I also spent last weekend in Manchester and very nice it was too, if a little overrated. Visited Urbis etc etc, and urban splash apartments under the pretext of wanting to buy one. We were only looking to nosey about the showflat and snag the finishes!
No one was available to show us around though and when I requested a brochure with the fancy packaging, they asked could we just take a cd-rom as the brochures cost Â£25 each to print and were only for display purposes!
Never mind, if I had been going to buy one, that would have certainly put me off. Stayed in the reputedly v. modern 'Lowry' hotel and again, it was nice from the outside but the rooms were a bit bland (bedroom walls definitely needed two more coats of paint). The Clarence in Dublin is much more of my idea of a bit of luxury.
So, overall, quite a nice trip, but not as buzzy / energetic as Glasgow or Dublin.