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Sachas Hotel: Reviewed

David Blake expects the worst but gets the average

Written by . Published on November 21st 2013.


Sachas Hotel: Reviewed
 

RECENTLY you may have seen Sleuth break the news that Britannia Hotels are crap.

Shocker that one.

Surely the room couldn't just be ok. That's where this whole facade would come crashing down. Perhaps an axe murderer lay in wait behind the shower curtain

Readers of consumer magazine Which? Travel had voted the Britannia hotel group the worst of them all. Scoring only 36% in an online satisfaction survey, well below second bottom Travelodge with 50%, Ramada with 51%, Jurys Inn with 56% while at the top of the tree stood Premier Inns with 76%, the Radisson Blu Edwardian with 77% and QHotels (The Midland Hotel is the Manchester representative) crowned the champ with 78%.

Rated across six categories, Britannia scored a pitiful one out of five for cleanliness, room fixtures and value for money.

The very OK roomThe very OK room

The chain has hotels on Portland Street, Tib Street in the Northern Quarter, one in Didsbury and one at the airport. A quick visit to TripAdvisor will tell you that Sachas on Tib Street is not only the worst of all the Manchester Britannias, but one of the worst hotels in all of Manchester, with around half of its customers rating it as ‘terrible’.

It doesn’t make for pretty reading: “The hotel is a crack den”… “This hotel is shocking”… “the hairdryer began to melt and nearly set on fire”… “Horrendous, appalling, filthy cess-pit”… “like Fawlty Towers”… “this should be closed down” - and they were the better ones.

So, naturally, this is the Britannia that the editor would have me stay at.

On the way over, I was considering all the places that I’d rather be staying than Sachas: the deepest darkest corner of the Mariana Trench, anywhere in Scunthorpe, or perhaps sharing a Guantanamo cell with Joseph Fritzl and Hannibal Lecter.

But you know what… It really wasn’t all that bad.

Yes, the building itself, tucked behind Debenhams on Market Street, could barely be more vulgar. The huge red neon sign plastered above the entrance makes the place look like a bordello, those weird abscesses glued to the side of the building are made of fibre-glass and utterly pointless, as are the golden grates, and the building itself could do with a lick of paint, ideally a sand blasting. It’s grubby. All the while, across the road a vagrant pisses up against Debenham's fire escape. This portion of Tib Street is grim.

GrubbyGrubby

Foyer: RedFoyer: Red

Inside it’s all oversized chintzy chandeliers, glass on the ceilings, sagging leaflets, faux hollow Corinthian columns and red, just lots of tired red. Red carpets, red sofas, red roping and a red KitKat vending machine. But what I found most surprising, after all the tales of doom and gloom, was that I didn’t find anything particularly offensive. Just very faded.

In which case, the staff must be utter bastards.

Well, no actually.

Granted, it did take the receptionist around the same time to find me a room and check me in as it took the Chinese to build the entire Great Wall. But this was only her second day and she’d been left at reception to mostly fend for herself. Well that’s what she told me as she typed away with one hand, slapped the printer around with the other and answered seventeen phones with her feet.

Downstairs: The oars

Downstairs: The oars

Downstairs in a vast but ghostly quiet bar/restaurant, it looked as though, in some vain attempt to modernise, the management had thrown in four hundred black faux leather dining chairs and a couple of oddly placed multi-coloured disco lights into the middle of a scene from Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights in order to spruce things up a tad. It hadn't worked.

It was how I imagine an 80s Butlins dining room to have looked. One in Bognor. With a ship's wheel and oars inexplicably stuck to the walls and ceiling. Quite where this oddly placed touch of the nautical came from nobody knew. Not even the Duty Manager. Neither did he know why the hotel was called Sachas. Possibly something to do with a cow. Right.

Captain's wheel?Captain's wheel?

Still, nothing abhorrent down here. No kraken patrolling the tired and grimy looking pool which was thankfully closed. No neo-Nazi ruling the bar, just a young, chatty and ever so slightly defeated bar manager.

The food then must be dire.

