This is our review of the new Radisson RED hotel in Liverpool.
In the past few years, Liverpool has seen a flurry of new hotel openings as the city gains increasing prominence in the UK and abroad. In fact, I arrived just ten days after Eurovision had finished, with lots of Eurovision branding still visible throughout the city.
The Radisson RED is one of the most recent, having opened in December. In a couple of days I will also be reviewing the new Municipal Hotel, part of Accor’s MGallery brand, which has only been open a matter of weeks.
Both are conversions of existing historic buildings. In the Radisson RED’s case, this is the original Victorian railway hotel connected to Liverpool Lime Street station designed by Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed London’s Natural History Museum.
We paid cash for our stay and Radisson was not involved in arranging this review in any way.
What is a Radisson RED, exactly?
Before I get started, a quick note on Radisson’s many confusing brands. I am often asked what the difference is between a Radisson RED, a Radisson Blu and even a ‘standard’ Radisson …. to which my answer is that I’m never quite sure.
For whatever reason, Radisson’s brands often seem overlapping and difficult to distinguish. And if I can’t tell the difference then I can’t imagine what it’s like if you don’t work in travel! Having done a bit of digging, here are, to the best of my knowledge, the key differences:
- Radisson: the ‘original’ brand and largely present in the United States, where it currently has a poor reputation. Radisson is in the process of rehabilitating the brand and introducing it to Europe.
- Radisson RED: this is Radisson’s attempt at a cool and trendy brand aimed at millennials. In line with what we millennials (apparently) want, these hotels have a bigger focus on modern design and technology but tend to be more select-service.
- Radisson Blu: this is Radisson RED’s grown-up sibling. As a full service brand, you can expect all the bells and whistles such as room service, laundry and (often) spa services.
Where is Radisson RED Liverpool?
It doesn’t get much more convenient than this, particularly if you’re coming from London, because the Radisson RED Liverpool is literally attached to Liverpool Lime Street station. Just turn right when you exit and you will soon see it, with the neoclassical St George’s Hall directly across.
For many years the building was used as student halls of residence, before undergoing extensive renovation works and conversion to a hotel. A Wetherspoons, bizarrely, still occupies the lower ground floor on the left hand side.
Inside the Radisson RED Liverpool hotel
First impressions are fantastic, through the main entrance and into lobby area with grand staircase curling around:
This is, admittedly, not a huge space. There is a bit of seating on the right and the reception desks on the right, and that’s basically it.
In keeping with the select service style of the Radisson RED there are two self-service check-in desks where you can check yourself in. It was very quiet when I arrived so a member of staff did it all for me.
Rooms at Radisson RED Liverpool
I had booked a standard room at the Radisson RED hoping that my meagre Radisson Rewards Premium status – which I get from my American Express Platinum card – would get me an upgrade to a room with a view of St George’s Hall. I was right.
On the left is an open wardrobe, mini bar and tea/coffee facilities complete with chunky Nespresso Virtuo machine:
On the right is the bathroom. This is a good size, albeit with only a shower and no bathtub. The walls are finished in concrete-grey tiles whilst the vanity is in black marble. I did find it mounted inexplicably low – a literal pain when you are 6’2″.
The mirror is partially heated, which is helpful if you need to look at yourself after a hot shower! Annoyingly, there are no towel rails for the hand towels.
Toiletries are Radisson RED own-branded, with shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.
Here is the bedroom:
It was, in my opinion, a little tight – especially around the desk, which drastically reduces egress. It is even worse when in use, as you can just about squeeze into the chair before it hits the back of the bed.
Radisson hotels seem to have a penchant for gigantic photographic portraits of strange people wallpapered across their rooms, and the Radisson RED seems to be no different:
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the mattress, although that is always subjective. I can only describe it as cardboardy.
On the left of the bed was a modern-but-old-looking rotary telephone:
Connectivity was good, with lots of sockets and USB-A ports around.
A large TV was mounted above the desk, with options to connect your own device.
Finally, here is the view:
Overall it’s a good room, although the clearance round the bed and desk is narrow. The bathroom and entry hallway are spacious.
In terms of public spaces, there are few (well, none) here. In addition to the lobby you have the gym, which appears to be styled after a nightclub. Fancy a jog in the dark? You can have one here.
Breakfast at the Radisson RED Liverpool hotel
Breakfast is served in the Stoke restaurant on the ground floor, next to reception. If you don’t purchase a breakfast-inclusive rate you can add it for £17.95 which is what I did as it seemed to be (marginally) cheaper.
It’s a nice, light filled space:
Breakfast is your standard buffet service with a full range of Full English Breakfast bits and bobs. The cook will also do you a fried egg if you want.
Other items include mini pastries, juices, yoghurts, cold cuts etc. Here is my breakfast:
Hotel conversions of heritage buildings aren’t something unique in Liverpool – virtually every other hotel is, including the Municipal which I visited next. The good news is that, unlike other conversions, this property appears to have relatively few original interiors, which means that the hotel has had a fairly clean slate to play with.
The result is fresh, modern rooms with walk-in showers. Whilst the room isn’t huge, it does at least offer a decent sized desk, even if it cuts into the usable floor space around the bed. You also get a coffee machine which isn’t always guaranteed at this level.
Rooms start around £85 per night. Radisson Rewards is now revenue based, so you can redeem your points for a discount off any cash rate at roughly 0.2p per point.
For something a bit more upmarket, click here for my review of Accor’s new Municipal Hotel Liverpool.
How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards (September 2023)
Radisson Rewards does not have a dedicated UK credit card. However, you can earn Radisson Rewards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.
These cards earn Membership Rewards points:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 60,000 Radisson Rewards points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with four free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 90,000 Radisson Rewards points
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Radisson Rewards points. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:3 into Radisson Rewards points which is a very attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 3 Radisson Rewards points.
Even better, holders of The Platinum Card receive free Radisson Rewards Premium status for as long as they hold the card. It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)