Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Radisson SAS

1 Nov 2005 by business traveller

What's it like? The Radisson SAS opened in February 2004 and still feels spotlessly new and modern. The dazzling white, nine-storey atrium is eye-catching enough, but it's easily matched by a giant imposing sculpture (by local artist John Atkin), which resembles an airplane wheel, fused with other objects evoking Liverpool's industrial past.

Where is it? In the business district with good views over the Mersey. It's a couple of minutes' walk to the city centre and a 10-minute stroll through town takes you to Liverpool Lime Street train station. John Lennon Airport is seven miles away.

How many rooms? 194 including four junior suites and the splendid River suite.

Room facilities Rooms are in two different styles – urban and ocean – and are divided into superior (standard) and business class, with the extras in the latter being a river view, turndown service, free in-room movies, bathrobe and slippers, and complimentary breakfast. My ocean room was airy, bright and pleasant (though with garish stripes on the headboard) with a good view of the waterside development. Urban rooms are decorated in deep reds, which gives them a more cosy feel. All rooms have a minibar, laptop-sized safe, tea and coffee-making facilities, hair dryer, satellite TV with 21 channels plus pay-movies. The River Suite (standard rate £700 per night) is outstanding, with three plasma TVs, lavish decoration and ample space.

Restaurants and bars The hotel's restaurant Filini is bright with good views and offers Sardinian dishes. Breakfast is served from 6.30am-10.30am on weekdays and from 7am-12pm at weekends. This late serving felt like a luxury and I arrived at the restaurant at 11.30am on a Saturday to find the staff clearing away many of the tables. I was led to a dirty table, which was cleaned in front of me, but staff did not seem pleased to see me and I sat for a couple of minutes wondering what to do next before I was pointed in the direction of the buffet hidden at the far end of the room. Despite feeling that I was holding up staff from the end of their shift I enjoyed a hearty cooked breakfast, with cereals, fruit and pastries also on offer. There is also a "grab and run" option for people rising early, which provides hot drinks and croissants from 5am. Lunch is served 12pm-2.30pm and dinner 6pm-10.30pm (closed on Sundays). The White Bar is a small, trendy bar that also serves snacks and draws a good crowd at weekends.

Business and meeting facilities There is a business centre on the first floor which is open 9am-5.30pm (but can also be opened on request). It offers high-speed internet access, printing, photocopying, faxing and other business services. Wifi access is free throughout the hotel, which is an attractive bonus. The hotel has nine meeting rooms on the conference floor (first floor), including the Kings suite, which seats up to 130 people for dinner or 180 theatre-style and can be split into three rooms.

Leisure facilities The Ark fitness centre, accessed through a separate lift, has a pool, sauna, spa bath, steam room, gym, studio and treatment room. There is an impressive list of therapies, including male grooming treatments such as back tension massage, facials and foot grooming. Daily group exercise programmes are also available during the week.

Verdict An excellent addition to Liverpool's upmarket business hotel scene. For the most part, service was highly professional.

Price Full rate for a midweek November stay in a business class room was £206; a standard room was £135. An internet rate was available for £115.

Contact Radisson SAS, 107 Old hall Street, Liverpool, tel +44 (0)151 966 1500, radissonsas.com.

Sarah Maxwell

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