The spa or pool after a hard day in class?

May 19, 2006

It could be mistaken for a plush hotel with its spa, steam room, Jacuzzi and deluxe rooms. But it is in fact Britain's most luxurious student digs - Wilmslow Park hall of residence in Manchester.

The hall, which is shared by 949 students from Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan universities, is a world apart from the grotty digs of earlier generations.

Today's lucky students enjoy relaxing in the sauna after lectures or exercising in the heated pool or gym. Their en suite bedrooms have internet connection as a matter of course. Students can even opt for double bedrooms.

Richard Tweedale, Wilmslow Park's manager, said the days of students living in near-monastic accommodation were gone. "Students are becoming more discerning. They are looking for a very good standard of accommodation," he said.

Wilmslow Park is not owned by a university, but by private property firm Opal, which is building student digs like it in at least six other cities.

Nicola Archard, a theology student at Manchester University, pays £89 a week for her Wilmslow room, about £8 above the national average.

She said: "I normally use the sauna on the weekend. My friends and I catch up there."

Christian Geelan, a politics and history student also at Manchester, pays £91 a week. He said: "It does feel a bit like a hotel. I have friends who use the Jacuzzi after lectures."

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