What happens when a 27-year-old and a 70-year-old go to Manchester

‘Well, Jesus Christ, isn’t that very fancy.’

If I had £1 for every time my 70-year-old father said that line on a recent visit to Manchester city, I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d definitely be able to afford a nice meal out.

My dad is a true Irish man. From a farming background, he likes to remind me of oil lamps and having to go to the toilet in the fields every time I bring up a millennial issue.

He doesn’t like anything fancy or haughty. He despises people making a fuss of him. He likes life to be plain and simple with the odd holiday to the Costa Del Sol thrown in.

When I was invited to stay at the uber cool hotel The Alan in Manchester, I thought it the perfect time to indulge my parents in a trip away.

My mum is 63 and like me, enjoys the finer things in life every once in a while. She doesn’t mind when people make a fuss and likes life to be fun and varied with many trips to the Costa Del Sol thrown in.

So when we arrived to The Alan on a summer evening, she took to her surroundings like a duck to water.

She oohed and aahed at the chic and clean interiors of the reception area, which feels like you are about to enter a trendy private members club instead of a city hotel.

The hotel is a unique six-storey setting situated right across from the Manchester Art Gallery, in the heart of the city, next to Chinatown and the central shopping district.

An old building, much work was carried out to remain as true to the original structure as possible. Exposed pipes are featured across the hotel and each room has an almost loft feel about it.

Shaggy rugs and rustic walls keep the atmosphere warm and comforting but there is a cosmopolitan edge to the interiors which is very welcome.

In truth, I didn’t know what my father would think.

A form of house music plays lowly in the reception area and I thought this would be his first strike but he didn’t seem to notice.

He walked into the room and at first glance said: ‘You know what would do me Édaein, a bed and a pillow. That’s all I need.’

My father has a penchant for being a martyr for the cause. Years of manual labour means he talks about life as if he is Jesus on the cross suffering for the ills of all others.

However, within a few minutes of surveying the room, a hint of a smile crept on his face. I think he decided that for one weekend, he would take classy comfort over generational Irish suffering.

Manchester itself is a bustling and buzzy city and The Alan is in the heart of it all. We were only a short walk away from the main shopping centre Arndale and upmarket Selfridges.

Pubs are a plenty and of course, Irish being Irish, we happened upon a fantastic spot called Mulligans. While we didn’t meet far out relations, we did meet two lovely Mancunians who said they enjoyed the ‘craic’ of an Irish bar more than an English bar.

We hopped home happy after that.

No trip to Manchester would be complete without a visit to one of the top footballing stadiums. Our choice was Old Trafford.

Not one of us have any interest in football but it is a fascinating stadium and well worth a visit.

‘Sure it’s only overpaid young fellas kicking a ball, why would I watch that?,’ queried my father while a young boy cried at seeing Cristiano Ronaldo’s jersey on the wall of the dressing room.

Manchester is also in close proximity to the beauty that is the Lake District. We took a train from Manchester Piccadilly to Windermere and while you don’t get to see the full vision of the district, you can get a small slice of its beauty if you are short on time.

The train takes just one hour and 39 minutes and once we hit pure countryside, my father relaxed.

‘Jesus, I love this now,’ he said repeatedly.

‘Isn’t that just great,’ he said while pointing at a field.

‘You can’t beat it, can you?’ he asked himself while gazing out at a hedgerow.

Nevertheless, while my dad feels comfort in the country, The Alan made him feel just as at home.

That’s the special thing about the hotel. It looks utterly cool, almost untouchable, but it is welcoming and whatever age you are, it wants you there.

This became especially apparent as we enjoyed a meal in the hotel on our final night.

The menu at the Alan is an ever changing offering and uses the best of British ingredients currently in season.

Working with independents, the meat is locally sourced, free-range and grass-fed from family businesses. And you can taste it.

The three of us enjoyed a mixture of small plates including potato and ox cheek, oysters, lamb fat cabbage and pork belly.

For me, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

As I looked around, I saw tables of all ages. Young, old and in between, enjoying a weekend in a fantastic city.

Then, suddenly, my father piped up.

‘Well, Jesus Christ, isn’t that lovely,’ he said.

It was at that point I knew that The Alan and Manchester had done a good job.

A very good job indeed.

Find out more about The Alan and book a stay here.

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