Liverpool is a city ruled yet divided by colour. If you support Liverpool F.C, you are a Red. If you are a fan of Everton, you are a Blue. There is nothing in-between, you are one or the other and never the two shall mix. Whoever heard being of a Purple?
The city was the hub of a music revolution with several famous pop bands emerging in the late 1950's and 1960's, not to mention a certain yellow submarine, which has now made an appearance in the docks area as a five AA star, three bedroomed, floating apartment.
Here is a little trivia teaser as a reminder of those times;
In August 1957, George Harrison joined Paul McCartney and John Lennon to form which famous band?
The answer will be revealed shortly, so read on.
Liverpool used to be one of Britain's great trading and emigration ports and the surviving grand buildings around the waterfront and docks are testament to a previous boom time.
Who would not recognise the iconic Liver Building with the mythical golden birds perched on top?
With the passing of the years, the city went into decline and has had to re-invent itself in order to survive. Nowadays much of the development in the centre is modern, whilst the old buildings, where they have been retained, have been refurbished and brought back to life, mainly as tourist attractions.
Nowadays, instead of wooden emigration ships, you are more likely to see the cream of modern cruise liners, moored majestically at the dockside, right in the city centre.
The Albert Dock buildings now contain shops, bars and restaurants whilst also including Tate Liverpool and the Merseyside Maritime Museum, both well worth a visit, particularly for my tastes, the latter.
Tall ships, now training vessels, line the dockyard. Just a short walk along the docks lie modern amenities like the Echo Arena and the futuristic building that is the Liverpool Museum of social history – a fascinating insight to the city.
All of the above museums have free entry.
Shopaholics would do well to walk the short distance to the main shopping area, recently upgraded by the addition of Liverpool One, a modern shopping complex.
No visit to Liverpool would be complete without hearing or seeing references to The Beatles, of course (and the answer to the poser is: The Quarrymen – BEFORE they became the legends that were The Beatles).
There are a couple of Beatles Museums in the city centre as well as The Cavern Club, all highlighted on maps available from the Tourist Information Centres.
One of the best ways to learn about the city's history is to take the Ferry – literally 'cross The Mersey. The tour around the Mersey Estuary comes complete with an informative and fascinating audio commentary and I would strongly advise a trip.
The live audio tours on the open top buses from the dockside are mint and are also well worth a trip. So many interesting facts and figures to take in.
So where to stay? Like a ripe olive, there are many to pick from.
Situated on the site of former cotton warehouses and a ten minute walk from Liverpool Lime Street railway station is the Hotel Indigo, between the waterfront and the centre. This peach of a hotel is in a plum position, about 100 yards to the rear of the Liver Building.
It is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group and this hotel, with 151 rooms, was refurbished to a high standard in 2011.
It is a four star boutique hotel, styled on the theme of cotton, the colourful exterior of multi-coloured glass panels inspired by the brightly hued dyes used in the trade. (A Ha…see where I'm going with this?).
The theme continues throughout the interior, with splashes of colour and decorations consisting of cotton thread designs.
For those arriving in a black mood, the reception desk is a sunburst of eye-watering orange, which sets the scene for the rest of the colourful interior designs.
The corridors have candy-stripe patterned carpets on a charcoal background. Both they and the bedrooms have colour-block walls of puce and turquoise, with a cotton reel feature wall in the bedrooms.
There are business services available for those in grey suits, with a small gym for residents who might wish to chase away the blues.
My room had all the expected conveniences, with comfortable soft beds, cable satellite large flat screen t.v. and a selection of complimentary soft drinks and snacks from the mini-bar.
A couple of chocolate squares were waiting for us on the bed. There was also an iPod dock, and free Wi-Fi in the room for we silver surfers.
The wooden flooring and matching dark brown furniture gave a sophisticated feel to the room. The wardrobes had motion detector interior lighting.
The spacious en-suite bathroom has an impressive rainfall shower and came complete with Aveda spa toiletries. It could make you green with envy.
There is nothing beige about this hotel's colour scheme, except for the bedroom curtains, which are.
The hotel's relaxing Cotton Lounge bar was a bright area where you could sample their signature Cotton Candy Cocktail, a pink concoction.
There were only keg beers on offer, but these included the excellent Stella Artois Black, a lager which is matured longer to give depth of taste to it's dark amber appearance.
Many people took advantage of the sunny outdoor area to the front of the hotel.
The internal Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill on the ground floor was a light and airy vision with a primrose and ochre decor.
It also had curved booths with taupe leather seating and a small mezzanine level with further tables.
This restaurant is owned by the flamboyant celebrity chef of the same name, no shrinking violet himself. It is part of his countrywide group of restaurants.
The meal certainly lived up to his standards, while friendly and smiling staff added to the ambience, without fawning over customers. I chose the rosettes of salt cured beef, with asparagus, cherry tomato, watercress and a light mustard dressing to start, a visual and tasty delight.
My partner's cream of mushroom soup with herb croutons being declared the best soup ever.
Main courses maintained the high quality with my chunk of grilled salmon, warm courgette ribbons, cherry tomatoes and gorgeous new potatoes being perfect.
The adjacent Halloumi, courgette and carrot cake with wild mushrooms and home-dried tomatoes drew equally high praise.
The charming bottle of burgundy was a fruity and rich sensation.
Desserts of a warm pecan and lime tart with crème anglais drew comment even for its' delightful scent, whilst I went for Somerset brie, grapes, celery and dark oat biscuits.
Coffee was a smooth finish to what turned out to be a lovely meal.
Breakfast the next morning in the same restaurant was self service, not my favourite method, but I have to say that the quality of the items was very high.
All the usual suspects were here.
Fresh juices, tea, bean to cup coffee, cereals etc. were accompanied by a choice of the Full Continental – smoked salmon, fresh fruit, pastries, cheeses, cold meats and more, whilst the Full English was a selection of great quality cooked items, including some of the plumpest and tastiest pork sausages I have encountered.
Full marks would have been awarded but I could not find any reference to local provenance. Staff would have told me had I asked, I dare say.
The management of this hotel are going for gold and in my view, they do not have far to go.
I just hope that this colourful review does not leave me red-faced.
I could have opted for a Beatles song title themed review, but that is so … Yesterday.
One thing is for sure, a stay here is the reel deal!
Further details can be found at www.hotelindigo.com/Liverpool