“ Address: Hepworth Point / Clay Pit Lane / Leeds LS2 8BQ „
Whenever I or my partner goes away, the first place we look for accommodation is Premier Inn. Recently, I had to head to Leeds to pick up my work & feedback from my second year at University, and attend a compulsory tutorial regarding my final year - so the missus and I decided to make a nice weekend of it, considering we weren't going on holiday this year. We stayed from Friday to Sunday, so two nights, at Premier Inn Leeds City Centre North.
Leeds is regarded as the third 'biggest' city (taking physical size, population and economic importance into account), and is often labelled 'Little London'. I personally feel that the latter statement is a load of old tosh, but generally, I really like the city. I've lived on and off there for two years, mainly residing in University accommodation or student houses during term time. The city centre is fairly large, with lots of great shops (including a new shopping centre which opens next spring (2013)), bars and restaurants amongst other things. There are things to see like the museum and Royal Armouries, and generally speaking, is a fantastic to city to visit or to live in. Obviously it doesn't quite compare to the big European cities like London, Paris, Rome and Berlin, but it depends what you're after.
This particular Premier Inn is, as the name suggests, North of City Centre - and that's pretty spot on. I would describe it as being situated on the outskirts of the City Centre, just as you reach the end of all of the shops (near Morrisons, for those of you who know Leeds) and before the Universities. It's a relatively new building, perhaps only six months old, and that's certainly noticeable even from a distance with a slick black exterior (as opposed to the classic purple colour). It towers up many floors, but doesn't quite match the Plaza and Sky Plaza that partner it. Its facilities include parking, a Thyme restaurant (that, for a change, is actually part of the building) and WIFI. So, on the surface, top marks for facilities, location and size. Check in time is after 2pm, and check out is 12 noon - great stuff!
The lobby looks great, and was very clean when we stayed. There are two 'podiums' where the receptionists stand to greet you and arrange everything, and two machines that allow you to make your payment and receive your room keys. The staff were very friendly and extremely helpful - maybe a little too helpful, considering they took me through everything step-by-step, but perhaps people who don't often stay at hotels may have benefitted from the service more. Our room was at one of the top floors (there were just under 20 in total, if I can recall), and at first glance, was very nice. However, we didn't get much further than a first glance. We were put in an adjoining room, and although the door was locked, there were a group of girls in the room next door, clearly getting ready for a night out (at 3 in the afternoon?!) and talking and playing music very loudly. The soundproofing through that door just wasn't brilliant, and we kindly asked to be moved to another room. Unfortunately, the next room they moved us into was also an adjoining room, and although no-one was there currently, I didn't want to risk getting similarly noisy neighbours, so asked to move again. The member of staff was apologetic for the inconvenience, and moved us into what we could only assume was a 'family room'. It was massive! There was plenty of space, a big comfortable double bed, a sofa bed and a lot of storage space. The unit opposite the bed had drawer, shelf and wardrobe space, and also a flat screen TV in it. Due to the fact that the hotel is part of a company like Premier Inn, I assume that the majority of the rooms are very similar and one can expect a room similar in style if given a 'family room'.
The room itself was well decorated, with browns, whites and purples, and a canvas painting on the wall. My main issue was the view from the window, which would have been quite nice, had a net not been placed in between the outer and inner windows and then locked shut. The windows could be only be opened very minimally, and while I respect that the hotel was very well air-conditioned (with a thermostat on the wall of the hotel room), sometimes it's nice to have some proper fresh air. At the same time, I understand why they're reluctant to let people open windows at such a height - maybe this problem was non-existent on the lower floors. The bathroom was good, with a bathroom/shower, toilet, and a basin underneath a large, well-lit mirror. Overall, the room was large, well-decorated and extremely comfortable.
We didn't get to use the Thyme restaurant as there were a few places we wanted to go in the city centre (including Nandos, as it was both of ours' first times!). We went to some bars (including Bar One, which is situated in a very, very nice place in the city centre called The Electric Press - do check it out if you're there!) and also to the high street, which boasts a wide range of great shops, including House of Fraser, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols, and Zara, and also some big brand shops in the beautiful arcade 'Victoria Quarter', like Louis Vuitton, Kurt Geiger, Jack Wills, Reiss and many, many more. We found over the two days that the hotel's location was excellent - near all of the above and also the train station, which is a 15-20 minute walk away.
If you are planning a casual city break, or need to go to Leeds at some point soon, I would absolutely recommend this hotel. I just checked for a double room for 2 people here this Friday (four days away) - £66.00 'Premier Saver' (once it's booked, it's booked, there is no going back (i.e. refunds)) and £73.00 'Premier Flexible'. The trick here is to book in advance, and watch out for Premier Inn's offers. They often release a big batch of rooms for only £29 under the 'Premier Saver', which is what we did when we went in June. It's absolutely fantastic value for money, and wherever you are, wherever you're going, if you need a room, you really don't need to look any further than Premier Inn.