Good morning Monday! These weeks are flying by! Just 2 little weeks until my birthday and I can’t wait. I just wish this weather would pick up! This time of year the sun is usually cracking the pavement! Never mind, British weather for you! Hoping the weather is nicer where you are than it is in the North East.
Last weekend, me and the other half headed to Manchester and believe it or not the weather wasn’t too bad. No rain, which was surprising since Manchester is known for its regular downpours!
We’ve officially decided that Manchester really is our favourite city in the UK! We love everything about it. The people, the sights, the food, the bars, the shops, the culture, the diversity, we just love it.
It’s way bigger than the North East. Sunderland, where we live, is an extremely small city. Everyone knows each other, we all go to the same bars, we all eat at the same restaurants and I just feel limited here. In contrast, Manchester is so free, open and, bright. I’ve been a few times now and thoroughly enjoyed every visit.
Myself, and the other half do love a breakaway, I’ve said this many times on here but he really has brought out the travel bug in me since we met! We love having something to look forward.
Last weekend was no different, we’d been counting down the days since we booked this trip at the end of last year. The main reasons for this visit were to see Macklemore and to celebrate Jorden’s birthday! Any excuse to get away.
We caught the train from Newcastle Centre Station on Friday morning and then we were on our way. It only takes around 2 and half hours to get there, so not to bad at all. Luckily I managed to catch the cheap 1st class train tickets while I was booking the trip so we had a quiet, pleasant journey!
We arrived at Manchester Piccadilly around 1ish. Thank the lord for Apple Maps on our phones, the app comes in so handy wherever we go! We checked how far away the hotel, Novotel Manchester Centre, was from Picadilly and it was only around a 7-minute walk. What better way to explore the city than on foot ey?!
The hotel is in the heart of the city, with easy access to Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations plus it’s only a 6 minute walk to Manchester Central Complex.
After our short walk, we arrived at the hotel. The foyer is very contemporary, plush and bright, great first impressions. There weren’t any long ques on arrival which is always a plus and we checked in stress-free within 5 minutes. The staff checking us in were very friendly, welcoming and attentive, advising us where’s best to go around the city pre-concert which was very helpful!
To our surprise, we were given an executive room! The executive rooms are described as combining ‘relaxation and focus’. They’re all kitted out with Nespresso Coffee Machine’s, Bose iPod dock’s, extra bathroom amenities, bathrobes, slippers, complimentary broadband and water. We felt like royalty!
Our room was stunning, spacious and modern. The decor is very bright and futuristic. As you walk in the room you’re presented with the lounge area where there is a sofa, chair with a table, a desk, a flat-screen television on the wall and a humongous wardrobe.
To the left of the room was the double bed, with en-suite shower, toilet, floating wash basin and another flat screen television! The facilities were fantastic, in each room is complimentary tea and coffee along with the Nespresso machine, shower essentials, hairdryer, an extra pillow available and even a fridge! The room was spotless, not one bit of dust either, it almost felt brand new.
First impressions of the room were outstanding. The real test is when you jump onto the bed and get cosy though isn’t it?! The sheets and pillows felt of a remarkable quality and the mattress was very comfy! Room temperature was spot on, you have the choice of whether you want the heating on or off which I loved as there’s nothing worse than a sweaty room!
After we unpacked, got changed and freshned up we headed down the hotel bar and restaurant, eXchange Food & Drink Lounge. The lounge takes its design inspiration from the local history being situated on the site of the first public telephone exchange opened by the “The Telephone Company Ltd” in 1847.
The decor is very shabby chic, which has created a warm and relaxing environment to enjoy a lunchtime treat, evening meal or relaxing drink.
We had a table reserved for 3 PM and were met with our waitress for the afternoon Monika. She guided us to our table, directly overlooking the first public telephone exchange may I add too! We ordered a few cocktails and browsed the menu.
The menu has a great range of dishes, something to suit everyone whether you’re after a light bite or three-course meal and I thought all the dishes were great value for money. After much deliberation and pointers from Monika, I went for the Nachos, with Salsa Sour Cream and Guacamole (£5) and Jorden went for Franks Hot Sauce Chicken Wings (£5). My Nachos were delicious since the guacamole was super fresh and homemade! As were the chicken wings, the hot sauce was carefully marinated into the chicken making the overall taste very in-depth and tangy, without being overbearing.
For mains, I went for the Battered Haddock with Tartare Sauce and Thick Cut Chips (£14) and Jorden, decided on an Americano Pizza (£12). I was really impressed with the Haddock it was melt in the mouth with the batter and tartare sauce which was divine! Jorden’s pizza was cooked to perfection too, there’s nothing worse than an overdone pizza when the cheese goes all claggy!
We managed to squeeze in dessert, of which I had Chef Chris’s Chocolate Brownie with chocolate sauce and salted caramel ice cream (£6) and Jorden Bread and Butter Pudding (£5). I can’t ever say no to a brownie, it’s my favourite dessert! This brownie was gooey and oozed the chocolate sauce with every bite. Monika urged Jorden to try the bread and butter pud and she wasn’t wrong with how scrumptious it was! Very yummy.
The fabulous food was matched by the wonderful Monika who done her utmost to ensure that we had a wonderful dining experience, a special thank you to her!
And then it was time to paint the town red and have a few cocktails before we headed to the Macklemore concert. Like I said previously, the Novotel is very central and is walking distance to lots of bars. We headed to the Slug and Lettuce for a spot of predrinks!
We danced the night away at Macklemore and practically fell into bed after! We wanted to be as fresh as possible to explore the city the day after.
Part of our deal was bed and breakfast. Breakfast is served from 7 am until 11 am which is a great schedule in my opinion for the likes of me and my boyfriend who wanted a lie in!
We strolled down to breakfast around 10ish the next morning and got seated straight away. Despite being a buffet style breakfast the food was so fresh! There was so much selection, from a full English to a continental. I went for a full English which was mouthwateringly good. Since it was Easter, the hotel provided hot cross buns which I thought was a lovely touch!
With our stomachs full, it was time to explore Manchester properly! We headed to the Arndale for a spot of shopping and then to the Northern Quarter. I had to set my eyes on the amazing street art around Manchester.
We then headed to Deans Gate Lock to play Junk Yard Golf which is worth going to if you fancy some fun and it’s not badly priced for a game of 8 holes. We got back on it after Jorden thrashed me at golf and went to Revs to take advantage of the 2 4 1 cocktails!
On Saturday evening I’d planned a romantic meal to round off Jorden’s birthday celebrations at Hawksmoor Restaurant. The place is renowned for their steaks so since it’s his favourite meal, I thought I’d treat him. The food was brilliant, another must visit place if you’re in Manchester!
The next morning we enjoyed our room for a few more hours and then it was sadly time for home!
We had a lovely stay in Manchester and experiencing Novotel was the best part of our trip. I’d really recommend staying here to anyone looking to stay in the city centre, the staff are so charming and the facilities are 5*. I’ll definitely be back soon!
If you fancy a stay at the Novotel, make sure you keep an eye on their latest offers here!