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Hotel Review: Dakota Hotel, Manchester

dakota hotel

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In my experience, TripAdvisor is not usually the most reliable source of information.

A useful guide, sure, but generally a bit of an untrustworthy attempt at introducing hierarchy to the food establishments of a particular place.

Take Altrincham. Now we are blessed with an unusually high standard of eateries in our town, but there’s something a bit fishy about a medium-sized town that can justifiably have 21 better restaurants than Sigiriya, 24 better than Porta, and 80 better than Honest Crust. I mean, for goodness sake.

food at dakota hotel

So in accepting an invitation to visit Dakota, the cynic in me poured a giant bucket of cold water on the accompanying claim that this was, according to the aforementioned reviews website, the number one hotel in Manchester.

Opening last May, this 137-room hotel is actually the fifth Dakota and is a concept developed by hotelier Ken McCulloch, who famously bought the Malmaison brand for £100 and turned it into the UK’s first boutique hotel chain.

chilling at hotel dakota

With just over half an acre of the car park to work with, the Dakota is quite an achievement architecturally and one that has a kind of brooding presence in Piccadilly Basin. The Manhattan vibes are strong.

McCulloch said when launching Dakota that, for him, the most important thing is a hotel that “makes you feel special”. And boy does he deliver on that front. You’re only yards from the Piccadilly rat run, but step inside this hotel and you enter a world that absolutely makes you feel better: whether it’s the subtle lighting that makes it feel perpetual midnight, the unfailingly cheery staff, the lifesize shaggy textile dog in reception, or just the gorgeous design and furniture in every direction, this is just a stunning place to be.

at dakota hotel

It’s little wonder the stars seem to be staying here now in Manchester, including the Greatest Showman himself, Hugh Jackman.

Our king-sized room, like all the rooms here, owed its meticulous finish to acclaimed interior designer Amanda Rosa, whose fondness for dark and plush textures is in evidence throughout. There are apparently 20 luxury suites here – the most in Manchester – and the Grand Deluxe penthouse claims to be the largest and grandest in town.

Garden king-sized bed

We ate at the Dakota Grill, a classically inspired brasserie that doesn’t set out to do anything except the simple things well. There’s no pretension here, just well-executed food with some delicious combinations. My French onion soup with gruyere was a highlight, but the closing Bakewell pudding was a baked-from-scratch delight. It deserves to stand alone on the Manchester dining circuit. Breakfast was excellent, too.

Beef fillet

So well done reviewers of Manchester, or however else you achieve a number one TripAdvisor ranking. For once, you have got it to spot on.

delicious dessert
Inside Dakota Hotel
Dakota Hotel Exterior

Dakota Hotel, 29 Ducie Street, Manchester M1 2JL. More info:

Written by
David Prior

David Prior is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and the editor of Big Family Breaks. He is also a father of five and an experienced traveller, especially with kids.

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