Perched on the edge of the Deansgate strip, Qbic is officially Manchester’s coolest new hotel. Both modern and edgy, but also warm and charming, the once drab office block has been reinvented and is brimming with unique quirks and design innovation.
Add to that a stylish restaurant and bar that spills out onto the street, and you have a venue that’s just as popular with locals as it is with tourists.
The third hotel under the Qbic umbrella (hot on the heels of Amsterdam and Brussels), the location just opposite Spinningfields couldn’t be better placed for Manchester’s big-city thrills. Bars, restaurants and shops galore are all on your doorstep, whilst the popular Northern Quarter is a leisurely 15-minute walk away.
Looks-wise, Qbic is a design junkies dream. An eclectic mix of neon lights, eye-popping fabrics and floral prints, there’s eye-candy galore throughout. A nod to historic local figures such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Alan Turing in the form of some head-turning mannequins is all done very tastefully, whilst the lush green shrubs and peculiar ornaments add a homely feel.
The self-check-in system is a touch confusing, however, friendly staff were on hand to assist and run through the essentials. Each floor has its own tea and coffee making station, which includes a state-of-the-art coffee machine for that all-important caffeine hit.
Those here on business or looking for private dining can take advantage of several trendy meeting rooms, which can be hired alongside a bespoke range of services. The independent Trib3 fitness studio offers gym facilities and classes to guests, whilst a private karaoke room is a nice touch for those looking to let their hair down.
There are five double room types available (starting at between £60-£80 per night depending on the season), ranging from Mini up to a Fancy Qbic suite, all featuring ultra-comfy beds and flat-screen TV’s. Compact yet slick designer bathrooms complete with rainfall shower and steam-free light-up mirrors also come as standard.
Full-size organic toiletries from Faith in Nature adorn the bathrooms, and opting out of having your room cleaned is rewarded with a free drink at the bar. Upgrade to a suite, and you’ll benefit from a spacious seating area and floor-to-ceiling windows with a view.
Motley Restaurant & Bar on the ground floor has been cleverly designed to appeal to locals and passers-by, and more than holds its own with the many local eateries. The small yet perfectly formed Antipodean-inspired menu is full of temptation, whilst the cocktail menu is equally as inventive.
Highlights from the small plates menu include the 12-Hour Beef Tacos, Crispy Squid and the moreish Chicken Lollipops with a deliciously creamy Satay sauce. Large plates include Roasted Pork Belly and Moroccan Chicken, however, I opted for the awesome Cornflake Fried Chicken Burger, which comes smothered in cheese, bacon butter and chipotle mayo.
The Pastrami Flatbread is another winner, and the Halloumi Fries are a cut-above with their side-serving pomegranate, lemon and mint yoghurt.
We swerved dessert in favour of cocktails, which proved to be a wise choice. The Burnt Caramel Old Fashioned with Maker’s Mark and Woodford Rye was exceptional, as was the Ketel One-infused Coco-Pops Espresso Martini.
There’s also has a spacious outdoor area, filled with lush green plants giving off a Mediterranean vibe (if you can ignore the ever-present Manchester rain of course). Hotel restaurants are too often either generic, hidden away inside or both, and Motley is neither. Breakfast was also a treat, and well worth climbing out of bed for.
Qbic Manchester is a welcome addition to a city already full of excellent hotels, bars and restaurants. Considering its modest price-point, it has more personality than most, with plenty of unique touches that make it stand out. Service was flawless throughout our stay and the food and drink offering is imaginative and well-executed.
A place that leaves a lasting impression, where attention to detail and love for the city it resides in are evident. Highly recommended.
Qbic Manchester, 2 John Dalton Street, M3 2NW.