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Travel Report: Hard Days Night Hotel.

Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool.

Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool.

May 2019. As a diehard Beatles fan who’d come to Liverpool to conduct as much Beatlesy business as I could, there really was only one place to stay. It just had to be the world’s only Beatles inspired hotel.

When I was planning my trip to Liverpool, I simply couldn’t see past the Hard Days Night Hotel, a four-star joint located on North John Street. That’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the city’s legendary Cavern Club, where the band used to perform in the early 1960s.

Facade Hard Days Night Hotel.

Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool.

Photo courtesy of John Bradley. 

There’s no denying what a grand looking building it is. Constructed in 1884, it was known as Central Buildings, home to a number of merchant’s offices and private businesses. In World War II it became the backup location for the Allied Command Headquarters during The Battle of the Atlantic.

Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool.

George statue Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool


Surviving the heavy bombing Liverpool sustained during The Blitz, this Grade II listed building became the Hard Days Night Hotel in 2008 after a four year renovation project.

Gaze up at the classical facade and you can pick out all four Beatles in various locations, each pinned to a stone column. In truth the likeness of these sculptures is a little questionable. That’s George pictured above, apparently.

Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool.

When I first saw the hotel’s logo I was a bit nonplussed. But on closer inspection, and with the help of some accompanying info, I realised it’s actually pretty clever. It represents the famous opening chord of the 1964 track the hotel takes its name from.

Few chords in the history of rock ‘n’ roll are as instantly recognisable as the twang that rolls through the open strings of George Harrison’s Rickenbacker at the beginning of Hard Days Night. The dots in the logo show where a guitarist’s fingers need to be to recreate his famous G7 suspended chord.

Where to Stay in Liverpool.

Reception Hard Days Night Hotel.

John hanging out at reception.

When Steppers and I trotted up the steps of the Hard Days Night Hotel with our baggage, our initial impressions were good. From the moment you walk into the grand foyer The Beatles vibe washes over you. And for the most part they’ve succeeded in keeping things stylish rather than kitsch.

Happily, there was no messing around at reception, with its leather chairs, John Lennon painting and hanging music sheets. Swiftly checked in, we headed straight for our double suite on the second floor.

Stay at The Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool

Hard Days Night Hotel.

It’s possible to take the elevator up and down the different floors. But its way more fun to stroll up the winding, carpeted staircase with its giant archive photographs. Each connecting passage showcases photos from a different Beatles era.

A double room at the Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool

Hard Days Night Hotel.

I stayed in Room 209. All the suites have a unique painting that represents a specific moment or story in Beatles history. The painting in room 209 shows drummer Ringo Starr and a man called Jimmy Nicol, virtually unknown to casual Beatles fans.

Nicol joined The Beatles quite suddenly in 1964 when the band was in the middle of a world tour at the height of Beatlemania. It all began when Ringo found himself hospitalised with acute tonsillitis and pharyngitis.

Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool.

Ringo Starr and Jimmy Nicol.

Hard Days Night Hotel.

It was producer George Martin who suggested Jimmy, a respected session drummer, fill in for Ringo. As luck would have it, Nicol was already familiar with numerous Beatles songs.

Following a two hour audition, Martin and Beatles manager Brian Epstein agreed that Jimmy was their man. Thus Nicol had just hours to pack his bags and jump on a flight to Denmark to join John, Paul and George.

Jimmy Nicol played eight concerts with The Beatles before a recuperated Ringo eventually returned. He received £500 for his work, in addition to a gold watch. It came with the inscription: “From the Beatles and Brian Epstein to Jimmy – with appreciation and gratitude.”

Jimmy Nicol with The Beatles 1964.

Jimmy Nicol with The Beatles, 1964.

According to McCartney, Nicol unwittingly supplied the inspiration for Getting Better, a song that went on to make the track listing for Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band. Nicol uttered the words in response to how he thought he was doing on the tour.

After his brief period of fame, Jimmy Nicol returned to life as a session drummer, before finally working as a painter/decorator. To his enormous credit, he never looked to cash in on his Beatles experience and even refused to sell his story to the British newspapers.

Where to Stay in Liverpool.

The main lounge at Hard Days Night Hotel

Hard Days Night Hotel.

Keen to explore the hotel, I soon left the room to see what I could find. A natural starting point is the main lounge and bar across from reception.

An unapologetic 1960s vibe prevails throughout with plenty to investigate, including framed posters, a John Lennon sculpture and all manner of Beatles artwork. There are numerous local artists featured, along with Beatles pop art titan Klaus Voorman, who designed the album cover for Revolver.

Beatles photography Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool

Hard Days Night Hotel.

If you’re lucky you can settle down at one of several themed booths running across the back of the lounge. Pictured above is the excellent Astrid Corner with its collection of iconic photographs from the Beatles’ early Hamburg days.

Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe

Astrid Kirchherr with Stuart Sutcliffe.

The German photographer and artist Astrid Kirchherr took the shots in 1960 after meeting the band and falling in love with original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe. Furthermore, she was widely credited with creating their mop top haircuts. Though she herself dismissed this, explaining “lots of German boys had that hairstyle”. 

