The back story
Liverpool was once said to be the “second city of the British Empire”, and its port was practically the centre of the world in terms of trade with distant colonies. After decades of decline, that waterfront is now being redeveloped to form a booming new cultural corridor along the Mersey Estuary. Since opening in 2014, the 4-star Titanic Hotel has served as a flagship for the bold, modern use of grand 19th-century architecture at Stanley Dock, and a symbol of the city’s ongoing resurgence.
Named after the mighty, ill-fated ship owned by the Liverpool-based White Star Line, the Titanic Hotel occupies the huge, heritage-protected North Warehouse, built in 1854. The Tobacco Warehouses just opposite will soon accommodate upscale apartments within their mythically vast exteriors of beautiful brickwork, while newly commissioned public art brings colour to the surrounding docklands.
Premier League footballers, visiting celebrities and style-conscious travellers, as well as the occasional curious maritime historian. Liverpool has a general lack of comfortable, fashionable accommodation in this range, which makes the Titanic a major hub for trendy weekend breaks, as well as for exhibitions, banquets and conferences inside the elegant, expansive Rum Warehouse attached to the hotel.
Stanley’s Bar & Grill has established destination dining at this newly lively terminus of the old Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Open kitchens reveal a crack team led by head chef Bradley Lean, preparing gourmet breakfast and dinner menus heavy on Atlantic seafood and British beef. Local regulars join hotel guests for afternoon tea on the couches and long Sunday lunches on the terrace.
When you’ve had your fill at Stanley’s and the adjoining Rum Bar, head downstairs to the Maya Blue Wellness Centre, where a state-of-the-art “thermal suite” makes great use of the former warehouse basement level. The atmospheric setting makes it pleasantly easy to lose track of time in the hydrotherapy pool and sanarium.
The abundance of interior space makes for a remarkable design feature in itself. Rooms begin at a minimum of 56 square metres and larger suites are as big as indoor football pitches, albeit nicely decked in warm wood and leather furnishings with the requisite maritime touches. Even walking down the corridors can make a guest feel dwarfed by the scale and grandeur of the place, as if wandering a cathedral, or, indeed, a huge ocean liner.