THE ‘Modern Nomadic Traveller’ is the target audience for the repurposed Hatter’s Hostel site on Hilton Street, part of which was once the original Koffee Pot – target audience ‘Hungover Musos In Sore Need Of Coffee and Fry-ups’.
How swiftly the Northern Quarter bends to trends. Latin American hospitality start-up Selina has chosen it as their the first UK location, having won hearts (and wallets – this is affordable cool) in La Paz, Cancun and a host of sites in Portugal.
With 132 beds in total in a range of categories, including airy lofts, suites, standard and micro-sized double rooms and community shared rooms for between three to eight guests – including a female-only option – prices start from £25-£70 per person per night,
The 37 rooms, ranging from bunkhouses to well-appointed suites, have been given a colourful, quirky makeover. They are keeping Irish pub component The Corner Boy and the basement club round the side while leasing out the cocktail offering to one of the city’s cutting edge teams. The hostel foyer is hosting Grindsmith Coffee for grab and go, but The Patron bar/restaurant is no more, turned into Wilson’s Social. This all-day diner is named after ‘Mr Manchester’, the late Tony Wilson – there don’t appear to be any bee homages.
Selina’s Head of Country UK, Erwin de Jong Oliveira said, “Being able to bring Selina to Manchester is such an exciting opportunity, we wanted to blend Selina’s Latin American roots with the rich history of Manchester to infuse the aesthetics together and provide a hub for digital nomads around the world."
It is a variation on a template that is becoming commonplace (Whitworth Locke, the imminent Native/Bistrotheque in Ducie Street Warehouse) – not just a place to stay but offering co-working spaces, curating events and workshops, launching pop-ups. Selina promises a programme of ‘electrifying’ music events.
The decor of Wilson’s Social has been subtly tweaked from when it was The Patron – we like the murals throughout – but what’s the food like? Early days yet. We went for brunch, testing the Eggs Benedict alongside a tequila-led Bloody Maria, both spot on; porridge wih caramelised bananas was over-sticky for those of us who prefer it saltier Scots style.
It’s very much an international main menu as you’d expect, served from 11.30am until late.
We got to sample a couple of work in progress dishes – black pepper tofu with watermelon (£5.95) and herbs and a creamy Caribbean chicken salad with mango salsa and flaked almonds.
Just as Selina’s aim is to put their hostel guests in the thick of the city action, so they hope the locals will take it to their hearts as a community hub, especially for the 40 freelance co-working slots. They will be competing with themselves. Quite soon a second NQ Selina will open two minutes' walk away in the other former Hatter’s site as Selina continues its rapid expansion. Founded in Latin America in 2015, it now operates 50 locations in 13 countries.
Selina NQ1 Manchester, 15 Hilton St, Manchester M1 1JJ. 0203 966 0765.