WHEN all around they are battening down the hatches against the wildest weather in years it is quite bizarre to find the perfect bolthole on board The Titanic.
'We checked out the Rum Warehouse, which my befuddled brain (I blame Gonzalo) had decided would be some cask-packed pirate’s den. No'
What a day to choose to visit Liverpool’s flagship new hotel of that name. Hurricane Gonzalo has saved a stormy sting in its tail that is particularly merciless towards Merseyside. A roof rips off a building and causes police to cordon off a large chunk of the waterfront, forcing us to abandon taxi as the meter starts to tick off the scale. In the teeth of 70mph gusts we stagger along Regent Road, occasionally clinging on for dear life to a fence or lamp post, oblivious to the wealth of industrial archaeology around us.
Our haven looms ahead – the brick hulk that is Stanley Dock’s North Warehouse. Built in 1855 it once house tobacco and rubber. Now it has been sensitively transformed into a luxury lodging, named in honour of the Titanic’s strong local connections. The doomed liner was designed by the Liverpool-based White Star Line, it bore the city’s name on its stern because it was registered here... and only delayed sea trials prevented it calling in en route to Southampton to start that maiden voyage cut short by an iceberg with the loss of 1,500 souls. About 90 members of the crew came from the city, including the two lookouts who spotted the iceberg.
White Star posters and emblematic nautical paraphernalia adorn the new Titanic which, water lapping at the dock outside, almost has the feel of a great luxury liner. We, of course, laughed the first time when the lift announced “going down”, then forgot all about the past when having such fun in the present. The hotel, is a great place to hole up in, a stunning standard bearer for the regeneration of this corner of the World Heritage Status waterfront. Apartments and retail will follow, when ambitious plans come to fruition.
That’s for the future. The romantic in us loved the melancholy of staring across at the unreclaimed Tobacco Warehouse frontage across the turbulent basin and the original pumping station. All from the luxury of a hotel bedroom twice the size of most. The public rooms, with lots of original iron and brick features, offer the same vast scale and outlook. After a restorative dinner in Stanley’s Bar and Grill we checked out the Rum Warehouse, which my befuddled brain (I blame Gonzalo) had decided would be some cask-packed pirate’s den, but turned out to be just a vast, empty events space. Consolation came in The Titanic’s cosier Rum Bar with 60 varieties on offer
Ten Things To Do In Liverpool (featuring culture, food, beer and beauty)
International Slavery Museum
IT’S had over a million visitors since it opened in 2007 – proof indeed of our need to confront and re-evaluate a shameful past upon which the prosperity of trading cities such as Liverpool (and Manchester) was built. This museum is uncompromising in its approach and state of the art in its multi-media presentation. A series of personal recollections recreatethe story of one slaver's experience on a typical trip, departing Liverpool for West Africa. There the ship bought or captured as many slaves as it could carry before embarking on the horrendous 'middle passage' across the Atlantic to the West Indies. The slaves that survived were sold for sugar, rum, tobacco and raw cotton, which were then shipped back to England for profit – stored in warehouses like those at Stanley Dock.
Thought-provoking stuff and lots of contemporary relevance, also. At the entrance to the International Slavery Museum is the Freedom and Enslavement Wall (above). TV screens set into the wall show interviews with a range of people discussing their ideas of freedom and enslavement, from politicians to children, and even folk who have themselves been enslaved.
International Slavery Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AQ . Open 10am-5pm daily. Free. www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/
THE Shard or The Olympics Aquatic Centre were expected to carry off the 2014 Stirling Prize for the year’s best building, but were pipped by this new version of the much-loved theatre on the same site.The look has been compared to ‘a redbrick ocean liner’ – a theme going on here? The auditorium is built from gnarled, grubby bricks, recycled from the original chapel, while new walls of rough cast concrete project out into the foyer, like the stripped-back bones of an old structure, recalling the former theatre’s 1970s extension.
Well worth having a peek inside; better still go and see a performance!
The Everyman, 5-11 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BH. www.everymanplayhouse.com
Andy Warhol at The Tate
DEFINITELY a game changer in the history of modern art. Make your own mind up about the still controversial Warhol at this exhibition of some 100 of his works. Exhibition highlights include the Marilyn Diptych 1962, Dance Diagram 1962 and Do-it-Yourself 1962 paintings. These will be shown alongside Warhol’s television commercials, fashion illustrations for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, concert posters, his TV show and a dazzling display of his trailblazing celebrity magazine Interview. Also there’s much loved works Three Brillo Soap Pad Boxes 1964/68 and Campbell’s Soup I 1968.
Read Liverpool Confidential’s full exhibition preview.
Transmitting Andy Warhol, Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, November 7, 2014 runs until February 8, 2015 www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-liverpool
The Art School
A BIT confusing. We’re on to food now. Chef Paul Askew is so highly regarded in his native city that he has just been given an ‘Outstanding Champion’ gong at the Liverpool Food and Drink Awards. The London Carriageworks inside the Hope Street Hotel established his reputation; his new venture, converted from the old sculpture room at John Moores University, is set to enhance it further. There’s a range of menus starting at a prix fixe £22.50 for two courses/£29 for three and going up to a full tasting menu for £80. The whole place, just 50 covers, ooozes attention to detail in food and service. An ox cheek and tongue main from the pix fixe was one of the loveliest autumn dishes I can remember.
