Wigan hotel scoops top award again

A Wigan businessman is celebrating after his hotel was named the best in the country for the second year running.

Friday, 20th November 2020, 7:00 am

International chain IHG has named its top Holiday Inn Express in its Europe Star Awards as the hotel at Martland Mill.

It is the second consecutive year it has won the Heartbeat Torchbearer prize and it was also ranked in the top 10 Holiday Inn Expresses in Europe and Russia.

It comes as the hotel - which is in the building previously home to the Wigan Post and Observer - closes its doors to the public once more so NHS workers can stay there during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Steve McManaman celebrates another award for his Holiday Inn Express

Owner Steve McManaman said: “I’m really pleased that we came top again. We want to keep this high ranking for as long as we can.

“Even though we are a budget hotel, we don’t have cheap brands. We buy our bacon and sausages from a local family butcher. We put on good food. If I buy a sirloin steak, it’s a good sirloin steak. We only do quality food.

“We also have a wide variety of beers on draught. Some Holiday Inn Expresses only have one type of lager but we have eight different beers

“We have tried to make it a bit more upmarket. It’s the same with the bedding - we have Egyptian cotton - and there’s good quality furnishings.”

Mr McManaman said a full investigation was always carried out whenever there was a complaint on travel review website Trip Advisor to find out what went wrong. This revealed two of three complaints made were not genuine, he said.

A ceremony for the Europe Star Awards 2019 was due to be held in Edinburgh in March, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and winners have just been announced.

Mr McManaman spent 40 years working in newspapers before deciding to convert the Post and Observer’s former office into a hotel.

He opened its doors in December 2017 and he said business had been booming, with the hotel at 90 per cent occupancy four or five times a week and plans to create another 30 bedrooms.

But this has been put on ice due to the pandemic and instead he has made a deal with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to provide rooms for hospital staff who cannot go home, as they risk spreading coronavirus to their family.

Healthcare workers previously stayed there from March to August, when the hotel provided 2,580 nights to staff per month and between 5,000 and 6,000 meals. They have returned due to the second spike, meaning NHS workers have somewhere to stay but also that Mr McManaman’s staff can continue to work.

He said: “The staff are very good here and keep it clean. We have very high reviews on Trip Advisor. I like to think we do a good job for the community.”

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