Why the Popularity of City Breaks is Great News for the UK Hotel Market

There are many reasons why Brits are opting to enjoy a UK city break over an overseas holiday. From the cost to convenience, it’s no secret that UK holiday breaks are on the rise but what does this mean for the UK hotel market?

Well, its great news because it means accommodation of all capacities are seeing an increase in interest and occupancy, cities and towns are experiencing higher tourism levels and the economy is naturally benefiting.

City breaks have always been a nice way to escape for a weekend during the summer or winter months but many are now staying away for longer and extending their weekend break into a four or five-day trip.

What Does this Mean for the Hotel Market

As many are choosing to ‘staycation’, it increases the tourism market within each individual city and town which in turn has a direct impact on other industries and sectors including food & beverage, sporting, cultural and accommodation.

Last year, official figures highlighted that the UK experienced one of the highest occupancy rates across Europe in December (71.6%). Highlighting the UK’s bid for the European market and showcasing a promising start to 2018.

The unknown that still surrounds Brexit is another reason why short breaks and ‘staycations’ in the UK are becoming more popular. The uncertainty that surrounds the t&c’s of travelling and the weakened pound both mean that it’s easier and more affordable to stay in the UK and explore some of the cities closer to home.

Top City Break Destinations


Manchester is a city that has undergone substantial growth over the past decade or so and therefore has a lot to offer visitors.

Home to a thriving sporting, cultural, historical and musical, Manchester has something for everyone of all ages.

With a wealth of world-class hotels for all budgets, Manchester’s city centre has a diverse offing from budget B&B’s to 5-star boutique hotels that really are something special.

Whether you’re here to watch some sports, head to the theatre or head for a night on the town, Manchester is an eclectic, welcoming city that is perfect for a city break.

Manchester UK Hotel Market


Liverpool is often regarded as one of the best cities in the UK, mainly because of its incredibly friendly nature and wealth of entertainment. On the weekends, thousands of visitors flock to the northern city to enjoy a famous night out, a cultural visit to see the two magnificent cathedrals or to explore the Albert Dock.

Liverpool is a city ideal for a city break with its small nature the city is easy to explore in just a few days.

Liverpool waterfront - top city for rental market


London is high on many peoples list for destinations for a city break just because there is so much to see and do.

From Buckingham Palace to Soho, each area of London could be explored individually for days on end but cramming it into a city break may be a bit harder.

London has always had an overwhelming appeal to visitors both from the rest of the UK and Europe. But the growth of some of the other UK cities as city break destinations is possibly evening out the tourism market in the UK and people are going further afield.


Belfast is a magnificent city that is oozing with historical significance and for many is a little further afield than many other UK cities.

The Northern Ireland capital has a turbulent history that today makes it a fascinating city for people of all ages.

From the Titanic Quarter to Belfast City Hall and the Botanic Gardens as well as the thriving nightlife scene, there is plenty to keep visitors busy in Belfast. The tourism market is a little behind that of London but its quickly catching up and as a result, the hotel market in the city is thriving. There are a wealth of new and existing hotels under development which will attract a new breed of visitor and continue to cement the city as a top destination.

Belfast: a City on the Rise

The hotel market in the UK has always performed well but it now seems that more than ever it is thriving and growing. There is plenty on offer including an eclectic mix of budget and boutique, and everything in between is having a great impact on those opting for city breaks and ‘staycations’ in the UK.

Did you know that you too can become part of the success? Investing in the hotel room can earn you impressing returns with full flexibility and no hassle, speak to Signature Investments today for more information.

Top Investment Opportunities from Signature Investments

Signature Living is the developer and operator behind some of the UK’s most successful hotel developments.

From 30 James Street in Liverpool to The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff, the group have transformed some of the UK’s most iconic listed buildings and brought them back to life.

Through a unique investment funding model, the group have welcomed over 1,000 private investors who have become a part of their success.

Investors enjoy a completely hands-off investment, don’t have to worry about tenancy management and receive a competitive, guaranteed return on investment.

The Signature Living Group have experienced expediential growth over the past couple of years with a number of highly anticipated projects in the pipeline. If you’re an investor looking to join in Signature Living’s success, take a look at some of the most exciting opportunities currently available.

