Tailored to Suit

By February 13, 2019Features

Heading to Leeds for CHS 2019? H&E North’s Evangeline Spachis sized up the new Mercure Leeds City Centre.

A major city like Leeds has plenty of hotels to choose from, from the budget chains to the luxury stays, the city has lots to offer for those wanting to stay in the heart of the West Yorkshire metropolis when visiting for a conference or meeting. In 2018, Leeds was named the fourth most popular city in the UK for conferences…so a broad choice of hotels is always needed for event planners!

So, corporate travel bookers rejoiced when Splendid Hospitality Group acquired the former New Ellington Hotel in the heart of the Leeds financial district in January 2016. Mercure Leeds Centre is Splendid Hospitality’s third Accor property to open and enjoyed a opening night with the Lord Mayor of Leeds in September 2018. Situated on York Place, a quiet street at night, but a bustling place of commerce during the day with swanky coffee shops and meeting spaces open for business daily, a far cry from the area’s original roots as a site for wool warehouses in the late 1800s. The hotel, with its new purple Mercure awnings, is in keeping with the notable exterior Georgian architecture of one the one of the oldest streets in Leeds.

The property has been completely refurbished with design inspired by the city’s tailoring heritage and Yorkshire’s textile industry, covering 59 bedrooms and a restaurant called The Loom (more on that later!). The manufacturing history of Leeds is immediately evident when entering the compact but cosy foyer-bar area, and a warming greeting awaited from the helpful hosts at reception. Wakefield-based independent designers Matthews Mee have created cut-outs of textiles and sketches of designs for display on the walls and a striking 1937 quote from Leodiensian Montague Burton draw the eye – even if you’re just in the hotel for a quick stay, you’re bound to get a flavour of the city from merely glancing at the carefully curated walls and upholstered furniture choices.

We were given a ‘Privilege’ room, a spacious and lush suite that includes all the amenities a visitor on a corporate trip could desire, including a smart TV, king-size bed, wireless internet, soft bathrobe and slippers, complimentary soft drinks and usual tea/ coffee facilities. There was also a desk for any last minute tasks if the café/bar downstairs was unsuitable. The newly renovated bathroom had plush fixtures and fittings, and thoughtful touches like a shaving kit and plenty of toiletries for anyone running low on things to freshen up with before a big meeting or glitzy event in the bustling party venues of Leeds. The tailoring theme is continued in the suites and bedrooms, inspiring visitors to get accordingly suited and booted.

Going back downstairs, we had our choice of tables in the hotel’s comfortable brasserie. The Loom serves locally-sourced modern British dishes, while The Loom bar has a retro feel and is ideal for after-work cocktails or to rendezvous before a major event. We chose the selection of breads and oils and the grilled halloumi with a spicy Yorkshire chutney, followed by the 8oz sirloin steak accompanied by chunky chips, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms with onion rings, and the three-bean chilli with rice and tortilla chips, respectively. The dishes were tasty and filling, perfect if you fancy staying in the hotel or don’t feel like venturing into the thriving Leeds restaurant scene (there’s almost too many to choose from these days!), and were reasonably priced too. The Loom bar had a selection of wines and cocktails waiting to be sampled, though only one beer on draught which seemed a bit odd in this golden age of craft ales and ciders, but having the bar and restaurant in a compact space meant that all the staff could be attentive and on-hand to serve.

Having slept well in the king-size bed and enjoyed the waterfall power shower in the morning, the restaurant was then transformed into a breakfast room and was filled with business people grabbing a croissant and some muesli before dashing off into a hectic commute in the streets of Leeds. Never one to turn down the chance of a freshly-made breakfast, I went for a classic sausage sandwich in a soft bread roll while my guest pushed the boat out with the classic French toast ­–  two sides of brioche bread soaked and cooked in egg/ milk infused with cinnamon and nutmeg and topped with berries, yoghurt and maple syrup. A little bit of wow-factor on a drizzly Friday morning for sure!

If you’re looking for a clean, expertly designed and welcoming place to stay when you visit the show, you can’t go far wrong with the new Mercure Leeds City Centre. Close to Leeds train station and at the heart of the city’s financial district, it’s a four-star hotel that you can rely on. Informal yet smart, classy but not over-priced or pretentious, it’s an ideal base for city centre business, exploring the city or as a rest-stop on a leisure break.

With thanks to Custard Communications.