One of the most important factors for a gay couple when travelling – both internationally aswell as staying closer to home – is how welcoming accommodation is to guests that are LGBTQ. [no_toc]
Recent statistics show that upto 83% of LGBTQ travellers choose their hotel based on its gay-friendly reputation.
For us, staying at an LGBTQ friendly hotel is important for one simple reason. When we stay at a hotel, guesthouse, or anywhere in fact, we expect to be treated equally and with the same respect as any other couple. We want to feel comfortable, and relaxed in our surroundings, and not having to second guess ourselves.
Travelling as a gay couple can be complicated – for a more detailed explanation, check out our full guide to what gay travel involves.
Manchester has long since held a reputation for being the gay capital of the North, with LGBTQ people from all over the UK either visiting or choosing to make Manchester their permanent home (like us!).
Seeing as we weren’t able to take our scheduled trip to NYC for Pride, we decided instead to have a staycation, and we were keen to find out more about one of the most LGBTQ friendly hotels in Manchester – DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Piccadilly.
What have Hilton done to be LGBTQ Friendly?
Hilton are one of the most well known hotel brands in the world, with over 5,500 hotels worldwide.
Whilst we know the brand, and knew that they have a reputation for doing right by the LGBTQ community, we didn’t quite appreciate the full extent. Below are just a few examples:
- Hilton are a Pride 365 champion committed to be authentic supporters of the LGBTQ community all year round. They have recently made new pledges and commitments both within their own business and in the wider society.
- Showing themselves to be market-leaders when it comes to accommodating their LGBTQ guests, back in 2012 Hilton launched a special website ‘’Stay Hilton. Go Out’’ along with a special package across multiple hotels specifically tailored for LGBTQ travellers
- Hilton has been a sponsor of the GLAAD awards several times, and in fact in 2014 the VP of Commercial Services at Hilton Worldwide was appointed to the GLAAD Board of Directors
- In 2015 Hilton were one of 379 companies signing a brief to back same sex marriage equality before the US Supreme Court. Following the Supreme Court win, the Beverley Hilton hosted the wedding reception of a same-sex couple
- Hilton have often included real-life LGBTQ couples in their marketing and ad campaigns. One story in particular that made headlines was back in 2016 when an ad campaign featuring a gay couple received huge backlash from the American Family Association. The ad was a photo of a real-life gay couple lying on a bed (fully clothed I might add!) sharing earphones. Due to the backlash this image received, the couple were then also featured in a TV advert as part of the campaign. What a way to respond to the bigots!
- In 2015 Hilton became the first hospitality brand to join the Global Equality Fund, a movement collaborating amongst companies, governments, foundations and charities to promote LGBTQ rights and work towards equality for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity
- One of Hiltons senior directors serves as Vice Chair of the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) Board of Directors. They have also hosted the IGLTA international convention at their New York Midtown hotel
For us, it’s so important to see brands actively doing their bit in support of the LGBTQ community, and not just rainbow washing. I think it’s fair to say that this list speaks for itself!
DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester: Our Review
The hotel we stayed at was the DoubleTree by Hilton, Manchester Piccadilly.
We checked in early on a Friday evening, and what struck us as soon as we entered the hotel reception was that we were certainly not the only gay guests checking in! In fact, directly in front of us in the check in queue were a group of 4 gay friends, most likely in Manchester to celebrate the final weekend of Pride month.
The check-in process was seamless, with a very friendly and professional welcome by the reception staff. And the cherry on top was that upon check-in, we were handed the most delicious chocolate chip cookie we have ever eaten. Plus, it was warm! We do appreciate a personal touch – especially when it involves chocolate!
About the Hotel
The hotel itself opened in 2007, and was taken over as a Hilton in 2012.
Downstairs the hotel has a restaurant where breakfast is served, which is also open for meals to the general public, and the Store Street Craft Bar – so named after the old name for Manchester Piccadilly train station (Store Street train station) and the selection of craft beers they serve.
The hotel has an onsite gym, which in our opinion was very well equipped for a hotel gym, and an onsite car park with space for upto 25 cars.
For us, the absolute selling point of this hotel is the location.
DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Piccadilly is literally, as the name suggests, mere steps away from Manchester Piccadilly train station. There is even a footbridge connecting the train station to the back entrance of the hotel, where you can enter via the restaurant.
This makes it the perfect choice for anyone arriving to the city by train, without having to then travel across the city again upon arrival.
On the other side, you have Manchester’s famous Gay Village. In fact, you can even see the end of Canal Street from the restaurant, as well as from a number of the hotel rooms! This is perfect for those guests who like us, tend to ‘stumble’ home after a good night out!
