The Grand Party Hotel

Pick of the Day, The Radio Times by Jane Rackham

The Grand Party Hotel
8.00pm, BBC1 Thursday 24 September

Documentary new series – Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel is unlike any other. For starters, it has luxury, themed ‘party suites’, sleeping six, 12 or even 24 people (that alone sounds like a nightmare to me). You can celebrate in an Alice in Wonderland room where the furniture hangs from the ceiling, or a jungle one, with zebra print carpets and gold-sprayed animal statues. The Instagram generation absolutely love it.

We check into the hotel on the day new general manager, Lyndon starts work. Suited, booted and perhaps a bit strait laced, meticulous Lyndon doesn’t look like someone who’d appreciate the hotel’s wacky décor, let alone hen party guests being served by butlers in the buff, or ‘smell the nappy’ games at a baby shower event. By the end of his first week, he’s wiped the floor with two bubbly members of staff; guest relations manager Liam and wedding planner Ciara. Seeing the workings of any hotel is fascinating. This is downright extraordinary.

The 10 best TV Shows to watch this week, The i Newspaper by Emily Baker

The Grand Party Hotel
Thursday 24 September, 8pm, BBC One

Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel is best known for its party suites, which each sport a different theme, from Prohibition to the Garden of Eden. This behind-the-scenes docuseries introduces an eccentric range of guests – such as Laura, who has checked in to celebrate her divorce – and hotel employees, including a new general manager brought in to tackle the Shankly’s disappointing reviews.

What’s On TV – Picks of the day

The Grand Party Hotel
BBC1, 8pm Thursday 24 September

Champagne service.. Staff members James and Kemi know how to welcome guests in this four-part series on life at Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel.

TV Choice Magazine – Today’s choice

The Grand Party Hotel
BBC1, 8pm Thursday 24 September

Whether it’s a couple celebrating their golden anniversary or a group of hens partying the night away in one of its huge suites, staff at Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel offer a welcome with a smile.

Total TV Guide

The Grand Party Hotel
BBC1, Thursday 24 September

The Shankly isn’t just a hotel – the Liverpool establishment has a real wow factor that is so blingtastic, it practically requires sunglasses. It boasts themed party suites, such as the luxurious flamingo room, grand apartments with animal statues and others that have giant Roman whirlpool baths. Plus, there are places specially designed for hen and stag dos and wild weekends away. It’s the antithesis of a Travelodge.

‘We create a bucket-list experience as opposed to a vanilla hotel’, says The Shankly’s co-owner Lawrence Kenwright, the mastermind behind the OTT décor.

Filmed before lockdown, cameras follow Lawrence and his staff as they welcome guests, from riotous young groups to elderly couples marking an occasion.

‘When someone walks into their room, I want them to gasp, take a picture and boast about it to their friends,’ continues Lawrence. ‘I want them to say, “Look at me! I’m in this great whirlpool bath with an elephant above my head in this weird, quirky place!”‘

On top of managing all the overnight guests, the hotel’s events spaces are also often fully booked. ‘With all the bedrooms occupied, a packed restaurant and our rooftop venue in use, we can have just under 2,000 people in the hotel’, says Lawrence.

With clients expected a rowdy time, it’s inevitable some will be disappointed, and complaints include paint peeling off a Roman bath, while an events hall ceiling starts leaking hours before the wedding party arrives!

Lawrence says he’s proud of his hotel, which can even provide tacky ‘butlers in the buff’ to serve drinks, is totally different to the five-star experience. ‘We represent normal people. Would you get that in the Dorchester? No! And we don’t want to be the Dorchester. We’re not trying to be. I can’t think of anything worse!’