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The Grand Party Hotel BBC1: At Shankly in Liverpool


The rooms look like something even the King of Bling Liberace couldn't have imagined. It features the most dazzling furniture, animal decorations on the ceiling, twinkling lights, secret rooms, and even a hot tub that bubbles at the foot of each bed.

There is also room for one guest and 23 of their closest friends!

Welcome to The Shankly in Liverpool, where a wild and crazy time is guaranteed for everyone. The deluxe decor in 48 of its unique party rooms is over the top and designed for a noisy night – the rooms can accommodate six, 12 or up to 24 people. On a weekend, the reception area looks like Piccadilly Circus.

BBC1's new four-part documentary The Grand Party Hotel takes a behind-the-scenes look at this noisy establishment. Filmed before the pandemic, the series introduces us hotel guests and the managers, bouncers and event planners working the magic for guests who are there to let go.

A new four-part BBC documentary reveals behind the scenes at The Shankly in Liverpool, which was attended by celebrities such as Dua Lipa and Tom Hardy. Pictured: The Garden of Eden Suite can accommodate up to 6 guests in pure comfort

The Laurent Perrier room (pictured) had frescoed ceilings, ornate wood décor, 12 double beds, a dance floor, a cinema wall and a Roman bath

The Laurent Perrier room (pictured) had frescoed ceilings, ornate wooden décor, 12 double beds, a dance floor, a cinema wall and a Roman bath

The Jungle Suites (pictured) are an explosion of animal themes and offer plenty of space for guests - and their friends

The Jungle Suites (pictured) are an explosion of animal themes and offer plenty of space for guests – and their friends

Celebrities who have stayed at the Shankley (pictured) include Lana del Rey, Dua Lipa and even Hollywood star Tom Hardy, who supported the Kenwrights homeless shelter, which was set up after they found homeless people sleeping in their parking lot

Celebrities who have stayed at the Shankley (pictured) include Lana del Rey, Dua Lipa, and even Hollywood star Tom Hardy, who supported the Kenwrights homeless shelter, which was set up after they found homeless people sleeping in their parking lot

"What is special about The Shankly is that there is something for everyone," says co-owner Lawrence Kenwright, who is responsible for the interior design. The hotel is a magnet for instagrammers and photo shoots.

Celebrities who have stayed include Lana del Rey, Dua Lipa, Kerry Katona and even Hollywood star Tom Hardy, who supported the Kenwrights homeless shelter, which was set up after they found homeless people sleeping in their parking lot.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the decor in The Shankly's rooms makes the Palace of Versailles look understated. There's an Alice in Wonderland corridor with upside-down furniture and the yellow brick street embedded in the ceiling. The Laurent Perrier room with frescoed ceilings, ornate wood decor, 12 double beds, a dance floor, a cinema wall and a Roman bath.

The rooms may have secret additional bathrooms that can only be found via a code hidden in the room. If you are lucky enough to find it, a luxurious bathroom is revealed with three copper baths filled with faucets on the ceiling, as well as mounted (fake) animals' heads on the walls.

"I created something completely different," says Lawrence. “The guests step into something that is absolutely lively, big, loud and proud.

“Guests post photos of themselves on social media and say,“ Look at me. You're home checking out Coronation Street. I'm sitting in this double whirlpool. "It's not like I have to advertise."

Secret bathrooms with multiple claw foot tubs, double hot tubs, waterfall faucets, and monkey butlers are just the tip of the surprises hidden in the jungle rooms. You just have to find it. Pictured one of the bathrooms

Secret bathrooms with multiple claw foot tubs, double hot tubs, waterfall faucets, and monkey butlers are just the tip of the surprises hidden in the jungle rooms. You just have to find it. Pictured one of the bathrooms

While the parties are taking place in the rooms, the hotel staff must keep the noise level under control to keep guests happy.

"Things can get out of hand because prior to Covid we could have 240 people in the restaurant, 790 in the bedrooms and 1000 on the roof," says Lawrence. "A lot of times in the summer we have that and then a hotel goes over its capacity and then it creaks."

"Because my wife and I live locally, we're in the eye of the storm. I'm usually out there to make sure everything goes as smoothly as expected, and we have a security guard who comes by every 15 minutes to make sure the noise is reduced to a minimum. "

Guests can be cheeky too. "You could try sneaking into your own drink or people who shouldn't be there." Some you catch, others don't – it's the same in every hotel in the world.

Co-owner Lawrence Kenwright, who lives on the site with his wife Katie (pictured), says they don't have to advertise because guests post photos on social media

Co-owner Lawrence Kenwright, who lives on the site with his wife Katie (pictured), says they don't have to advertise because guests post photos on social media

"But I've learned to accept that at least two or three things go wrong in the hotel every day." Nothing scares me anymore – which is actually pretty scary! "

Events are the engine of the hotel's revenue, especially since the pandemic. In a typical year, the 125-room hotel hosts up to 140 weddings and more than 1,000 stag and hen parties, as well as corporate events, graduation ceremonies, tea dances and children's parties.

"When it comes to parties, our mantras are" nothing can not be done "and" the more extreme the better, "says Lawrence." We see ourselves as an event building with hotel rooms. During Covid, events kept us going.

“I worked ten hours a day during the pandemic. LOCKDOWN? turning the gray walls of the outdoor space into flower walls and asking local clubs, DJs and bars to hold events there. We have socially distant tables and need to reduce noise to 75 decibels, but that meant we had 94 percent capacity in our rooms when we reopened in July. "

There is even a soap window in the staff to add glamor. The hotel's senior director, Kris Mochrie, made waves with rapist Lee Posner in Emmerdale last year. Part-time actor Kris has been with The Shankly for four years.