The story of her involvement with The Beatles and her relationship with Sutcliffe, who tragically died in Hamburg aged just twenty one, form the plot of the 1994 movie Backbeat.

Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool.

The Music Was the Thing Hard Days Night Hotel

Hard Days Night Hotel.

Take the staircase running down from the lounge and you’ll find a permanent photo exhibition called The Music Was the Thing by Zara Jones. Jones interviewed a whole host of famous people over a ten year period, asking them to name and be photographed with their choice Beatles record.

Kenny Dalglish favourite Beatles album.

Hard Days Night Hotel.

I can’t imagine many fans, famous or otherwise, choosing Yellow Submarine as their favourite Beatles album. And yet that’s exactly what Liverpool Football Club legend Kenny Dalglish did. #fairenough

Blake's Restaurant Liverpool.

Hard Days Night Hotel.

I could have spent longer exploring, but it was dinner time and our stomachs were rumbling. Hence we made our way to Blake’s Restaurant, tucked away behind reception. In fact, our two night package came with a complimentary dinner, to be taken on the night of our choosing.

Sir Peter Blake English pop artist.

Sir Peter Blake.

The restaurant name-checks Sir Peter Blake, the celebrated pop artist who co-created the album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In a long and illustrious career, Blake also designed two album covers for The Who, as well as the artwork for the 1984 monster hit Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Where to Stay in Liverpool.

Blake's Restaurant Hard Days Night Hotel.

Hard Days Night Hotel.

As you would expect, Blake’s Restaurant offers up a stylish range of artwork, including a stunning 60-panel centrepiece dedicated to the iconic people who appear on the Sgt. Pepper’s album cover.

Apparently Lennon and McCartney went crazy for the project, competing with each other to get as many of their choices included as they could.

Inside Blake's Restaurant Liverpool.

Blake’s Restaurant.

Naturally all the Indian figures came from Harrison, who was exploring the Hare Krishna tradition. In contrast, a noncommittal Ringo said he was happy to simply “go with the flow”.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band front cover

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).

In the end 58 people made it onto the cover, including Edgar Allan Poe, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Oscar Wilde and Albert Einstein. Lennon’s original idea to save spots for Jesus and Hitler was voted down in order to avoid controversy.

Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool.

Lamb shank Hard Days Night Hotel

Dinner at Blake’s Restaurant.

Our dinner that night was a three-course affair and, in all honesty, we were a little underwhelmed. For my starter I went for the pan fried scallops with pea puree and black pudding. It was quite bland.

For my main, I had the marinated lamb shank with creamed potato and red wine sauce. It was tasty, but nothing spectacular. So I’m not sure I’d have been too pleased had I walked in off the street and paid the £20 listed on the menu.

Sticky toffee pudding and Vanilla Ice Cream Hard Days Night Hotel

Hard Days Night Hotel.

It was a relief then when my sticky toffee pudding arrived. It was decent and helped to end things on a positive note. And yet, it was our decision to order a cocktail that truly saved the day. I went for the hotel’s signature Strawberry Fields cocktail, another complimentary offer with our package.

Strawberry Fields Cocktail Hard Days Night Hotel

Strawberry Fields, the cocktail.

Normally priced at £7.65, it’s an absolutely delicious concoction of strawberry puree and fresh lemon shaken with Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka. Finished with a twist of black pepper, don’t you know.

The Strawberry Fields Cocktail had given me a taste for more, so post-dinner Steppers and I crossed the hotel’s ground floor for some drinks at Bar Four.

Where to Stay in Liverpool.

Bar Four Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool

Bar Four, Hards Days Night Hotel.

Here, there was more Fab Four artwork, this time by the artist Paul Ygartua. Amazingly, Paul attended Liverpool Art College at the same time as John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe. Chilling out to the lilting melodies of I Me Mine, I ordered a Beatles Bakewell cocktail, a winning mix of amaretto, cherry brandy and cranberry juice. Priced at £9.65.

English breakfast Hard Days Night Hotel

A Hard Morning’s Breakfast.

Our package also included breakfast on both mornings. Unlike dinner, I could have no complaints here. On our first day I had a wonderfully cooked English breakfast, while on our second morning I went for the buffet, a handpicked mix of fruit, pastries and cereal. It was all delicious.

Overall I would definitely recommend Hard Days Night Hotel. Our stay was far from perfect, and not only because of the aforementioned patchy dinner. My biggest disappointment was that we were without hot water for 24 hours of our 48 hour stay. Indeed I was not impressed at having to take a freezing cold shower after a full day’s exploring.

Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool.

Beatles photography Liverpool.

“Aaaaagh! No hot water”.

Nevertheless, the staff was really apologetic and did their best to placate us with a £40 discount and a couple of free beers. You can’t say fairer than that.

All in all Steppers and I paid £240 for the 2-night package, inclusive of the room, breakfasts, dinner and complimentary cocktails. Obviously, with the £40 discount applied that ended up as £200. I guess the hotel’s ethos is, whatever the problem, We Can Work it Out.

For more information on Hard Days Night Hotel, take a look at their website.

