Manchester has a special place in my heart as so much of my Big Fat Greek family live there and I love the Mancunians madly: friendly, charismatic, football-mad, entrepreneurial, creative and big-hearted, you’ll struggle to find a more brilliant population.
Manchester is a diverse melting pot of social cohesion, home to a top university and some of the best bars and restaurants you’ll find in the UK (shout out to my Auntie Lou and her award-winning Kosmos Taverna you must visit)!
The city makes up for all the rain it gets (don’t forget your brolly) with outstanding food, theatre, art, music and the best shopping from vintage to designer fare so if you haven’t been, get booking pronto.
My ab fab pal, PR, Esther Bell kindly invited my family and I to spend a long weekend in the city at the stunning Staybridge Suites near the city centre and we had an absolute ball.
With a luxe hotel interior, you’ll be amazed at how reasonable these penthouse suite apartments are with rooms fitting 4 for under £100! reasonably priced to stay in with suites fitting a family of 4 for under £100 plus ( I know)! And it doesn’t end there: breakfast with a view, a high tech gym, and laundry room to boot, makes this an absolute no-brainer if you’re spending time in Manchester.
Come take a tour!
Footballers, actors, families and even students book anything from one night to one year, making the Crowne Plaza/Lume Complex (which houses the suites) home.
The Staybridge Suites are located several floors above The Crown Plaza rooms making them a hotel within a hotel, with The Crown Plaza serving single occupants best. We had a tour of the entire site, and the conference room and private chill-out areas were fab but for families, the spacious suites which come with a lounge, two tvs, en suite and a kitchen so you cook easily in, make sense.
(a Crown Plaza room above we visited on a tour)
There’s no need to cook of course if you’d rather not! We plumped for a sumptuous dinner (with my close pal, Dr Juliet McGrattan and her kids who came to visit us) at industrial-chic restaurant on the ground floor, The Laureate. It’s pleasingly located next to the art deco Graduate Bar which also provides a tasty bar menu if you’d rather perch than sit (sans kids obvs, who want to take all the room).
The food is excellent in both.
Alexander and I gobbled the vegetarian options and the others ate the rest of the menu, pretty much, all in the name of an honest review aka greed ;)!
The run-down went something like this: tomato soup, calamari and white bait, prosciutto and pepperoni pizza, Edamame beans, prawn and chicken skewers, vegan sashimi, Caesar salad bowls, a cheese burger in a rainbow bagel that looked like it was created by unicorns, veggie bolognese, stick toffee pudding and a cheese board to end all cheeseboards, even Christmas cheeseboards (I told you we ate EVERYTHING).
We said our goodbyes to Juliet and fam and LITERALLY rolled out of the restaurant and up a squillion floors in seconds by lift, flopping into our HUGE bed for the night, falling asleep in minutes.
FYI, you can also order room service if you don’t want to EVER roll OUT of your bed in the first place.
If that wasn’t enough munching, we were kindly gifted an exotic fruit hamper and my favourite ever basket in the history of Red Riding Hood esque baskets: a chocolate basket (come to Mama), plus kitchen essentials of milk, bread, cookies and crisps, during our stay: perfect for growing kids who are hungry every 2 milliseconds.
There’s also a shop on site, where you can buy aforementioned snacks and more, which are priced the same as if you popped to the corner shop. There’s no additional fees or sneaky price hikes when it comes to anything at Staybridge Suites.
Now, a visit to Manchester wouldn’t have been complete without seeing my fabulous family so reuniting with everyone at my Uncle Mike’s house (including my Mum and Dad who drove from Leeds to be there), saw us catch up with our faves.
Everyone brought a dish or two with them and we happily continued the holiday theme that was ‘EATING EVERYTHING WE COULD FIND WHILE IN MANCHESTER’, this time dining on Greek cuisine.
You can see my Auntie Loulla’s recipes for delicious Stuffed Tomatoes, Sweetcorn Fritters on the blog by clicking those links, Spinach pie, and Mum shared her recipe for Tabbouleh a while back. There were also Greek beans amongst meat and fish dishes for the non-vegetarians, and my favourite Greek custard tart of all time (check out Auntie Loulla’s recipe) for good measure.
Highlights, aside from eating, were putting the world to rights and discovering a hidden, brilliant playground the boys adored in Cheadle close to where my Uncle and Aunt live.
If you’re visiting Manchester and aren’t sure where to go, or what to see, jump on a sightseeing bus to hit the landmarks: The Lowry, The Town Hall, John Rylands Library, the National Football Museum, the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Cathedral to name but a few.
You can take a walking tour too if you prefer and there’s a music based one too where you can legendary music studios, clubs and venues spanning the Free Trade Hall, The Palace Theatre, Factory Records HQ, the Ritz Ballroom, The Hacienda and more.
You can listen to stories of local bands the Hollies, Joy Division, New Order, Buzzcocks, The Smiths and Oasis.
The Northern Quarter is the boho district bursting with markets, rag traders, public art and curry cafes you need to see too.
There’s more inspo here from our collab a few years ago with TPE.
A huge thank you to Staybridge Suites for the complimentary stay, breakfast and dinner.
As always, this is an honest review.
Now excitingly, you could win a stay for yourself (up to 4 people) plus breakfast and use of the gym (adults only in the gym) by entering via Rafflecopter below!
The prize is one night stay in a one bedroom Staybridge Suite for up to four people which includes breakfast and access to the gym.
No transfers to or from the hotel are offered, there is no cash alternative.
Open worldwide but you must make your own arrangements/cover costs to be in the UK for dates of stay.
Subject to availability.
Competition ends Oct 3rd 2019.
Offer expires 30th June 2020.
Winner needs to reply within 7 days of the notification being sent.