The Exchange Hotel

From £80,000

The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff is one of the city’s most prominent buildings. Once home to the world’s thriving coal trade, the former Coal Exchange played an integral part, once setting the price of coal.

After the demise of the coaling industry, The Exchange fell into a state of severe disrepair and closed its door in XXXX.

The Exchange was then left partially empty for over 60 years before it was purchased by Signature Living in 2016 who had ambitious plans to reopen this historic site as hotel and event venue.

Phase one of the development was completed in April 2017 with 50 suites and the Exchange Grand Hall completed. Every area and suite within the hotel has a unique connection to the buildings rich history which attracts a wealth of visitors from around the world, keen to explore not only the buildings history but the cities as well.

As development is ongoing, more and more magnificent suites are completed with a restaurant, spa and second hall due for completion soon.

Investing in the UK hotel market with Signature Living

Key investment highlights

  • Low-risk investment
  • Iconic hotel development
  • Developer & operator with a proven track record
  • 205 suites upon completion
  • Developer buy-back option

Investment structure

  • 8% net assured returns from years one to three
  • 9% net assured return year four
  • 10% net assured returns years five to ten
  • 108% developer buy back from years three to ten

The George Best Hotel

From £80,000

The George Best Hotel is a unique development that will celebrate the life and legacy of the footballer, George Best.

The hotel, which is located in the footballer’s hometown of Belfast, will be a unique tribute to the man so many loved on and off the pitch. The hotel itself is a transformation of the Grade B1 listed, Scottish Mutual Building located in the heart of Belfast city centre.

Nestled on the junction of Donegall Square and Bedford Street, The George Best Hotel is set to be nothing short of remarkable. This grandiose hotel is in a prime city centre location overlooking Belfast City Hall and upon completed, will be transformed into a luxury football-themed hotel featuring premium amenities, a stunning wedding and event space, a museum dedicated to the legacy of George Best plus a stylish bar and restaurant.

Scottish Mutual Building in Belfast

Key investment highlights

  • Luxury hotel development
  • 83 unique units
  • Guaranteed returns of 8-10%
  • Award-winning developer
  • Fully managed by Signature Living

Investment structure

  • 8% net assured returns from years one to three
  • 9% net assured return year four
  • 10% net assured returns years five to ten
  • 106% developer buy back rising 2% per year from year three but capped at 112%

(Year three 106%, year four 108%, year five 110%, year six to ten 112%).

The Shankly Hotel Preston

The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool is one of the Signature Living Groups most successful hotels.

Celebrating the life of footballer Bill Shankly, the hotel takes a unique approach to remembering the footballing legend both on and off the pitch. A unique partnership between Signature Living and the Shankly family, the hotel features never before seen memorabilia, personal stories and immersive interactions that bring Shankly to life.

The hotel has a popular bar & restaurant as well as a stunning rooftop wedding and event space which has proved immensely popular since its opening in 2015.

The hotel enjoys impressive occupancy rates with many rooms & suites selling out 6 months in advance.

The Shankly Hotel in Preston will follow the same footprint as the original Liverpool hotel with dedicated memorabilia, unique suites and a stylish bar & restaurant as well as event space for weddings.

The development will transform the former Old Post Office building in the city centre which is ideally surrounded by some of the cities most treasured attractions.

Investors can rest assured that The Shankly Hotel Preston will share in the same success as The Shankly Hotel Liverpool and become a world-renowned hotel attracting visitors from all over the globe.

Shankly Hotel Preston

Key Investment Highlights

  • Highly successful Shankly Hotel brand
  • 65 boutique suites
  • Shankly museum on site
  • Fully managed by Signature Living

Signature Mill

From £132,440

Signature Mill is a luxury residential development in the heart of Manchester’s popular Miles Platting area.

Formerly home to a working mill, Signature Mill is a residential development that incorporates all the luxuries of a classic Signature Living hotel development including concierge service, premium amenities and stylish interiors.

Signature Mill will offer a city centre experience in a fantastic location that is perfect for working professionals and visitors who are seeking to harness the lifestyle benefits the project will deliver.

Investment opportunities at Signature Mill are expected to sell out fast due to the highly competitive pricing which comes in at £240-£268 per square foot with similar projects in Manchester costing around £300 – £400 a square foot.

