Short stay: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester, UK
Designed by Bolton-based Bradshaw, Gass and Hope, construction of the Manchester Stock Exchange took place from 1904 to 1906. This exquisite example of Edwardian Baroque architecture was a symbol of the optimism for Manchester’s future growth prospects at a time when the city’s cotton industry was thriving. It’s difficult to imagine nowadays but back then Manchester was the ninth most populous city in the world (with London, New York and Paris taking the top three spots).
The Northern Stock Exchange, as it was also known, continued to trade until as recently as the year 2000. The Grade II Listed dbuilding then served as a restaurant and offices before being purchased by former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville in 2013. Two years later, they were granted permission to transform it into the luxury hotel we see today; it opened to the public in November 2019 and was selected by Luxury Travel Intelligence as one of the World’s Best New Luxury Hotels for 2020.
We were given the warmest of welcomes at The Stock Exchange Hotel reception by Eric and Sam, who led us through to the Traders Lounge for a welcome glass of Champagne, whilst our bags were taken to our room.
Shortly afterwards, we were accompanied to our room by Deepak and enjoyed chatting to him about the history of the building as we passed photographs, some partially colorised, of a bygone era of trading.
There are 40 rooms at the hotel. We stayed in room 1906 (the room number denoting the year of the building’s completion) on the newly-built fourth floor – also known as the Goldstone Suite, covering 106 square metres, and one of two signature suites in the hotel. A framed plan in the corridor shows you what this floor once looked like: it housed all the utilities for the Stock Exchange, in addition to allowing access for repairs to the grand dome of The House trading floor, before being re-designed by JM Architects to house 5 executive suites.
The suite has two separate entrances that lead into an open plan living space, kitchenette and dining area. A rich green corner sofa provides comfortable viewing for the 60″ Smart TV which comes with a Sky Sports Package, as well as access to BT Sports.
The kitchenette is equipped with an oven and Nespresso machine, and all the amenities you might need. But don’t forget… there’s an excellent restaurant downstairs (read on) as well as the option for room service.
Leading off from this area are en suite bedrooms on both sides. Both offer ample space and are tastefully furnished with neutral tones and parquet-effect vinyl flooring. Each has a super-comfortable king size bed, marble-topped dressing table and full-length mirror.
The contemporary bathrooms are clean-cut and bright, with double-vanity basins and spacious, walk-in rain showers.
Dessing gowns and slippers are provided, along with Noble Isle toiletries. This range of fine toiletries is created with natural extracts, sourced from around the British Isles: Perry Pear Shampoo and Conditioner from Gloucestershire Orchards, Summer Rising Bath and Shower Gel from Cornish Hedgerows, and Fireside Body Lotion from Mynwy Valley.
The main facility of note at the Stock Exchange Hotel is the Bull & Bear Restaurant, named after stock market terms, which occupies what was once the trading floor of the stock exchange.
Marble pillars and an incredible domed ceiling make this a rather grand dining room, but it is popular with hotel guests and locals alike, so had a buzzing atmoshphere.
The menu offers an appealing mix of British brasserie classics, brought to you by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge and his team.
We bypassed the tempting table snacks that included ‘Salt Pig Chorizo and Fennel Beer Sticks’, instead opting for starters of ‘Roasted Hand Dived Scallop with Pickled Crown Prince Pumpkin and Smoked Butter Sauce’, ‘Nettlebed Creamery Cheese Soufflé with Candied Walnuts and Grape Salad’ (both pictured), ‘Salt Cod Scotch Egg with Coconut and Coriander Sauce, Pickled Mango’ and ‘Duck Liver Parfait with Fig and Cherry Chutney and Toasted Brioche’, all of which were as excellent as they sound.
Our mains included ‘Belly of Blythburgh Pork with Marmite Glazed Hasselback Artichoke, Smoked Hazelnuts and Pear Ketchup’…
…’Dry Aged Yorkshire Duck Breast with Confit Leg Hashbrown, Red Currants, Hoisin and Purple Sprouting Broccoli’…
…whilst I had the ‘Fillet of Hereford 28-Day Dry Aged Beef, B&B Chips, Onion Rings, Tarragon and Green Peppercorn Sauce’, cooked rare, which was to die for.
Most of us passed on desserts (for no other reason than we were already content with what we’d had) but I have it on good authority from my son that the ‘Garriguette Strawberry Baba with Vanilla Ice Cream and Basil’ is to be recommended!
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The same room is used for an a la carte breakfast each morning, offering everything from overnight oats with cinnamon and apple to waffles with Vermont maple syrup. Eggs Benedict, Royale or Florentine are usually my first port of call, and are all on the menu…
..as is The B&B Full English, which consists of Honey Glazed Bacon, Bury Black Pudding, Hash Brown, Cumberland Sausage, Grilled Tomato, Field Mushroom and Egg (Fried, Poached or Scrambled).
Other places of note within the hotel include The Bank – used for exclusive private dining experiences for up to 14 people – and The Vault, a meeting space where wine tasting experiences take place on the third Wednesday of every month.
Situated on Norfolk Street in the centre of Manchester, the Stock Exchange Hotel is only 100 metres from the Royal Exchange Theatre (also designed by Bradshaw, Gass and Hope) and just around the corner from the city’s Arndale Centre which perhaps most famously houses Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Primark, but is also home to around 200 other shops, including the likes of Apple and Burberry. Whitworth Art Gallery is also just a 5-minute walk away.
Other nice touches
In addition a welcome glass of Champagne on arrival, the hotel serves a ‘cake of the day’ in the Traders Lounge. In our room we were also greeted with a personal welcome note, some flapjack and a signed postcard from Tom Kerridge.
The John Gass Collection Room (20-25 sq m / 215-269 sq ft) starts from £162 per night.
The Goldstone Suite (106 sq m / 1,141 sq ft) – featured here – starts from £850 per night.
The best bit
Whilst our room was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed a superb dinner at the restaurant, the one thing that really stood out was the exceptional personal attention from the staff and their consistently charming nature. Be it the warm welcome we received, the General Manager personally visiting us at dinner to introduce herself, chatting to the sommelier about wine regions in Spain, our request for a late check-out being accommodated, or the attentiveness and humour of staff at breakfast, everyone we encountered was faultless in their professionalism and attention to detail.
The final verdict
The unique history of this iconic Manchester city building has been preserved in a contemporary way, fitting for a city that has continued to thrive in recent decades. And, on the face of our visit, the hotel’s recent rise to the number #1 spot on Tripadvisor, in a list of 138 hotels in Manchester, is richly deserved.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by The Stock Exchange Hotel.