Following the huge success of The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool, plans have been announced to transform, what was to be The Harris Hotel, into a new luxury hotel dedicated to the great Bill Shankly.
The £15 million project will once again be a collaboration between The Shankly Family in partnership with hotel developer Signature Living and will highlight Bill Shankly’s iconic footballing career.
The Shankly Hotel Preston is not only to celebrate Bill Shankly’s iconic footballing career and achievements, but to honour the very special relationship he had with the city and people of Preston, having signed for Preston North End in 1933.
Bill Shankly played in the Preston side promoted to the First Division in 1934, and featured in two FA Cup finals, winning the iconic trophy in 1938.
To celebrate The Shankly Hotel coming to Preston and discuss the future plans, we sat down with the Director of The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool and Bill Shankly’s grandson, Chris Shankly Carline.
Why did you choose to take The Shankly Hotel to Preston?
It was always our intention to roll The Shankly out nationally and hopefully internationally, due to the phenomenal success of the hotel in Liverpool.
Preston was a natural fit, it is the next place that resonates greatly with Bill Shankly and the family. He played for Preston for 16 years and in that respect spent a large part of his life there.
He loved the club and the people, and they loved him. There are so many tributes to him at Deepdale, like The Bill Shankly Kop.
Preston is a great city with some amazing buildings and none more so than the future Shankly Hotel in Preston.
What are the plans for the new hotel and how it will be similar to The Shankly in Liverpool?
The building in Preston is a gorgeous Grade II listed building with plenty of grandeur.
The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool is all about the atmosphere and the guest experience, two vital components for any project carrying the Shankly name, given Bill was the man of the people. Everything about the hotel is a nod to who he was and what he achieved, and it will be the same for the hotel in Preston.
From a world class hospitality experience, to amazing accommodation, events, drinking and dining, The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool is the perfect tribute to my grandad. These high standards will be mirrored in Shankly Preston.
What will differentiate the two hotels?
Whilst this is the second Shankly Hotel, it is important to us that it has its own unique look and feel.
My grandad had such a varied and exciting life, so there is so much that can be told and celebrated. We aim to use this fantastic story to provide unique experiences in each hotel.
In Preston, our goal is to celebrate the elements of his playing career, there will be a museum featuring memorabilia from his playing days and Preston North End themselves.
What Preston meant to Bill Shankly?
It was a place he loved. He spent 16 years of his life there, all be it a large part interrupted by the war, but it was his home and the place he came to prominence and had success as a player.
He had some amazing footballing highlights and achievements at Preston and made some incredible friends, including Tom Finney who my Grandfather said was – “the greatest player he ever saw”.
It was a special place for him and the family.
How you think the plans will impact the city?
I think it is a fantastic opportunity for the city. Signature Living are one of the fastest growing companies in the country and are responsible for a massive amount of the visitor economy in Liverpool.
The Shankly is obviously personally responsible for a huge chunk of that, with an occupancy rate of 96% and having welcomed over 60,000 guests in 2017 alone.
We don’t just offer a room for the night, or dinner for the night. We offer experiences that make people want to come and stay at our hotels and in that sense, we create destinations.
I can’t wait to bring that to Preston and seeing the city gain the natural benefits from this amazing visitor economy.
The former Grade II listed post office building which is 114 years old will be transformed into a luxurious 65 room boutique hotel breathing new life into this iconic building.
The Shankly Hotel in Preston will follow the same brand and format of the original hotel in Liverpool, with luxurious rooms, an opulent bar and restaurant, a museum dedicated to the career of Bill Shankly, plus a wedding and events venue.
Signature Living have already successfully developed The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool, 30 James Street and is currently developing a number of other iconic football themed hotels around the country.
The Shankly Hotel in Preston is due to open to the public in September.
We can’t wait to see the new Shankly Hotel in Preston open its doors. For updates on progress and construction, follow our Facebook page.