Victoria Mill investment Signature Invest

Key Investment Highlights

  • Located in the Regeneration area of Miles Platting
  • Competitively priced
  • Modern decor and fixtures throughout
  • High-speed broadband
  • Provision for Sky HD, BT and Virgin Media
  • Excellent transport links to the city centre

If you’re interested in investing with Signature Investments, then please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

Why the UK Hotel Market is so Attractive to Overseas Investors

The hotel market in the UK is a sector which continues to experience growth.

From global economic recovery to the increased number of Brits holidaying in the UK and the fall of the pound following Brexit, there are several factors that have contributed to the current strength of the hotel market in the UK.

Over the past couple of years, the hotel industry has enjoyed steady growth, but in 2018 the market is expected to slow before recovering and increasing yet again.

Since the financial crisis back in 2007, traditional funding for new hotel developments has been shelved for a new, more flexible funding model. That funding model is individual unit sales which are sold to separate investors. Just like traditional property investment, investors will enjoy a comfortable return on their investment that is much higher than investment rates offered through the banks.

However, unlike buy to let property investment, hotel unit investment offers a hands-free investment process from start to finish with the hotel fully managed by an operator. This means that the investor doesn’t have to worry about sales, marketing or the upkeep of their investment. Instead, they just make the purchase and enjoy the returns, hassle-free.

But why is the UK Hotel Market so Popular?

From first-time investors looking to establish their property portfolio to more experienced investors looking to grow or diversify theirs, there are many reasons why investors are keen to enjoy their share of the UK hotel market.

One of the biggest benefits of hotel room investment is the low-risk/high-return alternative to regular buy-to-lets. Further to this, prices for hotel room units start relatively low, making them more accessible, particularly in the most lucrative cities.

In 2017, the UK hotel sector saw investment volumes reach £5b including over £2.5b (42%) from foreign investors. The activeness of overseas investors in the UK hotel market highlights the trust they are placing in the UK and their predictions for the continued growth of the market, despite the relative uncertainty that lingers post-Brexit.

Hotel Investment for Overseas Investors

In a report published by Knight Frank, it stated “Furthermore, in 2017 total UK hotel transaction activity represented 33% of total investment volumes in the UK Specialist property sector, an increase of 4% compared to the previous year, demonstrating the attractiveness of the UK hotel property sector as a means of providing enhanced, longer-term income in the alternative property sector.”

This highlights the significant growth of the hotel market in the UK and how investors are seeing it as a more lucrative alternative to traditional property investment.

The Impact of the Weaker Pound

The UK has always been considered a safe haven for overseas investors however the weaker pound has only increased the UK’s appeal.

The plunge in sterling following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union has prompted an increased level of interest and purchases from overseas buyers who are set to save around 10% on their purchases.

The favourable exchange rate is actually turning out to be a timely boost for the UK hotel, tourism and construction sector.

Deciding Where to Invest

There is now more choice than ever when it comes to hotel room investments, which means investors have the luxury of being able to pick and choose all aspects of the hotel they wish to invest in. From location to suite size, choosing an establish brand or independent hotelier, the investor can take control with a plethora of options available to them.

If you’re looking for a long-term investment opportunity then opting for a hotelier with a history of investment funded developments will ensure you have a base to go from in terms of their service, returns and investor care.

Signature Investments are a leading investment service who work in partnership with the Signature Living Group. Signature Living is an award-winning developer and operator behind some of the most exciting hotel and residential developments of the past 10 years, including 30 James Street in Liverpool, The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff and the Lanyon Hotel in Belfast.

Exchange Hotel Cardiff

We offer renowned investment opportunities to overseas and domestic investors with low entry costs, full flexibility and assured ROI’s far greater than the rest of the market.

Get in touch with a Signature Invest advisor today to discover how we can help your property portfolio.

Belfast: A City on the Crest of a Wave

Belfast is quickly establishing itself as one of the UK’s must-visit cities and Belfast’s regeneration is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Northern Irish capital has undergone some drastic transformations over the past decade which have in turn regenerated the city and cemented it as the next big destination.

Boasting a thriving tourism market and increased investment has ensured that Belfast is on the crest of a significant wave with the cities popularity expected to continue to grow.

