STUDENTS are enjoying the high life in state-of-the-art luxury accommodation at a converted Bolton hotel.

There are no grotty kitchens or bathrooms at the Pack Horse in Nelson Square. In fact, the flats could not be more different from the awful accommodtion of the 1980s BBC student comedy The Young Ones.

Students have contemporary en-suite bedrooms with TVs, a gleaming gym and a common room complete with leather sofas, table tennis and football tables, and a big-screen video projector.

It is nothing like the shabby houses I lived in while at college 20 years ago. In those days, ice formed inside windows and I had tiny bedroom next to a shared toilet — which sounded like an echo chamber.

It is no surprise the 108- room Pack Horse is already a hit.

Owners say more than 90 per cent of this year’s first arrivals have rebooked for a second year starting in September.

Michael Afolabi is one of them.

He is studying architecture and plays in the Pack Horse student football team.

The 19-year-old said: “I came here from Leeds in September and love it.

It’s very different to some of the places I’ve seen.

“My dad viewed it too and said it was way better than some other places. It’s really posh. I like its design, the security and things like the common room.

“It costs me £98 a week in rent, compared to £56 for other places. In other flats you have to share toilets and kitchens, but I’m no fan of that. I prefer my own kitchen.

I’m no great chef though — I cook a lot of rice, which is easy.

“It’s well-organised here but not strict. You can have visitors stay for up to two nights if they’re signed in. You can come home late at night and won’t get locked out. I’ll stay here for the next four years.”

Chloe Wilkinson, aged 20, from Burnley, is studying criminal and forensic psychology.

She said: “I really like living here. I’ve got a larger studio room, which is the most expensive type, costing £109 a week. It’s quite big with kitchen and bathroom. I like its space.

“The facilities here are good and the Pack Horse is in a good location close to bars and the town centre.

“There is no bar here but a cafe is opening.

Students go to pubs like McAuleys, J2, Blind Tiger, Yates and Weatherspoon, as well as the students’ union.

“Bolton is friendly and bigger than I expected and it’s also close to Manchester. It’s got the best of all worlds.”

Westhoughton’s Hamilton Black Developments is behind the Pack Horse scheme, although the day-to-day management is carried out by PRIMO Property Management, also based in Westhoughton.

Ruby Jones manages the Pack Horse. She is a former lecturer at the University of Bolton and the students describe her as a mother figure. She said: “I know how important it is that students settle into university life and feel part of the community.”

The Pack Horse is currently expanding into the disused Coyote Chaos club next door, creating more rooms and a cafe.

Hamilton Black has also converted the former Lloyds Bank in Deansgate into 27 studio flats ready for September for final year undergraduates.

Services there will include job searches and CV support to help graduates get jobs.