Great John Street, Manchester, England
A Victorian townhouse hotel that's bursting with character
Eclectic Hotels’ Great John Street townhouse hotel is a beautiful former Victorian schoolhouse constructed with traditional red brick that’s brimming with original features from a bygone era.
Positioned perfectly in the heart of Manchester, Great John Street is conveniently located near the canal waterways and bars of Castlefield, a trendy area in Manchester’s city centre. Fans of Coronation Street will be pleased to learn that the hotel sits opposite the original Granada Studios, where Coronation Street was filmed for more than 30 years until 2013.
The hotel has recently been refurbished with exceptional high-quality furnishings and unique touches throughout, which add to its character. Its sophisticated yet relaxed charm is evident throughout the hotel, while the aubergine and olive-green colour palette add a contemporary luxe feel to the décor.
Great John Street is well designed to cater to a variety of guests thanks to a wealth of room options and facilities for guests to enjoy including the Oyster Bar and The Library and Penthouse Terrace, which can be hired for private events. So, whether its locals looking to treat someone special to an afternoon tea, business executives seeking a stylish hotel or couples looking for a romantic weekend escape, Great John Street doesn’t disappoint.
The Oyster Bar
The gorgeous Oyster Bar with its dramatic chandelier, which serves as a key focal point of the room, and the ornate wrought iron railings that frame the mezzanine area above the bar, help to create a sumptuous environment where guests can unwind in style with a sophisticated cocktail or two.
The Rooftop Lounge
For me, the standout feature of Great John Street is its rooftop terrace lounge and function suite. Originally the school’s playground – complete with separate boys and girls’ staircases at either end of the building - the space has been perfectly designed to accommodate weddings and private functions as well as serving as the perfect place for residents who fancy a tipple to drink in the views of Manchester’s skyline.
Gorgeous and unique rooms
Each room within the hotel is individually designed, providing its own unique personality. Original features such as exposed steel girders remind guests of the historic nature of where they are staying and the exquisite attention to detail makes guests feel right at home.
Upon entering the room guests are welcomed by serene classical music, a unique touch that sets the tone for a lovely stay.
Enjoy a spacious suite spread over two floors
I stayed in one of the spacious duplex suites, which is spread over two floors, making it more akin to an apartment than your typical boutique hotel accommodation.
Downstairs, the room was equipped with a deluxe king size bed with a brass studded leather headboard, mirrored bedside tables, an illuminated wardrobe and desk, a bookcase filled with complimentary hardcover classic books and a TV and CD/digital radio docking station. Additional facilities include an iron and ironing board, bedroom slippers and a matching bathrobe to help guests feel at home.
Upstairs, there was a cosy lounge area complete with a corner sofa, a complimentary butler tray with delicious biscuits and chocolate, and a fridge and hot drink-making facilities.
The piece de résistance was the magnificent Victoriana tiled bathroom with its freestanding heritage enamel bath and huge monsoon-shower wet room.
Enjoy dinner in your bathrobe – should you so choose
As I wanted to take full advantage of spending as much time as possible in my fabulous room, I ordered the fish and chips from room service, which was exactly as you want it - white flaky fish with light and crispy batter, accompanied with lovely tartar sauce and mushy peas. Heavenly.
The lady at the end of the phone from whom I ordered my dinner was funny too, which made the experience even more memorable. Splendid banter as an aperitif to my main course!
Rooms from £120 (rates dependent on season).
Great John Street
Eleven Didsbury Park
King Street Townhouse
Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush, London
The perfect hotel for a London staycation
There’s something incredibly indulgent about a staycation in your home city. We’ve reached the time of year when holiday allowance is running low and that cheeky getaway you so longed for is slipping ever further from your grasp. While a real break might not be feasible, one shouldn’t underestimate the restorative powers of a night of rest and relaxation in one of London’s plethora of luxurious lodgings.
Shepherd’s Bush might not spring to mind as the first port of call for a night away from home, yet stepping through the doors of the Dorsett, you may be pleasantly surprised. Tucked next to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (I must have walked past it a hundred times and yet never noticed its presence), the subtle addition as it is to the Green, it’s the perfect spot for those wanting to escape the town centre, while keeping a lower profile than in the West End.
Despite its seemingly inconspicuous profile, the hotel features 317 Chinese-inspired bedrooms and suites along with two sumptuous restaurants and a distinctive bar, plus a spa - just the ticket for a night away from home. Upon arrival it’s impossible to not be wowed by the impressive central atrium with its smooth wooden curves and luxuriously inviting velvet sofas; if one were to take afternoon tea this would be the location. Nevertheless, with an evening of much anticipated alone time stretched ahead of me, I headed straight upstairs to my suite.
