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Media hotel for media people

Lynda Moyo tests out the bed springs in Salford Quays

Written by . Published on January 6th 2011.


Media hotel for media people

WHEN I think of Holiday Inn, I think of the hotel equivalent of McDonald's. Always there when you need it - even though you’d rather not need it.

The Green Room restaurant is probably the biggest shock change of all. In addition to the usual room service food, which will set you back over £5 just for a butty, is the adequately priced a la carte offerings in the Green Room restaurant, headed up by head chef Dave Lythall.

I also think of Lenny Henry, then realise that’s the other one. My overall impression is pretty nondescript. It is what it is – a budget hotel.

And it’s probably that kind of judgement that’s made Holiday Inn bosses decide it’s time to up their game. The new Holiday Inn Manchester in MediaCityUK is definitely floors higher in the hotel hierarchy.

The new look is part of a £650m investment for Holiday Inn – the biggest relaunch in the hospitality industry. Gone is the motorway motel appearance, replacing it are contemporary fixtures and furnishings in a more spacious and elegant setting with amazing views of the city. Granted, there’s nothing particularly distinctinve about it, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

Black and white floral motifs, colour coded corridors, chrome fittings, posh flat screen tellies – it’s functional, comfortable and doesn’t look half bad either.

The hotel has a gym and three meeting rooms which can accommodate up to 40 people. Guests can also choose to dine in The Green Room Restaurant which serves British food, or the Hub Bar for a light meal.

The Green Room restaurant is probably the biggest shock change of all. In addition to the usual room service food, which will set you back over £5 just for a butty, is the adequately priced a la carte offerings in the Green Room restaurant, headed up by head chef Dave Lythall.

On our visit I tried the pan fried sea bass, crispy squid and chorizo salad with fried quail eggs and sherry vinegar (£16.50). My partner, Chris, went for the honey roast duck breast, confit potato, butternut squash, glazed figs and sage crisps (£15.95). Both dishes were not only presented beautifully but refined to the last detail. They tasted akin to an established city centre restaurant – not a mezzanine level, budget hotel restaurant.

The secret to this clearly lies in Lythall, who, prior to joining the Holiday Inn, was worked in restaurants in Cheshire, followed by restaurant openings in Liverpool and Manchester such as the Restaurant Bar & Grill, City Inn and Room.

With the addition of this restaurant he has taken Holiday Inn from convenient to compelling. You can see they, along with the rest of the MediaCity development, are doing their damndest to hold-on to the soon-to-arrive 2,300 BBC staff in the evening - if only for dinner.

The first phase of the development is 36 acres (roughly the size of 18 football pitches) and includes office space, a state-of-the art studio building, shops, restaurants, apartments, a five-acre public piazza, as well as this Holiday Inn of course.

CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Andy Cosslett, who returned to his home town of Manchester to open the hotel, is proud of what they’ve achieved so far.

He said: “ I’ve lived, studied and worked here. In more recent years I’ve watched from afar and it’s great to see how the area has been transformed. We’re looking for 3,000 talented people to work in our UK hotels over the next two to three years and the new Holiday Inn Manchester MediaCityUK will contribute to that number by creating around 70 local jobs, stimulating growth in and around Salford Quays.”

Prices at Holiday Inn start from £69 for a standard room which can be either double or twin. The executive room (pictured) would be £89 including breakfast, on the example date 12 January.

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