smoking table, and this is normally not too much of a problem, as fewer people inhale bu
rning leaves during their meals these days. Whilst I can understand that some people like a cigar(ette) before and after a meal, I’ve never liked the idea of a fag between courses. Rhodes & Co is the only restaurant other than McDonalds or an after hours Indian where I’ve seen people smoke during courses.
Enough of this nastiness, the food is very very good. The menu changes regularly, so don’t be disappointed if you are handed an A4 sheet neatly typed that day, at least you can hope for fresh food. Expect good British inspired food with a few modern touches and continental twists. The soups in particular make great starters as you can stand your spoon up in most of them, salads and fish options like sardines on crostini are delicious too.
Main courses are solid and reliable favourites like steak served with shallot sauce, Irish lamb stew or Ham hock. I preferred the fish options and would recommend a shellfish risotto, and a roat cod dish served with garlic beans. Some of the meat dishes are a little heavy on offal, which is fine if you like that kind of thing, but a couple of dining companions were horrified by a particularly vivid pate and a spaghetti bolognaise made with kidneys.
Each dish is tasty and filling, but not bloaty, which is good, because if there’s one thing that the irritating spikey haired blokey knows how to do it’s puddings. The lemon rice pudding is delightfully light and tangy. And there are some real rib stickers like hot chocolate and banana cake to send you to bed happy.
Overall I’d give the food five stars, as it is excellent and not obscenely expensive, expect to pay about £30 a head plus wine.
Breakfast is served in the restaurant and rather strangely if you are staying in the hotel you have to take a meal voucher, rather like a school dinner ticket, to get your food. It is a good English breakfast though, or you can choose to take continental bre
akfast in your room.
I would recommend the Manchester United Hotel as a good place to stay, and I’d certainly eat in the restaurant again, but I would never visit either on a match day as the service slips and the hotel becomes noisy.