Settling into my train seat, with a steaming hot chocolate and a book I’d been trying to finish for weeks, I let out a sigh of relief. It was Friday lunchtime and the train was filling with a buzz of people and suitcases; the anticipation of the weekend palpable. After a whirlwind three months of navigating the freelance world, and the rollercoaster ride of emotions that comes with it (‘I love this’ followed hours later by ‘I hate this’), I was ready for a break – away from my cluttered desk and increasingly clingy cat.
Our train was headed to Liverpool, a place that’s quickly become one of our favourite UK cities. Until a year ago, Liverpool hadn’t featured on our radars at all: our interests focused on cities and countries further afield. A weekend trip last summer, however, had us questioning why we hadn’t visited sooner – we loved it. And so, when we were invited back to the city by LateRooms.com to experience the Titanic Hotel Liverpool – a hotel they had recently awarded the title of the Best Historic Hotel in the UK, as part of their Simply the Guest Awards 2017, we instantly accepted.
As the train pulled out the station, Laura fell asleep immediately and I nestled down in the chair with my book, excited to see what our stay would bring.
The Titanic Hotel sits on the Stanley Dock Village development, overlooking the Stanley Dock – around a twenty minute walk from the famous Albert Dock. Once an old rum factory built in 1848, and now a World Heritage Site, the building has undergone a £40 million restoration programme: transforming it into one of the city’s most desired hotels. Walking into the lobby – greeted by stunning industrial chic – we instantly agreed with LateRooms.com’s choice of winner. The red bricked walls and large warehouse windows retained a sense of the building’s past (the bar, decorated in various rums also provided a more obvious clue), while the long leather sofas and wrought-iron lamps placed it firmly in the 21st century. Despite my positive first impressions, however, one question was troubling me: why was it called the Titanic Hotel? (And why was ‘My Heart Will Go On’ not being gently piped into the building?)
With a little notebook in hand, and before we’d even made it to our bedroom, we cornered a hugely helpful member of staff. He told us that the Titanic had been registered in Liverpool, before being built in Belfast and setting sale from Southampton. Having been christened in Liverpool, it carried the city’s name on its stern. The ship’s managing company – White Star Line – also had its head office in the city. Perhaps most poignantly, however, was his final fact: that ninety of the Titanic’s crew who died on that fateful night were from Merseyside. It was clear that the city had – and still has – a strong connection with that infamous ship, both through industrial trade and personal loss. In keeping with the name, the walls throughout the hotel are therefore adorned with photographs and memorabilia from the Titanic Museum in Belfast. Being history geeks, we found this fascinating.
With a notepad already bursting with facts and scribbles, we hopped in a lift to the fourth floor, scurrying along a huge corridor that led to our room. Far from losing the sense of space and light found in the lobby, our room was enormous and replicated the industrial vibe found in the public areas. Dropping our suitcases, we mindlessly ran around in circles, repeating the same observation back to one another: ‘this room is bigger than my house’. As hotel rooms go, this was by far the largest we’ve ever stayed in. Satisfied we’d explored every inch of the space, and a little out of breath, our attention settled on the smaller details, including a nod to the hotel’s past in the form of a small bottle of rum – a lovely gesture that added a layer of detail.
The crowning glory of the room, however, was its huge window; offering views over the hotel’s big sister: a former tobacco factory. Once the largest brick buildings in the world and built in 1901, the now unoccupied warehouse had a dark, eery beauty to it. In fact, as we found out later, the tobacco warehouse was used to shoot scenes from our much loved boxset – Peaky Blinders – and had even appeared on one of our (unashamedly) favourite shows: Most Haunted (shout out to Derek Acorah). We must admit, we can see why the building found itself on such a show – looking into the countless windows of the deserted warehouse on a cold night was a little spooky. The tobacco factory hasn’t been forgotten, however, and will soon be undergoing a colossal redevelopment process of its own.
We spent the rest of the afternoon sat on our new favourite window seat, watching seagulls swoop past and the sun dip beneath the docks. After a frantic week, I felt far removed from my disorganised desk, empty coffee cups and wailing cat. If it weren’t for my rumbling tummy, I could have remained in that quiet nook for the entire evening. Reluctantly, however, we hauled ourselves back up and out to enjoy a walk along the docks, before venturing into the city for dinner.
It was a twenty minute stroll to the Albert Dock and the perfect opportunity to blow away the cobwebs after a week spent behind a desk. The famous Dock looked picturesque as the sun set and the magical twilight hour took hold. We took a seat overlooking the Mersey and tried to decide on where to head for dinner. We settled on trying one of the independent, quirky restaurants on Bold Street, which was a hive of activity on a Friday night. A feast under twinkling lights and a few bottles of Japanese craft beer later, we left the little gem of a restaurant we’d found – Mr Miyagi – eager to return to our quiet corner of the world. It seemed such a waste not to be enjoying such a beautiful room (read: it was also 8pm and we were shattered). The final hours of the evening were spent hatching plans on our window seat (watching Crufts may also have featured), before finally clambering into our deliciously comfy beds: the type that swallow you up, before sending you into a deep sleep.
Up early the next morning in order to make the most of our time at the Titanic Hotel Liverpool, we ventured down to the basement to explore the hotel’s decadent spa and hydrotherapy pool (sitting within the arches of the old basement, it really is beautiful), before indulging in the hotel’s impressive buffet breakfast; trying one of everything. Even the bran flakes. After one final hour nestled in our window seat, soaking up the quiet surroundings of this monumental building, we understood just why this warehouse-chic hotel has been recognised for its history. A significant player in Liverpool’s industrial past and associated with one of the world’s most notorious historical tragedies, this vast building wears its incredible history with a stoical sort of pride.
A Liverpool sort of pride, perhaps.
Our stay at the Titanic Hotel Liverpool may have been brief, but it provided us with everything a good hotel should: a sense of history combined with both luxury and beautiful aesthetics. Oh and your very own window seat . We can see why LateRooms.com selected it as their winner of Best Historic hotel. We’ll certainly be returning.
To book your own stay at the Titanic Hotel Liverpool, you can find out more here.