Harley Young talks past, present and future plans with owner Dave Brewitt
“It was a simple plan, but it wasn’t this one,” explained Dave Brewitt, owner of Hope Street Hotel Liverpool city centre’s first independent, privately-owned, boutique hotel.
He then added that he’d ‘sort of drifted into’ building properties by chance.
“I was teaching over in Birkenhead in early 1990 and had bought a house in the Georgian Quarter. It was very beautiful, but in a terrible state. I thought I’d take a year off work to do it up. My wife, Amy, would probably say it’s still not quite finished, but I reckon it ended up taking about six years.”
The team is what makes Hope Street Hotel. Our people are our biggest asset.
Dave then spent the next few years of his life exploring the world of construction and development until one day an architect contacted him to let him know a furniture warehouse had come up for sale.
“I looked at it and thought it would be great to convert into apartments and possibly a restaurant. I’d never worked in a restaurant, I knew nothing about them, but it was a cool building and I thought a restaurant would look great there” he said.
Dave then thought it might be much more exciting to build a hotel than apartments. “I’d never built a hotel either,” he added. So he decided to transform the unloved and near-derelict building on Hope Street into just that.
“I worked with a hotelier in Nottingham who explained to me that some of the people who visit hotels don’t even want to be there. They’re usually visiting on business and would rather be at home, so you have to make sure the bed is comfy and the shower is better and so on.”
Dave explained it wasn’t as simple as getting a loan, throwing bricks and mortar together and hiring staff. There’s been a number of rather large obstacles in the way that have stunted Hope Street Hotel’s growth at various points in its lifetime. The first being the tragic events of 9/11.
“I was standing just here when I got the phone call. We’d just been in this big meeting to build the first section of the hotel. The next day, NatWest who were funding the developments completely pulled out of the hotel sector because all trade just stopped and international travel ground to a halt,” explained Dave.
Despite all the economic turmoil, Dave kept building and the hotel opened in early 2004. Hope Street Hotel earned a spot on Conde Nast Traveller's list of the Top 50 Coolest New Hotels worldwide before it even opened its doors.
Dave began expanding the hotel in 2007, adding a further 41 bedrooms, and completed the works just as the global economy collapsed in 2008.
Then, in 2018, Dave and his team began a third expansion, adding an indoor-outdoor spa and private cinema to the hotel’s list of facilities. Just as it was nearing completion, Covid-19 hit.
“It’s been quite a remarkable history, one way and another” joked Dave.
Since 2004, Hope Street Hotel has slowly grown from a 48 bedroom hotel to a 149 room destination hospitality venue with its own cinema, nine event spaces, an award-winning spa and two high-quality restaurants.
During renovation, the original name of the 1860s warehouse - ‘The London Carriage Works’ - was revealed above the front door and it became the name of the 60-cover restaurant in homage to the building's history.
Dave says that his clientele ‘hasn’t changed particularly’ but the hotel just has more to offer.
“People visit us for their own reasons. Our food is a really attractive offering, we’ve set the bar really high here in Liverpool for that, I think. Then adding the spa on top has made a big difference.”
Speaking on Hope Street Hotel’s recent award of Best City Spa in the UK, as voted by The Good Spa Guide, Dave said “I think it’s great for the team to know they’re doing a good job. The team is what makes Hope Street Hotel. Our people are our biggest asset.”
Hope Street Hotel opened sister site School Lane Hotel early last year which was no mean feat.
“I asked my construction director ‘Do you think you can build a hotel in 80 days?’ and he laughed and said ‘Of course, we went around the world in 80 days.’” said Dave
“He then looked back and said ‘Oh. You mean it, don’t you?’”
Dave explained how the secondary hotel ‘had a proper deadline’ and was to be built in time for Liverpool’s hosting of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine.
“It’s growing as a business,” he said. “It’s a great place. It’s so central.”
As for future plans, Dave would like to see the brand continue to grow and hopes to open a few more hotels. No locations have been confirmed as of yet.
Dave said: “I am immensely proud to be celebrating Hope Street Hotel’s 20th birthday. It has been an incredible team effort from the very beginning. Thanks go to everyone involved past and present – all our fabulous front and back of house staff who work tirelessly for our guests, as well as the architects, engineers and builders who have helped realise our ambitious plans.
“Our thanks also go to all who choose to stay with us and enjoy all that Hope Street Hotel has to offer. We love being a firm favourite for visitors to the city.
“We look forward to welcoming new and returning guests for the next 20 years and beyond - providing impeccable service in beautiful spaces, as part of the very best that Liverpool has to offer.”
To celebrate 20 years, Hope Street Hotel will be announcing a series of special promotions which will run throughout the year including a special Spa & Stay package and birthday cocktail that will change with the seasons.
Keep an eye on the hotel's social media pages for all the latest news.
Follow Harley Young on X @Harley__Young
Get the latest news to your inbox
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!