I came here with eyes wide open. Reviews of the Britannia Adephi Hotel in Liverpool on TripAdvisor range from "Superb" to "Terrible" in equal measure, and I have stayed here with Lisa before.
The Adelphi is a Grand Hotel - as Grand Hotels used to be some 50 years ago. But very little has changed over those 50 years, so it's no longer what you would wish to find in one of today's Grand hotels. But what it does do is retain the history, and that probably suits the major clientelle, who seem to be people who may have come there in its oppulent days - or perhaps would have done so if they had been able to afford it. These days, it seems that they largely come in coach parties from across the north of England and from Scotland.
There are six floors of bedrooms, and my room is on the fifth. With a heavy rucksack containing 6 computers, and a roll-along back with five more, plus books, manuals to hand out, and a couple of changes of clothing, I felt disinclined to tackle the stairs. But one of the two lifts was out of order. Never mind - I squeezed into the one operational lift with a load of elderly Glaswegians who wanted to know if my bag contained a body as it was so heavy; I confirmed that it was my way of sneaking someone in so that we could get a room between us for a single rate, and we all laughed.
The bedroom is spacious - but the furniture is old and bulk and occupies a lot of the space, and the wallpaper is drab so you don't get the big space feeling. The TV is still a cathode ray tube with limited channels (and missing the on/off button so you have to poke at a little level inside the case). It does have a remote handset (and that works), but in terms of other access, there isn't any internet connectivity here. Not an issue for me as I'm using my mobile dongle, and perhaps a brilliant decision by the hotel owners and most of their customers probably don't want to be online, or carry their own connection like I do.
I booked a double room, so the bed is plenty wide for me, freshly changed, clean. It's not the Queen or King I might expect elsewhere, but is large enough and comfortable enough for me. You'll note agai, though, drab. That same wallpaper, and very limited lighting - in fact there are no ceiling lights at all, and I'm wondering if the hotel was built before the days of electicity and they've never added ceiling lights - just put in standards and lamps where once there would have been candles. Or perhaps the water stain on the ceiling hides darker secrets, and the lack of a ceiling light is specific to this room.
When we took over Well House Manor, we had chocolate bathroom furniture in one room, and avacado in another. And we had strongly decorated walls; we replaced them with white and plainer models, as well as moving bathrooms around to ensure we're totally en-suite. I think the Adephi is totally ensuite too, and probably was 50 years ago, but I think the bathroom suit and decoration dates from then, and dates the hotel. A bit worn - the shower to bath switch in my room lets me switch from "mostly shower" to "mostly bath" (always with a trickle from the showerhead) but I'm choosing to call that "quaint".
All older buildings can look grim on the inside, and inside the hollow square that forms the Adelphi is no exception. I'm not sure if cleaning the windows would help, or whether it would just make the grimness clearer. However ...
Underneath that central hollow area is the most magnificent ballroom, with glass over so much of the area and magnificnet chandalliers. These days, it's used as a reception and meeting area for the hotel - the hotel lounge - an dis of such magnificence that it gets heavy use.
So - if I were to be rating the Adelphi, would I go "Magnificent" or "Terrible". It's magnificent. I wonder at the grandeur, and I chuckle at the shortcomings. I'm sure I could be less positive if I had paid more (I got a very
reasonable rate!), if I had been unable through lack of capacity to use the one working lift on the way up, or if I had suffered a number of things that TripAdvisor users had reported. But it's unlikely I would go "terrible"; the Adelphi is a magnificent piece of history, and it serves the type of people who want to stay there magnificently. (written 2012-06-06, updated 2012-06-09)
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