Minute on the clock: Gary Waring, general manager of Radisson RED Liverpool

11 May 2022 by
Minute on the clock: Gary Waring, general manager of Radisson RED Liverpool

The general manager of Radisson RED Liverpool tells Emma Lake about returning a grand railway hotel to its former glory while implementing sustainable technology ahead of its opening in September

Tell me about Radisson RED Liverpool

The building originally opened as a railway hotel in 1871 and was designed by Liverpool-born architect Alfred Waterhouse. Our guests will be able to relax, eat and drink in this stunning Grade II-listed building while taking in the sights of the grand Victorian buildings located within the St George's Quarter.

How has the transformation of a historic building been approached?

We are bringing the building full circle by making it a hotel once again. We have managed to retain many of its original features that had either been covered, painted over or simply fallen into disrepair.

Our construction team has gone back to basics with the help of old maps and drawings the team located in one of Liverpool's museums. Thanks to careful, in-depth research, the contractors also have discovered a secret entrance to Lime Street train station, which we are reopening.

How have you made the most of original features?

The design of the hotel is modern yet has clear nods to its roots as a Victorian-era railway hotel, with a grand staircase made from sandstone, stained-glass windows and a huge fireplace. We have shown the original features the love and affection they deserve by bringing in experts to restore them back to life professionally. Other features include original brickwork, pillars and tile floors.

Throughout the process, we haven't gone for the quick and easy win. Instead, we've taken time to give these stunning focus points in the hotel due care, retaining as much history as possible and giving the 19th-century building the respect it deserves.

How has sustainability been considered in the development of the hotel?

We use the latest technology to ensure we are as sustainable as possible, using a building management system to control lighting and heating so we'll only use what we need.

Radisson Hotel Group aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% in five years and focus on reducing consumption of natural resources, using renewable energy and phasing out single-use plastics. ​Radisson Meetings are 100% carbon neutral and the group has made a commitment to decarbonise its business by setting ambitious emission reduction targets to be net zero by 2050.

Tell us about the F&B offering?

Our restaurant, which will be located on the ground floor of the hotel, is named Stoke and provides stunning views out onto the bustling St George's Quarter.

Stoke is inspired by the great grill restaurants of the US and the UK with a focus on quality produce and locally sourced ingredients. It's not exclusive to guests and we envisage it to be a destination restaurant with an all-day dining offering, flowing throughout the day from breakfast, brunch and afternoon tea through to à la carte, pre-theatre and evening dining menus.

The restaurant features an open-plan kitchen and grill, plus live entertainment, which will weave between tables creating an amazing ambience.

Have you found staffing challenging?

We've received a lot of interest in the hotel so far. The first job we advertised was our food and beverage manager and we were inundated with applications. We've also had a fantastic response to our front office manager and head chef advertisements. For the remaining roles, we will hold open days in June and July, which will focus on personality, attitude and passion. We're confident we'll have a great selection due to the city's reputation for creativity and talent.

Do you anticipate your guests being predominantly leisure or corporate?

We anticipate a real mix of leisure and corporate guests, dictated by the demand for the city and what's going on at certain times, such as football, business conferences or theatre and music attractions. We are ideally situated, neighbouring the Liverpool Empire Theatre, O2 Academy and Grand Central, as well as being a stone's throw from the city's museums, art galleries and stadiums.

Our self-check in options and click and collect food option service will be a real attraction to the corporate visitors who desire a seamless and convenient experience. In a post-pandemic world, we anticipate an increase in the length of stays for leisure visits; for example, extended weekend trips of up to three or four days.

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