The Holiday Inn City Centre Liverpool is a budget chain hotel that stands out from the crowd. Delivering reliable comfort and value right in the heart of the city with a unique Liverpudlian personality and services above and beyond what you would expect from a brand chain, it easily competes with lifestyle and boutique hotels far outside its price range.
This is a paid article written in partnership with the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre with products or services supplied by them. Full editorial integrity is maintained at all times. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.
The Holiday Inn is a budget chain hotel that on first glance you would think you would know exactly what to expect. Like all other basic chains you would expect a good but bland, corporate accommodation option at a reasonable price, rooms that are comfortable but nothing fancy, breakfast – where it is included – that is not bad but still basic buffet fare, you get the picture. They are functional. Middle of the road. Nothing more, nothing less. You know what to expect and don’t have high aspirations of sleeping anywhere truly special.
In many ways this is one of the strengths of a chain hotel, they allow you to explore new destinations and take amazing city breaks at a reasonable price whilst providing a nothing fancy, middle of the road, comfortable place to sleep.
But every once in a while you find a rare gem hidden under that corporate paint job, a shining star in a sea of middle of the road mediocrity, and the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre is exactly that. A chain hotel that dares you to forget your preconceptions, a hotel that gives you the best of both worlds, the comfort, price and familiarity of a budget chain you know and trust, but the facilities and quality of a much higher range hotel and the unique personality and personal service of an independent boutique hotel or family run guesthouse.
Unlike most branded chain hotels, where you can’t tell them apart and could be staying in an industrial car park in Slough as easily as on the beach in a seaside resort town, the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre is filled with personality and an entire myriad of little touches that leaves guests in no doubt that they are staying in one of the greatest cities in the world.
Everything from the Liver Bird welcome to the murals on the walls gives a strong sense of destination. There are tiny reminders of Liverpudlian heritage everywhere you go, and that is before you even get to the iconic views that every floor of the hotel takes full advantage of! This is a hotel that knows and celebrates where it comes from, and tells the story of Liverpool in every little detail.
It is these details that raise the bar for this Holiday Inn far above and beyond that of just another chain hotel, and gives it a unique persona that is usually reserved for the more expensive independent boutique hotels. But before we get to why it is worth staying here on that nebulous sense of destination and that home from home feeling that any genuinely good hotel should give you, it should be judged on its practicalities first and foremost.
There is a good reason that the name of this hotel specifies its city centre location, it really is right in the heart of the city and just cannot be beaten for location or convenience. Many hotels are located in the city centre itself and ‘centrally located’ can be applied to a lot of them, but none can boast a location quite like the Holiday Inn City Centre. Right across the road from Lime Street train station and practically a part of the iconic St Johns shopping centre (and the famous Radio City Tower right on top of it), the hotel literally overlooks the heritage buildings, galleries and museums that make up the William Brown Street Conservation Area which is right on your doorstep. Liverpool Central train station (the city’s other main rail hub) is just a few minutes walk away and the main shopping areas and all major tourist attractions in the city are within easy walking distance too, including the Empire theatre which is just across the road. You cannot be located more centrally – or more conveniently – than this.
For those on an extended stay and who may need a few essentials from time to time being in a city centre means you won’t have many problems, but to add to the level of convenience staying in the Holiday Inn provides there is a small supermarket right next door too, as well as an extra coffee shop if for some reason you choose not to use the excellent cafe in the hotel itself. Whoever said being spoiled for choice was a bad thing?
Being a budget chain hotel the price is exactly what you would expect it to be for a city centre hotel, right on the boundary of higher budget and low mid range. That means that it will be within the majority of travellers budgets for anything from a weekend break to a short staycation. But more important than that is the value you get for that budget. The Holiday Inn is great value, and you get a high level of comfort and convenience for your money.
The most important aspect to any hotel stay is the room, and honestly my room at the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre was fantastic. It was cosy but had more than enough room to move around, the bed was extremely comfortable and it had all of the standard amenities. Having stayed in other Holiday Inn’s previously it was exactly what I expected it to be, and that is one of the absolute strengths of a chain hotel.
The decor was again as you would expect for a Holiday Inn room, nothing spectacularly unique but functionally stylish and certainly pleasant enough to stay in, with a large bed and small seating area as well as the ubiquitous work desk. The black out curtains made the room pitch black when needed and the noise from the city centre location was immediately silenced when the window was shut, giving a perfect night’s sleep. The flatscreen TV was located perfectly on the wall, the desk was functional with enough plugs to provide power to work from and the desk chair was surprisingly comfortable. The room did have charger sockets and a USB charger on one side of the bed, which is a major plus point as the many hotels that don’t have this as standard invoke righteous anger in any experienced traveller, but the one lone niggle I could find fault with is that it didn’t have them on both sides, which seemed an odd choice and a bit of a pain for couples who may both want to charge a phone overnight. This isn’t exactly a deal breaker though, and generally I could not have been more comfortable.
Perhaps most importantly the entire room was spotlessly clean and free from any superfluous clutter, which is a specific point in their IHG ‘Way Of Clean‘ policy, but something I personally appreciate anyway as I just don’t like a lot of unnecessary stuff cluttering up every surface.
The best part about the room though was the view.
