H&E North’s Evangeline Spachis stays at the Titanic Hotel to visit one of the UK’s most culturally and historically rich cities: the irrepressible Liverpool.
I love arriving into Liverpool Lime Street Station. Not just because the train was so full that couldn’t get to my pre-booked seat, but because, walking past the statues of Ken Dodd and politician Bessie Braddock, I’m immediately reminded just how much Liverpool has to offer as soon as you leave the station. The expansive St George’s Hall that greets you as you exit and is just one of the many historic landmarks that hint at a city filled with beautiful neo-classical architecture and cultural highlights. At 169 feet long and 74 feet wide with a tunnel vaulted ceiling – the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe – St George’s Hall has been at the centre of Liverpool life since the 1800s.
The rest of the city then, one that brought us The Beatles and made Cilla Black a star, from the stunning Liverpool One shopping centre, the iconic Liverpool Cathedrals, to the Bluecoat and The Cavern Club, is a living monument of this North West’s city’s outward looking achievements. One of these achievements, a waterfront network of historic docks and warehouses and the canal link which allows evocative narrow boats to moor right in the heart of Liverpool, includes the impressive Titanic Hotel within the red brick Stanley Dock.
Once busy warehouses bringing in rum and tobacco from exotic locations, the Stanley Dock area is amid a complete regeneration, with luxury residences and a boutique hotel due to open nearby. Standing 125 feet high and with standard bedroom suites starting at 56 square metres, space at the Titanic Hotel is definitely not your problem if looking for a venue for your next stay in the city. Formerly derelict, the largest brick building in the world at the time of construction, the North Warehouse is now an up-scale hotel, spa and event space of epic proportions.
For starters, our bedroom is vast. The impossibly high ceiling and generous living space separate from the king-size bed and luxury bathroom, make this room a startling upgrade from the functional but compact accommodation business travellers will be used to in most cities. Though the Titanic never docked in Liverpool, the ship’s managing company White Star Line had its head office in the city, and this strong tie to maritime is evident in the décor throughout. Impressive architectural views of the Stanley Dock and the empty but soon-to-be apartments across the way, hint at what’s to come for this area that’s situated close the famous Royal Albert Dock.
The hotel has two major event spaces, the Rum Warehouse and the West Bay which can be transformed into the most extraordinary settings for either clean and simple décor to bespoke extravaganzas. The on-site conferences and events team can also offer dedicated AV equipment, air-conditioned meeting rooms, a full range of catering services and high-speed internet access for meetings in either venue.
Dinner was served in the Titanic’s own Stanley Bar & Grill, a swanky restaurant and open kitchen just off the casual reception and foyer area, which also doubles as a bar area for a light night tipple or a relaxed business meet-up. A striking Herman Melville quote attesting to the might of Liverpool’s docks marks the exposed red brickwork of the open-plan restaurant, which is festooned with dark furniture and lined by an avenue of imposing iron columns. Opting for a juicy 8oz rump steak with confit tomato, grilled mushroom and triple cooked (aka triple tasty) chips and French onion soup to start was a fine choice, while our waiter patiently helped me select a dessert created by the on-site patisserie chef, I eventually landed on the vanilla crème brulee with caramelised peanut ice cream. A sweet and indulgent end to a meal befitting five-star surroundings.
The following morning breakfast in the restaurant was an arresting experience, thanks to the historical views of this former industrial powerhouse – though catching sight of the fresh omelette-making station was truly breath-taking too! Due at the Tate Liverpool to check out some new exhibitions, we downed our morning coffees, and began the two-mile walk to its location at the Royal Albert Dock, passing the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, Port of Liverpool Building (named Liverpool’s three graces), the British Music Experience and the Museum of Liverpool. Approaching the Albert Dock, home of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, The Beatles Story, restaurants, bars and of course, a statue of Billy Fury, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a timeless tourist hive of activity.
Tate Liverpool, home of British and international modern and contemporary art, past collections have included Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Picasso, with the likes of LS Lowry, Peter Blake, Kandinsky and Ernst occupy current exhibitions. To hold an event at one of the gallery’s six spaces, Tate Liverpool’s dedicated event planner will provide you with on-site catering, including seasonal menus for fine dining, exclusive gallery access including private views of world-class art.
Rumbling stomachs lured us to the busy Peaberry Coffee House and Kitchen for a mid-afternoon lunch. Having established a loyal following in Sefton, Peaberry recently opened a second branch at the docks and specialises in wholesome and locally-sourced food, catering for everyone from carnivores and pescatarians to vegetarians, vegans and gluten free diners as well as extensive lunch orders for busy corporate travellers in the area. We tried one of its bestsellers, the halloumi bagel, a frankly massive stack of melty goodness with a heap of perfectly seasoned sweet potato fries on the side. But as cocktails were awaiting us at Liverpool’s Revolución de Cuba, we continued our jaunt around the Albert Dock to take in the sunshine and bustling crowds. A cocktail bar with a distinctly Cuban feel, the imported rum connection of Liverpool’s docks not lost on us, Revolution de Cuba was understandably heaving for a Saturday late afternoon. In need of a Caribbean pick-me-up, I went for a reggae rum punch, a rum, raspberry liqueur, orange, pineapple, grenadine and lime concoction that would have refreshed the most notorious of sweet tooths!
In an easily accessible city, still reaping the rewards of being named European Capital of Culture for 2008, Liverpool is a city with unique attractions, exciting events, unrivalled musical heritage and famously warm welcomes. Culture and heritage are at the very heart of the city, making it an ideal location for your next forward-thinking corporate event with leisure thrown in.