Golden slumbers in a new hotel

Associated Press

LIVERPOOL, England -- What could be better after a hard day's sightseeing?

Visitors to Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles, can rest their heads in the Lennon or McCartney suites at the Fab Four-themed Hard Days Night Hotel that opened Friday.

More than 45 years after John, Paul, George and Ringo emerged from Liverpool's tiny, sweaty clubs to conquer the world, the Beatles industry is key to this battered-but-proud city's attempt to transform itself from fading commercial hub to thriving cultural hotbed.

The 110-room Hard Days Night Hotel hopes to be its newest attraction.

"It's stunning, spectacular," said Julia Baird, John Lennon's half-sister, after being shown around the $1,300-a-night penthouse suite named for her brother. "It's like Liverpool. Outside it hasn't changed, but inside there's rocketing change."

A smart, four-star establishment housed within a 19th century mercantile building, the hotel aims to provide everything a Beatles fan could desire -- from the Yellow Submarine jukebox in the lobby to the rare photographs on the walls -- while also catering to corporate travelers and tourists on a weekend break.

"That was a very important part of the whole concept, to get the balance," said Jonathan Davies, director of the developer that revived stalled plans for the hotel. "People who don't particularly like the Beatles -- we want them to come to the hotel. And we're sure they will come."

There's a stylish bar, and a "modern European" restaurant serving organic salmon, free-range chicken and English lamb.

The guest rooms, which start at $340 a night, are decorated with artwork by American painter Shannon, "The World's Greatest Beatles Artist" -- a title officially bestowed on her by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

Most luxurious are the two suites. The centerpiece of Lennon's is a white baby grand piano, while McCartney's contains a real suit of armor. Sir Paul is a knight, after all.

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