Being literally right at the heart of the city centre, the rooms overlook not just the magnificent Lime Street Station, but St Georges Hall and the listed buildings of William Brown Street. To be honest there are a lot of city centre hotels in Liverpool with fantastic views, but this view truly is iconic, and if you are visiting Liverpool for the first time I would genuinely recommend staying here just for this view alone. To put it in perspective, this is the equivalent of having a hotel room that looks straight out onto the Champs Elysees in Paris, or Times Square in NYC. To get this premium level view without the sky high premium level charges of a luxury level hotel is uncommon to say the least and really should be taken advantage of.
There are a whole host of amenities at your disposal at the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre, from the usual convenient facilities that you would expect to find, such as decent wifi and a 24 hour front desk (with extra security at night, no less, which gets the hotel serious extra points on a safety scale), to those that are actually stand out recommendations in their own right.
The fitness centre is nothing too fancy but does have everything you need to get a decent workout in the morning, and the attached solarium and decently sized changing rooms are a nice extra touch.
It is perhaps the restaurant, bar and lounge that make up the heart of the hotel facilities though, and the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre has a versatile range of services that cover pretty much any need. Located just across from the extensive conference suites and 24 hour business centre is the E bar, a dedicated working space located right next to the To Go Cafe, a small bar serving excellent coffee and refreshments to give you that early morning boost of energy.
But if anything was to be considered a hidden gem amongst the impressive range of amenities, it is the restaurant itself. Located in the same space as the late opening bar and cafe, the restaurant serves a functional purpose as the place most guests simply use to get their breakfast in the morning, and on this point alone it gets top marks. The hot and cold breakfast samplings were extensive and couldn’t be faulted, but unlike in most chain hotels those who just use the restaurant for the free breakfast are missing out.
What most travellers don’t realise is that the restaurant – largely hidden away from the city unless you know about it – is worth visiting on its own merits even if you aren’t staying at the Holiday Inn. Now Liverpool is a city that is overflowing with one of the best foodie scenes and some of the best restaurants in the world, so it really does take a lot for any restaurant to stand up and be counted, but this does, and it does it well. It isn’t just the meal selection and all day dining on offer though, which is fantastic on its own merits, but the view that really makes the restaurant a must visit. The views of St George’s quarter, part of Liverpool’s extensive world heritage and UNESCO sites cannot be missed, and having a meal whilst overlooking some of the finest Victorian architecture in the world is a strong reminder of just how beautiful a city Liverpool really is, and very few restaurants in the city can boast that.
Not only that, the hotel’s prime location makes the restaurant perfect for a fancy meal before catching a show at the Empire Theatre which is just across the road, a great place for a pit stop whilst shopping till you drop or quick lunch before that long train journey home. Whether you are staying at the Holiday Inn or not, a visit to the restaurant should definitely be on your list if you are coming to Liverpool.
It is here that I want to take the time to really emphasize the next level quality of the service that the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre provides, because it is in this that the hotel really distinguishes itself not only from being just another chain hotel, but from any of its competitors at this budget level and beyond too.
Let’s be honest, many decent hotels get customer service right. They have staff that are efficient and polite, even friendly, to an extent, and that is how it should be. The Holiday Inn is no exception in this regard. From the minute I walked through the door the welcome was exceptional; check in was easy and efficient, the perks of being an IHG member were on full display and every member of staff went out of their way to help not just me but others who checked in and out around me. This continued throughout the entire stay, with everyone from the front desk to the cleaning staff deserving genuine praise for being so helpful and professional. The level of service was genuinely exceptional and on that alone this review would be complete, but it went far, far beyond this too which is the reason I wanted to highlight it so much.
Where the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre excelled in its service was that it wasn’t just professionally exceptional, it was personal. There is something unique about the Scouse personality, an indefinable openness, a friendliness and sense of humour that comes from a unique heritage, and this adds a flavour to the already extraordinary level of service that raises the bar far beyond just another chain hotel.
This Scouse personality wasn’t just obvious in the way staff treated everyone, like friends or members of family being welcomed into a home, but in the countless little touches that make you feel special as a guest; touches like little personal notes welcoming you to your room, or that welcome drink for IHG members, far too many to mention them all and most people probably wouldn’t notice them but it really is these small details that make all the difference. The Holiday Inn City Centre has far more in common with a unique, independent hotel or midrange boutique guesthouse than it does a simple, bog standard chain, with staff engaging in open conversation and taking an active interest in your stay as well as genuinely trying to help when you need something. Despite being a huge hotel with I don’t know how many guests, I genuinely felt that my stay as an individual was important to them, and that is a surprisingly rare quality in many hotels.
In general the Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre is an outstanding accommodation option – in a city that already sets a really high bar for hotel quality – for any traveller visiting Liverpool on a weekend break or short staycation. It offers the best of both worlds to travellers on a relative budget, with all of the benefits of a budget chain hotel, familiarity, comfort as standard and convenience, a level of quality far beyond its low midrange pricing, and the extra level of service, unique personality and sense of occasion that you would expect from an independent boutique hotel.
Bemused Backpacker always recommends booking directly where it is possible. Ready to book? The Holiday Inn Liverpool City Centre site can be found here.
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