Note: I stayed at the Metropole hotel as part of a conference which was being held there, so some of the remarks in my review may not represent the typical experience.
Location is definitely a strong point for the Metropole. It's located less than five minutes walk away from Leeds train station, so getting to it is very easy. There's also a free bus service which does a circular loop around Leeds and one of the stops is close to the hotel, offering an alternative for those with mobility problems. Although there is a car park available, it's only very small, so public transport really is the best and easiest option. The hotel is also well placed for seeing Leeds. The main shopping area lies within a 5-10 minute walk, as do some of the main museums and art galleries Leeds has to offer.
From outside, the hotel looks pretty impressive. An art deco style exterior speaks of a hotel which has certainly seen some grand days. Inside, things are also impressive. The lobby is a lovely light and airy space with a pleasant area to the right for sitting, meeting with friends, whilst straight ahead of you is a large mirror which reflects the entrance back at you giving the impression that the lobby is even larger and grander than it actually is. Interestingly, The Reception Desk is actually located off to the right, out of sight of the main entrance which some people might find a little disorientating initially. It's easy enough to find though and does mean that you have a fantastic view of the lavishly decorated lobby with its art deco style and with a high, very ornamented roof. It made a pleasant change to go into the hotel and be able to see something other than the staff working!
Check-in was relatively easy, although my experience may be atypical, since the rooms were pre-booked as part of the conference, and I didn't have to go through all the usual rigmarole. The official check-in time is 2pm, but they are fairly flexible. If your room is ready, they will let you in early. This does depend on the cleaning though - I got my room around 12:30pm, other people on the conference had to wait until 2pm on the dot for theirs. Checkout time is the standard 11am, although later times can be negotiated if needed.
The room I had (an upgraded one, rather than the standard) was surprisingly large. A double bed sat in the centre with plenty of room to pass easily on any side. A small "vestibule" area led to the wardrobe and an area with a writing desk in it, whilst another door led off to an impressively big bathroom.
In terms of décor, the room had a definite brown theme to it (what is it with hotels and brown? This is the third hotel I've stayed in this year like this). This made it very dark - aggravated by the fact that my room overlooked a square at the back of the hotel (giving an attractive view of the air-conditioning equipment). Boxed in by walls on all sides and a dark colour scheme meant a slightly gloomy look and it was necessary to have the lights even in broad daylight.
The room was very quiet, though, because I was away from the streets. Again, this is pot-luck. Other delegates complained that their rooms were noisy, because of the traffic. Unfortunately, due to building regulations (relating to the hotel's age), only single glazing is installed so if you happen to get a room which overlooks a road, you may suffer from the noise.
There were the usual things you expect in a hotel room (TV, tea and coffee making facilities), plus a few extras. For example, a full-sized ironing board and iron lurked in the wardrobe. There was also a large fan. In common with most other hotels, the temperature (at a conservative estimate) was something around 1000 degrees, so the fan was a godsend to circulate some air.
There was a surprising lack of plugs, with only 3 in the whole room. One of these was taken up by the TV and the other two were hidden away in the little alcove, making the room quite inflexible with regard to electrical items. Similarly, storage space was limited, with just one single (admittedly large) wardrobe with only around a dozen hangers and no other cupboards. This wasn't a problem for me - I always travel light - but if you're staying for a while, or like to take lots of clothes, you may find it restrictive.
Food and Drink
Food at the hotel was OK, although the hot food provided for the more formal meals was better than the buffet-style lunches. The hot food was very tasty and just a little bit different, without being over fussy. There was, though, a problem with the quantity of the cold salad buffet lunch. On both days, there were people who went for lunch slightly late only to be met by empty plates. As the hotel knew exactly how many delegates they were meant to be catering for, this was really quite poor and suggests they severely under-catered - certainly no-one I saw was taking more than their fair share. In fact, portions were quite meagre. The lunch queues were also poorly managed with up to 30 people often standing around for some time, unable to get to the food, as it was all arranged on one fairly small table.
I can't particularly comment on prices, as food was included in the conference fees we had paid. However, they looked to be in line with city hotels everywhere (i.e. expensive). Drinks certainly were expensive, with the bar charging £3.20 for a pint of beer and £5.75 for a single glass of wine. However, that's the beauty of being in a city centre, as there are plenty of pubs nearby to escape to.
Of course, one of the downsides to staying in a newly refurbished, 4 star city centre hotel is that you certainly pay for the privilege. A standard room is likely to cost somewhere in the region of £140 per night, so for most people, it's likely to be an occasional treat, rather than somewhere you go for a long stay. Personally, if I were going to spend that much on a hotel room, I'd rather have somewhere out in the countryside and from my experience, the Metropole trades on its looks and location to justify its prices.
