30 James Street Home of the Titanic, Liverpool

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30 James Street Home of the Titanic, Liverpool

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Review of "30 James Street Home of the Titanic, Liverpool"

published 29/11/2017 | RICHADA
Member since : 20/06/2004
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Excellent
Pro Breakfast. Character. Food. History. Service. Staff. Value.
Cons Nowhere to stop outside. Parking
exceptional
Cleanliness
Comfort
Service
Facilities
Value for Money

"A GREAT EXPERIENCE IN LIVERPOOL"

Small double bed, but two of them in Astor's Quarters

Small double bed, but two of them in Astor's Quarters

WHY DID WE BOOK 30 JAMES STREET - HOME OF THE TITANIC IN LIVERPOOL?

With a mid-week day to spare after two days business in the north west of England last week, we had a decision as to where to go and what to do. I had been in favour of the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, but with truly appalling weather conditions, the 370 mile round journey from our base in Preston was less than an inviting prospect……

……on Tuesday evening we sat down to dinner in the Carpathia Champaign Bar and Restaurant, which just happens to be situated on the seventh – top – floor of 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic.

This was no fluke visit, being a Titanic aficionado, this building has long been familiar to me as the Headquarters of the White Star Line, owners of RMS Titanic, indeed J Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the line and notorious survivor of the sinking, had his office in the lowest turret room facing the corner of James Street and The Strand. We very briefly reconnoitred this hotel and restaurant last November, vowing that on return to Liverpool we would eat here – I never, seriously thought we would end up sleeping here, but, half way through the meal, smartphones at the ready, we were pondering the idea of booking the following night, eyebrows raised at the surprisingly reasonable prices for what looked like luxury four star accommodation.

We enjoyed such fantastic service and food in the restaurant that half way through the meal we had resolved to go down seven floors to reception and see what the best deal they could offer on a luxury, spa-bath room on dinner, bed and breakfast terms for the following night.

HOTEL DESCRIPTION / OUR PERCEPTION FROM HOTEL PUBLICITY

Albion House, the building housing 30 James Street, is a Grade II historic Liverpool landmark, predating the Three Graces and indeed virtually all of the buildings in the vicinity, commissioned by Thomas Ismay, designed by architect Richard Norman Shaw, famous for the original New Scotland Yard building, its distinctive red and white stripes are the result of a cost cutting exercise on the part of White Star, the red bricks being vastly less expensive than the Portland Stone.

As fans of Liverpool we were sad that for many years this superb building was left virtually derelict, unsuitable for modern office use, after a long regeneration period by the Signature Living Group, it finally opened as a theme hotel in April 2014. As such the owners intended it as family or large group accommodation, which thanks to the very large rooms within it is ideally suited. This however is a double edged sword as, come the weekends, it has something of a reputation for being “party central” for large groups of rowdy hens and stags – during the week there is an altogether more agreeable ambiance to it – so say the thousands of Tripadvisor reviewers anyway!

BOOKING PROCESS 10 / 10

You are not going to find a better, more professional or friendly receptionist than Llauren anywhere. My cheeky request for their very best room on the cheapest price was met with good humour, quite a lot of computer keyboard tapping and an astonishing, (almost!) all-in deal of £119. Broken down that amounted to £39.90 for the set two course meal, £20 for breakfast, leaving just £59 for the luxury room, too good to be true? We’ll see, but in the meantime SOLD!

LOCATION 10 / 10

Could a hotel in Liverpool offer a finer location?

Having stayed several years ago – before this one opened – at the perfectly acceptable Days Inn right next door we were aware of the superbly central, dockside location, Thomas Ismay indeed chose to build on this site for the very same reason so that he could see his ships sailing up the Mersey, Samuel Cunard rather pricked his bubble on that one by building his larger, even more splendid HQ on reclaimed land beside the Mersey……

…….priorities for hotel guests and partying singletons are somewhat different to Messrs’ Ismay and Cunard though and Liverpool is a very different place to that of one hundred years ago – or even twenty five years ago when I first visited it.

This location is just perfect for those arriving via public transport; James Street is a central transport hub for buses, taxis and the railway, what it is not is accessible for those arriving in their own car like us, there is simply nowhere that you can legally stop!

Shopping, clubbing, pubbing, museums and historic buildings in abundance and of course the world famous Albert Dock, none are more than a five minute walk away from the front door of 30 James Street, making this the perfect Liverpool city break hotel.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS 8 / 10

Being my review and arriving by car, dropping the luggage here is fraught as you have no choice but to illegally double park on the taxi rank, incurring the taxi drivers wrath, but what else were we supposed to do? It was raining hard and there was a 70mph gale blowing too upon arrival.