Tourism Figures

In 2016, there were an estimated 4.6 million overnight trips to Northern Ireland which equates to almost a third of all tourism traffic to the region.

This strong performance is reflected in the cities hotel industry which in 2016 saw 991,000 hotel rooms sold at an average price of £77.95 per night, marking an increase of 4.1%.

An annual industry survey from ASM Chartered Accountants uncovered that hotel occupancy in Belfast also grew with record high figures of 83.5%, a significant increase on the previous year where occupancy sat at 77.5%.

This brought in a spend of £851 million for overnight trips alone with the city of Belfast accounting for around £335 million of that figure.

From shopping to culture and world-class entertainment facilities, Belfast has welcomed some fantastic tourism landmarks that have helped to increase the cities offering to visitors.

The cities rich past has been the driving force behind many of Belfast’s most popular tourist destinations such as the Titanic Belfast, Ulster Museum and Belfast Castle which have all received significant investment and transformed key areas in the city.

Titanic Belfast

The development of these tourist attractions has further fuelled a drive in the hotel market with many high profile developers investing in the city of Belfast to provide guests with a base to stay.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster commented; “Today’s tourism statistics show the importance of the sector to Northern Ireland’s economy and demonstrate not only how more tourists are visiting the region but are also spending more money as the hospitality sector continues to grow and add value to the economy.

“In Belfast, there was an increase of almost £60m in terms of tourism spend in 2016 compared to 2015.”

These figures are expected to keep on rising with significant development projects in place for the next couple of years including the Linen Quarter, the City Quays project at Belfast Harbour and several hotel developments including those by Signature Living.


 From the mid-1990s to 2007, Northern Ireland experienced one of its most economically prosperous and politically stable periods. However, the global economic downturn hit the country hard with a fall in employment, investment and the housing market.

Following a period of uncertainty, Belfast fought back and is now emerging from the recession as one of the most upcoming cities in the UK with growth across all areas.

In 2015, the council created a £18.7 million City Centre Investment Fund to support the implementation of projects which help towards the continued regeneration of Belfast.

The council have been working hard to ignite Belfast as a tourism hotspot investing vital funds into the regeneration of key areas for business, leisure and tourism purposes.

The council set out a City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy which pinpoints key action areas which include the Inner North, North East Quarter and Oxford Street & the Earner Bank as well as focusing on the transport hub.

Belfast: a City on the Rise

The Belfast regeneration strategy outlines; “Belfast has done well in recent decades to improve an economically dynamic and attractive city centre. It has, however, some way to go in comparison to other European cities of comparable size.

“It needs more; more people working and living in the centre, more visitors, more attractions, more commerce, more jobs, more street life and nightlife, more trees, more in-migrants and more development. More serenity, more bustle, more buzz. It is the combination of all those elements that makes a great city centre, that provides the self-fuelling chemistry for regeneration.”

There are a number of large-scale projects underway in Belfast which will reignite specific areas and help to establish the cities offering to both locals and visitors.

Increased tourism figures highlight that the regeneration programme is working and attracting new people from all over the world.

International Recognition

Belfast is a city that is being recognised in many forms.

In November 2017, the city was crowned 2017’s Rising Star at the National Geographic Traveller Reader Awards in London. This prestigious award was a great indicator of public opinion and certified that Belfast is a city to look out for.

Another prestigious award came from international travel guide group, Lonely Planet, who placed Belfast as the best place to visit in 2018 alongside the spectacular Causeway Coast.

Not only did this firmly pin Belfast on the traveller’s map but it was also the only area in the UK to make it into the Lonely Guide list, let alone to sit at the number one spot.

Investment in Northern Ireland

Investment in Northern Ireland continues to grow as the region boasts many highly attractive traits ensuring it is no surprise that almost 80% of investors have reinvested.

Around 900 international companies have also invested in Northern Ireland including Seagate Technology, Fujitsu, Bombardier Aerospace, Microsoft, Citi and Liberty Mutua to name a few.

In Belfast around 1,100 new hotel bedrooms are currently under development as well as three hotels by Liverpool-based hotelier, Signature Living including that of prominent heritage sites including The Scottish Mutual Building which will become The George Best Hotel, the former Crumlin Road Courthouse which will be transformed into The Lanyon Hotel and the former War Memorial Building on Waring Street which will become The Waring Hotel.

