Honest Mum and sons at Staybridge Suites

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.

Staybridge Suites, Manchester

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!

Honest Mum and kids

child walks through the corridor at The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester

Staybridge Suites, Manchester The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester Staybridge Suites, Manchester Staybridge Suites, Manchester

view from the gym state of the art gym hotel gym

brothers take in the view The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester brothers portrait breakfast chilling laundry room The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester

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 Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester

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.


Crown Plaza

(a Crown Plaza room above we visited on a tour)

conference room hotel pretty interiors modern hotel

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.

Dr Juliet McGrattan and Vicki of Honest Mum The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester

The Laureate

mocktails mocktail

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.


bread and dips, The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester tapas, The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester whitebait edamame beans prawn skewers prawns calamari tomato soup

pizza at The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester bolognese sashimi bowl salad rainbow bagel cheeseburger vegetarian bolognese Caesar salad

sticky toffee pudding cheese boardCheers.

Vicki of Honest Mum and Dr Juliet McGrattan

FYI, you can also order room service if you don’t want to EVER roll OUT of your bed in the first place.

suite at The Laureate, Crown Plaza, Manchester

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.


Staybridge Suite Manchester  exotic fruit bowl

exotic fruit bowlEpic.

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.

stuffed tomatoes Sweetcorn fritters Greek beans spinach pie tabbouleh salad Greek custard tart

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.


Precious times.

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!

Good luck.



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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Promoted on Prize finderLoquaxSuper Lucky UK Wins and Competition Database.


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134 Responses

  1. tiff jordan

    Manchester has always been a favourite city of mine . I would love the opportunity to stay right in the centre!

  2. kellyjo walters

    I’d love a break away with my husband and Manchester looks awesome

  3. Simone Kilshaw

    I have never spent the night in Manchester. This would be wonderful for me and my family. It looks amazing from your blog.

  4. Nick B

    Manchester is a great city we haven’t yet visited as a family so would love the opportunity to explore the city and its attractions – and the Staybridge Suites look a fantastic base from which to do it!

  5. tina Glover

    Ah we love visiting Manchester. The city is fab and there is so much to do from shopping at the Arndale to eating out or visiting the various pop up markets but the train service home is always disrupted so we end up driving. Would love to stay over night with my hubby and daughter for my birthday on 10th December. We usually don’t do much as its 2 weeks before Christmas and our budget usually goes on Christmas and gifts for everyone x

  6. Jenny Barker

    never been to Manchester and would love a little get away with the kids :0)

  7. Jade Bremner

    Would love to be able to take the kids on a day trip where we didn’t have to leave so soon to get back home. If we won this we could spend a day exploring and having fun then have a good sleep before coming back home

  8. linda curtis

    its our 38th anniversary coming up and this is some where we have never been
    so it would be a very special treat , it would be lovely to celebrate somewhere new

  9. caroline howard

    I’d love a good couple of days in Manchester to enjoy some shopping and soak up the Northern atmosphere.

  10. Zoey H

    Love visiting Manchester always lots to see and do, be great to have a family day away

  11. Susan Hoggett

    My daughter has just been married and I’d love to give her this as a present so that they can go for a nice break to unwind together after all the wedding highs!

  12. Julie

    I’d love to win as we badly need a break away. Looks like you all had a fab time here!

  13. kaye willan

    Manchester is a Terrific City full of great Vibes! Id love to treat my Bestie, Jayne to a stay for her 50th Birthday

  14. Zoe Trelfa-Porter

    This would be a lovely adventure for my family and there’s lots to see and do around Manchester that we’d love to experience

  15. Emily Smith

    I’d love to win this and have a great weekend in Manchester with my best friend.

  16. Tina Cleveland

    We need some family time, there is a 7 year gap between my son and daughter, with my son being 18 so time as a family is getting less and less. My husband has Cold Agglutinin so winter is cruel for him so to get away would be great

  17. Claire Nutman

    A city that i have yet to meet and make friends with………. Difficult year, a girly break in Manchester could not be more perfect, the vibrance and excitement of city life, with quality time to connect with support and love, just perfect, here,s hoping……….good luck everyone.

  18. Katie

    I usually visit Manchester with friends or partner. Would love to take the kids and explore as a family for a change.

  19. Ursula Hunt

    My husbands family live near Manchester, this would be a great way to see the city and catch up with them too

  20. Karen Barrett

    Perfect for when my sister visits from Australia, I’d love to show her my stomping ground

  21. Melissa Lee

    It’s been such a long time since I’ve been to this amazing city! I would love the chance to go back. Thank you for the opportunity.

  22. Leila Benhamida

    I haven’t been to Manchester since the 90’s will be a great opportunity to visit with my family.

  23. Helen Stratton

    We have visited Manchester for a day and were blown away with how fab it is. A stay would be amazing as we could fit a lot more in.

    • Rebecca Roberts

      I would lobe to win to treat my partner and my daughter to some fun family time away

  24. Christine Dodd

    I often have a weekend in Manchester for shopping and theatre – this looks a great place to stay.

  25. Ema J Lowe

    it would be lovely to have a break with the children, its been a while since we’ve been able to get away.

  26. melanie stirling

    I have never been to Manchester and this place looks lovely and the food looks delicious.


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