Guests sheltering under the lee of the front door smoking is a sign of our modern times but it seems somewhat out of keeping with the grandeur of Albion House.

There are steps up from the street to the reception and there does not appear to be any provision for disabled access here, which could make this a challenging wedding venue for some with elderly or infirm friends and relatives.

Stepping inside again you can tell that this was not designed as hotel as the front entranceway faces the grand staircase, the lifts are to your right, whilst to reach the reception desk you have to double back into the grand hallway. If the proportions of the place and its décor are imposing, the welcome at reception is warm and friendly.

CHECKING IN 8 / 10

There are two receptionists on duty during the day, one in the evening at busy times – as when we checked out at around 11.00am, there may be a fair wait. Upon checking in I was a little perturbed to be asked for a £50 refundable “deposit” on check-in – having paid the £119 in full the previous night. The “extras” restaurant and drinks were deducted from this and the balance refunded on checking out, but the principal of this is not one we have encountered before

ON THE WAY TO THE ROOM 9 / 10

The décor is not going to suit all and indeed I would argue myself that 30 James Street, self-proclaimed “Home of the Titanic” has something of a confused identity within. Each floor is named the first being “Titanic” and contains a range of rooms and suites, some relating to the ship and characters involved with the ship, others like the Rose Suite or Heart of the Ocean Suite are straight out of Hollywood. But then, if that is what sells rooms, who can blame them?

The two tiny lifts are plushly upholstered, the bottom half with buttoned velour, the upper half mirrored. From the ground the Fourth Floor – Fortune – is quickly reached and we find our room – 38, Astor’s Quarters shares a small Hallway with room 37 – The Marconi Room. The corridor on Fortune Floor is extraordinary, again plush, buttoned panels waist high, ornate wall lights and above your head – bare, naked pipework, I liked it, many reviewers find it unfinished…..

THE ROOM 8 / 10

……That really should be “rooms” in this case as Astor’s Quarters, to our surprise, includes a kitchenette. Now J J Astor was one of the richest men on Titanic, neither he nor his young, pregnant, bride Madeleine would have had the first idea of what to do with a kitchenette and probably would have been insulted to find one in their suite of rooms…..

……we on the other hand thought it a brilliant idea, even if, like in the room itself, the lighting was woefully inadequate, especially as it was an internal room. However it was well equipped with a full sized fridge, dishwasher and microwave oven. Plentiful supply of china, glassware and cutlery were easy enough to find in the many fitted cupboards.

Back in the main, enormous, bedroom we find two small double beds located on opposite walls, nominally this is a four person room, a large, very ornate mirror fronted wardrobe and a 40” “smart” television mounted on the wall at a 90 degree angle to the beds, apart from sitting on the floor there did not seem to be a sensible way to watch this.

Also not sensible is the complete lack of room instructions; there was a separate “smart” remote handset for the television, we had not a clue how this worked. Beyond that, some idea of the facilities on offer – downstairs pool, meal times, menu etc.

For a hotel effectively only three years old, the wear and tear was somewhat surprising, the ornate chandelier was missing enough elements to look decidedly down at heal. There were several suspicious marks on the carpet too, looking rather like burns, as a partu venue, 30 James Street seems to lead a rather hard life. Understandably in November storms, and within sight of the Mersey, the large windows are filthy dirty, a shame as through them is a fabulous view of the historic docks, at this time of the year beautifully illuminated for Christmas.

Very much in the plus column was the excellent air conditioning, nothing like a constant temperature night and day, summer / winter and, unusually, it worked quietly enough not to be noticed at night. Being four floors up I can understand the fact that the sash windows are sealed up, but many would prefer to be able to have fresh air, there is also the issue of escape in the case of a fire.

THE EN-SUITE 8 / 10

The en-suite was an impressively large room, half filled with a double sized Jacuzzi bath that filled remarkably quickly – once a receptionist and housekeeping had been called to locate the bath plug. A surprise was a drencher shower over the bath operated by two ornate controls on the wall opposite the taps.

Losing the points here is the fact that there are no towel rails, or anywhere convenient to hang anything whilst in the bath or shower – rather like the bedroom, the en-suite has the luxuries sewn up, but it is amazing how obvious the lack of basics is.

DID WE GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP? 10 / 10

The beds were softer than we are used to, but actually proved very comfortable indeed. With the ideal temperature set, this proved a surprisingly good sleep environment. With no squeaky wooden floors and the small inner hallway outside our door we heard no noise whatsoever from within the hotel and, surprisingly, until the rush hour in the morning, there was very little street noise too.

