Eight of the Best Hotels for Chic City Breaks
Looking for a luxurious place to land in the midst of the metropolis?
The Stock Exchange, Manchester
In 2019, two of Manchester United’s finest, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, joined forces with experienced hotelier Winston Zahra to turn the former home of the Manchester Stock Exchange, with its original Edwardian baroque architecture, huge marble pillars, and striking checkerboard floors, into a five-star ode to luxury.
Insider guide: The suites themselves take a more muted approach, providing a haven away from the buzz of the city. Their breakfast menu reads like a greatest hits, from fruit salad to a full English via American-style pancakes and (of course) avocado toast. Sadly, following Tom Kerridge’s departure they no longer have a restaurant for evening meals but their underground cocktail bar Sterling has an astonishing selection of spirits (and some bar food classics to soak them up with) if you aren’t in the mood to venture further afield.
4 Norfolk Street, Manchester M2 1DW
0161 470 3901
1 Hotel Mayfair, London
London is many things, but an obvious spot for nature lovers it is not. That is, unless you have come to stay in 1 Hotel Mayfair. Here 1,300 individual plants have been employed to create a space that feels more Nordic wellness retreat than big smoke.
Insider guide: More important is the sustainable ethic that underlies it all. Sleep easy knowing that absolutely everything that can be is organic, sustainably sourced, or otherwise environmentally optimised without compromising on luxury (although they might nudge you to keep showers under five minutes). They even offer fully electric house cars for those brave enough to navigate London by road. Much excitement has also been caused by their restaurant, Dovetale, which is the creation of two-Michelin star chef Tom Sellers. However, the best news is that they are completely dog friendly (although some discretion might be advised to ensure your canine companion can distinguish between neighbouring Green Park and the verdant interiors of your accommodation).
3 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DJ
020 3988 0055
No.1 by Guesthouse, York
This boutique city hotel reimagined from two Regency townhouses is just a 10-minute walk from York Minster.
Insider guide: From a Crosley record player in every room to the hotel’s pantry on the first floor where you can help yourself to bedtime treats, small details like these make a stay at this York hotel extra special. Travelling by train? The hotel will meet you and swap your luggage for a city map so you can take in some of the city’s historic sights before you check in. Once at the hotel, its 38 bedrooms, including three stand-out suites, are dotted around the building’s three floors. Each one has its quirks courtesy of the building’s heritage and in all of them you’ll find locally-sourced antiques, art and curios, whilst in the cellar the subterranean spa is centred on bespoke therapies.
1 Clifton, York YO30 6AA
Hotel du Vin, Newcastle
This beautifully restored Edwardian building beside the Tyne is just a short stroll from Newcastle’s bustling city centre, and the artisan area of Ouseburn.
Insider guide: The characterful interiors are home to 42 bedrooms and suites, each individually designed and the perfect retreat once you’re done exploring local city life. Enjoy French cuisine with a British twist in the hotel’s Bistro du Vin, retreat to Laroche, a private wine sanctuary where guests can sample some of the world’s finest wines, or simply relax in the bar or snug where you can enjoy a post-explore tipple before dinner, or a night cap before bed.
City Road, Newcastle NE1 2BE
0191 389 8628
Virgin Hotel, Edinburgh
At the top of iconic Victoria Street above the Grassmarket and near Greyfriars Bobby, Virgin Hotel brings a bit of bling to its enviable old town location.
Insider guide: Bedrooms are called chambers here, with adjustable spaces for work, play and sleep, and the suites are enormous. Quirky details make this hotel stand out and although there are punches of colour the decor remains rather zen-like. Linger over brunch or lunch in Eve or dine on classic Scottish fayre served with flair in the Commons Club, where you can take a front-row seat at Chef de Cuisine Emma Hanley’s Chef’s Table as she takes you through her curated seven-course menu. If having the entire city on your doorstep isn’t quite enough, the hotel provides various entertainment throughout the week including live music and DJ sets.
Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2EX
0131 526 4810
The Native, Manchester
It’s hard to pin down exactly what it is that the Native offers, probably because its proposition is so unique, but ‘trendy’ would undoubtedly come into it.
Insider guide: The serviced apartments have been created in a converted warehouse, replete with all the exposed brick walls, parquet floors and contemporary decor you could dream of (so far so trendy). However, what makes The Native really unique is the emphasis on community, regardless of the transience of its inhabitants: they offer you the chance to ‘live like a local’ however brief your stay. With this in mind, The Native hosts a plethora of workshops, events, talks and DJ nights. They even have a cinema and an independent gym, BLOK, where you can book classes in the same building. There is also a lounge bar and restaurant with internationally-inspired menus on offer throughout the day. Needless to say, The Native is right next to Manchester’s (trendy) Northern Quarter so in the unlikely event that you run out of activities in your accommodation, there’s no shortage of galleries, vintage shops and buzzy restaurants to explore on your doorstop.
Warehouse, Ducie Street, Manchester M12TP
0161 503 9553
The Bells, Leeds
A private hot tub might not be an essential, but it doesn’t hurt. Strictly speaking, ‘The Bells’ in Leeds isn’t a hotel but a collection of six serviced apartments with their own distinctive decor, layout and amenities (including three hot tubs and a Jacuzzi bath).
Insider guide: The irreverent artwork, quirky antiques, warm lighting and leather furnishings here come together to create apartments that have the air of stylish, neo-Victorian bachelor pads. ‘The Bells’ refers to those of Leeds Minster next door, and each apartment has consequently been named for famous bells around the world. From here you are ideally placed both for a walk into the city centre, or a more calming stroll to soak up the ambience along the riverside.
6 Church Row, Leeds LS2 7HD
0113 344 9525
Raffles at The OWO, London
It’s not often that the opening of a new hotel can be described as being of national historic significance, but the opening of Raffles at the OWO (an acronym for the Old War Office) is just that.
Insider guide: As a brand Raffles is the embodiment of old-world glamour but, despite its original venue being named after British colonial statesman Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, this is the first time they have come to the UK. The Old War Office is a building whose past places it at the heart of the British establishment. It housed the ministry of defence through both world wars, and has featured in no fewer than five James Bond films (Ian Fleming once worked there as a naval intelligence officer). The hotel is out-of-this-world luxurious, has nine restaurants, three bars (one of which offers panoramic views of Buckingham Palace), a ballroom and a spa that spans four floors – three of which are underground. Oh, and a 65-foot pool.
Whitehall, London SW1A 2BX
020 3907 7500