But once again things turned out to be distinctly average. The steak (£13) was the only one I've ever had that looked entirely rare but tasted well done. It was chewy, over-priced and of poor quality, but not inedible. You'd certainly hope not for £13. The chips were chips.

The waiter though was fantastic (I believe he was called Victor), an older Mediterranean-looking chap running around on his own, a one man band who looked as though he'd been lifted from a family run seafood restaurant on a small Greek fishing harbour. He was a work horse and a credit to Britannia, a star amongst a sea of mediocrity.

Edible steak (£13)Edible steak (£13)

I was beginning to wonder if I was in the right hotel. Where was the "crack-den"? Where was the "cess-pit"?

Surely the room couldn't just be ok. That's where this whole facade would come crashing down. Perhaps an axe murderer lay in wait behind the shower curtain, maybe I'd find there to be only three walls, a mattress made of granite and a pillow filled with nuts and bolts.

Wrong again. The room, the 'cheapest' they had (the word cheapest being in inverted commas because £75 is not cheap for the lowest tariff room in a low-grade hotel), was on the second floor and completely windowless. Unsurprisingly, Britannia prefer not to refer to it as a ‘windowless room’, they refer to it as a ‘City Room’ – which is terribly ironic considering that you can't actually see any of the city in a City Room.

DustyDusty

Still, it wasn't great but by no means was it the hell-hole I'd been expecting. Yes it was tired, but then the whole hotel was tired, there was a bed, two in fact, and surprisingly comfy at that. OK so the lamp shades could hardly have been more skew-whiff, the armchairs gave frayed a bad name, there was a stain on my pillow, no natural light, a good helping of dust, a TV shipped in from 1995, a telephone above the sink, a metal bottle opener nailed to the bathroom wall, a shower that could peel the skin off a rhino and a constant but seemingly unstoppable blowing emanating from the ceiling, like a 50W hairdryer. All night long.

This is me trying to turn it off:

But it was no 'cess-pit'. There was no sign of, as the editor once found in a Britannia hotel, a baguette from 1972 hidden under the mattress.

It had all been, from a reviewer's perspective at least, both relievingly uneventful and disappointingly uneventful. Nothing to praise or lambaste, just a succession of things to greet with: "Hmm"... "Alright"... "OK"..."Meh".

It was all so terribly knackered and boring. Give me a Fawlty Towers any day.

Oh no wait, the breakfast was a f**king travesty. Ahh that feels much better.

Follow @David8Blake on twitter.

Sachas, Tib Street, Piccadilly, Manchester, M4 1SH. 0871 222 0018

Economy city twin room £75. Breakfast (don't do it) £5 on booking. £10.99 on the morning.

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37 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

@ShaunathegrinchNovember 21st 2013.

Haha! Love the video! I've heard about those 'city rooms', we were looking around to put someone up, and I think a shitty city room is the same price as a room at The Palace! Ridiculous!

Alex24November 21st 2013.

Thought it must have been doing something right (or OK) to stay open for so long. I'd be interested to know how the building design - knock-off of the palace from Aladdin - ever gained planning permission.

AnonymousNovember 21st 2013.

Never mind the oars, did you not notice the enormous great canoe clamped to the ceiling in the bar, that doubles up as a light fixture? Classy!

Poster BoyNovember 21st 2013.

Punchbag...

DavidNovember 21st 2013.

There is nothing wrong with cheap hotels.All tourist cities like Edinburgh and London have.Not everybody can afford to stay in a Hilton.In Manchester we need more cheaper accommodation especially to attract younger tourists.We have Premier Inn and Travelodge but their pricing is like budget airlines,not always constantly cheap and never on a Saturday night.How many young couples could afford to get a room then,when the rates will be over £100.I would welcome the windowless rooms of Easyhotel and Tunes if they provided more competition and lower prices.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

'Younger tourists' are more likely to use Airbnb, sofa surf, or one of MCR's fairly decent youth hostels before booking into one of these hellish places. There's 'affordable' and there's embarrassingly grotty. The two are not co-constitutive.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

It's fairly obvious you don't know much about the current accommodation offer in Manchester David, or the demographic of our visitors.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

Co-constitutive? Blimey, that's a word i'n't it?

