In 2014, hotel group, Signature Living turned the former White Star Line head offices into the 30 James Street hotel and it’s about to reopen with a new operator.
Albion House, as it was formerly known, is a Grade II-listed building built in the 1890s as the head offices for the shipping line, White Star, owners of the ill-fated Titanic. It opened as a hotel operated by Signature Living as, 30 James Street.
Recently, however, a number of businesses in the Signature Group have gone into and in June it was revealed that national operator Legacy Hotels and Resorts would be taking over the venue.
Signature has kept control of other hospitality businesses in the city, including the Alma de Cuba bar and restaurant in Seel Street and the Dixie Dean and Shankly hotels in Victoria Street.
Now Legacy Hotels is ready to reopen 30 James Street from Saturday, July 25, for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown in March, with a new general manager, Vicki Hanlon taking charge.
Ms Hanlon is overseeing all the improvements that need to be made for the four-star venue, before welcoming guests back, such as following new health and safety guidelines, a top to bottom deep clean, kitchen and lift inspections, as well as fire alarm tests.
Vicki, who began her career in hospitality at the Hilton in St Helens, 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.”
The building, originally designed by celebrated Victorian architect, Norman Shaw, was completed in 1896. It now contains 63 nautically-themed rooms, a rooftop terrace bar with spectacular waterfront views, a restaurant, an events space and spa facilities.
“This building is part of the city’s history and even beyond. It’s the whole reason the Titanic had Liverpool written on it,” added Ms Hanlon. “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.”
Legacy is reopening 30 James Street in stages. The upstairs restaurant will remain closed at first but the ground floor bar where people can enjoy the striking waterfront views that has helped make the hotel so popular, will open.
Ms Hanlon said she soon hopes to be hosting weddings and civil ceremonies again adding: “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.”
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