By Sarah Blake
Bursting with character and with an energy all of its own, there’s something very special about Manchester.
The birthplace of the industrial revolution, its ever-changing cityscape effortlessly entwines old with new.
Impressive architecture that harks back to Manchester’s illustrious past is punctuated by modern masterpieces that remind us the city is still very much driven by a pioneering spirit.
We headed to one of Manchester’s landmark historic buildings, 40 Chorlton Street, to stay at LEVEN, one of the city’s newest hotels.
Centrally located in the inimitable Village neighbourhood, LEVEN, which opened in November 2021, is only a five-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly train station.
But if you’re driving there are a number of parking options minutes from the hotel. We opted for the Aytoun Street car park when we visited on a sunny Sunday, which cost just £4.50 for 24 hours.
A two-minute stroll down the bustling hubbub of Canal Street took us to the impressive two-storey glass-fronted entrance of LEVEN, originally the loading dock of the former warehouse.
Nostalgia hit as we remembered queuing outside this very spot on Saturday nights at the turn of the century when it was Mash and Air, the coolest place in town. Inside, LEVEN is a world away from the futuristic feels of Mash and Air, but no less cool.
After a walk up a short flight of stairs, we found ourselves in the lounge and lobby area, which is cosy and opulent in equal measures. The atmosphere is relaxed, with chill-out music playing, and we were greeted by super-friendly, immensely helpful staff who were highly knowledgeable about both the local area and the city-at-large.
STYLE AND INTERIORS
A design-led hotel, the team at LEVEN have worked with the original Victorian fabric of the building, giving more than a nod to its industrial past. Exposed red brick walls, large Crittall windows, vaulted ceilings and cast-iron columns are complemented by a tasteful tapestry of furnishings in rich hues.
LEVEN’s lounge and lobby area features a brass-topped bar with emerald-green scalloped tiles, comfy sofas in green velvet, soft leather armchairs and statement lighting. It’s an ideal place to idle away the hours drinking coffee or sipping cocktails.
An annexe room off LEVEN’s main lounge provides the perfect space for daytime co-working and night-time socialising. A large canteen-style wooden table takes centre stage, while a corner sofa in turmeric velvet makes a snuggly space for people watching.
Artworks feature prominently throughout LEVEN. There’s an eclectic mix that constantly draws the eye and the team are set to add more pieces by local artists, following a series of pop-up events held in the hotel.
Big and blissful is the best way to describe the rooms at LEVEN. We stayed in room 402, a ‘Living Space’ one-bedroom suite. Other options include ‘Life Size’ (standard bedroom), ‘Living Large’ (one-bedroom duplex penthouse suite), and ‘Living The Dream’ (two-bedroom duplex penthouse suite).
In total, there are 42 rooms and suites at LEVEN. Each is unique and all feature bespoke furniture, oak parquet or timber floors and 100% natural mattresses by NaturalMat.
Truth be told, we wanted to move into our suite for a month, not just stay for a night. As big as a one-bedroom apartment, we were genuinely wowed by the size of the suite, which was flooded with natural light thanks to its corner aspect and two walls of windows.
From the threshold of the suite, we found ourselves in a fully-fitted kitchen (kitted out with fridge, freezer, and oven) which led into a stylish sitting room, complete with a large teal velvet sofa, smart TV and table with two chairs.
Accessible via two doors, one at either end of the sitting room, the stylish bedroom felt peaceful and serene. With a freestanding bath and second TV, the room was made for luxuriating in – which we did in spades, with bubbles in both tub and hand.
Hidden away between the bedroom and bathroom was a washing machine, something that excited us much more than it should have. And the bathroom itself most definitely didn’t disappoint. Think sleek finishings, large walk-in rainfall shower and full-size toiletries by Grown Alchemist that leave a heady scent of herbs.
FOOD AND DRINK
LEVEN doesn’t have a restaurant yet, but the lounge bar is open round the clock, serving coffee, cocktails and sweet treats that we can attest to being delicious.
We started our stay the right way with cocktails (£10-11) and cake (£3.50), followed by a glass of fizz (£8.50). Our favourite cocktail was the super zingy and very refreshing Forbidden Fruit, while our cake of choice was the terrifically tasty blueberry muffin.
All the cakes at LEVEN, including plant-based options, come from Silver Apples Bakery in Stockport, fresh morning pastries are delivered daily from La Chouquette in Didsbury, and many of the spirits are sourced locally.
For breakfast the next day, we picked the perfect pairing of pain au chocolat (£3.50) and a flat white (£2.80), which we enjoyed leisurely in the lounge. Although takeout options are available for those who want to eat and drink on the go.
Later this year, LEVEN is set to open a restaurant and cocktail bar on its ground and basement floors. Watch this space for news as we’ll definitely be making a reservation.
Where possible, LEVEN is happy to be incredibly flexible with timings, offering free early check-in and late check-out as long as the room is available. You need to make your booking directly from LEVEN’s website and contact them with your request, but we know from our own experience they are extremely amenable. The same applies if you want a room with a city or canal view; just let the hotel know and they’ll do their best to accommodate you.
A dog-friendly hotel, LEVEN welcomes four-legged friends and its canal-side location means it’s perfectly placed for walking your pooch.
Not forgetting the complimentary limited edition LEVEN socks which were left on the bed to keep our tootsies warm during our stay and keep for future use. If you take a liking to the brand (which we did), a whole range of LEVEN merchandise, including the socks, is available to buy from the lobby. We left sporting a black baseball cap embossed with the slick LEVEN logo.
A chic home from home in the heart of Manchester’s Village district, you get a lot of bang for your buck at LEVEN. The size and spec of the rooms and suites make them incredible value for money. We particularly loved the sassy splendour of the lounge and lobby area and definitely recommend popping in for a drink even if you aren’t staying in the hotel.
Rooms start from £89 a night
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