Hull hotels packed as 6,000 people come for big Sea of Hull reveal

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 21 Apr 2017

Just a handful of hotel rooms remain in Hull, as thousands prepare for this weekend's unveiling of Spencer Tunick's Sea of Hullwork.

Ferens Art Gallery and Princes Quay Shopping Centre are expecting up to 6,500 people to file through their doors on Friday evening.

Read more: Spencer Tunick's stunning Sea of Hull pictures revealed for first time Earlier this month the brave 3,250 souls who bared all in the name of art, before daubing themselves in varying shades of blue paint, received an email inviting them - and a plus one - to a special unveiling, before the work goes on view to the masses at the gallery on Saturday.

Such were the ripples caused when Sea of Hull was announced that many travelled from far and wide to take part in the unique event.

Councillor Terry Geraghty, chairman of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, which runs Ferens Art Gallery and other key attractions, says the city is looking forward to welcoming back the hoards - although this time everyone is under strict instructions to cover up.

He said: "I'm told there is hardly a hotel room left in Hull until Tuesday. People are coming from all over for the launch of the Sea of Hull event.

"Hull is going to be absolutely buzzing over the next few days."

Read more: Hull's historic Dram Shop set to reopen after refurbishment

A spokesman for The Gilson Hotel in Anlaby Road said occupancy rates are currently around 90 per cent.

"City of Culture is delivering great results for Hull," he said. "Sea of Hull this weekend is definitely having an effect on our bookings this weekend.

"We are very, very impressed. I only wish we had another 40 to 50 rooms. Year-on-year, we have probably seen a 15 per cent increase in bookings. For a hotel of this size, a five per cent increase would be considered good, so a 15 per cent rise is remarkable."

Cllr Geraghty said Sea of Hull has put the city on the map.

Read more: Sea of Hull merchandise by Spencer Tunick for sale and where you can buy it

"Some people were not very keen on the idea ," he said. "But Hull Culture and Leisure supported it, and we're glad we did. I've been amazed by the amount of publicity it has generation. Right across the world, people know about our city because of last summer's Sea of Hull."

In its email to Sea of Hull participants, Ferens stated: "This is new territory for us. We've never had to welcome 6,500 people to the gallery in a single evening before but thanks to our friends at Princes Quay Shopping Centre we are now able to make the event bigger, better and more spectacular.

"There was no other way we could possibly have managed this – the gallery has a limited capacity – without people queuing outside for hours, so a big round of applause for the Princes Quay team.

"We really can't stress enough how excited we are to see you all again and to renew friendships made on that crazy, life-affirming (occasionally cold and uncomfortable) day when we painted the city and the world blue!"

The event, in which Tunick himself will appear, will start at 6pm on the Harbour Deck of Princes Quay, with short speeches taking place at 6.30pm. Afterwards, participants will be invited into the gallery in staggered groups following registration inside the shopping centre.

They will be able to collect their free print from Princes Quay. Anyone who cannot make the event will have their prints posted to them.

Cllr Geraghty said Hull has been further buoyed by a visit from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, which played City Hall on Thursday evening.

"We are finally seeing the fruits of our labour," he said. "We've been working towards this moment for years."

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