Tel: 0113 245 0841
Fax: 0113 242 5156
© Copyright SWSt 2008
I should probably start this review by saying that this hotel is no longer owned by the Le Meridien group nor was it when I stayed in it. It has been sold to a smaller chain of hotels. I never stayed in this hotel when it was a member of the Le Merdien group so I don't know if it was different in those days.
** Background **
I recently went to Leeds for a weekend to visit some friends and wanted a hotel within walking distance of the city centre. On previous visits I had stayed further out and had a nightmare trying to get a taxi back to the hotel when I came out of the pub or club. From looking on the map I could see that Hotel Metropole is located near the train station and at the back of majestic nightclub. An ideal location as far as I was concerned. As the sole intention of my stay was to catch up with some friends and do some shopping I wasnt too bothered about the facilities offered by the hotel but was interested in their car parking facilities. The website I booked the hotel through helpfully told me that the hotel has its own free car park. As I was intending driving to Leeds this was another great feature of the hotel.
** Booking **
I had left booking the hotel till the last minute and due to the deal I got on the hotel through the website (hotels.com) I had to pay for the stay in advance. The total was about £70 for the night, which at the time of booking I thought was fairly reasonable for a 4* hotel, with a free car park, located in walking distance of the city centre.
** Facilities **
According to the site I booked the hotel through I could also expect the following facilities:
Breakfast (Not included in the cost of the room)
As I was only staying for a single night and was intending to go out I did not intend to make use of any of these facilities. As it turned out the hotel bar was still open when I got back in so I did pop in there for a drink. The bar was really small and quite expensive, as you would expect in a hotel. The only other thing to mention was that there wasnt a seating area in the bar so people were sitting around in (the very large) reception area and in one of the main conference rooms (where there was a bit of a disco or something going on).
** Look and Feel **
The whole hotel has a very old feel to it. It is a fairly old building and feels old when you are inside. The internal décor is very old and looks quite worn in places. As you can see from the list of facilities shown above, it does not have a lot of the facilities you get in a lot of other hotels of a similar rating. For example, there are no free leisure facilities (gym or swimming pool) available for guests, although I believe there are local facilities available at a suppliment.
** My Experience **
I arrived at the hotel at around 12:30 the day I was checking in. The official check in time was 14:00 so I was an hour and a half early. Having stayed in numerous hotels before I felt confident that the room would be ready earlier than the advertised check in time and I would be able to dump my bags and head off to do some shopping. When I got to the reception desk I was greeted promptly, but when I told the young lady I was there to check in I was told that check in was not until 14:00. I was a little surprised that she did not take my name to check if the room was ready or anything before dismissing me but assumed it must be hotel policy. I was slightly put out by the way I was dismissed. The young lady was rude and abrupt. Weighing up what I was going to do in the meantime I decided to park my car in the hotel car park and head off into the city for a while and return later to check in. When I inquired as to the location of the car park I was told (abruptly) that it was full. Accepting that they cant guarantee a parking space for every guest I asked if the lady could recommend somewhere else nearby where I could park my car. The response was abrupt and uninformative. Annoyed at the service I had just received I left the hotel and went to find somewhere to leave my car. On my way out of the hotel I decided to check the hotel car park. I would estimate that there are around 20 spaces in the car park for a hotel that probably has several hundred rooms!
I found some on-road parking for my car and returned to the hotel at 14:00 to check in. The receptionist was still abrupt and rude but managed to check me in without further incident. When I got up to my room I found that, keeping in theme with the rest of the hotel, it was quite old looking and the furniture was worn in places. I also found that some areas of the room were not as clean as I would expect. The windowsills and skirting boards were covered in a layer of dust and dirt and the room generally had quite a dirty feel to it. Having said that, on first inspection the room was functional (everything worked) and acceptable.
When I got up in the morning and was picking the bedding up off the floor I noticed several stains on the bedding, which implied that it hadnt been washed as often as it should. On finding these stains I felt quite ill at the thought of having slept in the bed and decided to complain on my way out. When I returned to reception to check out the same receptionist as the previous day greeted me and she was still rude and abrupt. Not wanting to cause I scene in reception I wrote a letter to the hotel management to inform them of my findings. I have had a letter in return saying that this was a one off occurrence and they are working to fix the points I raised.
** Conclusion **
In conclusion, it is safe to say that I will not be returning to this hotel nor will I be recommending it to anyone else. Further, having looked around I think that for the money there are better hotels available in the city centre.