Sunday, 7 December 2014

BLOGGER EXCHANGE // A Weekend Away to Manchester's #HotelOfMusic

When an invite from Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel group dropped into our inbox inviting us to spend a weekend in Manchester for their 10th anniversary to find out about the city’s iconic music scene we simply couldn’t wait to hop on a train and head for the north. Our resident presenter, Clare Harrison, set out to learn more about ‘Madchester’ and the hotel’s long history with music.
Click below for an exclusive Vlog and content from the weekend…


I had a warm welcome when I arrived in Manchester, made even more so by fellow music blogger Zoe (from Romeo and The Lonely Girl) who joined me to indulge in a weekend of music nostalgia. The Free Trade Hall was our base for the weekend and it couldn’t have been more perfect; the iconic music venue transformed into Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel effortlessly capturing modern, decadent style without losing the history and importance of the building.

Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester

Free Trade Hall; the name itself conjures flashbacks of famous shows such as David Bowie and Bob Dylan; the latter drawing shouts of “Judas” from the crowd after he famously played an electric guitar in his 1966 concert. And perhaps my favourite slice of history is that the Free Trade Hall was the venue for a concert by the Sex Pistols at the start of the punk rock movement and in attendance, Steven Morrissey who after being inspired by the show decided to go on and form a band you may have heard of; The Smiths, but more on that later.
The hotel is celebrating its 10th anniversary and couldn’t have made us feel more welcome and the building really has to be seen to be believed; not only is it a pivotal piece of music history but a centre of incredible art, culture and food; oh and the beds are the comfiest thing ever.

Radisson Blu Edwardian Room

Sienna Spa

And after getting settled into our rooms we were treated to a luxurious top-to-toe festive spa package. A detoxing body scrub, was followed by a personalised facial and then a manicure; all in the relaxing surroundings of the Sienna Spa, tucked inside the hotel itself. And we even had time to fit in a swim and sauna before heading for dinner.

The contemporary feel is carried the entire way through the hotel and Opus One, the hotel’s very own glamourous restaurant was the perfect place to be wined and dined for the evening.

Opus One

Day 2 in Manchester and after the best night’s sleep we were up and out early ready for a busy day of exploring. Radisson Blu Edwardian had kindly arranged for us to go on the famous Manchester Music tour-

Established in 2005 by Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill the company host a range of exclusive specialist driving tours such as Joy Division, Oasis and The Smiths allowing you to experience all the sights of the city and beyond that inspired the Manchester music scene. And I couldn’t have been more excited when it was revealed we were doing The Smiths/Morrissey Tour.

The Tour was absolutely sensational and the perfect thing to feed my interest in the band and Manchester. Visiting sights such as Strangeways Prison (that inspired the album “Strangeways, Here We Come”) and Morrissey’s old house were inspiring enough, yet alone a guided tour of the iconic Salford Lads Club. Made famous by the shot of the band it is the one place I had always wanted to visit and couldn’t believe our luck when, as part of the tour we had a guided tour inside it. Still a full working lads (and girls) club it is an active part of the community and Morrissey is one of the benefactors allowing the club to still help the children in the area.
It is steeped in history and the volunteers who run the club regaled us with tales of Morrissey and show us The Smiths room holding all the photos, memorabilia and messages to the band. We are told that people even send gifts to Morrissey to the club! It was truly a tick off the bucket list for myself and it is great to see that the club still does so much for the local area. And, we were let in on some news that filled me with sheer delight; Salford Lads Club, after receiving funding, will soon be able to host regular music gigs. I can’t say who has shown interest, but I can guarentee that some musical legends are wanting to play there; I am already planning a trip back to Manchester to see a show and stay again at Radisson Blu Edwardian.

After a fun filled morning and only a few hours before my train back to London Zoe showed me around the city and we checked out the huge Christmas Market which was the perfect way to toast to a successful weekend.
Thank you for having us Radisson Blu Edwardian ; it was the perfect weekend and the perfect way to celebrate your 10th anniversary. I can’t wait to do it all again in the new year when Zoe visits me down in London. Here’s the 2015