Remember at the beginning of the year when I said this was the year I was going to go city hopping, staying in hotels and seeking the most glorious home from home? Ladies and Gentleman I stuck to my word and recently spirited my friend Kath all the way in to our very own city (so about twenty minutes away!) for one night in elegant, child-free luxury, for her birthday.
A football themed hotel may not seem like the obvious choice for this Cath Kidston loving Vintage Housekeeper, but this is Liverpool, and in Liverpool we do everything - even football! - in sumptuous style, and so the newly opened Shankly Hotel in one of the most gorgeous, converted old buildings in our city, fitted the bill for a pair of exhausted Mummies desperate for a bit of pampering. And cocktails. And bubble baths in the huge jacuzzi in what turned out to be the biggest, gilt-laden, fabulous room I have ever had the pleasure to stay in. No really. Never was a hotel room so big seen before: we seriously debated doing cartwheels up and down the wooden floor but decided a trip to casualty might just ruin the weekend and settled instead for skipping up and down giggling and whooping!
Bill Shankly is a Liverpool legend. Probably one of the greatest managers in the history of football, and certainly someone who can be credited with instilling football in the hearts of all those of us brought up in this city. While Kath and I could not be less interested in football on a day to day basis, confronted by the history of this great man in all his sepia-tinted, gilt decorated glory, even we could not resist his story, for the hotel paints it so tastefully and there isn't a spot of the garish red so familiar to Liverpool supporters around these parts.
And so began twenty four hours of bliss. We had hand massages and bought candles in Jo Malone, ate noodles in Wagamama, drank gin cocktails in the Shankly Hotel bar, bought stacks of magazines and read them curled up on our individual, huuuge double beds, sipped at good wine and generally, rather fittingly, had a ball.
I, as I am wont to do, insisted on working at every opportunity: because you can take the girl out of Brocante but you can't take Brocante out of the girl, and I can never, ever resist checking my emails, answering queries and generally harassing those of me silly enough to follow me on Twitter when I am away. But I really, really, really hate messing with hotel wi-fi systems. I am in fact deeply intolerant of any kind of wi-fi faff and tend to get a little screechy if it won't work, but luckily I am swanky enough to have my very own MI-FI with me at all times, (no really this is how fancy I am - I have the Huawei E5573 4G Mobile Wi-Fi box on my person at all times!) so I merely have to bring out my little box, pop out my wireless keyboard and type and lo and behold, I am back in Chez Brocante, albeit, this time sat at a rather darling lime-washed Shankly hotel desk starting at my own reflection in a vast gilt edged mirror.
For me, being able to guarantee good wi-fi really matters. I am a blogger. This is my livelihood and I don't want to do battle with a connection, nor start a search for a hotel password, or go through a registration process in order to simply get online, and so having my own MI-FI is something of a God send (via the nice people at Three) whenever I travel, and I find myself popping out my box (just slightly bigger than a credit card) in all sorts of obscure places lately simply so I don't have to beg friends and family for their password nor call down to hotel receptions when I'm having a wi-fi mare.
Though I'm sure I drove Kath a tinsy bit nuts both raving about my Mi-Fi and insisting on using it when we could have been doing handstands against the oh so fabulous leatherette quilted walls, I suspect she was that busy splashing in the jacuzzi that she didn't care. The hotel is both a feast for the eyes, and very, very new. Some parts aren't quite finished and I reckon the builders must have a snag list as long as their arms, but the essence of Liverpool lies in every inch of the whole experience, and the tragedy that was Hillsborough is discreetly remembered in the beautiful 96 Memorial Wall (see the image at the top of this post) where an eternal flame burns for each of those died.
From the moment we were greeted by girls with fabulous Scouse brows at the copper hammered reception desk, to the moment when we were leaving and the reception girl told us a hilarious story about buying beef in the supermarket, we knew we were in Liverpool, for there isn't a friendlier, kinder city in the world and The Shankly Hotel has fully embraced the spirit of it's people.