DavidNovember 22nd 2013.

Have you looked at the prices hostels charge in Manchester?.They are hardly cheap.Manchester fails to attract north many of the young people who only visit London and The South East.More needs to be done to attract them to Manchester and that includes more cheaper hotels.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

As I said David, it's fairly obvious you don't know much about the current accommodation offer (I'll add 'including prices') or demographic of our visitors. Take it from someone who does, that you're waffling, as usual, about things you know little about.

AnonymousNovember 24th 2013.

If these tourists can afford rooms in London, I hardly think the reason they're not coming to Manchester is because of the price of accommodation.

BethDecember 11th 2013.

I completely agree with David! I have studied for my degree for four years now in Manchester and know the city and its hotels very well (having worked in a few of them part time). Most hotels nation wide work on a tier rate system, so when rooms are in demand the price increases. It is simple supply and demand. However in Manchester the room rates increase vastly when something is on in Manchester Central or the MEN, and the hotels (even the good ones) charge more than is reasonable especially on a weekend. Manchester does attract young people and that is the primary audience! We are the second biggest city in the UK for events be that music, sporting or cultural and we are one of the largest cities for students too. One of the main reasons that Manchester has to turn down events, and therefore looses a great amount of money, is a lack of affordable accomodation. On the other hand it is clear that there is a difference between clean affordable budget hotels, and hotels that are trying to be something which they clearly arent.

rinkydinkNovember 21st 2013.

Sachas and Britannia hotels are both disgusting - embarrassments to Manchester

Christine KilbyNovember 21st 2013.

You were lucky. I had no choice with a packed Birmingham city centre but to stay in the Britannia - worst experience of my life. Dirty, dangerous, every health and safety rule in the book broken and to cap it all a virtually sleepless night in a disturbingly unpleasant room. Next morning I had a streaming cold and had been attacked in the night by an army of bed bugs. Couldn't wait to get out. They could shove their inclusive 'breakfast'.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

Nice review Dave, I think you got lucky not having to spend the night in the Manc Airport Britannia. There was triple glazed windows to keep out the sound of the motorway that surrounded it and no air conditioning, My girlfriend and I nearly suffocated! Then they tried to poisen us with the breakfast buffet. Still you come out appreciating that you survived, so every cloud ..... Nice determination on the video btw.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AndrewNovember 22nd 2013.

This made me laugh a great deal!!!

Jonathan MoranNovember 22nd 2013.

Is it true that rooms have a 'per hour' rate or is that an urban myth?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

It is, but some of the guests have an hourly rate I believe.

EugeneNovember 22nd 2013.

Brilliant article. Haven't laughed so much in ages. Must get the in laws to stay here

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

Hotels like Sachas stay open because of large block booking contacts. There are a number of airlines that put up their flight staff in Sachas. I think this review might have had a different tone if you were the wrong end of a 9 hour flight.

DavidNovember 22nd 2013.

This hotel and all Britannia hotels are not that great.But was that the motivation of this article?,It's clear the editor of this website has an issue with this hotel company,as do many Of the cities Labour luvies .because of the firestation they not redeveloped.If you want to find crap interiors,badly managed you would not have to look long if you looked at buildings under the control of the local council.Some of which ,like at Heaton Park are in a terrible state.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

Hahaha, amazing effort at finding an convoluted angle from which to shove in your completely off-topic agenda! It takes a very special mind to find a party political subtext in a hotel review. Plain nutcase.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

It's a hotel review mate, calm down.

DavidNovember 22nd 2013.

What other hotel reviews has Manchester Confidential done?.Since when did they start reviewing hotel rooms?.If you think this article was not motivated by the editors agenda you are very naive.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

Where did I say the article wasn't motivated by an agenda? You should read more carefully and respond to the comment I actually made, rather than your imagined meaning of it. An agenda against Britannia is one thing. trying to relate it to party politics and the state of council-owned properties is something else entirely and is where you showed that you've lost the plot.

