Themed hotels in a league of their own
Visits Liverpool to sample two of its newest places to stay
F Las Vegas remains top of the world league for themed hotels, Liverpool is definitely moving up the table.
Excuse the football analogy, it’s too tempting to ignore when writing about a city that places the sport at the very epicentre of its identity.
Liverpool FC – Everton too – and The Beatles are likely the first things you’ll think about if you get the chance to sample the city’s cultural offerings. But there’s another, less obvious theme ripe for celebration in this particular corner of the North
Both 30 James Street and the Shankly are versatile in terms of the accomodation they offer. There are rooms that sleep up to eight adults making them ideal for stag or hen party trips.
There is a host of packages throughout the year and there are currently several autumn deals, including an overnight stay with breakfast for £ 99 per couple.
A cabin room at 30 James Street, which can sleep four, can be booked for as little as £ 45 on certain nights.
Shanklyhotel. com/ 0151 236 30 James Street: rmstitanichotel. co. uk/ 0151 236 0166. West– the Titanic.
The grand corner building at 30 James Street, overlooking the famous Liver Building and Albert Dock, stood derelict for years as the old headquarters of the White Star Line ship building company, which constructed the ultimately doomed vessel.
Then, in 2004, Lawrence and Katie Kenwright, the husband and wife duo behind the Signature hotel group, bought the property and restored it over a period of four and a half years.
The result is the 64- room hotel based around all things Titanic.
There are seven floors, all of which are designed and furnished as a tribute to the infamous ship – the first storey, named The Cabins, giving you an instant idea of what’s on offer.
We stayed on the London Floor, the third, in a luxury double room with a host of creature comforts that made it difficult to venture out.
Complimentary Prosecco went down well, as did a double whirlpool Jacuzzi bath and an entertainment system that included Netflix.
The real jewel in the crown at 30 James Street – quite literally – however, is the rooftop Carpathia restaurant where breakfast and dinner is served.
Night or day the views are stunning, as is the food and the fact that the room contains several original artefacts from the RMS Carpathia ship which rescued the 705 Titanic survivors in 1912. The Shankly quote above reception at the Shankly Hotel
The dinner menu changes seasonally, but we opted for the old favourite, fillet steaks, and weren’t disappointed by the stunning melt- in- the- mouth quality.
There’s an unmistakably historic feel about 30 James Street, and we found more of the same on offer, albeit for different reasons, at Signature’s Shankly Hotel just a short walk across town where we headed for the second night of our stay.
Bill Shankly’s first match in charge of Liverpool in 1959 was actually against Cardiff City at Anfield. The Bluebirds triumphed 4- 1 and the game features in a time- line tribute to the great man’s tenure which runs across the ceiling of the foyer and into the dining room.
And whether you support the Reds or not, whether you are a football nut or not, you cannot fail to be captivated by the Shankly legend that pours out of the photographs, medals, old programmes, inspira- tional Shankly quotes and other memorabilia, all of which lends the hotel its unique feel.
“Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool” is the encapsulating Shankly pearl that greets you from behind reception as you enter the lobby. There really is a genuine mystique around the legacy this Scotsman left his adopted city that leaves its mark on you.
The Shankly family has fully endorsed the establishment, with some members of the family, including Bill’s grandson Chris, employed there.
Yet while the place drips Anfield nostalgia, it also ticks all the boxes you would want ticked at a hotel of its standing.
A highlight was afternoon tea in the Bastion Bar, served on a multi- storey wooden rack with a choice of tea, coffee or a glass of bubbly.
There were more delicate finger sandwiches and moreish cakes than we could eat. We needed a doggy box afterwards to take the leftover loot back to the room, which staff were more than happy to provide.
The added bonus on a Saturday afternoon was the opportunity to keep track of the football, with screens showing Sky Sports’ results dotted all around.
Later on, live music – a real staple of Liverpool nightlife – made the bar an atmospheric hive of activity and the perfect way to get in the mood to explore some of the huge number of venues in the bustling city centre.
So popular is the Shankly already, that Signature has plans to open a hotel opposite in tribute to Everton legend Dixie Dean, linking the two venues via an overhead walkway.
If those plans come to fruition, this particular corner of Liverpool will be a must- stay location for footy fans, not just on match weekends but at any time.