Booking at Bewley's was straightforward, although their own website was apparently down on two of my three attempts. I thought that at £79 per night for a room, this hotel compared favourably to other chains with a more overtly budget manifesto.
On arrival, the exterior of the hotel seemed large, new and very clean. The reception area was shiny and pleasant, and check-in went smoothly. Within ten minutes of arriving I was in my room on the first floor, which contained a double bed and settee (presumably a sofabed for use by families). This was very nice for lounging around on and reading my book before dinner! The room was pleasantly decorated and spotless, with crisp white bed linen and no strange odours. Generous tea and coffee making facilities were provided; Bewley's own excellent teabags and sachets of instant coffee (which I can't vouch for the quality of). There was plenty of hanging and drawer space, so it was possible to unpack fully.
For those who need to work during their stay, the room also contained a large desk and firm chair. Although I didn't test the veracity of this, the hotel claims that free wireless internet is available everywhere - one in the eye for more expensive hotel chains which charge per day's use for a slow ADSL connection. It seems an inviting prospect to surf the internet from one of the many leather settees and armchairs in the hotel's public areas.
The bathroom was again spotless, although rather functional in appearance. Wall-mounted dispensers of Dove body wash and Palmolive shampoo were provided. The Grohe shower was fantastic. I spent a long, luxurious half hour washing my hair and showering, and the water temperature & pressure stayed constant throughout. Happily, the drain was free and unimpeded, so I didn't have to stand in a murky puddle of my own dirty water. Extra towels were provided as standard, and the towels actually smelled pleasant, as though they had been dried in the open air - a rare thing in a budget hotel. One tiny minus point must be awarded for the provision of a completely inadequate hairdryer, but then again I do have a larger than average mop of hair. It would probably serve the normal-haired guest quite well, and was thoughtfully situated in front of a mirror.
A really nice surprise came at dinner time. In the restaurant I ate what was probably the best steak I've had for ages. According to the blurb on the menu, Bewley's serves only aged, grass-fed Wexford beef, and here you can get an 8oz sirloin with mushrooms, bearnaise or pepper sauce and two side dishes for only just over a tenner. This wonderful beef was cooked perfectly rare as requested and served by competent, welcoming waiting staff in a pleasant dining room. I also ordered a large glass of red wine from an inviting list and enjoyed it thoroughly.
The buffet breakfast was served between civilised hours in the same dining room. It too was delicious, so I feel a bit churlish pointing out that a full Irish breakfast by definition must contain white pudding as well as black, and is usually accompanied by potato or soda farls and soda bread. But I do appreciate that these things may be hard to find in industrial qunatities outside Ireland.
All in all, I would recommend Bewley's as a lovely way to spend the night in comfort without breaking the bank. The public areas of the hotel have an exceptionally pleasant, open, light feel and the room I stayed in was cosy without being claustrophobic.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Clayton Hotel Manchester Airport (formerly Bewleys Hotel) is located just minutes from terminals one and three of Manchester Airport. A complimentary shuttle service to both the airport and train stations is also provided for added convenience. Quality and value in warm friendly surroundings is what this stylish hotel is all about. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bewleys Hotel Manchester
- Airport Bewleys Hotel Manchester