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Review: A Royally Relaxing Stay at The Queens Hotel in Leeds

The Queens Hotel in Leeds
February 2024
Reading time 5 Minutes

Following in the footsteps of Princess Grace of Monaco, Nelson Mandela and Laurel and Hardy, we're treated like royalty at The Queens Hotel

Protected from the noise of the Saturday night revellers yet still right in the heart of the city, we can't think of a better spot for a jam-packed weekend in the unofficial capital of Yorkshire.

When we arrive in Leeds on a foggy Saturday afternoon ready for a day of exploring, we’re a little early for check-in but bank on the fact that the attentive staff at The Queens will be more than happy to store our cases in a safe space (which of course they are). We’ve driven to the city (although it’s worth noting that the hotel is ideally placed for commuters with its own private entrance direct from the train station concourse), and as we turn the corner onto the City Square, we marvel at the majestic building. Entering the lobby we’re greeted by beautiful bouquets of flowers and quirky art hanging on the walls. It’s only when we’re freed from the weight of our bags that we look up to admire the impressive chandeliers throughout the hotel. It’s been welcoming guests since 1937 and it’s clear that many of the original Art Deco features have been retained. However, there’s a contemporary twist throughout its interior – but more of that later.

We’re keen to see more of the city but first we’re off for lunch at Moose Coffee, where I overindulge on a twist on an eggs Benedict atop three American-style pancakes, which my partner is forced to finish after he’s had his twist on a full English with steak. Thoroughly fuelled for the remainder of the afternoon we take a whistle-stop tour of just a few of Leeds’s hotspots. First, Leeds Art Gallery, where we deep-dive into the urban environment through the eyes of women and gender non-conforming artists, then Leeds City Museum where we learn much more about this creative city and its history, see The Leeds Irish Elk and Nesyamun (the only one of the museum's mummies to remain intact following the 1941 Leeds Blitz) and immerse ourselves in the city’s hip-hop scene. As the Valentine’s Fair begins to liven up outside, we take a walk around Leeds Cathedral before our burning feet decide now would be a good time to check into our room for the night.

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The Queens Hotel underwent a £16 million refurbishment in 2021 and all of its rooms and suites (of which there are 232) were given a contemporary makeover. Tonight we’re staying in a superior room with a fantastic view of the City Square. This room oozes style from the modern wall art to the black marble-patterned coffee table, even the wall panel in the bathroom is art-adorned, but with fluffy robes, a seriously snug bed and luxurious Elemis toiletries, it’s not lacking in comfort either. We take time to unpack and enjoy a hot drink and there’s just enough time to fit in some retail therapy at Trinity Leeds, Leeds Corn Exchange (where a charity market is taking place alongside the usual cooler-than-cool collection of craftspeople) and the city’s shopping arcades with their awe-inspiring architecture.

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We’ve booked a table at Fleur Restaurant and Bar within The Light, just a short stroll from the hotel, but it’s worth noting that the Grand Pacific restaurant within the hotel is a popular dining spot for city slickers. Since arriving back at the hotel post-shopping, we’ve noticed the buzzy atmosphere of Grand Pacific’s bar so we head up to our room to freshen up then back down to the bar to order a salted caramel espresso martini. In keeping with the regal grandeur of The Queens, the bar’s interior is dreamy and we could easily have spent all night sinking into its sofas. But we’re back out on the city’s streets for one last time and when we return following our later than usual dinner reservation, we see our hotel’s imposing facade in lights, putting the surrounding buildings to shame. The city is lively, becoming almost rowdy, but as soon as we’re on the other side of the hotel’s revolving door, all that noise melts away. The Queens Hotel simply envelops you in style and serenity.

The following morning our bed proves so comfortable we sleep through our alarm and miss our morning plans to stroll along Leeds Dock – gutted! Next time? In the hopes of redeeming ourselves, we instead head to the hotel’s basement to check out its gym. My partner abandons me for the weights area while I’m amazed by the treadmill where I can walk in the woods, watch Netflix or even play chess. Little time for that though, breakfast is calling. It’s a relaxed affair, also in the hotel’s basement, where the hot food is buffet-style. As usual I’m more interested in the pastries but my partner is more than keen to plate up a full English.

Each swiping a muffin for our journey we’re sad to be leaving so soon, but what a base this city retreat has proved to be. Everything the city has to offer is right on your doorstep but you could easily spend your whole stay within the contemporary walls of this building. If you’re looking for a luxurious Leeds breakaway with an homage to the golden age of high society, but in touching distance of today’s cultural community and all it has to offer, we suggest you look no further.

The Queens Hotel
City Square, Leeds LS1 1PJ

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