Themed ho­tels in a league of their own

Vis­its Liver­pool to sam­ple two of its new­est places to stay

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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