Waking up in a city you thought you knew, to have breakfast in a brisk international-style hotel restaurant, followed by a swim in a stylish hard-edged pool? Look sharp, this is Salford.

We are staying in one of two CitySuites Aparthotel buildings on the Salford side of Victoria Bridge which crosses the Irwell, and soon find ourselves travelling upwards to the seventh floor with views over Manchester Cathedral and its smartened surrounds. 

CitySuites. Photo courtesy of CitySuites.

Entering a minimal, clean-cut apartment, I’m standing in what I imagine the future looks like. To be honest, it resembles Lost in Translation. But we soon warmed up to the place after we’d emptied our bags of belongings and spread them around like we owned the place.

This is ideal for a weekend away with friends or for a longer work-stay, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and lounge, great attention to detail, a kitchen with fridge, washing machine, coffee maker and proper wardrobes to hang clothes in with removable hangers (not the ones you have to struggle with). It’s a treat to sleep in a bed and under sheets that are better than the ones you have at home. After a struggle to find the right vocabulary for this, I think I’ve settled on the right expression: it’s luxe. It’s modern luxe.   

Following a relaxing swim, steam and jacuzzi in the ultra-modern pool, we have dinner in the Embankment Kitchen restaurant. Banquette close-quarter seating affords a lively atmosphere and what initially feels like a Saturday night starts to feel like we are somewhere else. This makes me wonder about the other guests: who are these people sipping on espresso martinis, why they are staying here, what are they doing later, and where are they going tomorrow?

CitySuites. Photo courtesy of CitySuites.

The service is lovely; professional and friendly, and the food is exceptionally good. After sharing bread and olives, I opt for the lobster and king prawn linguini, which is delicious. Next, we head out into the rain. It’s pouring down and, like a typical Mancunian, I don’t have a brolly. Late for a birthday party at HOME over on Whitworth Street and an early March walk without socks in blocky-heeled sandals isn’t on the table. Can you still hail a cab? Or is this going out in Manchester past? We did the modern thing and downloaded yet another app and ordered an Uber.

Embankment Kitchen. Photo courtesy of CitySuites.

After partying until 11.30pm (late for us), we head back to the gaff in the gold shoes with some friendly Manc bants over my pavement wobbles, a fabulously lit Irwell crossing over Trinity Bridge, and a moment to take in the loveliness where these ancient cities meet.  

And all too soon it was morning. Waking up, heading home through Cathedral Gardens with the Sunday morning bells ringing in our ears, it felt like I was seeing and hearing the city for the first time. Then I knew what these CitySuiters were doing here and why they came. This double-city destination is a cool place, and it might just be arriving at that old Peter Saville aspirational brand statement, ‘original modern’. 

CitySuites is utilitarian, metropolitan and minimal, built in the age of Gen Y. I’d recommend it to anyone over 40 for a lesson in meta-modernism (that’s post-post-modern).  Time’s up for hotels and their built-in class system of service and privilege. Apartmentalism is the new staying over.

By Nancy Collantine

All images courtesy of CitySuites and CitySuites II buildings in Manchester, Embankment West


For more information about CitySuites Aparthotel, click here.