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The UK’s second (and third, and thereafter) cities don’t often get much of a look in when it comes to attracting Americans – whether visitors or investors. But all that might be about to change with the news that Aloft is preparing quite an aggressive British invasion.
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It’s been a long road for Hotel Football, Manchester’s football-themed hotel. First there was its dubious ownership (
love rat footballer Ryan Giggs, who, if we’re being generous, we’d call a love-hate figure in Britain). Then there were the childish-looking renderings. The model who turned out to be a convicted killer. Then the inevitable delay in opening.
But finally things are coming together for Giggsy and Gary Neville – the hotel is on track to open 1 March, though it appears to be in soft opening already. It’s still playing coy on the website, with no photos of the rooms yet, but the Twitter feed has been retweeting photos from people getting sneak peeks, and the Manchester Evening News reports that local students from the University of Salford have covered the place in football-themed murals, including feature walls behind the beds. And you know what? We hate to say this, but they look pretty good.
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Three things out of the many things we love about hotels: first, well thought through themes. Second, all things retro. Third, going in a totally unexpected direction.
We told you about the Gotham before – the extraordinary new project taking over the historic Midland Bank HQ, a brooding, art deco building that’s perfect for the Gotham theme. And the art deco theme. And the exotic theme, all of which we’ve been promised.
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Another week, another hotel opening delay. But this one is a little different. Where other hotels say sorry, hands up, we can’t finish it in time, this one claims to be opening late because they want to make it even better than planned, honest guv. Because it’s going to be extra brilliant, it’s going to take extra time.
The place in question is Hotel Football, the hotel we’d love to hate but actually rather like the look of – or rather, of the rooms, at least. It has just pushed its opening date back from November to March – but not because it’s waiting to die down from the scandal of employing a convicted killer in its advertising campaign. Perish the thought! It’s because, as a spokesman told the Manchester Evening News, they want to “further develop unique features, beyond our original plans”. Of course, guys, of course - all for the fans. How very generous.
From now until the opening in March, we will be enhancing the conference and banqueting facilities and will also be extending our rooftop 5-a-side football pitch and event space by over 50%.
We want to ensure the supporters and hotel guests have an unforgettable experience when they visit us and this additional preparation time will ensure this. It’ll be worth the wait.
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It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Ryan Giggs. We said almost.
He’s all excited, gearing up to launch Hotel Football, his imaginatively named hotel in Manchester, and if those drawn-by-a-teenager renderings weren’t embarrassing enough, this week it emerged that he's been using a convicted killer to promote the hotel.
Kevin O’Dea was part of a gang that attacked and killed student Sion Hardy in 2008, as he left a nightclub. Since he was released from prison in 2011, he’s reinvented himself as a model, which is how he turned up on the Hotel Football website, being poured a beer by a not-at-all-patronising stock sexy woman (we read today that 91% of women feel misunderstood by advertisers – can’t think why), in front of a spectacularly misplaced sign saying “Attack The Day”.
(Two things we’re not commenting on: just how big the dearth of models in the Manchester area must be if O’Dea makes the cut; and just how it’s possible to spend a mere three years in jail for killing someone.)
Manhattan may have something to say about this.
There’s a new hotel opening in Manchester next year. It’s retro, it’s art deco-ey and it’s a brooding old Victorian towerblock. Its name? Hotel Gotham.
Taking over a Manchester landmark – the former Midland Bank HQ on King Street – in April 2015, Hotel Gotham will have a restaurant and club as well as 60 rooms – spread over seven floors above a Jamie’s Italian restaurant. While the website is all retro New Yorky, the rooms, apparently, will “take their cue from art deco”. And, here’s where it gets weird – the Manchester Evening News reports that the overall design will be “Japanese and Tuscan inspired”. Too much? Not according to the owners, who are already calling it “one of the sexiest hotels in Europe”.
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Last time we heard about Hotel Football, the Manchester hotel being built by former Manchester United footballers Ryan ‘scumbag’ Giggs and Gary ‘the only nice guy in football’ Neville, we were transfixed (in a not altogether good way) by the renderings.
