herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Liverpool joins travel's premier league

Great, stylish accommodation was always an issue for trips to Merseyside– until now

TERENCE DAVIES’ stunning documentary Of Time and the City,about his beloved Liverpool, asks the viewer: "Will you ever forget?"

In my 20 years coming to this great city I have to say that I did “forget” after many a visit.



The most forgettable aspects were always awful accommodation, substandard service and nowhere decent to go.



Sure, there have been the great highs of the world-famous Cream nightclub when it acted like a heartbeat to the UK’s club culture, and there was the always-enticing Liverpool and Everton football clubs, which suck thousands of Irish visitors across the sea each year.



Then there’s the unique people and their fantastic character and, of course, the Mersey river and its spectacular views.



REVAMPED



Ultimately though, Liverpool as a high-end destination was a joke, and even when it tried to change, it made a mess of things.



But that is all about to change, thanks to a trendy new district that has popped up in the heart of the old town.



Seel Street was a depleted and beaten-up part of town which was much in need of refurbishment.



But this being Liverpool, money was tight, and so it stood unloved and uncared for . . . until now, that is.



The whole area has now been transformed into a Scouse version of New York’s Meatpacking District, where cool restaurants and old bars stand side by side, where new hotels have been built in old buildings, and where once-empty streets are packed with trendy types.



For our trip to the city last weekend, which was designed to coincide with Liverpool’s match against Sunderland, we stayed in the stunning base2stay boutique hotel.



Base2stay has been created within the shell of a beautiful brickbuiltmid-19th century workhouse, with many of the original characteristics having been retained, including the steel supports and wooden beams.



The hotel is the brainchild of the businessman and hotelier Robert Nadler, who plans to open another in London’s Soho very soon.



Nadler’s business philosophy is to build stylish hotels but to keep bars and restaurants to a minimum, allowing the guests to use the hotel as a window into the local area that awaits beyond the front door . . . which is just what we did.



There’s an impressive number of restaurants and bars in the Seel Street area, not least the tremendous Catalonian restaurant Lunya (www.lunya.co.uk). Anyone who likes their tapas and Riojas will love this fabulous place in a converted 18th century warehouse.



DANCE



WE continued on to our next port of call, back up Seel Street to the fantastic Alma de Cuba club (www.alma-de-cuba.com).



Housed in a converted 18th-century church, Alma de Cuba is an exceptional venue where a fusion of Cuban and dance music is played from around the altar.



Football results aside, the weekend turned out a stunning success, and for the first time I left town looking forward to going back.



See www.base2stayliverpool.com for room bookings and deals

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