The Lanyon Hotel in Belfast

This increases the cities offering encourages healthy competition for developers and operators to continue to produce world-class facilities which improve the cities standing as a modern destination.

Belfast furthermore has a reputation for being one of the safest cities in the UK which again benefits the local and tourism community massively.

The combination of a young population, high-quality education and thriving tourism market is clearly an attractive offer for international investors and as more and more developments get underway, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Scottish Mutual Building in Belfast

Furthermore, recent research conducted by CBRE identified Belfast as the third fastest growing office market in the world just behind Bangkok and Stockholm.

Demand for prime office space in Belfast positioned it ahead of other in-demand cities including New York and Amsterdam with an office rental growth of 14.3 percent year on year.

Thanks to a demand from business service firms and media, technology and telecoms companies, the office market in Belfast is experiencing an exciting boom which is expected to carry forward into the future.

The Waring Hotel

There is no doubt that Belfast is a city on the rise and you can become a part of it. Signature Investments have many developments underway that will certainly contribute to the city’s growth.

Discover the exciting project coming to Belfast from the Signature Living Group and become an investor today. Click here for our latest developments or get in touch today. 

The Signature Living Story

Many people have heard of Signature Living, but many don’t know the story behind it all. Who is Lawrence Kenwright and how did Signature Living become one of the leading accommodation providers in Liverpool.

I started Signature Living on the 14th of August 2008 with just a single apartment on Victoria Street which was purchased from a liquidation I went through just a few years previous.

I was a victim, like many others, of the collapse of the financial market in 2006-2007 which resulted in me losing all of my assets.

After purchasing the whole Victoria Street block, we found one particularly large apartment which we decided to put 15 beds in. The larger apartments were booked out 6 months in advance and at this point we knew we were really onto something. We created something which unbeknown to us, was desperately needed. Stag parties, hen do’s and birthday groups needed large accommodation and Liverpool was the perfect city to host them.

This is when Signature Living as we know today was really born.

Since that financial crisis and coming back from the brink, we now own and operate three hotels, three apartment blocks, two restaurants, and a spa within our 30 James Street Hotel.

Over the next few years, we have a whole host of new developments in the pipeline, some of which are already underway across the rest of the UK and Europe.

The Signature Living you see today is worlds away from that one apartment we had on Victoria Street in 2008, and here is my story.

Taking Dereliction From Our Streets

It is well-known fact that Liverpool has more listed buildings than any other city outside of London, yet more of them are derelict and at risk than any other.

Many of these beautiful buildings have simply been left to rot, causing huge and unmanageable damage which is expensive to repair and in some cases irreversible.

It’s fair to say that Liverpool is on the crest of a wave; tourism in the city is booming with the city welcoming 57.6m visitors last year and was voted 3rd city in the world for the most visited city by Rough Guides. But sadly our commercial offering doesn’t offer the same hope and is arguably the lowest it has ever been. We have over 2.1 million square feet of empty office space in the centre of our city.

Restored Buildings

Thankfully, this issue with regard to our office occupancy levels has been veiled by the huge success that we are experiencing with the erection of many refurbished listed buildings that are now huge beacons attracting new guests to our city. These hotels include;

With the exception of The Shankly Hotel, all of the above have been derelict for many years and are now not only creating jobs but are also creating a lot of intrigue. Each and every one of these buildings is stepped in history, which make them a destination in themselves. Restoring these amazing and historic buildings breathes news life into the city and is so much better than new build properties which are more often than not, bland and boring. I’m more than happy to say that in recent years the restoration of historic buildings in Liverpool has increased and the number of new-build hotels has decreased.

30 James Street- Home of the Titanic
30 James Street- Home of the Titanic

The tourism industry in the city is absolutely booming, four years ago Liverpool had just over 2,400 beds with an average occupancy rate of 71%. There are now more than 7,500 beds reaching an average occupancy rate of 75% an increase of 4%, with weekend occupancy higher still. However, what we really need is to attract more companies to the city as a place of business to fill the hotel beds midweek.

