I had always thought of the Jarvis chain of hotels as something quite expensive and therefore had never really considered them as an option for city breaks. I usually manage to find something cheap but reasonable and prefer to spend money on eating out while away than on a posh hotel anyway. However, we decided at short notice to spend a couple of days in Manchester, a city I don’t often get to. To cut along story short, the combination of expense, short notice and the lack of vacant rooms across the city left us with the option of the Jarvis Piccadilly. The hotel’s website listed double rooms at 95 down from 129, but by booking through a discounted rooms website we got the room for 50.00 including breakfast.
The hotel is ideally situated for a short stay in Manchester; five minutes walk from Piccadilly Station, five minutes from Chorlton Street Bus Station, round the corner from Piccadilly Gardens which looked lovely with twinkling lights and an ice rink, and only a minute away from Manchester’s great shopping area.
You enter at street level and take the lift to the second floor reception. At this point everything looks rather swish and expensive but slowly small faults begin to reveal themselves. There were seven or eight people already queuing to check in and there were three members of staff working behind the counter. Service was painfully slow and it was twenty minutes before we got to the desk. We were given our room key and given instructions for breakfast. While the service was acceptable it was fairly basic; you didn’t get the impression that the staff were especially bothered or welcomed additional requests.
Our room was on the twelfth floor; the hotel may be in a busy area but at this height you aren’t bothered by the traffic noise – and you can’t get the window open more than a fraction anyway! The room was small and I would say that two people wouldn’t want to stay there for more than two or three nights. The clothes hanging area was small and there wasn’t really anywhere to stash luggage even if managed to unpack. The room was provided with the usual, kettle, trouser press and television (this one had no remote control – I suspect in a room of this size you’d never be so far from the television that you couldn’t reach it yourself!). The bed was a small double, very comfortable with crisp clean linen.
The bathroom was small but fine and was pristine. My only gripe was that the washbasin had a small lip around the edge that filled up with water if you turned the taps on too hard. Then, because the vanity unit extended so far from the wall, you couldn’t get close to the mirror to do your make up without soaking your clothes on the water in this lip.
I had rather feared that this might be a “party hotel” with young people in Manchester for the night running up and down the corridors in the early hours, making a nuisance of themselves. However, on this occasion I provided that service myself (with the aid of an unfeasible number of Budwars).
Breakfast is served in the “Arts” restaurant on the third floor. We had to queue for fifteen minutes before a table became free. When we did get a table no one came to ask if we wanted tea or coffee and no one brought us toast. We had to chase staff around the tables to get some attention and then wait another ten minutes for coffee to arrive. The food is not exciting but it was hot and there was a fair choice. There were several breakfast cereals, fruit pastries and a selection of items for a cooked breakfast – my partner was impressed by the selection of meat free items in the cooked breakfast.
When we arrived people were sitting at the next table; when they left their plates were not cleared away and people at other tables started piling their dirty plates on that table too – presumably to make room at their own table. This was awful – I felt as if we were sitting next to the kitchen door. When I managed to speak to a waiter he made lots of excuses but didn’t actually clear the table.
Since we had paid in advance we had only to leave our key card in the box in reception. However, we wanted to leave our bags at the hotel for a couple of hours but the queue was so long we would have lost about twenty minutes and so hauled our bags around the shops instead. The queues at reception had also been a problem the previous evening when we wanted some directions to a restaurant; people were still checking in at 7.00pm and we didn’t have time to join the queue so we ended up taking a taxi for what turned out to be a short journey manageable on foot had we known where we were going. There was a street map on the wall in reception but the dim lighting made it impossible to read.
The Jarvis Piccadilly is not a bad hotel; the rooms are clean and comfortable and the hotel is well located. Personally, I don’t require much from a hotel and the Jarvis Piccadilly ticks all my boxes. However, if it’s luxury you’re after you won’t find it here. The hotel’s rack price seems more than a little over the top and the 50.00 we paid is closer to the real value of the room. For people who are mean (like me), sticking to a budget or don’t have high demands, this hotel is pretty near perfect.
My overall rating of four stars of five is based on my own experience of getting a discounted room and assuming you have no need for wheelchair access. Otherwise I might have opted for two or three stars.
Portland Street, Manchester, M1
The hotel says “Specially adapted rooms for the physically challenged are also available”; however, the rooms start on the sixth floor so unless you use the lift and can get yourself out of the hotel without the use of the lift in the event of a fire, I’m not sure how the hotel really offers much of a service to wheelchair users.
The hotel did have a leisure club but this is closed “for the foreseeable future”
The Arts bar and the Arts restaurant are open in the evenings; I cannot comment on these, but the restaurant appears to serve modern Mediterranean style cuisine according to the menu.
The hotel has its own secure parking facilities.