We packed our overnight bags, drove our little girl to her grandparents, and set off on a weekend adventure to my favourite northern city, Leeds. We parked our car in the hotel car park and checked into the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Wellington Street.
This was no ordinary visit, as I was there to check out all the recent renovation work that the team had been doing since the devastating Boxing Day floods. The hotel first opened in August 1990 and up until Boxing Day 2015 it had never had reason to close until these particular floods. It was unprecedented in Leeds, and never before had the floods reached the Crowne Plaza Hotel. After £1.5 million having to be spent on the infrastructure of the hotel including the IT system, hotel boiler, internet, swimming pool and a number of room upgrades, the hotel reopened on 1st March 2016 after being closed for 9 weeks.
We checked in with a lovely guy on reception called Matt, he was full of life and had the strongest northern accent I’ve heard in ages (and I live amidst loads of farmers)! He answered all our queries, offered information about where to eat in the city, where to drink, and how to get there by foot. I’m lucky in that I know Leeds like the back of my hand, but for any visitors to the city (like my fella) then Matt really was a fountain of knowledge.
Of the 135 rooms, we were given key cards to room 403 on the fourth floor. Our window faced the recently knocked down Yorkshire Post building, which is now a vast open space, and it meant that we could see far and wide towards the direction of Kirkstall Road.
We needed assistance almost immediately in our room and the housekeeping team were outside our door, so they popped in to help with our trouser press issue. I took the opportunity to eat both complimentary chocolate mints that were strategically placed on our bed (without telling my fiancé) whilst he freshened up in the bathroom.
I had a sneaky peak at the swimming pool, which had previously had a serious amount of damage from the floods, but you wouldn’t have known, as it was finished beautifully, and it had a wonderful atmosphere as a number of hens from a hen party were in the pool, having what looked like a brilliant time!
We left through the revolving doors and ventured into the city along Wellington Street. After a visit to Leeds Kirkgate Market, Trinity shopping Centre, and the Phoenix Gastro Pub we went back to our hotel room to get ready for the night ahead.
The shower in our bathroom was fast, hot and powerful, and I quite took a liking to the complimentary bathroom products on offer.
After chatting with Matt on reception again on our way out of the lobby, we headed to Reds True BBQ for dinner, where we ate more than our own body weight in meat! So much so, that I couldn’t even start eating my burger, I had to ask for it to take away! We subsequently gave my burger to a homeless lady who took it gladly, and then went for a couple of drinks to The Botanist on Boar Lane. So, all-in-all we had a great night out in Leeds.
Back in our hotel room at the Crowne Plaza, my fiancé had already fallen asleep before I came out of the bathroom, so I watched a little bit more TV in bed whilst enjoying the relaxing surroundings of our room. I fell into a deep sleep and didn’t wake until after 9am (which is something that never happens on a Sunday with a 4 year old at home), and I can honestly say that our bed was one of the most comfortable we have stayed in for years.
I enjoyed our night at the Crowne Plaza and would almost certainly stay there again in the future. In fact, I have stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Leeds many times over the past 12 years, so there’s definitely proof in the pudding!
The Boxing Day floods caused some proper damage to the hotel and this has not disheartened the team whatsoever, they are now more focused than ever to make sure that the Crowne Plaza gets the recognition it deserves.
It’s a very welcoming hotel, with great staff, and seriously comfy beds!
Prices range from £69 to £150 for a room.
www.crowneplaza.com/leeds for more information.