In the heart of Manchester, on the site of the old Free Trade Hall, a concert venue until 1996 which was itself built on the site of the Peterloo Massacre. The Radisson Edwardian's façade has been a feature of the cityscape since 1853.
Incorporated in the glassy atrium is a towering space from which stairways, corridors and rooms extend. On one floor, the signatures of Sir Thomas Beecham, Yehudi Menuhin, "Satchmo" Louis Armstrong, and Sybil Thorndike are preserved on old plasterwork as part of a new wall. Musical references abound and, for the tour bands that the hotel expects to attract, there is an entire floor of penthouse suites connected by a communal garden. Past visitors include Bob Dylan and David Bowie .
The comfort factor
Top-of-the-range materials - stone, slate, glass, throughout. Designer Michael Attenborough has bought in stirring examples of eastern statuary in the public spaces while keeping bedrooms cool, spare and open. The Sienna Spa and Health Club has pampering at all levels and the Health Club features an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and gym.
Couples can take it in turns in the wet and dry areas - relinquishing the shower, bath and toilet for a stint at the washstand for shaving and make-up in the mirrored dressing area with walk-in wardrobe. Fat towels and smelly gifts aplenty.
The food and drink
Diners are plunged into chinoiserie in the Opus One restaurant with a covered terrace. Menus are classical, slightly Mediterranean.You might choose crab and salmon cake, crispy sea bass with sugar snap peas and rhubarb syllabub, which with an extra veg or two would come in at around £30. There's a substantial buffet breakfast in the lighter, airier Alto Terrace restaurant.
Business folk, couples after the "Next Big Thing" and musicians from the nearby concert venue that replaced the Free Trade Hall.
Shops and art at Salford Quays are a few minutes' away by tram or car. The Peninnes are within reach.
Very good. Disabled access includes 16 rooms with adapted bathrooms, lifts to all floors and ramps.
Room only from £240 to £1,755 per night, and from £149 at weekends, subject to availability. From 19 Dec to 9 Jan, room and breakfast for two costs £125.
Radisson Edwardian Manchester Hotel, The Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester M2 5GP (0161-835 9929; www.radissonedwardian.com/manchester).
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