“My uncle was a comedian on the Titanic… he went down well!” Was the rather predictable opening gambit of my friend, Vincenzo, when he knew I was going to stay at the Titanic Hotel. His joke, however, reveals two clear truths: firstly he needs some new material and secondly how entrenched into our folklore the Titanic story is. In fact not only our national psyche but specifically into the Liverpool psyche. Not that the ship was built here, or that it sailed from here, it was merely registered from Liverpool, yet a whole industry is building up around the port of Liverpool, similar to that we witnessed in the 90s with the Beatles. Having won the battle of the cruises against Southampton we now seem to be wrestling Belfast for the Titanic tourist industry. After the more tacky Titanic Boat hotel in the Albert Dock and the opening of 30 James Street in the old White Star building, the Titanic Hotel is the city’s 3rd venture into the Titanic market, and quite an impressive one it is too.
Classic (my mother-in-law) had offered to take our two boys away for the night and then surprised us by treating us to a night at the Titanic Hotel. A real treat from the old bean and one Red (the wife) and I were excited to take up having followed the progress of the development over the previous couple of years. The hotel is located in the old rum warehouse part of Stanley Dock (yes next to the place where the old market used to be) which is the smaller of the two warehouses (I recall the southern tobacco warehouse holds some sort of record such as largest brick structure in Liverpool or England or Europe or the only warehouse you can see from space, or the only brick structure you can see from the Great Wall of China, or something along those lines).
The first thing to clarify is that the full hotel is not finished yet for example the Spa developments are not complete along with a couple of other developments, but that did not take away from our enjoyment and experience and you do not notice them when you are there (can you notice something not there? You know what I mean).
The whole hotel whispers luxury, from the deep carpets, to the mood corridor lighting through to the Egyptian cotton sheets. This is a quality hotel and you feel that quality throughout. Upon arrival the staff, in their jeans / shirt / waistcoat uniforms were very good, friendly and attentive. The foyer is a large open space that backs on to the lobby bar and external seating area. When we arrived, there appeared to be some function in place and there was a real bustle about the whole area, in a good way. We were checked in quickly and efficiently and headed up to our room. I don’t know about you but I always have a tinge of excitement when heading to a hotel room for the first time, like driving a new car or wearing a new outfit, and as we headed to our room this was no exception. The feeling does cool slightly for me, however, as Red will not go in lifts which always means me carrying luggage up to any room we are staying at, fortunately we were only on the second floor!
The scale of this whole development is impressive and upon reaching the second floor the retro shipping themed decor, low lighting, sheer width and length of the corridor and well thought out room number lighting set within the historic cast iron and arched red bricks of the warehouse (enough to give Fred Dibnah the horn) stirred something in us both and gives the hotel that edge over the newly built ones nearer to the city centre.
The biggest treat, however, came as we entered our room this really was impressive in many ways: firstly its size, this was by far the biggest hotel room I have ever stayed in, including several suites. Secondly the simple beauty of the room from the original multi-panel window, cast iron columns red brick arched roof combined sensitively with mature decor throughout including several well selected industrial Titanic prints and vintage Titanic themed travel posters (a personal favourite of mine). Likewise the bathroom was both large (space clearly is not an issue at the hotel), very clean and well fitted with quality fixtures: deep tub bath, drench shower and his / hers sinks. Even Red was impressed with the bathroom and she is a stickler for cleanliness, being able to spot an erroneous pubic hair from 50 yards.
The room had all the expected features such as hair drier, tea / coffee and kettle, iron and board and water. Once again, however, those little touches came through with an additional capsule based coffee machine, large flat screen TV with entertainment elements such as streamed music and pre-prepared playlists, large seating area and a plentiful supply of Neil’s Yard toiletries. The bed was a deluxe double with Egyptian cotton sheets and deep, quality pillows. It gave me one of the best night’s sleep I have ever had in a hotel and the industrial strength walls and ceilings ensure that the sales executive from Wigan and his mistress wont keep you awake!
In the evening we were going out to the Hanover Street Social (click link for that review) so we had pre-meal cocktails in the bar. These were very good with the specialties (not surprisingly) being rum based I had the Zombie and Red chose the Mai Tai. They were also considerably better than those which followed at the Carpathian Bar in 30 James Street. Next morning breakfast was also to a very high standard with very good service, a wide selection of healthy options including deliciously fresh fruit, nuts and berries alongside the more traditional full English elements. In addition, the chefs at the open pass will knock you up any special requests. We even had the joys of spotting a number of famous faces there too.
As you can see we were very impressed but what about the negatives I hear you ask? Well there were not really many. Firstly, maybe slightly better signage at the entrance to the car park (I think it had been removed whilst we were visiting) and also for the entrance to reception. the room lighting is quite ‘moody’ (by that I mean low), it suited us very much but maybe people who had work to do might appreciate a brighter option (you see I am scrapping the barrel for improvements here!). I suppose the only other thing might have been the addition of bath robes as a final element of luxury.
So overall an extremely enjoyable stay in what is a great hotel and welcome quality addition to the often overly average Liverpool hotel scene. This hotel is a hidden gem (quite literally when the scene is taken down) so make the most of it now before everybody finds out about it. We certainly will be back.
Hotel website: Titanic Hotel Liverpool