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

Have they dropped your medication levels again David? It's just that you your own paranoid 'agenda' against 'the editor' (can't you bring yourself to call him Jonathan, is that too familiar?) has started to rise to the surface once again.

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 22nd 2013.

Honestly David you see agendas when there are none. I think the lack of development of London Road Fire Station is shocking but I told Monsieur Blake of Le Ville de Grimsby to write this because of the Which report. No other reason. Conspiracy theories usually crap.

silkyNovember 22nd 2013.

Complete and utter shit hole, always has been!!

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

SACHAS has always been a dump...SHAME of Manchester....Britannia ONLY a little better...

haydayNovember 23rd 2013.

I think you're being a bit unfair on the Brittania chain here. Having stayed at quite a few of their abodes (and don't forget they've picked up a few decent ones recently like the Daresbury Park) you can't knock them for value for money and location. Granted, Afflecks looks a tad more inviting and that "sign" wouldn't look out of place in Toontown but come on, dinner, b&b with wine for £55? Who cares what the steaks like. Just fill up on custard

John BrocklehurstNovember 24th 2013.

One of the funniest articles i have read for a long time, love it. The video is genius.

Glynn WhymentNovember 24th 2013.

Having got married in the this great City Centre of ours last weekend and welcomed at least half the guests from outside of Manchester, many from London, Edinburgh and Germany, I'm very sorry to say the standards in the wide variety of hotels in which they stayed were really quite shoddy, ours included. Noisy, shabby, uncomfortable and in a few cases dirty were some of the complaints I was embarassed to hear after inviting people to visit my home City of which I am proud. Furthermore the prices were extremely over-inflated, I'm guessing because of the Xmas markets with rooms in budget hotels costing £100 a night as far back as June. It is right that Manchester Confidential reviews as many hotels as possible and also in my opinion correct that as an earlier contributor complained (and was derided for), that there is a lack of inexpensive yet clean and professionally run hotels. Of the Palace, Thistle, Jury's, Merchants, Britannia, Blue Rainbow central and Days Inn, only the latter came away with much credit. It should also be noted that the several guests who stayed in flats and rooms rented privately on airbnb were very impressed in all cases. Come on Manchester, raise your game!!

tblzebraNovember 24th 2013.

It's unrealistic to expect to get a cheap, high quality hotel room in any major city on a Saturday night, except possibly during January. Prices fluctuate according to demand, just like they do for air travel. And Glynn, I can't believe you didn't stop your wedding guests booking The Merchants 'Hotel', unless they were people you dislike massively? Why didn't your guests all stay at one of the many Travelodges if they wanted cheap, OK quality accommodation on a weekend during the Christmas markets?

Glynn WhymentNovember 25th 2013.

Guests weren't expecting high quality for low prices, of course that's unrealistic. However we should be able to guarantee clean rooms and polite staff at average prices which comparable European cities offer. Travelodges were commanding £200 fri-sun for Ancoats and M.E.N which weren't convenient anyway and in my experience are full of stag dos at the weekend. Many guests stayed at Days for £160 which they were satisfied with. A couple stayed in dusty windowless room at Palace for £220 and had to wait an hour to check in and 3 friends in the most basic Premier Inn "triple room" that only had a double and single bed paid £230. All rooms were booked months back. Of course rates will reflect supply and demand but hotels are undoubtedly overcharging while their standards still require improving. As for the couple at the Merchants, they did it without my knowing and afterwards said they wouldn't wish it upon their worst enemy.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 25th 2013.

£220 for a Travelodge. I am always surprised the way they, and premier inns, give the impression they have a ceiling to their prices yet as soon as there is boxing on in the city they invent a price! a price never before seen in the land of the Travelodge.

AnonymousMay 24th 2014.

Wow! You’ve certainly done a great job by posting this bit of information for the benefit of us viewers. It’s so great to know that the Internet is not a dumb place after all.c

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