When you think of a Beatles hotel, the possibilities for awful Beatle puns soon become readily apparent. Want a wake-up call? Blackbird starts playing down the phone at 6.30AM. Hotel pool? It’s called Octopus’ Garden. Hello Goodbye plays on a loop for 24 hours a day, driving doormen mad on a regular basis.
For a city that’s fairly unsubtle about the celebration of its Beatles heritage – not one, but two Beatles Stories, two Cavern Clubs (neither of which is the original), numerous bars, a karaoke-esque music festival, a crass and vulgar ‘Beatles Day’, an Airport, some topiary, a couple of National Trust Houses, that vile peace effigy thing and numerous other dotted around the city – it comes as something of a surprise that the Hard Days Night hotel isn’t similarly in-your-face when it comes to pushing the nostalgia.
There are areas in the hotel when it may not be especially obvious that there’s a Beatles theme at all. In the impressive Blakes restaurant there are all the headshots that went into creating Sir Peter Blake’s cover for Sergeant Pepper’s – all Beatles heroes. It’s impossible not to try to name them.
In the other three bars there are similarly subtle nods to the Fab Four; one of them, for example, is called Bar Four. It’s elegant, if a little baroque, and experience has taught SevenStreets that enjoying a cocktail here can be mind-meltingly expensive. Still, the surroundings are sumptuous and the service cheerfully scouse, which seems appropriate.
Hari’s Bar downstairs is also worth a look, thought it’s not open to non-residents, and there’s a lounge bar to while away the time in too. A sweeping, semi-circular staircase twists upwards from reception around two lift shafts; the numerous, seldom-seen pictures of John, Paul, George and Ringo demanding more attention than a passing glance would allow. Very little here screams Beatles – but there’s plenty to take in if you’d prefer.
The double luxury room was not especially large – and a glance at the building’s lay-out suggests that the rooms are not uniform in dimensions – but it was well-lit and looked every inch the four-star boutique hotel Hard Days Night claims to be; apart from the bobbled bed linen. Odd.
Wall-mounted controls for aircon and lights are a smart move; as is complimentary WiFi. There’s a drench shower and a bath that’s a little narrow to be especially comfortable and what first looks like dirt in turns out to be a chip in the enamel; the room generally is a tiny bit frayed around the edges, but only if you go looking.
A dominating portrait hangs above the bed, of Lennon with a bloody lip – and something of a mis-step in our opinion, it’s not an especially pleasant sight – is the only indication that this isn’t a Radisson or Mal Maison.
That’s clearly the level this £20m 100+ room hotel is going for – and the clientele at a middling buffet breakfast the next morning can be divided down the middle in tourists and business types. The former will enjoy the Beatles flourishes and memorabilia shop; the latter will appreciate the plush amenities and rooms.
Hard Days Night is an impressive place. It works as a hotel –though it needs more attention to detail, especially at some of the quoted prices – but it also works as a kind of working museum or gallery of The Beatles, the influences and those they inspired.
A Beatles concept hotel in Liverpool does not seem out of place. Hard Days Night seems to have made a good start – let’s hope standards are maintained going forward.
Hard Days Night
North John Street