In March of this year the acclaimed European aparthotel brand, Aparthotels Adagio, celebrated the opening of its first UK branch in the heart of Liverpool. The result of a joint venture between the Pierre & Vacances Centre Parcs group and world leading hotel operator, Accor, the Adagio brand offers stylish serviced apartments in key urban locations. Hospitality Interiors’ Gemma Ralph attended the launch of its Liverpool branch to find out more about the increasing popularity of the aparthotel concept in Britain, and to meet the talented design team behind the hotel’s unique interior.
From experiential hotel venues offering a sense of complete removal from the outside world, to serviced apartments that provide a hassle-free base from which to explore or conduct business, the relationship between hotels and their surroundings varies greatly. For the Aparthotels Adagio brand, however, this link or sense of fluidity between its accommodation and the surrounding area is integral to its guest experience.
Creating modern, functional apartments within prominent tourist and business hotspots, the company encourages guests to look upon the aparthotels as a home from home – a philosophy embodied in the brand’s very name, ‘ad agio’, which is Italian for ‘at ease’.
“We don’t merely offer an overnight stay at the Adagio, we feel that we’re offering the guest a second home,” explains Vangelis Porikis, Adagio’s director in central and northern Europe. “We want our guests to feel at one with the city, to enjoy and interact with their surroundings at their own pace.”
Given the strong sense of locality the brand wishes to convey, the Lewis’s building in Liverpool – which dates back to the 19th century and was formerly an affluent department store – was perhaps the ideal location from which to establish a presence in the UK. Recognised as a thriving cultural and trading centre, the city is a popular destination for domestic and international travellers alike, while this iconic structure provided an impressive backdrop for this crucial launch.
Although the Grade II Listed status of the Lewis’s building necessitated some forward planning and mediation from the Adagio design team, its striking original features provided a rich canvas to work from. “The huge mosaic in the breakfast room was part of the original canteen in the Lewis’s department store,” design project director for Adagio, Julie Nicaise, tells Hospitality Interiors.
“Many other graphic tiles have been restored in the common areas and wooden panels etched with images of Liverpool – formerly used in the Mersey dining room in the Lewis’s department store – are displayed in the corridors.”
The successful fusion of these original features with the characteristic interior scheme and furnishings of the Adagio brand, is perhaps the most interesting aspect of this project. Full of character, the authentic lattice lighting and mosaic amalgamate perfectly with the newly refurbished communal areas to create a truly unique feel.
The building’s halcyon years in the 1950s are, too, commemorated in the stylish retro-inspired decor throughout the hotel’s 126 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Offering either a bedroom, or a modern fold-down bed in studio apartments, alongside a fully equipped kitchen, living/office space with flat-screen TV, bathroom and storage facilities, Adagio’s accommodation is fully equipped for both short- and long-stay guests.
Additional provisions, such as a dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, iron and ironing board and in-room internet access, ensure that guests can retain complete autonomy throughout their stay should they wish.
With clean lines, a clever use of surfacing materials and chic, modular furnishings, the apartments exude a warm, inviting feel. “We have apartment standards that we apply across Europe,” says Julie. “A cosy and welcoming atmosphere, dark floor, warm grey ‘cameo’ mixed with light wood for a homely feeling.” The use of multi-functional furniture allows guests to adapt this space to their own personal preference, whether they simply want to reorganise the layout of the living room, or to convert the desk into a dining table.
The option to live and move freely, while having access to all the services and amenities offered within a standard hotel environment, is one the Aparthotels Adagio brand has embraced and rigorously refined over the years. With plans under way to open further branches in Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow, the UK is set to play an essential part in the burgeoning European aparthotel market.