The framed message above the bed in my studio accommodation at the Staycity Corn Exchange in Liverpool proclaims that “very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself in your way of thinking.”
And the continued expansion of the Staycity chain suggests that many do consider that happiness is a metropolitan getaway with self-catering.
Recently opened, the Liverpool Corn Exchange site certainly has locational virtues. I find it comfortably walkable from Lime Street Station and, once settled, agreeably close to Albert Dock, home to The Beatles Story and other attractions including the Museum of Liverpool, which is currently hosting a major historical exhibit on Merseyside Jewish life.
Visiting solo, I am in one of the small apartments, which would be sufficiently spacious for a couple with a young child.
The largest quarters have two bedrooms with capacity to sleep six and it’s easy to appreciate the cost advantages for those travelling in bigger groups (rates for the six sleepers start from £129).
The decor is Ikea lite and the grey units in my kitchen area feature a fridge, hob, microwave, toaster, cooking utensils, crockery, cutlery, glassware, dishwasher and copious cupboards.
Further investigation reveals an ironing board stashed in a side panel of the bed, and reading lamps on either side of the bed itself. The flat screen TV is wall mounted and the tiled bathroom has all the essentials.
There is also a basic dining table and chairs, which can double as a work area. Luxury it is not but then again the price point is firmly mass market.
One obvious advantage of a city centre venue is its proximity to major supermarkets and delis for purchasing food and drink.
But for those minded (like me!) to use the culinary amenities for barely more than brewing a cuppa, a menu perched on the dining table promotes the round-the-clock cafe in reception, which offers drinks, pizza and light bites — and also a cheap and cheerful breakfast supervised by a helpful employee.
Indeed, all staff deal pleasantly and efficiently with requests to order taxis, provide directions to places of interest, suggest fun bars and restaurants nearby and to store luggage after check out.
Another motif displayed within the property declares: “There is beauty in simplicity.”
Beauty might be over-egging it — but I can see the attraction as a value-for-money escape.
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