But we can’t expect to maintain and expand our accommodation without the relevant investment. One of the main reasons Liverpool has found itself as a hub for property investors all over the world is due to the UK being seen as a ‘safe haven’ for investors. Especially as other countries are currently experiencing some economic difficulties.

The Shankly Hotel
The Shankly Hotel on Victoria Street

Liverpool’s Investment Potential

There are also a number of other factors which have contributed to the upsurge of property investors in Liverpool. In the capital city of London, market prices are increasing at an unprecedented rate year on year, meaning the return on investment isn’t as good as it could be. These investors have subsequently moved further north to cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. Manchester has become the capital of the North, boasting a huge commercial and tourism industry. The property market in Manchester is at its highest point, making the chances of finding a reasonably priced deal, very rare.

For this reason, Liverpool is now in the top five cities for property investment and development and is one of the most sought after cities in the UK. Overall, property values are still very low and we have an abundance of properties. From an investors point of view, Liverpool is the place to be. The cities popularity is increasing at a remarkable rate and the property market is rife with incredible investment opportunities offering safe and continuous investment.

Abandoned Buildings in Liverpool

In all of my 30 years in business, I have never known so many abandoned units being put up for sale. As the country and its banks have become more stable, they can afford to offload their liquidated assets which they viciously snatched from developers at the beginning of the recession. Unfortunately, I was one of those developers and believe this was a real catalyst in driving our economy even further into the mire.


Liverpool’s Mayor, Joe Anderson is widely known as a mayor who will help any investor or developer who wants to put their money into this great city. This message is one which should really resonate throughout the entire investment market, not only in Liverpool but also across the rest of the UK and the world. In order to gain more investment in our city, we must make the planning process much easier, this would only entice more investors and ultimately improve the development of Liverpool.

Lyceum Building, Bold Street / liverpoolecho.co.uk
Lyceum Building, Bold Street / liverpoolecho.co.uk

However, it has to be said that there are a number of buildings in our city which have listed status. Due to this, the owners of these buildings are not paying the rates and, therefore, do not have any desire to develop the sites. There are other methods that our conservation department could use which would help to reignite their desire to develop or even sell their properties to others who do wish to restore and develop them.

We do not want to be a city which is associated with dereliction and empty spaces, we have the opportunity to fight back and continue on the path which sets Liverpool as a major city in the UK and Europe for both leisure and business purposes. By making the city more accessible to developers and investors, I believe this can only have a positive effect on our plight of ripping dereliction from the streets of the city centre.

CGI Images Revealed for 60 Old Hall Street

The Signature Living group have revealed exciting CGI plans for their 60 Old Hall Street development which is currently underway.

The development will be Signature Living’s first multipurpose development consisting of residential space, serviced apartments, office space and a ground floor retail unit. This will also be the first commercial office space which Signature Living have developed.

The in-house CGI visualiser has created a series of images of the development including the exterior and the rooftop area of the building.

Co-founder of Signature Living, Lawrence Kenwright says he hopes the multi-million-pound project will be completed in around nine months.

He said: “This will be our first development with office space.

“There is currently 2.1m sq ft of empty office space in Liverpool but not enough of it is quality accommodation.

“60 Old Hall Street, which forms part of Liverpool’s thriving commercial district, will become a landmark building with our redevelopment. We’re really looking forward to getting underway on this project.”

60 Old Hall Street - Running Track

60 Old Hall Street - Gym

The building which was purchased by Signature Living late last year was once called the ‘the ugliest building on Old Hall Street” was purchased by the company for £1.8 million. The new development plans make 60 Old Hall Street an exciting addition to the street which is the centre of the business district in Liverpool.

The exterior plans consist of golden cladding and a curved exterior making it an exciting destination and desirable place to work, live and visit.

The development of 60 Old Hall Street will also be home to a glass box gym and outdoor running track which will boast stunning views of the Liverpool city and the Mersey River from 127ft up.

Signature Living boss Lawrence Kenwright says the gym is set to become a landmark destination; “60 Old Hall Street’s rooftop gym is set to become a landmark destination – this once ugly duckling is being transformed into an impressive attraction which will boast stunning views across Liverpool’s commercial district.

“We are radically transforming the building and I think its features such as this which will make it popular with visitors. This development is yet another milestone in Signature Living’s ambitious plans for 2016.”

60 Old Hall Street - Exterior