The suite life – could you live in a hotel for months at a time?
Could you live in a hotel for months at a time? Gary Banks, the 26-year-old operations manager for Stagecoach, has been doing just that.
Gary has been based in the newly-opened Staybridge Suites Manchester – Oxford Road, for more than 100 days. Here he tells us what swapping a house for a hotel is really like – and it’s nothing like being Jose Mourinho.
“I feel like I come home every night after work,” Gary says. “Unlike other hotels you are not confined to your room and don’t feel like you’re ever alone.
“Everyone here has been absolutely amazing and created a real sense of community, especially the staff who always go out of their way to be friendly and get to know you.
“We really have become friends, which makes being away from home so much easier – especially when you’re away at important times of the year – like birthdays or over Christmas.
“If I was staying somewhere else it would have been all too easy to stay in my room missing home and day-to-day companionship.”
The Staybridge Suites offering prides itself on being more “home than hotel” and this relaxed environment with informal, public spaces lends itself perfectly to any guest who has to stay for an extended period of time.
And the social aspect of the extended stay model is also making waves in a market where traditional hotels find it difficult to distinguish themselves to business travellers.
Gary said: “At Staybridge Suites the staff host three “Socials” per week which is a chance for guests to come out of their room, have a drink, some food and socialise with other like-minded people in the Hub Kitchen.
“There’s a real mix of extended stay guests and others staying just one-or-two nights and I have built real friendships with other guests and the staff as a result.
“I’ve stayed in aparthotels where you just go back to your room at the end of the day and that is you then on your own for the rest of the night.
“This is not like an aparthotel at all. Here I spend very little time in my room as I’m always in the lounge with other guests playing on the X-Box, reading from the library or catching up about our day.”
These evening social events are intrinsic to the Staybridge Suites’ brand identity, as is the commitment to providing longer-staying guests with everything that they need to feel truly at home.
All the rooms in Staybridge Suites have fully-equipped kitchens and magnificent views across the city of Manchester that reach to the Peak District. Guests can also take full advantage of the hotel’s internal terrace with panoramic views and lounge with a fireplace and informal work areas.
They also have access to a fitness room, laundry facilities, a 24-hour pantry shop and complimentary hot and cold buffet breakfast in the Hub Kitchen, as well as access to a dedicated meeting floor and on-site bar and restaurant.
Gary said: “The prospect of being away from home and living in a hotel for over 100 days was daunting, but the reality has been quite different.
“I tend to come back from work, get changed and head to The Social or come and grab a drink and chill out in the lounge.
“When you’re away from home for such a long time you want company, so I spend very little time actually in my room. I sleep in it and have cooked the odd meal too but most of the time I spend my evenings in the lounge with other guests and the staff.
“I’ve really made the effort to keep life as normal as possible and play football down the road with other guests now twice a week. We almost have enough players for our very own Staybridge Suites Five-A-Side Football Team.”
Gary’s stay will of course eventually come to an end. So how is he feeling about returning home to his house in Liverpool after such a long stint in the hotel?
“If I had a choice I actually wouldn’t move out,” he said. “I’d come and stay again in a heartbeat.”