The Dorsett is undoubtedly designed for the technological traveller in mind; with complimentary internet access, a ‘Handy’ phone in each room (acting as a tour guide and local directory), a work desk and docking station, all useful additions to make your stay easier.
While Shikumen serves a menu of elegant and creative Asian cuisine, including authentic Beijing Peking Duck, a range of Dim Sum and fresh Scottish seafood, Pictures is a contemporary brasserie style restaurant offering a European menu.
I began with delicious beetroot-cured Lock Duart salmon, accompanied with dill cream cheese, a hearty rye bread and a delicate dose of tarragon oil. A plate of braised Irish ox cheeks followed, so tender they disintegrated on first bite, served with a creamy earl grey-smoked mashed potato, oxtail croquette and winter vegetables. My choice of dish proved quite the remedy for the grey autumnal drizzle, further justifying my reasoning to batten down the hatches and have a cosy night in…
Supper complete, I retired to my room for a bubble bath with a view overlooking the rooftops of Shepherd’s Bush thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. After donning the prerequisite bathrobe and making a pillow fort on the king size bed, a night of Netflix chick flicks sent me off into a peaceful slumber, only to be roused by my pre-ordered breakfast tray arriving the following morning.
Half the fun of a hotel stay is ordering breakfast in bed and the Dorsett didn’t disappoint. Fresh fruit salad, a pot of hot coffee, toast and jam and a hot plate of scrambled eggs, tomatoes, potatoes and sausage (the breakfast of champions), was enjoyed even more while luxuriating in bed wrapped in a bathrobe.
Along with its beautiful interiors and tasty cuisine, the other star attraction is SpaMika, which offers both guests and London locals four treatment suites and a variety of holistic treatments, as well as a sauna, aroma steam room and an infra-red cabin. Note to self: there is no better start to a Monday morning than all the above.
The spa has selected its product partners with the utmost care, choosing brands that reflect the holistic nature of their offering including vegan brands and those which use only botanically sourced ingredients.
In keeping with Dorsett’s underlying ethos of blending the best of the East with the West, Spa Mika’s therapies have been inspired by the orient and western philosophies. Treatments range from Hot Bamboo and Jade Stone massages to a Strawberries and Cream natural body polish and Fig & Vanilla body mask with the signature treatment a popular Shambala's Pan Asian Face & Body Ritual.
I tried an express 25-minute facial and a 25-minute back, neck and shoulder massage, both perfect tasters of their longer treatments and yet just enough to set me up for a restful week ahead. Should it be of interest, there’s also a range of private couples’ treatments available in the double infra-red cabin Spa Mika therapy Suite, and you can also hire the spa privately for exclusive use.
It was tempting to spend all day alternating between the sauna and steam room and yet I somehow managed to tear myself away and drift back to real life. With the seasons changing and the days getting shorter, if a real break is out of reach then Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush is a great option for your next London staycation.
Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush
58 Shepherds Bush Green
A luxurious Victorian town house in a gorgeous leafy suburb
Eclectic Hotels’ delightful Victorian townhouse, Eleven Didsbury Park, is an elegant and intimate property featuring 20 individually designed rooms and suites. Thanks to the care and consideration that has gone into every detail of the hotel and the attentive staff who make you feel truly special, it’s easy to see what sets it apart from larger, local hotel groups.
Throughout the property, the décor is an exercise in tasteful refinement. The calming, neutral colour palette helps guests to instantly relax. Those who love period features will adore the high ceilings, the grand staircase and the restful lounge, which beckons guests to linger.
The Roof Terrace Room
This standout room is incredibly bright and spacious. Features include a super king size bed, a free-standing iron bath, a monsoon shower room with complimentary Temple Spa products, a corner sofa, a large bureau, a widescreen TV with Sky, digital radio and CD stereo with iPhone dock, a mini bar and a complementary butler tray. Where the magic really happens, however, is the stunning private terrace, which guests access through the French doors.
Overlooking the lovely south-facing garden, a private walkway takes guests to a luxury canopied terrace with a balcony - perfect for couples and honeymooners – that includes another freestanding iron bath and a table and chairs. It has the look of a well-restored dove shed, complete with chicken wire and shabby-chic pictures and furnishings.
This high-quality accommodation presents no end of surprises that make you smile continuously, ensuring that it stands head and shoulders above other hotels. Bravo!
Our experience overall
The property: ★★★★★
Food and drink: ★★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
Prices from £105, depending on time of year and availability.
Eleven Didsbury Park
Here you'll find our favourite accommodations from luxury hotels, to quaint B&Bs to fabulous cruise liners.
From cosy B&Bs to luxurious 5-Star accommodations, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing accommodations.