The Marriott Hotel South is the refurbished Grade II listed north terminal of the old Liverpool Airport, with a block of rooms added on in the Art Deco style of the existing buildings.
The Marriott Hotel South is the refurbished Grade II listed north terminal of the old Liverpool Airport, with a block of rooms added on in the Art Deco style of the existing buildings. Stuffed with pictures of local aviation pioneers, and the usual Marriott carpeting, it's a strange mix of glamour and conference-style functionality.
The tiny Dragon Rapide plane at the entrance to the hotel reminds you that this was once a working airport. Sweeping staircases and swirling red carpets take you up to some of the 164 bedrooms while the coffee bar, lounge and conference rooms are decorated in faux Art Deco style, with curved wooden chairs and geometric shapes.
There's also the Starways restaurant. But, despite its sophisticated menu (venison and cranberry terrine, asparagus and pecorino ravioli), the surroundings are strictly airport lounge. The abandoned hangar next door has been turned into a giant leisure centre, with a Saks beauty salon (access is free for guests).
It isn't just for plane-spotters though. During the Creamfields festival, the likes of Zoë Ball, Norman Cook and Sara Cox chose the Marriott over muddy tents. And if that doesn't impress you, how about the fact that the Beatles took off from here in the Sixties?
The Marriott Hotel South is eight miles outside Liverpool, at Speke Aerodrome, Speke Road, Liverpool L24 8QD (0151-494 5000, www.marriotthotels.com/lplms). The hotel is within easy reach of Liverpool city centre as well as Sefton Park and its restored Palm House and the National Trust mansion, Speke Hall.
Transport: taxis into Liverpool take about 20 minutes and cost £10. Or you can catch a number 82 bus from outside the hotel (40 minutes, around £2).
Time to international airport: Liverpool's John Lennon airport is 10 minutes away by the hotel's free bus service.
Dark wooden furniture and garish floral bed covers can't quite carry off their intended 1930s looks. Bathrooms have big baths, but the marbled surrounds are ugly rather than exciting. Executive rooms are bigger and their occupants get access to a cosy lounge, with separate check-in facilities and free canapés. Control freaks with a bit of cash should book the Ambassador's suite, with its Jacuzzi bath, king size bed and enormous patio.
Freebies: Unwrap the Neutrogena toiletries and you'll find that even the soap has been branded with a Marriott logo.
Keeping in touch: standard rooms have phone and modem lines and satellite TV (with bathroom speakers). Executive rooms and the Ambassador's Suite also have CD players.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Standard doubles cost from £78, with breakfast, at weekends and from £99, without, in the week. Executive rooms cost from £98; the Ambassador's Suite costs from £155 at weekends.
I'm not paying that: nearby Blenheim Lodge (37 Aigburth Drive, 0151-727 7380) has doubles from £42.50, including breakfast.