Britannia Adelphi Hotel

Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool
Britannia Adelphi, Liverpool 2018.jpg
Front of hotel in 2018
Britannia Adelphi Hotel is located in Merseyside
Britannia Adelphi Hotel
Location within Merseyside
General information
Location Ranelagh Place, Liverpool, England
Coordinates 53°24′20″N 2°58′39″W / 53.40549°N 2.97740°W / 53.40549; -2.97740Coordinates: 53°24′20″N 2°58′39″W / 53.40549°N 2.97740°W / 53.40549; -2.97740
Opening 1914
Owner Britannia Hotels
Technical details
Floor count 6
Design and construction
Architect Frank Atkinson
Other information
Number of rooms 402 Bedrooms
Number of restaurants 3
Visit website

The Britannia Adelphi Hotel is in Ranelagh Place, Liverpool city centre, Merseyside, England. The present building is the third hotel on the site, and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.[1] The building is owned and managed by Britannia Hotels. It contains 402 en-suite bedrooms, conference and dining facilities, and a gymnasium.[2]


The first hotel on the site was built in 1826 for the hotelier James Radley by the conversion of two 18th-century town houses.[3][4] It was built on the site of the former Ranelagh Gardens,[5] the first open space for public recreation in Liverpool.[6]

This hotel was replaced by another hotel in 1876, which was bought in 1892 by the Midland Railway, being renamed the Midland Adelphi.[4] A feature was a basement set of heated tanks to keep live turtles for turtle soup which was not only served, but the basis of a significant business being sent to banquets etc. around the country and beyond.[4][7] The railway company replaced it between 1911 and 1914 with the present building, designed by Frank Atkinson. When opened, it was "regarded as the most luxurious hotel outside London".[8]

Owing to Liverpool being a major arrival and departure point for ocean liners during the early 20th century, the Adelphi served as the most popular hotel in the city for wealthy passengers before they embarked on their journey to North America.[9] The RMS Titanic was registered in Liverpool (though it never visited the port), and the Sefton Suite is said to be an exact replica of the ill-fated liner's First Class Smoking Lounge.[3][10]

Guests at the hotel have included world leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Artistes appearing at the Empire Theatre, including Frank Sinatra, Laurel and Hardy, Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, and Roy Rogers have also stayed at the hotel. Rogers made an appearance outside the main entrance with his horse, Trigger.[5]



The Britannia Adelphi Liverpool is constructed in Portland stone. It has seven stories, and its entrance front contains eleven bays. The central three bays of the ground floor comprise the entrance, which is enhanced by columns. The windows on the first floor are round-headed; the rest of the windows are rectangular. In the central three bays of the fourth and fifth floors is a recessed balcony with Ionic columns. There are similar columns on these floors in the second and tenth bays. Above the sixth floor is a cornice with a balustrade.[1]


The public rooms contain columns, marble panelling, and coffered arches.[1] The Central Court is top-lit, and contains pink marble pilasters, glazed screens, and French doors opening into restaurants on its sides. Beyond this is the Hypostyle Hall, containing Empire-style decoration and four Ionic columns. Beyond this is the Fountain Court.[8]

Health and safety

In November 2010 the hotel received a very poor report following a hygiene inspection[11] by Liverpool City Council and enforcement action was threatened if improvements were not made. This resulted in the hotel general manager being removed from his post.[12] A subsequent inspection reported that things were "much improved".[13] However, this was only temporary. Three consecutive Liverpool City Council inspections gave it a zero rating with "urgent improvement necessary".[14] In June 2017 the owners, Britannia Hotels, admitted in the Liverpool Magistrates' Court to three breaches of food safety laws and were fined £232,500.[15] In July 2019 the Hotel received a 4 Star food safety hygiene rating.[citation needed]

Adelphi Hotel in media

In Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Chapter 1.8, Professor Aronnax describes the interior of the submarine as similar to the Adelphi Hotel.[16] The lounge was used in the 1981 TV series Brideshead Revisited as the interior of an ocean liner.[4] In 1997 the hotel was used in the filming of The Lakes, in which the protagonist used the hotel toilets to steal from the guests. In 1997, the hotel was the subject of an eight-part BBC documentary series, Hotel.[17][18] This fly-on-the-wall documentary enabled viewers to look behind the scenes at the everyday running of the hotel. The series was voiced over by Andrew Sachs who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers. The Hotel features briefly in the Bob Dylan documentary Don't Look Back as Dylan appears on the balcony of his room to wave to his fans below.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Historic England, "The Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool (1365828)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 22 March 2015
  2. ^ The Adelphi Hotel Liverpool City Centre, Britannia Hotels, retrieved 7 August 2011
  3. ^ a b The Adelphi, BBC, retrieved 7 August 2011
  4. ^ a b c d The Britannia Adelphi Hotel Liverpool: The story of a great undertaking (booklet available from the hotel, undated)
  5. ^ a b Pye, Ken (2011), Discover Liverpool, Liverpool: Trinity Mirror Media, p. 28, ISBN 978-1-906802-90-5
  6. ^ Layton-Jones, Katy; Lee, Robert (2008), Places of Health and Amusement, Swindon: English Heritage, pp. 4–6, ISBN 978-1-873592-91-5
  7. ^ Ken Pye (2015) Merseyside Tales: Curious and Amazing True Stories from History History Press ISBN 0750964456
  8. ^ a b Pollard, Richard; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2006), Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 334, ISBN 0-300-10910-5
  9. ^ A Brief History of the Adelphi Hotel, archived from the original on 31 March 2012, retrieved 28 August 2011
  10. ^ "The Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool is shrugging off it's [sic] old image". Lancashire Life. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Zero star rating". Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  12. ^ Manager Sacked following "ZERO STAR HYGIENE RATING"
  13. ^ Hygiene Report - Caterer
  14. ^
  15. ^ Janet Harmer (23 June 2017). "Britannia Hotels hit with £265,000 fine for breaching food safety regulations". The Caterer. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea". Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  17. ^ Hotel on IMDb
  18. ^ "Adelphi - the series". BBC. May 2002. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  19. ^ "Bob Dylan at the Adelphi Hotel 1966 Liverpool". Vimeo. Retrieved 9 March 2019.

External links