Manchester

Romance in the city | three romantic weekend hotel breaks in Manchester

Spend some quality time together and book yourselves in to a romantic Manchester hotel, and spend your days shopping in boutiques, taking in art or scouting out cool cocktail bars. We select three perfect romantic weekends for every budget...

It’s raining outside, of course. You cannot book a break in the UK and guarantee any sunshine. But you can book a hotel in Manchester and guarantee plenty of sights, some great places to eat, and even a little romance. One of my favourite cities in the UK for a romantic break for two, Manchester has my heart come rain or sunshine.

Reminding me of London with its classic buildings and its pockets of culture, Manchester has lots of regenerated industrial charm, as well as a cool, laid-back, light-hearted attitude of its very own. There’s something romantic about the city streets in a downpour, and it boasts some great hotels that you could happily stay hidden in all weekend. Here are my three favourite romantic Manchester hotels, whether you want to splurge or you’re looking for a budget-friendly weekend that will still tick all the boxes.

A luxury romantic hotel with rooftop views over Manchester

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What’s more romantic than snuggling up on a rooftop looking out over the Manchester skyline? Perhaps lazing in a swimming pool gazing out over that same vista? You can do both at the King Street Townhouse, which showcases Manchester’s chic and refined side.

Found in the King Street Conservation area of Manchester, the King Street Townhouse is my kind of place. Set in an ancient Italian Renaissance building, it feels grand but with all the heart I’ve come to expect from this northern city.

Inside boasts everything you could want from a romantic weekend in Manchester, black and white flagstone floors, shimmering chandeliers, calm colours, crackling fireplaces and bookshelves stacked high.

Nothing is better than that steaming rooftop pool on a cold winter’s day. It’s the perfect place to sink down into the water with your love and watch the pink sun darkening over the Town Hall.

Romance in the Rooms

Freestanding baths with a view

Plump for one of the fifth-floor suites at the King Street Townhouse to make the most of the city views with floor to ceiling windows. Named Alfred Waterhouse and Great Abel, they’re equally stunning, with a separate bedroom and lounge area so you can really call this place home for the weekend. My favourite spot in these rooms is the freestanding bathtub in front of the window, nothing is better than a hot bubble bath with a view- order some champagne, read a book, read to each other… or there’s a rain shower should you prefer it.

If you want the high life experience but you’re slightly lower on budget, one of the more basic Snug Rooms, number 56, sits between these two suites. Although it’s smaller in space, it does boast those same city views.

King Street Townhouse

Top rated
Manchester, 7.9 km to Airkix
9.2 Excellent (163 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Romance in the City: art, cake and cocktails

Marketing Manchester

The King Street Townhouse is a great base for a romantic weekend of culture in Manchester. The Manchester Art Gallery is a just a two-minute walk away, and it is crammed with my favourite kind of art, the dreamy paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites. It’s also found in a building that was designed by the same architect as Highclere Castle, otherwise known as Downton Abbey. So lots of fairy-tale, period drama vibes to be enjoyed with your other half here.

After a good gallery mooch, we stopped for coffee and cake in the oh-so stylish HAMPTON & VOÚIS (my boy was happy, good coffee and cake are all he needs to deem a weekend away successful) we then went back to the hotel for a pre-dinner G&T. King Street Townhouse is known for its G & Tea afternoon tea, but it also serves a mean gin & tonic in the lounge if you just want the liquid and a squishy sofa.

We wandered around the corner for dinner at Grand Pacific, an opulent restaurant that feels as though it’s sprung from a Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) novel. Lots of dark decor and statement lighting make this place perfect for a romantic dinner for two. The cocktails are good and the mains pack a punch when it comes to bold flavours.

Wake up the next morning and finish your romantic trip to Manchester with a King Street Townhouse spa treatment. They offer everything from facials and deep tissue massages to hot stone therapy, an indulgent way to see out your stay.

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A romantic hotel to discover the stylish Northern Quarter in Manchester

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The Northern Quarter. Definitely a Manchester hotspot and definitely a great landing place for a romantic but cultured break for two. It’s also where you’ll find one of my favourite hotels in Manchester, Cow Hollow.

Achingly cool with its chic, eclectic decor, Cow Hollow keeps the Mancunian spirit alive with its trendy without trying vibe. Decorative pieces are scattered across the building, alongside books galore, from art and fashion coffee table tombs to old literature and modern bios.

This place is industrial chic to the max. It’s set in an old textile warehouse – think exposed brick walls and metal staircases – and each of its 16 rooms has individual touches.

Romance in the Rooms

Netflix, milk and cookies

Even though it’s in the heart of the city’s nightlife hub the rooms at Cow Hollow feel like cosy boltholes of your very own. There’s Netflix on the TV, a grab and go back to your room breakfast, and a morning coffee delivery that keeps it all very private… perfect for a romantic Manchester break for two.

Evenings bring free prosecco and snacks, or you can stay snuggled in your room, you’ll find features such as fireplaces, cosy sofas and faux fur blankets keeping it cosy, as does the milk and cookie round at bedtime.

