JC Stays: Selina NQ1, Manchester

Quirky style plus events designed for guests and locals, this Northern Quarter hotel is something rather different


It was probably not the best day to experience Selina NQ1 in Manchester, a UK first for the “experience-led hospitality group” founded by two young Israelis in 2012. Torrential rain was bucketing down as we arrived and buckets were the order of the day inside as staff dealt with a water leak.

Having navigated the route from the lift to our room, first impressions were mixed — cavernous but chilly. There was no hot water due to the repairs and the heating was off, with only a vague promise of warmth by early evening.

A second inquiry to reception resulted in the offer of an alternative room, with the caveat that this was leak affected. Happily, the downpour had all but stopped and it was infinitely cosier — plus the radiators were working. Things then improved markedly.

But a stay at one of the Selina properties is not only about where you sleep. The brand is big on “social spaces”, a credo which fits snugly with its Manchester location in the city’s buzzy Northern Quarter, home to some eclectic nightlife, alongside vintage and record shops.

With plans for music performances, workshops and pop-ups in Selina NQ1, the concept aims to bring together locals and visitors.

And if you are looking for food and entertainment inside — a particularly attractive option for us, when the alternative meant braving distinctly intemperate weather — the NQ1 site includes a coffee shop, restaurant, pub and a club area.

The informal restaurant, Wilson’s Social, honours the late Mancunian musical impresario and Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, and dishes out comfort fare washed down with some inventive cocktails. I’d heartily recommend the breakfast shakshuka.

Manchester’s musical influences are also reflected in the accommodation, which ranges in size from loft to “community shared rooms” for up to eight guests.

Our original room had a playable New Order 12-inch single to set the mood. The room we transferred to offered a Stone Roses LP, which received a late night airing on the accompanying Crosley record player.

Local designers and artists have been involved in the Selina project, with a floral illustration as the centrepiece of the wall behind our bed. The general vibe was mix and match, albeit not unpleasantly, with elements of exposed brickwork.

A stay doesn’t mean style over substance either. The room had a sofa, two armchairs and other seating, a stand-up mirror, potted plants, various rugs and tray-type bedside tables.

Clothes hanger hooks were mounted on wall fittings and the assortment of lamps and lights were fine for night-time reading. If you’re considering self-catering, a kitchen area incorporated a hob and fridge plus the standard crockery.

Being in the heart of the Northern Quarter, expect a degree of noise but nothing particularly intrusive. The city’s shopping and cultural attractions are within ten minutes’ walk and Manchester Piccadilly station is only a little further.

From its location to its quirky style and community feel, it’s not surprising there’s already a second Selina planned for the city.


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