Landmark waterfront hotel prepares to reopen

Vicki Hanlon

Liverpool city centre hotel, 30 James Street which fell into administration during lockdown, is reopening this weekend.

General manager, Vicky Hanlon, has returned from furlough to ready it for a new lease of life under different management.

Vicki is working round the clock with her returning team to prepare the popular destination for its reopening this Saturday, July 25.

She has been in charge at 30 James Street since August 2018, and has returned after Legacy Hotels and Resorts became the new operators in June, following the collapse of the previous ownership.

The hotel has been closed since March and Vicki is overseeing all the improvements that need to be made before welcoming guests back, including lift inspections, fire alarm tests and a deep clean from top to bottom of the Grade II-listed, four-star venue.

She said: “It’s a new chapter to this building’s long history.

“It’s amazing to be back and it’s a privilege to work in this building.

“There’s a certain feeling you experience when you walk up the steps here, a sense of history and what’s gone on down the years and I’ve missed that, as well as all our staff.

“The building needs a little bit of TLC which we are working hard to deliver in time, as well as getting the systems up and running again so we can take bookings and welcome people in.”

She added: “It’s actually like opening up a brand-new hotel because it now has new operators and it’s very exciting.

“I foresee a happy future for this hotel under the new ownership. The message is clear – we are still here, we are offering a great service and we are open for business.”

The hotel is themed around the White Star Line shipping company, owners of the ill-fated RMS Titanic and the original occupiers of the building which was designed by celebrated Victorian architect Norman Shaw. Completed in 1896 it is known locally as the ‘streaky bacon building’ due to its distinctive brickwork.

Shaw also designed the original Scotland Yard police headquarters in London in the same manner.

30 James Street

The hotel has 63 nautical-themed rooms, as well as a rooftop terrace bar with stunning waterfront views, a restaurant, events space and spa facilities.

Vicki, who began her life in hospitality at the Hilton in St Helens, said: “This building is part of the city’s history and even beyond.

“It’s the whole reason the Titanic had Liverpool written on it. And for those who aren’t aware of the history it still just works as a beautiful building.

“Liverpool is full of wonderful architecture and 30 James Street has some of our finest.

“Preserving our heritage and bringing it into new use is very important and aesthetically, with its striped brickwork, 30 James Street stands out – you can’t help but notice it. It has always intrigued me what stories it would tell if it could talk.”

She added: “We are reopening the hotel slowly in phases. The safety of our guests and staff is our key focus.

“The upstairs restaurant will remain closed, initially, but we will be opening the bar on the ground floor where people can enjoy the waterfront views that has helped make the hotel so popular.

“In due course we are looking forward to hosting weddings and civil ceremonies again in our fully licensed facilities.”

Vicky said: “It’s funny how quickly we have just returned to normal, wanting to be open and being as busy as we can be. To be in this building with no guests is a very bizarre feeling, because it’s all about the people, and I can’t wait.

“We just want the life back in the building and to do what we do best, which is to look after people and make a difference to people’s time here.”

Close