New bars W XYZ and NYL have been created as part of the regeneration of an historic Liverpool building into Starwood Hotels’ Aloft
After standing empty for over 20 years, the 110-year-old former Royal Insurance headquarters in Liverpool’s business district has been brought back to life by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Converting the Grade II-listed building into a second UK site under the Aloft brand, the 116-room hotel has an urban-influenced, modern design, created by interior design and architecture practice Falconer Chester Hall. This extends to the hotel’s all-day W XYZ Bar and NYL Restaurant & Bar.
W XYZ Bar (pictured top) was created as a place for daytime meetings, with free wifi and a Re:Fuel counter offering hot and cold snacks. In the evening, it becomes more of a destination for drinks, from draught and bottled beers to cocktails. Seasonally changing cocktails currently include A Walk in the Park – a dry Vodka Martini with aromatic cilantro – and a Gimlet on the Green, made with vodka and basil leaves.
Alongside a mix of modern British and New York-style food, NYL Restaurant & Bar (pictured below) has a broad selection of premium spirits, from single malt whiskies to aged rums. Ciders, ales and lagers on draught include Brooklyn Lager, reflecting a focus on US craft ales in bottles such as Samuel Adams Boston lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Cocktails include a Smokey Old Fashioned, made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters and maple syrup, smoked with cherry wood, while the Gremlins in NYL combines three different rums with apricot liqueur and pineapple juice over crushed ice plus a dash of grenadine and a Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum float.
A separate mezzanine area acts as an extension to the restaurant, overlooking the hotel’s public areas, and provides a place for live entertainment. It has its own bar which, as with the bars in W XYZ and NYL, was designed and installed by bar and catering specialist Francis Catering, working with the contractors and designers since the project started over two years ago.
Interior designer Amy Banahan from Falconer Chester Hall says they devised a concept that would complement and enhance the building’s heritage. “The building is regarded as highly prestigious to the people of Liverpool so it was important the new incisions of colour, texture pattern and design blended well with original features while enticing a new generation to inject life back into the space.”
While the spaces are split up using elements such as decorative screens and a half-height glazed wall between the restaurant and reception, Amy says they wanted people to feel they were still interacting with all the public areas. “It gives visitors to the building a clear view through the vast space as a whole, leaving no decorative features such as the ornate ceiling or historic timber panelling hidden away.”
Aloft, 1 North John Street, Liverpool L2 5QW
Tel: 0151 294 3970
Behind the scenes
Design: Falconer Chester Hall
Bars design: Francis Catering
NYL flooring: Bolon Flooring
W XYZ furniture: Naught-One
Wallcoverings: Vescom, Tektura
Furniture: Casegoods Furniture