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The Lowry Hotel and QMS Skin Spa review

In the bustling heart of Manchester, Connor McGovern finds a tranquil escape in the five-star Lowry Hotel

The hotel
It might officially be across the border in Salford, but The Lowry’s location in the beating heart of Manchester is hard to beat. Flanking the River Irwell, it’s just a short walk from Victoria station and the bustle of Deansgate. Sweeping, curved glass characterises this five-star retreat, flooding the roomy reception with light. Distinctly modern The Lowry may be, but it’s proud of its Northern roots — I love the black-and-white shots of the city, and the ‘What Manchester thinks today, England thinks tomorrow’, quote on one of the walls.

The spa
I’m told at front desk to press ‘R’ in the lift for ‘Restaurant’ and ‘Relaxation’. What an excellent combination, and within minutes of finishing breakfast, friendly Nicole is showing me through the QMS Skin Spa, before I sit back in my fluffy dressing gown and take five in the Relaxation Room. The rooms and furniture are swan-white. They feel fresh and calm, and with touches of bright blue, it also feels like a true extension to the hotel downstairs, providing a seamless route to rejuvenation.

The treatment
As the lights dim, I start with a full back and shoulder massage to set the tone, almost lulling me to sleep. I’ve opted for an express facial — perhaps a little blindly as it’s my first — but I feel suitably relaxed as my face is lightly massaged with a refreshing, orange-scented liquid protein. I’m warned about what’s coming next, though it’s strangely therapeutic: a cool slather of clay-like facemask that quickly firms up like rubber. After a few, slightly unnerving moments in darkness, it’s peeled off, leaving my skin feeling notably fresher, as well as smoother and suppler. Afterwards, I work up a sweat in the sauna — the perfect way to fully unwind.

I bed down in one of the hotel’s sophisticated River Suites, its star attraction the floor-to-ceiling windows giving onto the river. The room, designed by local artist Alan Rankle, is beautifully tranquil — I can’t hear anything from outside — and, like much of the hotel, space is plentiful. The furniture, set against the muted tones of the décor, brings a splash of spring-like colour to the room, with the centrepiece an enormous upholstered headboard that stands curved behind the bed. The kitchenette offers plenty to make my stay extra comfortable, from a range of teas and coffee to snacks and spirits.

I linger for a little too long over the tremendous continental spread at breakfast. With fresh fruit, pastries, cereals, juices, cooked meats and cheeses, I’m truly spoilt for choice. The self-serve full English sets me up for a day out and about in Manchester, although there are extra à la carte options, such as pancakes, waffles and eggs benedict.

If it’s an inner city sanctuary with an aura of luxury you’re after, The Lowry is the perfect choice.


Express facials start from £40, with deep-tissue massages from £60.

Standard doubles start at £169 per night, with the Riverside Suite from £700.

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