Hotel of the Week: Great John Street Hotel, Manchester

A former school is the setting for the five-star Great John Street Hotel in Manchester. It still draws on its educational roots, but these days the specialist subject is luxury

Until relatively recently, Manchester had just one five-star hotel, the huge, award-winning Lowry. But with the opening of the 30-suite Great John Street last October it now has a five-star boutique rival. Pity all those overpaid United footballers: now they have a choice of where to book a room for the night.

Small, but almost perfectly formed, the Great John Street takes its inspiration from the three-storey Victorian red-brick building's original function - a school. Thus you'll find a "Boys' Staircase" and a "Girls' Staircase", black-and-white class photos on the walls, and a "Headmaster's Office" for business meetings.

But, that is where any sense of the utilitarian stops. The interiors, while hardly original - subdued good taste with a hint of the exotic - are single-mindedly luxurious. Low Louis XV-style chairs, upholstered in taupe and berry crushed velvets, are mixed with floor-to-ceiling lilac-and-gold voile curtains, and highly polished, original wooden floors reflect the light from Moroccan lamps and mirror-glass side tables. Just perfect for a rock star's private party - indeed, Simply Red had a do on the roof terrace.

The staff are sweetly chatty and eager to please, if occasionally a little perplexed by the demands of their job. And, while some of the finishing touches lack panache - when you are spending a wallet-scouring £450 a night, you would expect classier chocolates in the mini-bar, not a Toblerone and a packet of Maltesers - the Lowry needs to watch its back. It is no longer the only premier-league player in town.

The location

Down a side street near the River Irwell, 10 minutes' tram ride from Piccadilly station, and cheekily close to the Lowry. Granada Studios peers over its shoulder, so guests in the front suites catch glimpses of Corrie regulars going on and off set.

The comfort factor

The duplex suites all have dizzily high schoolroom ceilings and a mezzanine floor, which makes even the smallest feel like an apartment. The beds have Egyptian cotton sheets, and chenille and velvet throws for chilly Northern nights. There are the usual boys' toys - DVD player, DAB radio, broadband internet - and a puzzling miniature calculator, which is left on your pillow. Could this be for totting up the bar bill before you go to sleep?

The bathroom

Open-plan and on the mezzanine, in the modern, look-at-me-I'm-having-a-wash way. Roll-top cast-iron baths make a nod to the building's origins, while the walk-in steam shower is unashamedly 21st century.

The food and drink

The inviting, deco-decadent lounge bar is the hotel's centrepiece - literally, as it occupies a one-and-a-half-storey well in the middle of the building. Food is limited to what are effectively substantial bar snacks: egg and chips, steak sandwich and croque monsieur. It's open to guests 24 hours a day.

The people

A slightly unsure mix of footballers' grown-up children, managing directors and upper-end media suits.

The area

You are well-placed for shopping at Deansgate, the Science and Industry Museum in the old-satanic-mills quarter, and Manchester Art Gallery and the Royal Exchange theatre. WAGs will be glad to hear that Harvey Nicks and Selfridges are also nearby.

The access

One suite is suitable for wheelchair users. Children are welcome, as are dogs.

The damage

Suites start at £235 per night, room-only.

The address

Great John Street, Manchester M3 (0870-220 2277; greatjohnstreet.co.uk)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones