best rate guarantee
discounted pre-booked breakfast
complimentary room upgrades available


Yesterday I bought an orange, lined notebook. I don’t need a notebook -- I have dozens of them, most of them hardly touched -- but I saw it in a shop, and I bought it. What will I write in it? When will I use it? Questions without answers, because I was sucked into something that happens every time the wind picks up and the leaves start to get crunchier -- a need for new stationary.

Filmmaker Nora Ephron, in my view, is the queen of autumn, just from You’ve Got Mail (1998) and When Harry Met Sally (1989) alone. In the latter, Billy Crystal’s cable knit, cream jumper is the apex of autumn dressing, as is Meg Ryan’s brown-toned wardrobe as she walks through leafy Manhattan. But it is in the former that the true meaning of the season is perfectly crystallised; during Tom Hanks’ opening monologue, he asks of his online pen-pal, ‘Don’t you love New York in the fall? Makes me want to buy new school supplies.’ Hanks’ character is an uber-successful CEO of a chain of bookstores in his mid-30s, and yet the urge to buy new notebooks and pens is as strong as ever.

We might not be in New York (although there is the oft-repeated sentiment that the Victorians called Liverpool ‘Europe’s New York’), but the city in autumn provides me with the same feeling that Ephron started her film with. The notebook I bought yesterday wasn’t a want, but a need, signifying a built-in association between the end of summer and the start of a new academic year. As both a child and a university student, this time of year provided ample opportunity for a fresh page and a new pen, as well as an excitement to learn and create new things.

As a writer, learning and creating new things is now an all-year-round event, but the autumn does provide a lovely spike of inspiration. I often use this time of year to really dig into whatever I’m working on, and regularly stay at Hope Street Hotel to make the most of it. The Corner Suites look across the city that is slowly being overtaken by autumnal colours and, best of all, they have a desk that is situated in the perfect place for views. It’s in one of these rooms that I wrote the beginning of a short story that went on to be published in a literary magazine. (Unsurprisingly, the story was about a hotel).

Lots of my friends now have children, and although they of course love their kids, the arrival of the new school term after the long summer holiday is welcome. While their children are beginning their life-long association with autumn and their new pencil cases, their parents are (silently) happy that someone else is taking care of them for the majority of the day. Many of them have a celebratory spa booking waiting for them, with the Morning Meltaway package being particularly popular. Drop the kids off at school, get to the spa for 9AM, two hours in the Thermal Journey, a 50 minute treatment, lunch, then home for a couple of hours (wonderfully serene as they log into Zoom to catch up on work), before picking them up again. Autumn is underway.