Hatters on Newton Street is a hostel with great character at a reasonable price. Each floor is named after a different Manchester Band and the hostel has lots of life and colour.
The central location is probably the best feature of this hostel. It's only about a fifteen-minute walk to the National Express Coach Station or the Piccadilly Train Station without too many confusing directions. And if you walk just a couple of minutes down the street you can get on the free Metroshuttle Buses that will get you to most of Manchester's attractions without that extra hassle of transport fees. If you need to park the car, there seem to be a few parking garages around but not much on street parking.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The dorms vary from mixed to single-sex and from eighteen-bed to just four beds. They contain standard metal bunks that seem fairly stable without too much squeaking and creaking every time you breathe. A few added touches are definitely needed, though, as there is a lack of any kind of storage space including in-room lockers. Although in our room there was a wardrobe-style-shelf device that isn't really practical for a room of ten. They do also have private rooms but we have heard that some of them are on the fifth floor -- so be aware of the climb before booking. The rooms are accessed by key card, which can get somewhat annoying when it doesn't work and you are dressed in your pajamas.
The bathrooms are interesting. They are single sex and some floors just have one sex on each floor so you could have to go up or down a floor to find a suitable bathroom. The toilets are separate from the showers or at least is the case for the females. And the toilets and sinks are also probably a hundred years old as they are made out of Doulton porcelain that looks very used. This also means that the taps are quite hard to get your hands under so you can't really wash your hands at all. There is hand soap, though, so you can at least attempt to wash your hands. The showers are nice and new, though.
But this is where our good opinion stops. The showers are just the shower with no internal space to change or hang anything, so you are forced to drape your towel over the shower door and leave all your other belongings on the benches outside of them. The doors are also made of half frosted-half glass doors so you can actually see people showering under the door, which is quite daunting. And it gets worse because you must continuously press a button in the shower every ten seconds to get any water out without any temperature control, so it takes you a lot longer than normal to get anything washed. But on the bright side, the taps in the shower area are new enough that you can get your hands underneath them.
All of the common rooms are fairly clean and well equipped. There is a TV lounge on the first level that has a TV and DVDs and one for playing Xbox with plenty of couches. And the movie poster wallpaper is pretty cool. The ground floor has a big open common area that includes the kitchen, dining area, more couches, and computers. The kitchen is basically equipped with lots of fridges, two microwaves, and a stove top and you have access to tea, coffee and toast twenty-four hours a day, which is handy. This is also where the free breakfast is served that includes toast, cornflakes, yogurt, and juice.
They also have an extremely small book exchange that needs a few extra books to get it on its way again. There is also left luggage storage for when you get in early or need to leave late. And the lockers for use are just outside reception, but you need a fairly thick lock to securely lock them -- so check that they are shut before leaving your valuables in them.
The hostel has a bit of a party reputation and we saw this when we arrived at this hostel to find a large group of fancy dressers at the front door. People are generally quite social and there is a pub crawl every Friday and Saturday night that guests can go to have some fun with other guests.
It can get a little noisy outside this hostel on the weekend, so be prepared for this or maybe look elsewhere if you are sensitive to noise. Also this hostel does have a lift but as it's a hundred years old, only the staff and your luggage are allowed to ride in it, so it can be a hard slog if you are on the fifteenth floor. Cleanliness also needs to be looked at, as there a few things that nagged at us like food from the night before under and on the table at breakfast and bins that are not emptied in the room after two days even when they are overflowing. And they only clean the toilets once a day unless someone complains so they can get a little untidy. Wi-Fi is also available but is not free. Overall this is a fairly good hostel with a great location, especially for people that want to socialise that with a few extra touches could be great.