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Ibis (Manchester, Charles St)
Member Name: grahamt
Ibis (Manchester, Charles St)
Date: 04/12/04, updated on 10/01/05 (269 review reads)
Advantages: Unbelievable value, Clean, Comfortable
Disadvantages: Unattractive area, No private parking
Itís all the more ga[u]lling (sorry about that) that we have the French to thank for showing us how it should be done. If there is one nation on Earth that knows how to do hotels (other than the Yanks), itís the French. Anywhere you go in France you find chains of hotels that offer great value for money.
Many of these are over here as well. I have often stayed at Campanile ďmotelsĒ both in France and in Britain. Basic but clean and warm and always with a great little restaurant. In France we have relied on the various associations of independent hotels such as Relais du Silence and Logis de France and never been disappointed.
The occasion was a visit to Manchester for a family get-together. Thatís where my son lives these days and Mum and Dad-in-Law live in Southport so Manchester was an obvious choice for location. As we were planning an evening out at a local restaurant, Manchester would also provide a wealth of choice.
But where to stay?
I have my own little favourite just south of Altrincham that I always use when visiting our Manchester office but that is a little too far out of town. We have also stayed at the Victoria & Albert, very close to the Granada Studios (and reviewed here by me) when it was a Le Meridien chain hotel. However, it has now been sold to Marriott and they donít seem to offer any good deals.
If you have read my review of the Ibis in Chesterfield you will know that it was a very good experience so, to see if this was a standard maintained throughout the group, I looked for one in Manchester.
The Ibis chain of hotels is one of the brands of Accor Hotels. Accor is a French hotel chain. They have a whole range of hotels of different standards, from the VERY basic Formule 1 right up to the top-of-the-range Sofitel. In Britain, Novotel is probably one of their better-known brands.
In Manchester they have two Novotels and two Ibises (?!). I checked the one on Portland Street first but they couldnít accommodate us on the dates we wanted. I tried the the one on the corner of Charles and Princess Streets and they had rooms available, at £49.95 per night, thatís per room, not per person!!!!! That works out at £25 each. Outstanding!!!!!
It does have to be said that this is not the side of Manchester that shows its best face. Here you are squeezed between the Mancunian Way and the Metrolink line. It is very close to UMIST and so is a favourite of students. Itís also not easy to reach by car as this area is haunted by one-way streets. You have to follow the instructions on the Ibis website to the letter.
Here you are about ten to fifteen minutes walk from the centre of Manchester and all of the delights it has to offer. You may raise an eye at the suggestion of a walk, given what I have suggested as being the character of the area. However, we did walk, back from our meal out at the Tai Wu Chinese restaurant and never at any time felt ďuncomfortableĒ.
One other thing, whilst we are talking about travel, the Ibis here has no car parking facilities. There is, however, a multi-story NCL car park just across the road. Of course, you take a risk when you park on an open public car park over night but we had no problems. There is a lay-by outside the entrance to the hotel so that you can set down and pick up but it is not for long-term parking.
The entrance is on the corner of the building and shares the space with the hotelís bar and restaurant. There are lifts to all floors. The hotel has 126 rooms and so would not be considered small. The hotel clearly doesnít expect guests to eat in much as there is no way that the restaurant could accommodate the 200 or so guests that it could accommodate, not even spread over a whole evening. We were eating out anyway although we did have breakfast (included in the price) in the morning.
The hotel is clearly fairly new. The dťcor is fresh and clean as is the whole hotel. Everywhere you got the impression that the management are proud of their hotel and rightly so.
Our room overlooked the rear of the hotel. The relatively small window didnít really give any memorable views but then again, we werenít here to stay in our room. Al of the furniture was in very good condition and the bed was comfortable. There was adequate hanging space for clothes in the corner of the room by the window, next to a dressing table.
The en-suite bathroom was an eye-opener. It had the appearance of being a pre-constructed unit, which had simply been slotted into place by the door. You stepped up to enter it and everything inside appeared to be part of one single moulding. The shower was huge. You enter by double glass doors, it is so big. You could have held a party in there. There was certainly enough room for a twosome.
Breakfast is a buffet affair. The choice is Continental in influence although the traditional English cereals are available as well. Included in the price, what was on offer was more than adequate.
So, if you are visiting Manchester on a budget, I couldnít recommend anywhere better to stay than this Ibis hotel, other than maybe the other Ibis, but then, I havenít stayed there so I canít judge. However, having now stayed at two and experienced the same high standard at both, I would expect it to be just as good.
Five stars from me, whatever the official rating is.
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