Despite the national Covid restrictions, I have been required to attend court in person on several occasions in the past few months.
One of the trips I’ve made is to Manchester. Due to the distance from London, I’ve had to stay overnight. Most of the hotels in central Manchester are currently
closed, including the Lowery where I stayed on my last visit to the city for this one particular case which keeps going part heard.
However, the very helpful court clerk recommended the Marriott Victoria and Albert hotel on Water street, which is a 2-3 minute walk from the Manchester civil justice centre where the family court is housed.
Travelling to court in the era of covid is different to the trips I made daily during normal times. Firstly, it I was stopped at the station entrance by transport police and asked the reason for my trip.
But the trains are way less busy and I’ve had a table seat to myself on each trip. The trains are not any more clean than usual. Although I did see a guard wiping down the handles on each carriage door on the Avanti service from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, the inside was still somewhat grubby.
By contrast, the hotel was spotless and most of the staff wore masks. Again I had to explain the reason for my short stay and I had to fill in a form about it.
Breakfast was included in my stay but the food choices were limited to what could be delivered in a bag and left outside the room in the morning.
Similarly, room service in the evening was more limited but hot food was on the menu.
The hotel itself is a striking Grade II listed building on the banks of the River Irwell. The rooms I stayed in on two trips were delightful and wonderfully cosy. There was complimentary Wi-Fi and bottled water, a television that worked (!) and good quality toiletries in the bathroom.
Although I was only interested in being close to the court, the hotel is also very well located for Manchester’s social, shopping and dining attractions (although none were currently open, of course).
So, if you find yourself in England third main city, I definitely recommend the Marriot as a base.