“ Address: The Place Hotel / Ducie Street / Manchester / Lancashire / M1 2TP / United Kingdom / Tel: 0161 778 7500 „
The senior prefects in my school booked the Place Apartment Hotel on Ducie Street, Ancoats, Manchester for our Leavers' Dinner this year. It was probably chosen so that groups of students could save money on rooms there by booking a family apartment and staying together. Being able to sleep at the venue makes teenagers' parties a lot more convenient and safer, to a large degree. The hotel is a "luxury" and four star establishment with a range of functions and quite a convenient location.
The seven-storey building itself used to be a warehouse when Manchester was key for British cotton trade. It was built in 1867 which, if you want a bit of perspective, was the first year that members of the skilled working class were enfranchised! There you go, little fact for you. Now, it's a Grade II listed building, which means the hotel is limited in what it can change about the building's structure and decor. Therefore what you're left with is what the website describes as a "distinct architectural mix: old and new". They're right, in that the modern features blend very well with the original Victorian railings and imposing iron beams. It's surprisingly pleasing, and does make the Place Hotel unique for a luxury hotel.
The rooms/apartments themselves are situated in an incredibly spacious ringed tower, which you can see right down the middle of, scarily. I only experienced the family suites in my stay, but there are other options including:
1) One Bedroom Apartments
2) Two Bedroom Apartments
3) Deluxe Apartments
4) Family Apartments
5) Penthouse Apartments
The family apartment sleeps six people on three double beds in two rooms. This isn't necessarily ideal even for three couples, but the apartment is very comfortable and fully equipped. There is an ensuite shower and toilet off the master bedroom and another bathroom for the other four guests. Both contain free (albeit extremely poor) shampoo, conditioner, showergel and mouthwash! The facilities are brilliant, but on a hot day the fans aren't really adequate. The kitchen and lounge room is comfortable and contains a dining table as well as a dishwasher, TV, DVD player and music player. There is a laundry room containing a washer/dryer and ironing set as well. As well as the modernity and cleanliness about the apartment, it was well lit due to a large window out of the lounge/diner and a ceiling of skylights. However, on a hot day, this feature can and did make the room unbearably hot, rather like a greenhouse. There is a fan in the lounge, but it wasn't really adequate for temperatures that extreme, and the windows (due to safety regulations) are very difficult to keep open. But, since that was an unusual heatwave for Manchester, you probably won't have the same experience. The view over this area of Manchester is a bit grim, but I'm told the views from the Penthouse apartments are spectacular.
The Place Hotel can also be used for banqueting or conferences since it contains three well equipped meeting rooms and a banqueting suite. We used the banqueting suite for our dinner, and were very impressed by the dance floor, bar, and dining area. It was brilliantly convenient for what we wanted, and I must say that the food was excellent. I was absolutely staggered by all three courses, especially considering how many people they were catering for. I should imagine this is a large part of what makes the hotel a 4 star establishment. Because of the heat, we often needed a bit of fresh air, but that was readily available because of the extra seating outside.
In terms of the location, the hotel is very convenient if the nearby cocktail bars and nightlife catch your eye, however it gets quite noisy at night, and is more useful for being 100m from Piccadilly station. I personally am a big fan of Ancoats, especially in terms of its historic memories, however it's not the most exciting area of Manchester by any means, and may be considered to be a little out of it. However, the renovation scheme going on here is very progressive, and I look forward to it becoming a great cultural centre in coming years.
We were obliged to call room service in order to get the correct remote control to work the TV with a nintendo wii attached (I know, we're teenagers). The man who came was very helpful and gave us a remote control that worked immediately. The waiters in the banqueting suite were brilliantly efficient, and extremely patient with the members of our party who were not at their best. They all deserved a medal for their endurance and politeness, and so did the cooks. The bar staff and bouncer were equally helpful, and the DJ hired was extremely friendly and professional. We couldn't have asked for better.
However, one of the staff on reception scared us a bit when we asked for another key for our room. I was off to bed early, and we'd only been issued one key out of the three we were entitled to. When the bloke on reception checked our room and said all three keys had been issued, our response was "that's a bit worrying, since we only have one." He didn't do much to alleviate our concerns, and if I hadn't had my stern friend with me, I may not have been given another key at all, since the system said all were gone. However, all's well that ends well, she says doubtfully.
It's difficult for me to say my overall experience was anything but a very hot one, but I enjoyed the hotel's layout and innovative design particularly, and found the room well furnished and comfortable. The meal and service were especially outstanding, and for this alone, the hotel deserves its luxury status. Do visit the website for more detail and for price packages and special offers information, but try and ignore some of the more exaggerating descriptions of the hotel's timeless decor.