Affordable luxury: an indulgent yet inexpensive break in Manchester

For those unfamiliar with the Northern Powerhouse that is Manchester, a getaway staying in one of its many affordable luxury hotels will no doubt reveal that there’s far more to the city than simply football and 90s Britpop.

Once you look below the surface, you’ll also find show-stopping theatre venues, innovative museums and a warren of picturesque streets littered with trendy cafés and boutique shops.

There’s plenty of history to soak up, too, with John Rylands Library, Victoria Baths and Tudor-era Ordsall Hall counting as just three of the city’s prime heritage spots. When it comes to hospitality, Manchester’s definitely started to give London a run for its money thanks to dozens of great wining and dining venues and some amazing — and astoundingly affordable — hotels.

Fancy a weekend in the heart of the North without paying capital prices? There are plenty of luxury affordable hotels in Manchester to bed down for the night, from former banks turned boutique havens to purpose built hotels with myriad modern amenities.

Luxurious heritage touches at affordable Hotel Indigo


If you’re keen to check out the Manhattan-esque streets of the Northern Quarter or catch a gig at Manchester Arena, check yourself into the brand new Hotel Indigo. Just minutes from Victoria station and housed in the grade II listed City Buildings, its effortlessly cool décor subtly hints at the city’s industrial past.

Hotel Indigo’s impressive reception has been incorporated into the building’s old courtyard. If you look up as you check in, you’ll not only glimpse the sky through a glass roof but a handful of artfully arranged hanging basket lamps that are a nod to the building’s former use as a tea warehouse.

Other fun historic twists can be found in Hotel Indigo’s comfortable rooms, which take inspiration from Manchester’s cotton, tea and printing industries. Think lamps with stacks of books for stands, porcelain tea sets displayed in frames on the walls, and the finest quality linen on the plush beds.

Foodies rejoice...

The friendly reception staff are full of great suggestions for nearby restaurants but if you’d rather not venture too far for your dinner, Hotel Indigo hosts two great eateries: M Café and Mamucium (named after the Roman fort that gave the city its name). Make sure you peruse the latter’s cocktail menu for drinks that have been craftily named after Manchester’s key historical figures. The cherry bakewell liqueur and prosecco combo that is ‘Pankhurst’s Revolution’ is particularly delicious.

Indigo Manchester - Victoria Station

Top rated
Manchester, 8.2 km to Airkix
9.3 Excellent (425 reviews)
View Prices

Boutique hospitality at the luxurious King Street Townhouse


This small yet exquisitely designed hotel only opened its doors a few years ago but it’s already one of the most talked about in the city. Part of the Eclectic Hotel Group, King Street Townhouse is nestled in another former bank building and it’s every bit as boutique and beautiful as the photos make out.

Describing itself as a “baby grand hotel”, its 40-something rooms are all uniquely decorated at varying levels of luxury. Top end suites feature free-standing bathtubs, glorious city views and private living rooms. For those on a tighter budget, though, you’ll find the smaller snug rooms are just as delightful thanks to plush extras like fluffy bathrobes, goose down pillows and monsoon showers.

King Street Townhouse’s pride and joy has to be its infinity rooftop spa pool which overlooks Manchester Town Hall. It’s part of the hotel’s relaxation area — that also includes a steam room — and it’s completely free for guests to use. You do have to pay extra for the Saving Grace spa treatments, though, which start at £15 and go up to £150 for an indulgent head to toe massage.

Foodies rejoice....

If you’re feeling peckish during your stay, you’ll quickly discover no fewer than three bar and restaurant areas at King Street Townhouse that serve up anything from pre-theatre dinners through to boozy afternoon teas complete with bespoke gin cocktails. The hotel is also handily positioned around the corner from Moose Coffee, a favourite brunch spot in the city that serves up decadent hot chocolates and fresh waffles with a choice of moreish toppings.

King Street Townhouse

Top rated
Manchester, 7.9 km to Airkix
9.2 Excellent (163 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
View Prices

Over the top glamour and luxury at Hotel Gotham


This is really one for grown-ups looking to splurge for a unique — and rather glam — experience as it’s definitely one of Manchester’s most luxurious hotels. Tucked up the top end of King Street (Manchester’s answer to Chelsea’s fashionable Kings Road) in an exquisite Art Deco building, five-star Hotel Gotham takes themed décor to new heights with its decadent, Gatsby-inspired interiors that playfully hint at the building’s former history as a bank during the 20s and 30s.

Expect to be greeted by bell boys dressed in tails and only be admitted entrance if you’ve got a reservation. Hotel Gotham’s exclusivity has helped make it a firm favourite of those after a touch of opulence. There’s even several suites at the heart of the hotel alluringly described as ‘Inner Sanctums’, plus you’ll find the aura of intrigue extends to Gotham’s communal facilities, too, with the top floor — the original bank vault — hosting a private members club.