FACILITIES ON OFFER

Through this review you have read about many of the facilities offered in this unique hotel. The rooms themselves are part of the facilities, from steerage cabins in the basement to luxury turret suites they sleep anything from two to twenty per room, Llauren the receptionist looked a little askance when I queried just who would want to sleep 20 to a room – I hated the “dorms” at school – very popular with hens it turns out.

Equally popular is the pool downstairs, which apparently tends to book out very quickly at weekends. Best facility of all, as far as we are concerned – and what would see us return here is the Carpathia Restaurant……

BREAKFAST / OTHER MEALS, FOOD & DRINKS 10 / 10

This was our first and last experience at 30 James Street - the food, ambiance and service are all not only first class but also, in my experience, unique too. As a venue for a special meal, be that a romantic twosome or a business lunch, this takes some beating – even more so in the summer when you can eat – or drink – out on the terrace and make the most of that incredible review.

Whilst obviously popular, the little Champaign Bar is less than well stocked for non-alcoholic drinks, I was a tad taken aback to be told that they did not have bitter lemon. The wine list on the other hand is comprehensive and well chosen by James the sommelier, who has gone to the trouble of matching wines and making suggestions against each of the highly original menu dishes.

Dinner is not cheap, but then neither does in need to be when this level of quality and service are offered in such surroundings. The set menu is £19.95 for two courses, eating three courses from the a la carte, as we did, will set you back between £35 and £40 per head, without any alcohol.

At £10 per head, breakfast is, by any standards, anywhere, a bargain. We have made a habit of late of eating out for Sunday breakfast, nowhere have we paid just £10 for a breakfast of this quality, choice and service. On offer is a good spread of continental breakfast, including freshly cut fruits, a large selection of cerials, hams and cheeses, supplemented by quite the best pastry selection I have seen. As well as the cold choice is a hot buffet, again, the quality of which exceeds any hotel that we have stayed in here in the UK.

OVERALL VALUE FOR MONEY 10 / 10

This is all going to depend on your purtpose for being at 30 James Street, the day(s) of the week and the time of the year. I can only judge on our mid-week, mid-November stay and comment that not awarding the full score in this section would be akin to looking a gift horse in the mouth. The truth here is that we would not have had better value at Days Inn next door or the Travel Lodge on the Strand and “Home of the Titanic”, quirky as it may be, is just so much more of an experience than either. We were even presented with a 40% discount voucher on our car park bill (£17 reduced to £11 for 24 hours) at the excellent Liverpool 1 Q Car Park – a four minute walk away.

RICHADA’S HOTEL RATING: 91 / 100

From the moment that we heard that Albion House was being converted into a hotel, we really wanted to like it, but always suspected that it would be a four star establishment in which we, mere mortals, could never afford to stay. It did not disappoint and although I would not wish to return at a weekend when it plays host to hens and stags, we would undoubtedly look forward to returning on our next visit to Liverpool.

Ravenstone Lodge – Bassenthwaite Nr Keswick – 91% - 2011 Update: Room 9 - 96%
Woodcote House Hotel – Hooton, Wirral – 92%

30 JAMES STREET – Liverpool – 91%

Halifax Hall Hotel – Sheffield – 87%
Model Farm B&B, Bradford – 85%
Rosehill House Hotel – Burnley – 85%
Innkeeper’s Lodge, Stockport - 83 %
Innkeeper’s Lodge, Chester Southeast (Cheshire Cat) – 82%
Innkeeper’s Lodge, Hull – 81%
Days Inn Liverpool Central - 79%
The Victoria Hotel – Oldham – 78%
Chadwick Hotel, St Annes - 63 %
Preston Swallow Hotel – Samlesbury, Lancashire – 57%
Swallow Bower Hotel - Chadderton - 53%
Travelodge Stonycroft – Liverpool – 50%

CONTACT DETAILS:

30 James Street
Albion House,
30 James Street,
Liverpool,
L2 7PQ

Tel.: 0151 236 0166

www.rmstitanichotel.co.uk

© RICHADA / CIAO 29.11.2017

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Comments on this review

  • torr published 05/12/2017
    Sounds good - and noted for if we're ever in Liverpool.
  • mikemelmak published 03/12/2017
    Sounds and looks incredible! The " Titanic Hotel " is already a major attraction in Liverpool.
  • ravingreviewer published 29/11/2017
    Sorry to see you go, E!
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Product Information : 30 James Street Home of the Titanic, Liverpool

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Rating: 3 Stars

Address: Albion House, 30 James St, Liverpool L2 7PQ

Type: Hotel

Rooms: 64

Country: England

City: Liverpool

Continent: Europe

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Listed on Ciao since: 27/11/2017