Signature Living is the name behind some of the most luxury hotels in the UK. From 30 James Street in Liverpool to The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff, each of our venues brings guests a truly unique experience.
Signature Living chairman Lawrence Kenwright has a passion for historic buildings. Lawrence has set his sights on buildings that other developers would run from, due to the size of the project ahead.
Starting with party apartments in Liverpool, the last few years have seen Signature Living build more and more upon the heritage side of the brand.
With the redevelopment of Crumlin Road Courthouse ahead, we thought we’d offer you a look at our past heritage developments.
So, where did this it all begin? At the heart of it all, is 30 James Street.
30 James Street Hotel
30 James Street Hotel – Home of the Titanic is one of the highest-rated hotels in Liverpool. Sitting only moments from Liverpool’s world-famous waterfront, the Grade II* listed building was certainly the start of a love for heritage projects.
The spectacular building boats a rich maritime history. Designed by architects Richard Norman Shaw and J.Francis Doyle, 30 James Street, previously known as Albion House, was once home to iconic shipping company White Star Line.
Most famously, White Star Line was the company behind RMS Titanic. The Grand Hall within 30 James Street served as a opulent first class lounge and ticketing office for White Star Line customers.
The building was sadly left derelict for a number of years, and used for a short spell as commercial office space. But Lawrence and wife Katie Kenwright had bigger plans for the building. They had a vision to celebrate its maritime history and restore the venue to its former glory.
Signature Living took on the large-scale project, motivated by a desire to bring something special to the city. Preserving the building’s original features along the way.
30 James Street opened its doors to hotel guests in 2014. Today, stepping inside offers visitors a glimpse of Edwardian elegance. The hotel showcases the high ceilings, large windows and intricate architectural detail.
Since then, the spectacular venue has become a local favourite and a prime spot for visitors to the city. Featuring a fine dining restaurant, luxury wedding events space, rooftop terrace and subterranean spa, we welcome guests from across the globe in search of something special.
This year, Travel Republic named 30 James Street Hotel the best hotel in the UK.
The Exchange Hotel
The Exchange Hotel was certainly one of the most ambitious Signature Living developments to date. Once the iconic Cardiff Coal Exchange, we took on the large-scale redevelopment with experience gathered from 30 James Street.
Treasured by local people, the spectacular Grade II* listed building played an integral role in establishing Cardiff as the biggest coal port in the world. Built between 1883 and 1886 by Edwin Seward, the venue was home to the Cardiff coal trade for many years.
At the centre of the industrial era was its grand trading hall. It was here that coal owners, ship owners and their agents would meet to hear the latest price for coal and make important agreements.
But when World War I came to an end, the price of coal plummeted, leaving no option other than to close the doors to The Coal Exchange. Of course, this deeply affected the coal industry, local traders and family life across Wales.
Before we restored The Exchange, several plans were submitted. However, none were accepted, until the venue was refurbished in 2001. After opening as a live music venue, safety concerns and limited refurbishment saw the doors close once again in August of 2013.
As the years passed, this beautiful building was sadly left to fall into a state of disrepair. The damage across the venue was extensive, requiring a significant amount of work and sympathetic restoration to turn things around.
In 2016, we were delighted to purchase The Coal Exchange, fuelled by a passion for saving listed buildings. We knew it was important to retain as many original features as possible. Keeping the DNA of the building at the core of our plans was important every step of the way.
Today, we are pleased to say that just 5 out of 180,000 square foot was knocked down during the process. Steeped in history, charm and character, The Exchange Hotel offers guests an unrivalled experience.
Phase one of the restoration was completed in spring of 2017. Guests can enjoy a luxury overnight stay, while the former trading hall has become a luxury wedding and events venue.
Last year, the BBC released documentary ‘Saving the Coal Exchange’. Audiences were offered an inside-look at the scale of the project, with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
We hope you’re as excited as we are for The Lanyon Hotel to open its doors in Belfast. It may be a huge redevelopment to take on, but saving a piece of history always makes it worth it.
To keep up with the latest news on The Lanyon, check back soon or head over to our Facebook page for daily posts. We look forward to seeing you in the near future.