The Cow Hollow

Manchester, 8.7 km to Airkix
9.3 Excellent (284 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.4 / 10
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Romance in the city: coffee, vinyl and jazz

Marketing Manchester and Rich J Jones

If you can tear yourself away, there is loads to do nearby. During our weekend away, the boy and I headed to nearby Takk for a coffee and sandwich stop, it’s a Nordic-inspired cool hangout. We also ventured along the canal towpath to Pollen Bakery, which serves quite possibly some of the best pastries in Manchester (I’m a quarter French, you have to believe me on that one). Try the savoury croissant toast, but keep room for a cruffin and an almond croissant… scrap that, just take the whole darn shop with you. Don’t forget to say hello to their lovely squishy chowchow dog if he’s there too.

 

I love a casual wander when it comes to exploring a new city, and The Northern Quarter is a great place to do that. You’ll come across everything from bespoke interiors and sustainable fashion to independent art galleries, all within a warren of streets that boast art and sculptures at every turn. Paramount Books was a particularly good find – it’s stacked to the brim with second-hand books and hidden treasures. The boy meanwhile, enjoyed a root around at Vinyl Resting Place and wandering through the many many treasures crammed into Affleck’s. This indoor market felt like somewhere I would have hung out as teenager, with a fiver in my pocket to buy some jewellery or get a henna tattoo.

Evenings in this area can be taken up with a night at Matt and Phreds, because what’s more romantic than a basement club with live jazz and blues? Or you can head to nearby The Fitzgerald for proper speakeasy vibes, cocktails and cosy sofas.

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An affordable romantic hotel just a stone’s throw from shopping and sightseeing in Manchester

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A romantic weekend in Manchester doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are some fantastic budget hotels that still pack plenty of style in the heart of the city. Motel One Manchester Royal Exchange is my favourite.

Set opposite the Royal Exchange Theatre, Motel One doesn’t look like your typical budget hotel or your typical motel for that matter. It welcomes you with uber stylish interiors inspired by the city’s trade history, with cotton flower murals and some beautiful cotton cloud-like hanging chandeliers; it’s an impressive entrance for such a reasonably priced hotel.

There are plush chesterfield sofas and leather chairs in the lounge and bar, with industrial touches such as tables made from old factory pieces. It’s a cosy place to sit with your loved one, sipping on a Manc-Hattan.

Romance in the Rooms

Italian accents and views across Manchester

Rooms are space-saving but they’re great if you want a snug place to relax between exploring the city. They’re as stylish as the public spaces, with dark wood furniture, grey textiles and the odd touch of bright turquoise. Queen Rooms and King Rooms are the basic options, but they do provide comfy beds and an Italian leather recliner chair. Bathrooms are granite with rain showers and fluffy towels. Jump just a little in price to select a Superior Room and you’ll enjoy a more impressive view of the city through the floor to ceiling windows. Ask for a view of the theatre for a proper Manchester vibe when you’re in your bathrobe sipping on coffee in the morning.

Motel One Manchester-Royal Exchange

Manchester, 7.9 km to Airkix
9.0 Excellent (1098 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.6 / 10
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Romance in the city: Ancient books, the beach bar and a rooftop

Marketing Manchester and Rich J Jones

Motel One Royal Exchange is a great choice if you want to make the most of the city while enjoying a romantic Manchester break. If shopping is on the agenda, you’ll be spoiled for choice nearby with the Arndale centre – it boasts every high street label you can imagine – and King Street with all its high end, luxury shops.

Take a wander from the hotel down to Sunset by Australasia – one of the city’s most exciting new bars – for beach vibes whatever the weather. It has a pale pink interior that is just asking to be photographed, satisfying my appetite, and plenty of tasty treats to satisfy his. You can enjoy a modern Asian take on afternoon tea here, with impressive Instagrammable cocktails and sweet and savoury bento box.

During the day we headed to the John Rylands Library. I often look for a library or a bookshop when I explore a new city. Many of them are found in beautiful old buildings, and John Rylands is no exception. It’s filled with Harry Potter-esque gargantuan stone staircases and an ancient reading room that looks like a church. I drag my boyfriend to places like this because I love a dreamy ancient space, but it’s hard not to find the romance in such a setting.

Cake is always big on the agenda for us when it comes to a treat-filled city break. As is an indulgent dinner. So to The Hawksmoor we go, it’s just a short walk from Motel One and boasts a mouthwatering chateaubriand to share; what’s more romantic than tearing into some great food together?

Appetites more than satisfied, we head for a nightcap at 20 Stories, just a short walk from The Hawksmoor. The bar and restaurant sits on the 19th floor, so it serves up some of the best views in Manchester along with a fine list of cocktails to sip on with your beau.

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A writer living in London, Laura is currently working on her debut novel – a fictional tale inspired by her travels across America. When she’s not checking out the ideal hotel bed thread-count, she’s penning short stories, writing for various publications & brands, and sharing fashion tales on her blog, LauLauLand.


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