In the Wake of the Titanic
Housed in the former White Star Line Headquarters, 30 James Street offers opulent accommodation and delicious food
Review by Catherine Ferguson
Few cities can lay claim to a symbol quite as iconic as the Liver birds, the celebrated cormorants who, according to legend, will bring about the downfall of the city, should they ever fly away. A visit to 30 James Street will see them keeping over-watch, as you spend the night at the imposing landmark hotel just a stone’s throw from Liverpool’s Pier Head on the banks of the Mersey.
Once home to The White Star Line Headquarters, the hotel pays homage to the Titanic and her sister ships in all manner of thoughtful ways throughout the Grade II listed building.
Each floor takes on a different theme, with the Cabin level hosting rooms for four, eight and even twenty guests. Morgan’s Vault (once used to store RMS Titanic’s plans and documents) is decked out with opulent décor, ten double beds and two double Jacuzzi whirlpool baths. With such dormitories of decadence on offer, it’s little surprise that 30 James Street is something of a hen do haven at the weekend, but the demographic is varied, particularly in Carpathia, the rooftop Champagne Bar and restaurant. Nevertheless, if the party vibe really isn’t your thing, a midweek break might be worth considering.
Our Saturday night visit saw us tucked up in the Turret Suite on the Olympic floor, giving a firm nod to the RMS Olympic, the Titanic’s sister ship. Also built by world-renowned Belfast shipbuilders, Harland and Wolff, she and the Titanic were replicas of one another, right down to the same White Star Line crockery. Enjoying more than 24 years at sea, she spent many of them as the largest ship afloat.
Dubbed ‘The Home of the Titanic’, the rooms were generously sized with some great views across the docks. The double whirlpool bath in our suite was positively gargantuan; it was, however, hard not to notice the slight irony of the sunken double bed, though I suspect it was unintentional. 30 James Street pride themselves on their furnishings having been crafted by their own carpenters on site, meaning guests won’t come across the same piece twice throughout the hotel.
It’s fitting that 30 James Street’s tour de force should be the Carpathia Restaurant and Rooftop bar, aptly named after the ship which rescued some 705 survivors from the sinking Titanic. The cocktail list is concise but pleasant and the wine list offers an impressive selection of wines by the glass for sundowners (weather permitting) with a panoramic view of the Maritime UNESCO World Heritage Site. Open to non-residents, it’s most definitely worth the trip for a tipple, should you find yourself that side of the Mersey.
The seasonal menu was high quality and reasonably priced, with a three-course lunch coming in at £24.95. Our smoked salmon with potato rosti, poached hens egg and crisped skin was a perfect starter, though the following morning, I couldn’t help but lament the fact that it wasn’t on the breakfast menu. The locally-sourced rib eye steaks were lip-smackingly tasty, if ever so slightly overcooked, while the dessert menu threw some pretty tough choices up in the air. The Chianti panna cotta with a hint of cinnamon, macerated grapes and Italian meringue didn’t fail to impress, but the coffee sponge and Amaretto custard sounded really quite marvellous too.
Enquires: Albion House, 30 James Street, Liverpool, L2 7PQ / 0151 601 5908 / rmstitanichotel.co.uk
Midweek Dream and Dine packages are available for £99 per person, with Ultimate Weekend deals starting at £189