It's very good for shopping and gigs: it’s on the fringes of Liverpool ONE and near the Arena end of the waterfront. The bus station is close, but not too close.
Rooms are all bright, contemporary and pleasant, but pay the £20 supplement to upgrade to Executive class if you can. The standard room I was in had a lumpy duvet and a rickety door on the (admittedly funky) bathroom pod. Exec rooms are more spacious, with free internet (it's £4-£12 in a standard room), king size beds, mineral water and an espresso machine, and fewer minor irritations. It’s a central location, but the threat of noise never really materialises, though of course the higher up you are, the better.
An open-plan ground floor cleverly combines bar, restaurant, lounge and check-in, all with a pleasing space-age-meets-Scandi design ethic. Children have a small play area and Xbox station to keep them occupied, while adults can surf the internet (for free: it’s chargeable in standard rooms) on a couple of Macs. I wouldn’t look at anything too private, though: the screens are huge.
Eating and drinking
A cube-shaped bar looks onto the street, and the restaurant and buffet breakfast area fill the rest of the space. For solo travellers, there are “TV dinners” booths with headphones, so you can eat and goggle at the box simultaneously. Weekend breakfast gets busy, but traffic light posters in the lifts tell you which times are likely to be best.
The hotel is very new, so the downstairs pool, steam room and small gym have modern jiggery-pokery, such as an underwater sound system. The leisure facility’s communal changing area takes some getting used to, but I was told most guests change in their rooms.
It could do with a little shake-up in the restaurant. On my visit, breakfast dishes were still hanging around after noon, which makes a difference when everything’s open-plan. Reception staff are smart and handle international guests capably.
Who stays there
Novotel’s cool good looks attract businesspeople as well as the inevitable football crowds. Guests who are looking for something a little bit different, but with the comfort and consistency of a chain, do well here. The lifts are secure, which is great for women travelling alone.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Mature travellers
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Great location
- Cool design, especially for a chain
- Standard rooms have glitches
- Not always immaculate