Time of year: April 2016
Purpose of trip: Jane travelled to Leeds to see her youngest daughter who’s studying there.
Why she chose this place: The 4 Star Queen’s Hotel is right next to Leeds railway station. I’d visited Leeds many times for work, but hadn’t been able to afford a room here before. A quick check showed some good rates this time: this was an affordable treat!
How long she stayed: One night.
Jane’s accommodation: I had ticked the box for ‘one guest’ when selecting this hotel on a booking site; but was still surprised to find I had a single, not a double bed-the first time I think I’ve ever been assigned one in all my business/holiday trips. I had little time to change and get to our booked table for dinner, so decided not to ask for a different room. Even so, it was lovely, comfortable accommodation, starting when you arrive: there’s a little red carpet up the stone steps and an elegant, top-hatted greeter at the door. The hotel’s claim is ‘Art Deco opulence’, throughout its bedrooms, and I certainly got a sense of this in the blue and gold palette in my room–I also loved the monochrome theme in the small but shiny bathroom, which had a range of complimentary mini toiletries.There was a kettle, with sachets of tea and coffee and a fridge (not a mini-bar), which is always useful if you want to store your own fresh milk (or bottle of vino…!). I think the only thing missing was a full length mirror.
Service: I had plans already for dinner, and for breakfast, but still got to meet Queen’s Hotel staff on arrival, at check-out, and at the hotel bar with members of my family after dinner elsewhere. The young lady who booked me in was charming, with a warm welcome, and took time to mark on a complimentary city map how to reach my restaurant. At the bar, the two members of staff who served our group mixed our cocktails with aplomb, and delivered the drinks to our table with a four star flourish. They were charming and helpful. On checkout, the male receptionist who closed my stay was warm and friendly and made me feel like a valued customer.
Food: This was a flying visit with food plans already made outside the hotel; but the menu looks delicious, with a good mix of steak and fish dishes, platters for sharing, and ‘healthier’ options available too. I’d definitely dine here if I stayed again.
What Jane paid: £65. This was a ‘room only’ rate, without breakfast. There are 215 bedrooms here–from standard, to suites, some with access to a top floor executive lounge.
Location: Right next to Leeds Railway Station, in the city centre.
Activities close by: The hotel’s website refers to Leeds as “The Knightsbridge of the North”, and there are certainly a wealth of high-end designer stores including Harvey Nichols, and some colourful independent shops in beautiful centres like the historic Corn Exchange, and many familiar High Street names in the new Trinity Centre, as well as market stalls and vintage shops. There are several theatres nearby offering a range of entertainment, the stately Harewood House, and galleries and museums to visit. And the breathtaking Yorkshire Dales are within easy reach.
What empty nesters might really like about this place: The Queen’s Hotel makes it easy to feel spoilt , from the moment you arrive. Leeds itself is a great city for empty-nest couples, groups of friends or shopping breaks; with fabulous bars, restaurants and coffee shops. A two centre break would be a great option here; taking in the buzz of the city and then relaxing by walking or driving through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: The hotel’s own description of “Art Deco opulence” is pretty accurate from what I could see, with a good blend of that style; and fresh, modern fittings– but obviously if you like a simpler, more contemporary feel throughout your accommodation, you might opt for one of the newer hotels in the city. Also, while there’s a very wide range of eateries and places to grab a drink, it’s a busy university city, so unless you’re also here to visit student offspring, you might want to do a little research first.