Mint Hotels, formerly The City Inn here in Manchester, have always surprised Gordo with their food and beverage attitude; it’s healthy. One of the best-selling offers here on Manchester Confidential is the Sunday lunch, at £7.95 it’s a bargain. The hotel views the deal as a marketing exercise rather than a straight money maker; the idea being if they entice three or four hundred Confidential readers in, you can get an idea of the quality that lurks within this very modern, sleek building, hopefully luring you back.
Like many readers, this writer has never stayed in the Mint; so it was going to be interesting to try out the Mint in London, the one at Tower Hill. This is unusual for Gordo as he like to be in the West End and close to the action. It turned out well, with good reason.
Firstly, it is very good value. Secondly, the experience is as smooth as silk, from check in to check out. The food and drink, like Manchester, boxes well above its weight. And lastly, the tube system.
Now you may be reading this and wondering why Gordo is commenting on the Tube. Well, for starters it’s 100 metres away. Tower Hill. Then, you need to realise that in his previous life, Gordo was chauffeured around London in a Daimler, by the lovely Pauline, his chauffeuse. He didn’t do Tube stations. Mainly because he used to get lost in them, whilst being a touch claustrophobic. Unpleasant. He had also watched too many Michael Winner movies; he was always ready for the inevitable attack from rabid drug addicts with switch blades. That, and the Zombie movies, used to put him off.
However, nowadays, with a business still in the bootstrap phase, Gordo has to show willing. Arriving at the newly opened LondonConfidential.co.uk offices an hour late, the Editor, Casey ‘the carving knife’ Gillespie asked him why he was late.
“I got lost on the Tube” says Gordo.
“Oh Dear” says The Knife. “Haven’t you downloaded the Tube app?”
“What the fuck’s an app?” thinks Gordo. “No, show me” says Gordo…
What a little diamond. The following morning Gordo arrived at The Ritz on Piccadilly by Green Park in eighteen minutes, for £2.50. This App has changed his life.
Back to the Hotel. The public areas are contemporary and cool. There is a big, airy reception, with a great little bar to keep the brain going. Another, The Fenchurch bar, has seats which look fab, but uncomfortable; until you sit on them and realise just how comfortable they are actually. Diet Coke in bottles and a very solid rum selection along with a great girl looking after him, made Gordo feel at home.
There is a rooftop bar called the SkyLounge, part indoors and part out with a barbecue area. The views are spectacular; they can remove knickers in minutes. The lady on reception here is spectacularly great, in every sense of the word. The usual suspects when it comes to cocktails and a good wine list.
Gordo ate in the Market restaurant, for ease, expecting a good dinner. He didn’t get one, he got a great dinner. He will be writing a scored review for LondonConfidential.co.uk when it opens, but three helpings of bread and butter goes some way to indicating what he was thinking, as well as a recommendation from his brother, Chris, who had the best steak this year. Coming from a trained butcher, this was praise indeed.
The rooms are about 80 per cent of the usual size, the bathrooms not having baths but showers only. This enables The Mint brand to be competitively priced. The rooms are, however, brilliantly appointed, from steam irons which actually work, beds on which you can actually sleep and your own Apple Mac computer upon which you can actually work. The White Company goodies and Green and Black chocolate in the fridge made for a memorable stay.
Oh, by the way, a first: You can bloody well open a window for fresh air.
Look for deals at the weekend in the usual places, there are some bargains here at the weekends, it’s packed during the week but still relatively hidden from view at the weekend. Take a look at their website, it has all the knowledge on it.
The Mint Hotel, Tower Hill, London.
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