Today, we have an opening date: 8 December. We also have some more, equally transfixing renderings courtesy of the Manchester Evening News. We're being slightly mean - the room rendering looks like something we might have created in Paint circa 2003 – but, looking past that, the rooms themselves actually look pretty stylish and not fanatically ‘football’. In short, we could go here.
There will be a rooftop “pitch” and events space, all rooms will have 40-inch TVs and full Sky packages to watch matches on, the restaurant Café Football will serve sausage rolls and burgers as well as posher food, and there will even be betting facilities(!!!) on site.
No word on rates yet, but we’ll keep an eye out.
The Manchester Evening News is now adding to the list of departures with an update that a sale has been agreed for the city’s Lowry Hotel to Westmont Hospitality Group. While the management team on-site reportedly is staying on, it will mean a rebrand as well, but whether that’s InterContinental, Hilton, Marriott, or another brand Westmont works with is still to be confirmed.
We’re also happy to see mention of renovations to ‘further enhance the offer’; we stayed at the Lowry back in 2010 and still remember being a little underwhelmed by our room at what was meant to be “the” luxury hotel for Manchester, with a rather generic bathroom, a huge tear in the sheets on the bed, and ripped fabric on some of the furniture.
You can still book through the Rocco Forte website until well into next year, with a Deluxe Room starting around £149 ($243) a night. We’ll let you know what becomes of the Lowry when we find out.
Sports bars and lounges are nothing new, but a hotel devoted entirely to the international sport of football?
The World Cup may be over but now, excitement is building, literally, for the opening later this year of Hotel Football. What better city to deliver this hotel concept than the home of Manchester United Football Club, and who better to deliver this hotel than former United players themselves? Their goal, so to speak, is to create a true match day experience for both home and visiting team fans.
Manchester United Football Club goes back to 1878 (originally under a different name) and the organization is not shy about its claim to be the most popular football club in the world. If you agree with that, then a hotel right next to the stadium makes a whole lot of sense.
Hotel Football is the first hotel developed by GG Hospitality, founded by former United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. Neville and Giggs, along with a few other “Class of 92” teammates, sampled more than enough hotels--and sports bars-- on the road and have come together as inspired hoteliers. GG Hospitality also operate the popular Café Football in London.
It's one of the most recognisable buildings in England's second city, and now it might become a hotel: Manchester's historical Corn Exchange is up for redevelopment.
The vast, triangular-shaped building in Northern England is a Grade II listed property dating back to 1897 (though its predecessor, the Corn and Produce Exchange was the place for farmers and merchants to flip their goods as early as 1837). Having suffered bomb damage in World War II, and then again in 1996, by the IRA, the building had some constructive surgery and a name change in 2000 to “The Triangle,” essentially a retail arcade. In 2012, the building took back its original name, followed by a proposal to expand its dining facilities.
Now its owners, Aviva Investors, are planning a £30m ($50m) redevelopment project for the Exchange - which is set to include an 86-room hotel. according to the Manchester Evening News. The complex will also include up to 13 restaurants - now there’s an amenity.
The Lowry Hotel in Manchester is trying to spice up the life of business travelers with a new program called the Ultimate Cycling Experience that lets them get behind the bars at the Manchester Velodrome, an Olympic-sized cycling fast track.
The package is meant as a team-building exercise for companies and groups to treat their employees/members during a business trip. The Lowry Hotel has partnered with the National Cycling Center to offer a one-hour training session with a professional biking coach to help riders learn how to tackle the banked track. Participants are then allowed to race against each other in a one-lap time trial. After, the group gets an "awards ceremony" back at the Lowry in the form of a three-course dinner.
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British Airways announced today its "Big British Invite," a promotion that offers two nights free accommodation in select UK hotels when you purchase a roundtrip ticket between the US and the UK.
You can book this deal through March 31, 2013, and the free hotel stay is valid for travel from January 9 through May 31, 2013. In other words, you must book the airline tickets by March 31st for travel between now and the end of May.
There are participating hotels in London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, and Edinburgh, and while there are an abundance of Holiday Inns on the list, you'd be silly to pass up the extra nights. Hotels in London include the Royal National, President, Aloft London ExCel and Rembrandt.