Pretentions aside, it’s Hotel Gotham’s attention to detail that really makes it shine. Look out for the banking-themed ornamentation throughout, whether it’s the copious amounts of gold and silver touches in the bespokely designed rooms or the genuine filing cabinets posing as serving tables in the 2AA rosette Honey Restaurant

Hotel Gotham

Manchester, 8 km to Airkix
9.4 Excellent (1977 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
View Prices

Luxury fine dining and affordable pampering at The Midland


Another Victorian venue with oodles of original detailing is The Midland. Located a stone’s throw from Manchester Central Convention Centre and opposite the stunning Manchester Central Library, it’s the ideal option for those in town for an event, festival or simply to sightsee.

While The Midland’s décor may be a little more understated than some of our other picks, it more than makes up for it with its character and excellent amenities. The Spa at The Midland is one of the top venues for pampering in the city. If you’re a guest at the Midland, you can make the most of its indoor pool and relaxation suite, the highlight of which are the hanging pods that are wonderful places to curl up with a book for an hour.

Foodies rejoice...

If you’d like to treat your stomach, too, The Midland is also home to one of Manchester’s finest restaurants, The French, that’s picked up a whole host of awards over the years. It’s overseen by head chef Adam Reid and has an innovative menu that changes daily depending on what ingredients can be locally sourced. For a more casual meal, Mr Cooper’s Restaurant is on-hand and serves up wholesome British dishes with a luxury twist. If you’re staying on a weekend, book a table for Sunday lunch — you won’t regret it.

The Midland

Top rated
Manchester, 7.8 km to Airkix
8.8 Excellent (5557 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
View Prices

Classic yet affordable grandeur at the Principal Manchester


Sitting majestically on bustling Oxford Road, The Principal’s Victorian façade opens invitingly to a similarly grand reception area. This may trick you into thinking it’s beyond your budget, however, for a four-star hotel, you can nab a standard room for a surprisingly brilliant price.

Just like The Principal’s larger suites, more affordable luxury rooms come similarly kitted out with classic yet rich furnishings — think Chesterfield armchairs, chic grey tonal colour schemes and ample Elemis toiletries.

Originally constructed in 1890 as the headquarters of The Refuge Assurance Company, the building has had many uses over the years in addition to multiple extensions (including the iconic clock tower). This means there’s period features galore in most of the rooms, plus some great photography of the city as it once was lining the walls.

Foodies rejoice...

Before you check out, don’t forget to visit The Refuge by Volta restaurant next door with its glamorous vintage décor, tempting menu of global dishes and the wonderful Winter Garden cocktail bar that’s lit by hundreds of tiny fairy lights. It’s worth noting, too, that The Principal is super convenient to get to if you’re arriving into the city by train as it’s opposite Manchester Oxford Road station.

The Principal Manchester

Manchester, 8 km to Airkix
7.8 Good (1850 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
View Prices

Sky-high views for an affordable price at the luxury Hilton Manchester Deansgate

While skyscrapers currently seem to be going up left, right and centre in Manchester, the Hilton Deansgate inside Beetham Tower still lays claim to being the highest hotel in the city. As you’d expect from a branch of this globally renowned hotel chain, outstanding service and spacious rooms decorated with minimalist yet inviting furnishings come as standard.

Due to the hotel’s elevated position, you’ll be able to open up your curtains each morning to amazing panoramas of the city centre and beyond — some say you can even glimpse Liverpool on a clear day. You’ll find the Hilton Deansgate is ideally located for a variety of jaunts, too, whether that’s a roast at a canal-side pub in Castlefield, a lesson in locomotives at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum or some retail therapy at the Arndale Centre.

Other activities with a view...

Back indoors, Cloud 23 — named so for its 23rd floor position — is the perfect place to park yourself for sundowners or afternoon tea with a view. And if you want a spectacular outlook while exercising, you’ll find the Hilton Deansgate’s health centre has a 20-metre indoor heated pool enveloped by floor to ceiling windows and skylights. Plus if you hold your breath, you’ll discover the particularly impressive underwater viewing panels below the surface.

Hotel Hilton Manchester Deansgate

Manchester, 7.4 km to Airkix
8.3 Very good (4112 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
View Prices

Contemporary affordable luxury at the cool Innside by Melia


First Street, on the southern fringes of Manchester’s heart, is fast becoming a hotspot for easy evenings out in the city thanks to its wide choice of bars and restaurants (and, not to mention, Junkyard Golf venue). If you fancy staying right near the action, Innside by Melia is your best bet.

The interiors here are the epitome of cool, with an enchanting tree installation in the lobby contrasting with a chic cocktail bar that boasts live DJ sets and an outdoor terrace for warmer evenings. Head up in the lift to your room and you’ll find equally as slick décor and modern design features like open bathrooms — which are, admittedly, a tad intimate if you’re travelling with a friend rather than your partner.

Entertainment and craft beer on your doorstep...

If you’re looking for something to fill your evenings, just around the corner from Innside by Melia is HOME. It’s a much-loved Mancunian independent arts centre where you can catch weird and wonderful performances, view award-winning fringe films and indulge in dishes like jackfruit ragu and pan-fried monkfish accompanied by the centre’s very own craft beer at the welcoming second floor restaurant.

INNSIDE by Melia Manchester

Top rated
Manchester, 7.6 km to Airkix
9.0 Excellent (2222 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
View Prices