Given the hotels proximity to the Village, it’s no surprise that the hotel attracts a huge LGBTQ audience year round. In fact, during a chat with the hotels Sales Director, she said ‘Given our location, we very much feel a part of the Gay Village, without being located on Canal Street directly’.
And within a five-minute walk, you can be in the heart of the city centre itself, with shops, restaurants, bustling Piccadilly Gardens and the Arndale Shopping Centre.
The hotel has 285 rooms, made up of deluxe double/twins, superior corner rooms with incredible views, and junior suites.
Rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi, floor to ceiling windows, a flat-screen TV and air-conditioning. All rooms have a mini-fridge, and provide complimentary mineral water. Twin, king and queen guest rooms include tea and coffee making facilities, and the deluxe rooms and suites include a Nespresso machine.
The bathrooms all offer a walk in power shower, and the hotel provides a range of bath products.
We stayed in the King City Suite, which had floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views of the city skyline, aswell as a king-bedroom and a separate living area. It really felt like a room fit for a king!
Breakfast and Dinner
Breakfast can be added onto the room rate and was incredible! As well as the usual continental buffet of cereals and fruits, there was also the option of ordering a hot breakfast cooked to order. If you are having a busy weekend out and about exploring the city, this is the ideal way to start your day!
We also ate dinner in the onsite restaurant one evening. The restaurant had a well varied menu, offering a selection of starters, small plates, and main courses from steaks, to burgers, and salads. We of course had to go the full 3 courses, and finished off with THE BEST Eton Mess we have ever had!
The service was also spot-on, and we can’t recommend this restaurant enough. Handy if you are planning on having a night out and don’t want to venture from your hotel for dinner!
Choose DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester for Pride?
Given the above-mentioned location, it goes without saying that this is the perfect choice for visitors coming to Manchester to celebrate Manchester Pride.
However, if you do think this is where you will stay, you might want to get booking now, as according to the Sales Director, the hotel sells out well in advance.
Whilst coming under the Hilton brand, and therefore naturally being an LGTBQ friendly hotel for the above mentioned reasons, we were reassured to learn about what the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester does as a franchise property:
- DoubleTree has recently introduced staff training on understanding pronouns, in particular when checking in guests to the hotel. In fact there are currently conversations happening around including staff pronouns on email signatures – so it’s great to see this proactive progression
- The hotel also implements Diversity Training (which is led by the Hilton brand) – which focuses on coaching staff around inclusion, diversity and equality
- The hotel has been the site for the Canal Street Party
- DoubleTree has partnered and supported the Sparkle Weekend, a transgender festival ran by Sparkle charity.
- Canal Street card holders receive a 20% discount
Top things to do in Manchester
Manchester is absolutely our favourite city in the UK – we chose to make it our permanent home for a reason!
It truly is the Gay Capital of the North. For more on Manchester’s LGBTQ offerings, check out our full ‘Gay Travel Guide to Manchester’ post.
However, LGBTQ offerings aside, there is a whole lot more on offer in this stunning city. Within easy access of the DoubleTree by Hilton, check out some of our suggestions on how to fill your time exploring Manchester:
OK, I know we said LGBTQ offerings aside, but the Gay Village is literally on the doorstep. With a good variety of restaurants and a selection of bars catering to everybody, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon day drinking (before partying the night away!)
Hit the shopping centres for some retail therapy. Within a 10 minute walk of the hotel you can find yourself in the Arndale Centre, with all of your big high street names under one roof. Or for a slightly wider selection, jump on a tram to visit the Trafford Centre, which offers all your shops as well as entertainment venues and a huge selection of eateries.
Venture out of the City
Head out for a walk along the canals or visit some of the cities green spaces. Manchester is not all about the city life.
We recently decided to walk all the way along the canal from the city centre to Media City in Salford, which was a stunning walk. When we arrived it turned out there was a local market, with arts and crafts and locally produced food and drink to sample. It was a lovely day out!
The Restaurant Scene
For the foodies, Manchester restaurant scene rivals that of larger cities! Check out some of our favourites: Don Giovanni’s, Gusto, Tattu, La Vina, Grill on The Alley, The Ivy, Hotel Gotham, Mamucium, Velvet and The Refuge.
We love being able to call Manchester home, and are always proud to show it off to friends and family coming to visit us. We have no doubt that you will love a visit to this incredible city, and you won’t regret making one of the cities LGBTQ friendly hotels, DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Piccadilly your base for when you do!
Our stay was in partnership with Pride365 and Hilton, but as always all opinions are still our own.