The Britannia Hotel is situated in an excellent position for most city centre attractions. Half-way down Portland Street, the hotel is close to bars, pubs, theatres and shops, and is as close to “central” as you can probably get so in terms of location, this hotel would score top marks.
The main entrance opens out onto a busy street, and the building is not as imposing in real life as it looks in the pictures online. Indeed some guests who were not familiar with the area drove past without realising. The hotel is about five or ten minutes’ walk from Piccadilly station and about the same from Oxford Road station. The hotel does not have dedicated car parking, but a large and relatively economical NCP car park is located just behind the hotel. Princess Street is very close by, which houses a number of fine restaurants as well as Canal Street with all its bars and clubs. The newly opened Piccadilly Gardens are just a stone’s throw away, with the main shopping centre about ten to fifteen minutes away.
The first thing that strikes you, as you enter the building, is the very grand staircase and lobby. Apparently, the building is a former warehouse and as such comprises a large central staircase, with a number of floors of guestrooms arranged around it. The décor is relatively sumptuous. In the large lobby area, a number of leather sofas are arranged around tables and chairs, and the walls are decorated in rich colours. The staircase is covered in a deep pile, red carpet that would not be out of place in Buckingham Palace and there is plenty of gold painted woodwork and elaborate paintings. Hanging from the ceiling is an enormous gold chandelier that draws all the attention from the rest of the room. It’s certainly an entrance quite unlike any other you’ve probably seen. Each of the floors is decorated according to a different taste (for example, there is an Indian floor and a Chinese floor) and the effect is quite dazzling. .
The hotel has a total of 363 bedrooms, all of which are en-suite. There are six different room types, namely Budget Double; Standard Double; Family Suite; Four Poster Suite; Standard Single; and Twin. Sadly, the budget rooms leave rather a lot to be desired. The greatest disadvantage that the budget rooms suffer from lies within the basic design and construct of the building. The central staircase occupies an enormous area, and the rooms are arranged in corridors around this central staircase. The drawback of this is that only some of the rooms have windows. Rooms to the sides and to the rear are often completely enclosed by walls. This means that the budget rooms are very unpleasant indeed. The first thing that strikes you is the heat. There is only very feeble air conditioning and. worse still, there are no windows.
The general standard of the furniture and fittings is poor; worn wood, threadbare upholstery and cheap appliances are the order of the day. The dark and gloomy furniture exacerbates the lack of natural light and the rooms are sombre and depressing. The televisions are cheap and tiny. The bathrooms are small and fitted only to a basic standard. The baths are too small to lie in but fortunately the showers are relatively efficient.
There is a choice of places to eat. Cromptons is a French restaurant, with a relatively intimate ambience and a select menu of dishes. Cromptons Bar is a late-opening cocktail bar, with comfy seats and sofas in which to sink after a hearty dinner. The main restaurant – Jenny’s – is more popular than Crompton’s and offers more traditional foods as it has much more of a family appeal. This is where breakfast is served, which is very tasty and contains a good choice of items.
The best place to make a booking is online, using the Hot Deals link on the Britannia web site. The web site offers some excellent discounts, particularly at weekends. Rates are subject to dates and availability.
The Britannia Hotel
Tel: 0161 228 2288
Fax: 0161 236 9154
Online: http://www.britannia-hotels.co.uk/hotels/mancheste r_2.htm
Generally, this hotel is certainly worth considering. Avoid the budget rooms completely – £5 a night would be too much – and make sure you book online to get the best deals. The hotel is quite popular so book with plenty of advance notice – especially when Manchester United are playing.