Crave Magazine

The Alan Review: Grit Meets Glamour to Create Manchester’s Coolest Hotel

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Balancing glamour and grit is no mean feat, but prepare to be enchanted by the understated cool of The Alan – Manchester’s new(ish) kid on the block, already armed with plenty of street cred. 

Located opposite the Manchester Art Gallery in the heart of the city’s Chinatown, this independent hotel is housed in a striking grade II listed warehouse. Step inside and you’re faced with a vast open-plan lobby that doubles up as a workspace, with a bar on the left and kitchen and restaurant on the right. 

Exposed brick and pipework might be commonplace these days, but The Alan’s refreshingly distinctive take on the style with flourishes of luxury peppered throughout is both memorable and unique. 

It oozes warmth and charm and is anything but cold and clinical. This is thanks to the work of a team of talented designers and artists, who have spun everything from recycled marble and wood to stone and ceramics, turning them into pure gold.  

This joint has got class. After a swift check-in with the friendly reception team, I head up to my room on the third floor. After a long afternoon on a delayed train followed by gale force winds in central Manchester, the impressive Signature Suite was just what I needed. These rooms are stunning and well worth the upgrade. 

All located on the corners of each floor, each suite boasts multiple windows allowing for plenty of natural light, a dedicated workspace, ultra-cosy emperor-size double bed with Egyptian cotton bedding, 50” Samsung Smart TV, Audio Pro Bluetooth speaker, and Ancoats Coffee with V60 coffee maker. 

My room featured a stylish grey chaise lounge at the end of the bed, a beautiful marble table and a chair, creating a cosy living room space. Perfect for unwinding with drinks and snacks over a movie. 

Across the room, you have a luxurious rainfall shower complete with the divine 100% organic Haeckel’s skin care products, which instantly make your room smell like a high-end spa. 

Bathrobes and slippers also come as standard and I loved the steamer, which had my evening clobber looking tip-top in a matter of seconds. You’ll never want to use an iron again. 

My mate arrived just before dinner and checked into his Signature Double room, which also comes generously sized with a separate bathroom and all the essential amenities.  

We head down to the restaurant with high hopes, thanks to an unexpected visit in the hotel’s opening months by none other than Jay Rayner. The celebrated food critic gave The Alan a glowing review and it was pleasing to discover this level of quality had been maintained. 

I began with a Hazel & Cacao Old Fashioned, which mixes Sailor’s Home Irish Whiskey with hazelnut syrup, creme de cacao and chocolate bitters to create a wonderfully rich serve that begs for a repeat order. Bloody delicious. 

For starters, we enjoyed the light but fragrant Saucisson with fennel and the Alan Guinea Hen, which is best described as a really fancy-pants KFC. Both come recommended. For mains, we both opted for the Grilled Cornish Monkfish Tail with clams, ‘nduja and samphire and it did not disappoint. 

Monkfish is a bugger to get right, but this firm and meaty piece of fish was perfect. The heat from the nduja coupled with the clams were such a good match and really gave our taste buds a workout. We enjoyed our fish with the light and minerally Avesso Vinho Verde from Portugal. A great choice from our knowledgeable server. 

We returned for breakfast the following morning, where I enjoyed a full English, whilst my companion took on Eggs Benedict. And, whilst the standards were not quite as high as dinner the night before (our eggs were a touch overdone and my dish took a little too long to arrive), it was a solid cooked-to-order breakfast.

Final verdict

Manchester is awash with impressive hotels, but The Alan is right up there with the very best. Cool, distinctive and effortlessly stylish, but never flashy or ostentatious, it’s the kind of luxury hotel that you won’t want to leave and will recommend for months to come. 

The Alan, 18 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 4LG. 

Review by Fletch

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