REVIEWED: Crowne Plaza & The Laureate at Manchester’s The Lume

Mike Cheetham | 1st June 2019

Known for its already high standards, IHG might have just raised the bar for inner city stays in Manchester with its fresh new approach of a dual branded, double pack hotel concept that has never been offered to people visiting the city until now.


The Lume, a new 19-storey building on Manchester’s Corridor, boasts 212-room Crowne Plaza and a 116 Staybridge Suites. It’s influenced by the city’s diverse population and world-leading education institutions on its doorstep. The two hotels opened under one roof late last year firmly positioning itself as a first of a kind in the north for its parent company.


The Crowne Plaza offers all the normal features you’d expect for a business hotel, including an upscale restaurant called ‘The Laureate’ and a ‘Club Lounge’, seven meeting rooms and a gym which is spread over 11-storeys from the ground up. Staybridge Suites is located on the upper eight floors and offers a mix of studio and bedroom suites.


King Club Room with City View


VIVA stayed overnight at the Crowne Plaza as part of the review of the hotel and restaurant and we were pleasantly surprised with this entirely new offering.


Upon entering the hotel on one of the hottest days of year that Manchester has ever experienced, the flow of the connected spaces is immediately noticeable as the sun shined through the floor to ceiling windows. This place feels brand spanking new despite having been open for a good few months now. There wasn’t a streak, scuff or mark that you could see given the amount of light that flooded the space. It’s pristine and well looked after.


And what with its name chosen to celebrate the light-filled ‘illuminated’ hotel, and as a nod to the textile ‘loom’ associated with Manchester’s past, we certainly chose the right day to visit. It felt rather fitting what with the bright sunny weather. The place has a stylish cosmopolitan feel and we looked forward to dinner.


We won’t go into much detail about the room, or the hotel itself here, given that anyone who has stayed at a Crowne Plaza knows that it offers a solid business-leisure product.


The Club Lounge


However, what really elevates your stay at this hotel is the ‘Club Lounge’, which guests automatically get access to when a King Club room is booked.


It’s an exclusive quiet area where guests who pay for the experience can enjoy canapes and Aperitivo time, inclusive within the room rate. You can eat and drink as much as you like within a couple of hours later on in the afternoon.  It’s also open for light breakfasts and is a nice area for business folk to work.


The Laureate


Given the meeting, dining and hotel complex also shares a site with the University of Manchester’s Executive Business School, The Lume pays tribute to institution’s illustrious alumni hence the name ‘The Laureate’.


The restaurant brings together a fresh approach to international cuisine, with a menu that celebrates one of the UK’s most multicultural cities.


The hotel-restaurant’s à la carte menu is updated seasonally to combine European classics and locally sourced ingredients with Asia-Pacific flavours.


The Restaurant Colour Scheme and Cosmopolitan Vibe


With its curved leather banquettes, floor-to-ceiling windows and rich colour palette, the 120-cover restaurant is set on the ground floor of the hotel and has an open kitchen, which looked pristine clean.


There’s also a brick oven and a dedicated pizza chef. The dough is made daily and topped with San Marzano tomatoes and Fior Di Latte cheese, ensuring the artisan flatbread pizzas are fast becoming established as some of the finest in Manchester.


There’s plenty to choose from menu with nine options as starters while mains take up most it segregated depending on what you fancy i.e. meats from the grill, fish and vegetarian options from the stove, or pizza and flatbreads from the oven. This makes it easier for indecisive diners that find it difficult when ordering food from an extensive menu only to experience food envy after choosing the wrong dish.


To begin, we ordered the rabbit terrine (£7.50), which was delicious. The smoked Burrata, served with heirloom tomatoes, a large crouton and basil oil was satisfyingly creamy (£7) as you’d expect with this type of cheese. The soy and ginger beef bavette with spring onions, coriander and sourdough (£9) was equally delicious.


Onto the mains, we opted for an 8oz fillet steak, priced at £28.50, which was cooked perfectly pink. All steaks are seasoned with smoked sea salt – a little too much in our opinion – and oregano. The meat comes with caramelised shallot, shallot puree, vine tomatoes and hand cut chips. Quite simply, delicious.


The lamb rump was also served pink – it was a thing of beauty – and came with aubergine caponata, heirloom carrots and hung sumac milk. This was the gluten free option on the menu and priced at £17. There are plenty of other gluten free options, such as cornfed chicken or tuna loin with vegans and vegetarians catered for too.


The star of the show was the Vietnamese pho, an Asian style broth with chicken, coriander, rice noodles and lime. Bursting with flavour it was amazingly hearty, priced at £15.


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The servers are spot on with their service, striking up a conversation and are genuinely interested in feedback on our favourite dishes.


There weren’t many people dining in the restaurant during our visit although the space is huge. This didn’t bother us at all as it felt like we had most of the restaurant to ourselves.


Overall, it’d be difficult to find any reason why you wouldn’t want to stay or eat here. It’s a neat concept that’s well executed both in the hotel and the restaurant.


It’s also a great base for families visiting students at the university next door. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, offering everything you need if not more for a relaxing stay.


If you are on business, or just visiting family in the area, it’s a steal of deal with prices per night in a King Club room starting from £96.00.


The restaurant has a seasonal menu that often changes.   It’s located on the south side of Manchester: 55 Booth St W, M15 6PQ or call 0161 359 7037 for reservations.