"I'm good at my job, but I also love acting," said Kris, 34, who also played a role on Brookside. "So I had the idea that I have to do it when I do my work in the hotel and show my superiors that I am indispensable when an acting job comes along." And you have. Emmerdale was brilliant too and let me film part-time so I got the two jobs under the same roof. "

Kris' hotel role is to bring Lawrence and Katie's ambitious party plans to life. "Lawrence comes out with these crazy ideas," says Kris. "He's going to say," In six days, we're holding a rooftop glamping to get the hotel going. "

“Tents on a roof in Liverpool with wind and rain and wooden terraces? I thought, "How the hell are we going to do this?" We called seven different tent companies before we found one that said they can. The problem was finding a way to secure the tents.

“Most recently, Lexus wanted to do a car start on the roof. We got a crane, got permission to close a back road and got a car on the roof. It's about thinking outside the box and doing things that other hotels don't. "

Typically, the 125-room hotel hosts up to 140 weddings and 1,000+ stag and hen parties. Pictured: The Nature Suite

The WTF suite

Typically, the 125-room hotel hosts up to 140 weddings and 1,000+ stag and hen parties. In the picture: The Nature Suite (left) and the WTF Suite

Picture from left to right: Receptionist Fearne Barnie, General Manager Damian, Guest Experience Manager Kemo, Guest Relations Liam, Event Manager Mel, Wedding Coordinator Ciara, Trainee Guest Relations Manager James, Cleaner June, Doorman Eric. Seated left to right picture: Senior Director Kris, Owner Katie, and Owner Lawrence

Picture from left to right: Receptionist Fearne Barnie, General Manager Damian, Guest Experience Manager Kemo, Guest Relations Liam, Event Manager Mel, Wedding Coordinator Ciara, Trainee Guest Relations Manager James, Cleaner June, Doorman Eric. Seated left to right picture: Senior Director Kris, Owner Katie, and Owner Lawrence

Sometimes it goes wrong, admits Lawrence. “One of the craziest events was an outdoor jacuzzi movie theater with 50 rooftop bathtubs. It wasn't the warmest night, but everyone got into the bathtub and got a carefree 360-degree view of the city while watching a movie.

“At the end of the night we had to empty the bathtubs, but the drains were blocked, so the water soaked the function room underneath, which had to be prepared for a wedding the next day. You couldn't make this up! "

Lawrence co-owns the hotel with his wife Katie and Christopher Carline, the grandson of legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, after whom the hotel is named. The Kenwrights are property developers and hoteliers who opened The Shankly in August 2015. The tireless couple lives with their four-year-old twins in a local apartment and places the demands of their parents on running their business empire.

The couple's pillow talk is often about coming up with new marketing tricks. "When we come in at night we always try to think of different things so that people come and stay," admits Katie. "Lawrence says," We have to shut down at 8pm – it's our family time, "but I just want to keep talking and talking.

Lawrence recalls a function room that was used for a wedding the night before because the drains for an outdoor hot tub cinema were blocked. Pictured: wedding coordinator Ciara

Lawrence recalls a function room that was used for a wedding the night before because the drains for an outdoor hot tub cinema were blocked. Pictured: wedding coordinator Ciara

"He has the most amazing ideas and so do I. He is so determined and focused and never sleeps."

However, it is not always easy for the hotel's 150 employees to have their bosses nearby. "I think the staff feel absolutely more pressured with Lawrence and me who live there," says Katie. "I can always go up unannounced and attend an event and check the standards."

Last November, Katie put pressure on Kris to organize an event that she cares about – her twins Arabella and Lawrence Jr.'s fourth birthday party for 150 guests. Kris and the team organized stilt walkers, unicyclists, superheroes and an indoor parade with a head-high elephant doll as the guest of honor.

But Kris panicked when the piece of Resistance was almost a no-show. "We couldn't find the elephant at the last minute," says Kris. “The parade was supposed to start and everyone was waiting, but she was stuck in the elevator. I ran around the hotel and pulled my back. "

Occasionally, however, his job is very rewarding. In the third episode, viewers will see Kris pulling out all the stops at the last minute to turn one of the hotel rooms into a fairytale honeymoon suite. The bride and mother of two, Kaylea Callacher, was at the hotel to fulfill her last wish to marry her partner, Mark McCole, as she died of colon cancer at the age of only 31.

Senior Director Kris (picture) comes up with the idea of ​​decorating another room if the hotel's bridal suites are booked out in a row three

Senior Director Kris (picture) comes up with the idea of ​​decorating another room if the hotel's bridal suites are booked out in a row three

"Since the hotel's bridal suites were already booked, we had the idea to decorate another room," says Kris. "I found out that Kaylea's favorite flowers were white tulips and went to source them. I couldn't get them in Amsterdam, but luckily I found 1,000 white tulips at a wholesaler in Yorkshire. We did it To finish the room just in time. "

It is clear that the Shankly never gets boring. "They have these massive highs and it can be very challenging at times," agrees Kris. "It's a roller coaster ride."

Lawrence prides himself on the fact that his hotel welcomes everyone and doesn't like the elitism of five-star hotels. "I don't like the way they look down on you and worry about what shoes you are wearing," he says. "I'm a born and bedridden Scouser, so I don't believe it. My overall point of view is that no matter what area of ​​life you come from, you are welcome here."

Any minute behind one door you can find butlers at Buff serving prosecco to a group of women, and behind another a dozen guys relaxing in a Roman bath on a deer.

"The hotel is a portrait of modern Britain," continues Lawrence. “At any time, we might have a same-sex rooftop wedding, an Indian wedding downstairs, a tea dance, and a baby shower. I was in the elevator to a bachelorette party and three old loved ones had a reunion too. You wouldn't get that at the Ritz or at a Holiday Inn. "

The Grand Party Hotel, 8pm, Thursday, September 24th, BBC1

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