Leighton Travels travel reports short stories.

For more on the greatest rock band in history, check out my other articles on The Beatles In Liverpool. Alternatively, have a read about my visit to Abbey Road in London. Maybe check out my review of The White Album.

Like these? Have a read of my travel reports from around Liverpool.

Or maybe search further afield with my articles from all around England.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • Toonsarah

    Sounds an interesting place to stay, although with a Christmas present voucher for a stay at a number of other hotels we’ll probably pass on this – but could maybe pop in for a drink and to see the artwork?

    May 28, 2021 - 11:08 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Sarah, yes you could absolutely go in just for a drink at Bar Four or a bite at Blake’s. Thanks for reading!

      May 28, 2021 - 11:10 am Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Definitely place to stay for a Beatles aficionado! Really enjoyed your tour of the hotel and restaurant. Lamb shank is one of my favourite dishes too! Have a good weekend. Marion

    May 28, 2021 - 12:29 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Marion, you can’t beat a well-cooked lamb shank! Enjoy your weekend.

      May 28, 2021 - 12:33 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Excellent post. Love The Beatles

    May 28, 2021 - 12:53 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading!

      May 28, 2021 - 12:56 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    A great review. Many themed hotels think the theme is enough and you should be willing to take what they offer just to be there. It is nice to see a hotel that still works for it and that makes any problems right. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    May 28, 2021 - 2:45 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      You’re right Allan, I’ve experienced a great deal of complacency in some of the themed hotels I’ve stayed at. Thanks for following my Beatles in Liverpool tour. Three more instalments to come.

      May 28, 2021 - 3:55 pm Reply
  • Memo

    The artwork alone makes this worth the visit. And all the little side stories. It’s amazing how many musicians had opportunities to play in the bands. We had lots of fun trying to identify all the people on Pepper’s cover. There were always some that eluded us. No hot water? There has to be a song in there somewhere.

    May 28, 2021 - 3:17 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    This was quite a thorough tour on the Hard Days Night Hotel! And the logo of the hotel … it looked pretty simple to me, until you’ve explained it – quite genius I would say! The food looks great – but I’m more interested in those cocktails 🍸😉.

    May 28, 2021 - 3:28 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you enjoyed your “stay”. The cocktails were something else. Really had to rein myself in and not spend a fortune ordering one after another.

      May 28, 2021 - 3:51 pm Reply

    Hey, same comment again – I’m just going to have to drag my ass to Liverpool some time pretty soon because everything you’ve posted about is enticing! And by the way no WP issues – back to receiving notification AND email so it seems one way or another we’re back to normal.

    May 28, 2021 - 3:52 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Great news! “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better. A little better all the time. (-can’t get much worse-)”.

      May 28, 2021 - 4:01 pm Reply

        Alternatively, that’s when Leighton’s silver hammer goes……ha, you know the rest…

        May 28, 2021 - 4:05 pm
      • Leighton

        Ha ha, indeed!

        May 28, 2021 - 4:07 pm
  • grandmisadventures

    What a fantastic place to stay! I really loved how they maintained the beautiful integrity of the building and kept the theming very classy and not kitschy. And the pictures showcased of the group were so wonderful because they were of real moments that captured their camaraderie.

    May 28, 2021 - 4:22 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      It’s a really cool hotel. Glad you enjoyed the tour!

      May 28, 2021 - 4:40 pm Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    What a great hotel, thanks for the in-depth tour. I learned quite a few things about The Beatles in your last few posts. I’ve always been a fan, not a super-fan, but I’d love to check out some of these spots.

    May 28, 2021 - 4:49 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks a lot, I appreciate that. I was a bit reticent about putting out so many Beatles blogs as I appreciate that not everyone is as into them as I am. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reaction.

      May 28, 2021 - 4:52 pm Reply
  • NattyTravels

    Great Post! I’ve been past this hotel on several occasions, but never been inside. What a lovely hotel! Last time I was there I did the Beatles tour for the first time. I obviously knew who they were, but didn’t realise the huge impact they had on the world until I did the tour. I ended up catching the beatles fever! 😂

    May 28, 2021 - 9:40 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I think the Beatles Story is more fascinating the deeper you go. The historical, cultural and political impact they had, not to mention on fashion and pop culture in general. Hope you get to look inside Hard Days Night Hotel next time you’re in town. Thanks for commenting and contributing to the thread!

      May 28, 2021 - 10:41 pm Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    You weren’t kidding when you said you planned your trip to Liverpool around The Beatles. This is such a neat hotel. Sounds like you had a great visit.

    May 29, 2021 - 2:14 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for reading!

      May 29, 2021 - 8:52 am Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    Almost a small museum of it’s own, it looks like a fun stay, although I would skip the restaurant except for a drink perhaps. Another little known story uncovered, Jimmy, was an added extra! You’ve done a great job rooting out these special spots.

    May 31, 2021 - 5:51 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Ruth, it’s been so much fun putting these chapters out and focusing on those little stories that don’t often get told. Appreciate your contributions to the various comment threads!

      May 31, 2021 - 5:53 pm Reply

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