City breaks, Family accommodation, Holidays

Mummy’s first night off – the Palace Hotel

I spent my first whole night away from Tin Box Tot this week. It’s taken 17 months – more by accident than by planning – but we were both ready to give it a go.


Packed holdall and toiletries in clear bag
Packing for one!


I can understand why some people are anxious about leaving their little one for the first time. When TBT was tiny I left detailed instructions for her grandparents whenever I left her with them for a few hours. It seems ridiculous – after all, they’ve had kids – but I’m a routine freak and was definitely a bit over the top about this in the first year.

In the days before this week’s trip I experienced a range of emotions, including a lot of excitement and a little bit of guilt. It was going to be wonderful to enjoy some ‘grown up’ time. But I also had a niggling feeling that I was letting TBT down some how. The latter of course was irrational – she hardly knew I was gone before I was back.

The excuse for my one night getaway was work related – a trip to Manchester for an awards bash. It was a great evening resulting in a win for my company and a client.

Anyway, I was buzzing. Not only was I going to handover all nappy duties to Mr TB for 24 hours, I was also going to be put up in a swanky hotel.


The Palace Hotel in Manchester


The venue was the Palace Hotel in Manchester (standard double rooms from £110). I had stayed there several years before – also with work – so knew it was grand.

The hotel was originally built as the Refuge Assurance Company Chief Office in 1893. The designer was Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse, who did not hold back on the gothic glazed tiles.


Reception in The Palace Hotel
Reception at the Palace Hotel

The building became a hotel in the 1990s.

On my previous visit I was lucky enough to get a room in the front of the hotel above the Tempest Bar, which came with an amazingly comfortable bed. 


I remember sleeping like the proverbiable baby despite a little bit of traffic noise from Oxford Street below. I couldn’t wait for a similar experience, especially as the last time I had an uninterrupted night was about two years ago! 

After checking in I found I had been allocated a room at the opposite end of the building.

The decor was a little tired, but not out of place for the period of the building – the ultra modern look would not work well the the huge windows and double height ceilings.

A photo of the bed in my room at the Palace Hotel

I was pleased to find I had two tiled pillars in my room so I could appreciate the gothic design up close.

A gothic tiled pillar


Everything was lovely, a part from the train line directly outside my windows.


I clocked this as soon as I got into the room – mainly because my arrival coincided with the the 5.33pm service to Manchester Airport from nearby Oxford Road station.

A passing trains from my room window


My mistake was not asking to change rooms there and then. I assumed the noise wouldn’t be too bad and I’d be dead to the world by the time bedtime came. After all, trains have nothing on a teething/snotty toddler, right? Wrong!


Sadly, I didn’t get the restful night I had hoped for and was aching for my own bed by morning.

Other than ‘train gate’ my stay at the Palace was lovely. The food, both at the awards dinner and at breakfast the next morning, was top notch.


The starter at the awards basf
Pear, asparagus and quails egg starter


The Grand Hall, Tempest Bar and entrance were stunning. And the staff were friendly and very helpful.

The glass dome in the ceiling of reception at the Palace Hotel
The glass dome above reception 

I also loved the Tea Tree and Aloe Vera toiletries in my room. They smelt devine.


I wouldn’t hesitate to book the Palace next time I’m in Manchester. However, I would make a special request to be accommodated away from the train tracks.

Fingers crossed my next night away from TBT will involve a lot more shut eye!


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