The Art School Restaurant Liverpool 1 Sugnall Street, Liverpool L7 7DX. 0151 230 8600. www.theartschoolrestaurant.co.uk
THE autumn’s hot restaurant opening is the brainchild of Liverpool curry apostle Nina Katona (no relation to Kerry). The Wirral-based barrister’s foodie profile was created by her feeding recipe tweets to her 20,000 followers, staging “curry confidence” classes and launching her own instructional YouTube channel. A book, Curry In A Hurry, is in the pipeline. Check out her authentic tiffin boxes at Mowgli. Here’s an initial verdict from Liverpool Confidential’s Angie Sammons.
Mowgli, 69 Bold Street, Liverpool L1 4EZ. 0151 708 9356. www.mowglistreetfood.com
THIS Catalan deli, bar and restaurant in the heart of the Liverpool One fashion district was named the Good Food Guide 2015‘s Best North West Restaurant in a readers’ survey.
It’s based in a beautifully converted 18th century warehouse in College Lane by Bluecoat and Harvey Nichols. It also offers a comprehensive online Spanish food store.
Lunya, 18–20 College Lane, Liverpool One, Liverpool, L1 3DS. http://lunya.co.uk
ANOTHER shining star in Liverpool’s food culture, it won Best Independent Retailer in the 2015 Observer Food Monthly Awards. Candice Fonseca’s original eaterie is on Stanley Street, but this larger spin-off, an adventurous foodie emporium, is in a former Harry Ramsden’s a mile south of the city centre. Perfect for constructing a picnic or replenishing the pantry. There’s a restaurant on site, too.
Delifonseca Dockside, Brunswick Dock, LIverpool 3; Fonseca’s, Stanley Street, Liverpool 1. www.delifonseca.co.uk
Philharmonic Dining Rooms
THE only pub whose gent’s loos I have led a gaggle of women into (first checking the coast was clear). That was in 2006 when we were among journalists invited over for the launch of LIverpool One. The urinals, a symphony in roseate marble, are still the glorious same, as is the rest of the pub’s sumptuous Victorian interior. This time the gale outside gave us an excuse to linger. In truth, the ale is better elsewhere in the city (see below).
Philharmonic Dining Rooms, 36 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BX
Craft Beer – There’s no escape from it
LIVERPOOL’S only brewpub is nautically-themed and reputedly haunted Baltic Fleet – not far from The Tate, when you’ve had your fill of Campbell’s Soup cans. Their brewery in the cellar is called Wapping after the street it’s on. Pick of the beers is the Baltic Triangle IPA. Also worth looking out for are beers the Liverpool Craft Beer Company and bottled beer specialists Mad Hatter Brewing Company.
Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar
THE Titanic’s T Spa, due to open before the end of 2014, promises state of the art luxury but it’s not the only place to be pampered in Liverpool. The Ground Floor of Harvey Nichols is dedicated to high end beauty products and I was invited to try the Sisley facial, writes Theresa Sowerby. The Parisian firm led the way in plant-based skincare so I was eager to see what it could do for me.
My therapist, Kellie, led me from the bustle of the store to the luxurious first floor treatment rooms – all ambient music, candles and aromatic oils. A consultation on skin type, deep breaths from hot towels imbued with wonderful Phyto-Complex essential oils and a brief but very effective exfoliation with a gentle mask that went on as a cream and brushed off as powder prepared me for the highlight – a black rose rejuvenating face mask.
This felt luxurious when applied as did the 15 minute relaxation period while it got to work. My skin felt amazingly smooth and the treatment ended with a protective application of black rose oil.
The Sisley cocktail was soon put to the test as, courtesy of Hurricane Gonzalo, roads were closed and our return journey to the Titanic featured a dockside walk through flying dust and debris – a not so gentle exfoliation! But the black rose oil triumphed; back at the hotel, when I removed the grit, my face was still smooth and protected.
To book a consultation at the Sisley counter telephone 0160 838 8859. Cost of treatment is redeemable against products purchased. Visit this link.
Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar, 16 Manesty’s Lane, Liverpool L1 3DL.
Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock, Regent Rd, Liverpool L3 0AN. 0151 559 3356, www.titanichotelliverpool.com.
tThis independently-run 4 star hotel boasts 153 rooms, including three presidential suites. Even the standard rooms are twice as big as a UK standard 4 star room. Every room has a standard bath and shower plus, a nice touch, Neal’s Yard products. The hotel is family friendly, extra beds and cots can be added into rooms upon request. A double room without breakfast starts from £99 and a double room with breakfast starts at £119.
The upcoming T-Spa will offer five treatment rooms encased in exposed brickwork arches, a Roman bath pool area and aqua thermal experiences.
Ample parking on site. A taxi ride into the city centre is going to cost you upwards of £7.
To feel the pulse of the city visit our sister site, Liverpool Confidential.
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