Located between two towering cathedrals, directly opposite the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and close to the Everyman and Unity theaters, independently-owned boutique Hope Street Hotel lies in the heart of the buzzing northwest English city’s Georgian neighborhood.
Outside its entrance, a short 5-minute walk to the left brings one to the steel and glass 1960s Catholic Cathedral. And to the right, its much older, red-brick Anglican equivalent as well as to an intriguing street sculpture consisting of concrete suitcases piled on top of one another with the names of city pioneers in various fields inscribed on them, an attractive spot for urban photography.
The 89-room hotel, including nine suites, inherits a colorful pedigree, once having been a furniture store, a bookseller and a coach-maker for Rolls Royce in previous incarnations.
Spanning old buildings (1860) and new (2009), the exterior is an elegant facade of Italian Palazzo while the interior is original Victorian. Its interior style is perhaps best described as Scandinavian-chic, with all-round wood. Our loft-like suite, 403, amply illustrated this, with solid birch floors, sloping ceiling, cherry wood furniture exposed brick, skylights, and wood beams. Adding a touch of luxury to the overall ambience was a generous-sized bed draped in white Egyptian cotton, Vola fittings, Jacob Jensen phones, REN toiletries and a Nespresso coffee-maker.
Specially commissioned photography by Jan Chlebik and collection of prints and canvasses from the late poet and artist, Adrian Henri, decorate the hotel throughout.
Local developer, David Brewitt, bought the semi-derelict building in 2002 and refurbished it to create 48 rooms, adding another 41 in 2009. Ambitious expansion next year will stretch to adjoining building, the former School for the Blind, with plans for extra hotel rooms, apartments, roof gardens, as well as a spa, swimming pool and cinema. A small car park at the back of the hotel facilitates overnight stays.
Such is the reputation of the hotel, many celebrities have bestowed their presence upon the property including actress Meryl Streep, movie directors, Peter Jackson and Quentin Tarantino, and singer Lady Gaga.
Hope Street Hotel also encloses The London Carriage Works, a ground-floor, 60-cover restaurant where breakfast, lunch and dinners are served under the watchful eye of executive chef, Mike Kenyon. Cozy, bistro-style and sharing a space with an open bar area, it features a varnished, broad-beamed floor, bare brick walls, a central, transparent melted-glass, stalagmite-style sculpture and floor-to-ceiling, street-facing windows.
Kenyon prides himself on utilizing local produce, with watercress from Wirral, seafood from Birkenhead’s Wards Fish with fishing grounds off Peterhead and Fraserburgh, and black-faced Suffolk lamb from Edge & Sons Butchers. Adding a personal touch, the menu even has a tip about preserving the chlorophyll in asparagus – blanching it for two minutes in salted boiling water and placing it on ice.
As starters, we ordered the smoked duck breast with fresh cherries and the chargrilled Indian ocean tuna with pickled baby vegetables, nasturtium and miso, but before they arrived we were spoiled with some amuse-bouche of roasted potatoes, peas, fava beans, coriander, baby leek and sauce – a delightful way to enjoy one’s daily portion of veggies.
As for the aforementioned asparagus, we can vouch for its quality, for it accompanied our main dish, a Chateaubriand for two, cooked so well even Vicomte François-René de Chateaubriand and Sir Russell Retallick would have been pleased.
As for dessert, try combining ‘grace with sin’ by selecting the Cox apple, brioche charlotte, salted caramel, butterscotch, apple crisp and crumble or the spiced pineapple tart-tatin with coconut ice-cream, coconut crumble and passion fruit.
Around the hotel are an assortment of bars and cafes lining narrow streets that seem, especially at twilight, as if they are part of a classic 1950’s movie set. With Liverpool’s Chinatown within a ten-minute walk as well as the Unity and Everyman theaters, there’s certainly no shortage of evening entertainment close by.
For an historic hotel in the heart of traditional Liverpool, with cultural and entertainment centers within walking distance, Hope Street Hotel ticks all the boxes.