First look inside Manchester’s newest hotel Motel One

Sean McFall, left, and Gareth Russell outside Motel One

Manchester’s newest hotel has opened its doors, earlier than planned and just over a week after practical completion.

The 302-room Motel One Royal Exchange has welcomed  its first guests well in advance of the planned September launch.

The first rooms were available over the weekend, and the rest will be coming on line over the coming weeks. The early opening came almost two years to the day after the city’s first Motel One opened near to Piccadilly train station.

Construction of the new hotel in Cross Street was completed ahead by Manchester-based contractor Russells Construction, despite the complexities of the project, and with four more bedrooms than originally planned.

Russells demolished the existing 1980s building while retaining the original 19th century Victorian façade, and constructed a nine-storey new build (including basement) in the heart of one of the city’s busiest areas, while also protecting two adjoining buildings, two ground floor retail stores which remained accessible throughout, and a live electricity substation.

Relocation of the building services plant and equipment also allowed the contractor to install four additional bedrooms on the top floor, increasing capacity from the planned 298 to 302, making Motel One-Royal Exchange one of the largest hotels in the city.

Gareth Russell, director of Russells Construction said: “It’s safe to say the team has exceeded expectations with this project.

“To deliver a city centre scheme ahead of programme is a great achievement, and with the added value of four extra rooms, is hugely appreciated by the client and is something they should all be proud of.

“We had some excellent subcontractors working with us, under the experienced and dedicate eye of the Russells Major Projects team.

“There were some complex elements to the project, not least the controlled demolition of the existing building behind the retained façade, which was attached to both its neighbours and of course the two ground floor retail units.

“We brought it down floor by floor and, while it took longer than a standard demolition, this technique was safer and more appropriate for the busy city centre location. In the end, this was completed far more quickly than anticipated which, combined with the use of the lightweight steel frame, prefabricated bathroom pods, and the team’s expertise in tying the new build back into the old sections, we were pleased to hand over the project ahead of schedule.”

Designed by Stephen Studio, Leach Rhodes Walker, and Healey consulting, the new build section was carefully designed to sit behind the existing Portland stone façade. The hotel houses a stylishly designed public bar and seating area, with unique Manchester-inspired artwork, and underground staff parking for 25 vehicles.

Motel One-Royal Exchange is the German budget design hotel brand’s second in the city. The 330-bed Motel One-Manchester Piccadilly, also built by Russells, opened in London Road in 2015. Plans have been submitted for a third hotel in St Peter’s Square.

Sean McFall, area manager for Motel One in Manchester, is delighted to be welcoming his first guests earlier than anticipated. He said: “We don’t like to hang about here at Motel One. Once practical completion was confirmed, we set about putting the finishing touches to the public areas and the first 100 or so rooms, and opened to visitors almost immediately.

“We’re really pleased to be taking bookings early, especially as it’s almost coincided with the second anniversary of Motel One-Manchester Piccadilly which opened on June 15 2015. Since then, it has proved extremely popular and often demand has outstripped supply, so it’s great to have another option to offer visitors this summer.

“The new hotel is a very special part of the Motel One portfolio, with a character all of its own thanks to the beautiful original façade. We’ve combined an important part of Manchester’s heritage with cool modern design to create a hotel that we hope guests will love, and will come back to time and again.”