“ Address: Marlborough Street 23 / LS1 4PB / Leeds / Tel: +44 113 2204100 „
I recently attended a friends hen night. She planned a night out in Leeds, which is a city about an hour away from where we live. Therefore we needed a base to spend the night to avoid having to travel home in the middle of the night. My friend picked the Ibis hotel in the centre of Leeds on Marlborough Street.
I was in a twin room, sharing with a friend. Between us first making plans and getting round to booking, the price of the hotel room had increased in price. We ended up booking at a cost of around £35 per person for a twin room, whereas my friend who was the hen had booked at £29 per room.
Booking was done online. I found it very simple to book a room and choose between double and single rooms. Breakfast is not included unless you deliberately tick a box to request it. Because of the nature of my visit, I decided that I would book a breakfast in advance. This made the room more like £44 per person. Money was taken from my credit card at the point of booking.
Before my visit, I was sent a couple of emails trying to help me plan my visit. One suggested things I could do in the local area. Another told me what the weather would be like for my visit.
On the day of our visit we arrived not long after the 12pm check in time. There were about ten of us checking in, and the reception desk was staffed by two people who got us all checking quickly. We had to fill in a form, and present the credit card we had booked with. The friend I was sharing with was due to arrive after me, and the reception staff were very helpful in accomodating two different arrival times.
First impressions of the hotel were that it looked a little small, but perfectly fine. The lifts took me to my room on the second floor. Checking in the room was fine, but I would describe as fairly basic. The room consisted of two double beds, a very small bathroom which was a very small pod with shower, sink and toilet. There was tea making facilities, a TV, and a very simple seating area consisting of a bench.
We'd been directed to facilities to iron our clothes if need be - I felt that it was very reminiscent of living in student hall of residence with ironing rooms on certain floors.
Because we were on a hen night, we grabbed a quick drink in the bar before heading out to do the activities that we had planned in Leeds. The next time we saw the hotel was at around 2:30am when we arrived back there. Walking into the hotel, we were met by a member of staff who reminded me of a nightclub bouncer. We were only allowed in when we told him our room number. We sat in the hotel bar for a little longer on our return. Some members of our large party ordered food at this time, and it looked tasty and arrived quickly. The hotel staff didn't seem to bat an eyelid whatever the request.
The room was fine to sleep in. The single bed I slept in was comfortable, though I did find that the bedside light was where my head was located, and I did knock my head on it a couple of times during the night. I also thought that the walls in the hotel were pretty thin. When we were in the bathroom, there was not a lot of privact due to this. I also found that when I woke up, I found it hard to go back to sleep because there were traffic noises from the road outside. No-one else within the party seemed to find the same problem, but I am a notoriously light sleeper.
Breakfast at the hotel was served from 8 I believe, until 12pm. This was an all you can eat buffet, consisting of hot and cold items. There was cereal, croissants, fruit, juice, tea and coffee, yoghurts, and a selection of hot items. I tend to make the most of hot buffets when eating in hotels as it is quite a rare treat. I went for a croissant with jam that was very fresh and crumbly. I followed this with sausage, hash browns, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, bacon and scrambled eggs. All was very tasty. The egg had a bit of a radioactive glow to it, but was tasty. It certainly went down rather well after a night out.
The bathroom proved to be fine, but not that exciting. A bit cramped really, but ok for just one night. I would want more if stopping for a longer visit.
We were able to check out up till 12. Most of our party checked out at least an hour before this to allow us to return home.
Overall thoughts on this hotel are that it was a brilliant location for going out in the city centre. Staff were very friendly, asking why we were there, and helping out where they could. The room was a bit towards the basic side. I would not be that impressed staying there with my husband as I would no doubt spend more time in the room. For this visit, we spent only the time it took to get changed and to sleep, so it was more than adequate for needs. It was clean, it was comfortable, and it was a good base for our exploits in Leeds. If I were looking at spending some time awake in the room, I might have wanted something a bit more luxurious like a proper chair to sit on.
My in-laws often stay in the Ibis up the road from us when they come to visit us, and they do the same as what we did here - they stop at our house until bed time, then come back to us for breakfast.
It's cheap, it's cheerful, it's adequate, it is not that exciting, but it is fine for one night. For more than one night, I would want a better quality experience with less outdoor sound, better bathroom and less street noise. However, our visit went smoothly, and no-one in our party of nearly 30 people were disappointed with this hotel for our visit.
For a night out in Leeds when you don't live nearby, this is a good base for your visit.
Since having my own blog, I have really wanted to go to book signings. My now co-blogger, Vicki and I decided to try to find something that we could both get to relatively easily and to stay the night before the signing. When looking at what was going on in December, we found that L.A. Weatherly was signing her book in Leeds, which we had both reviewed, so this is the event we decided on. Looking at hotels wasn't an easy task though as neither of us knew the area and we didn't know what the best prices were. The hotel that we finally settled on was the Ibis Leeds, due to location and price. Prices start from £39 per night, depending on when you want to stay. Our twin room cost £55 for the night, so £27.50 per person.
The hotel is only about a 10 minute walk from the city centre and about £4.50 in a taxi. As neither of us were familiar with Leeds, we decided to take a taxi although it would be very easy to get to if you wanted to walk from the train station, so long as you don't have a lot of luggage with you. Being so close to the city centre and all of the main shops, it is easy to quickly go back to the hotel to drop off any shopping so you aren't carrying it around all day if you don't want to.
Staff working on the reception desk were extremely helpful. As soon as we approached the desk, we were checked in very quickly without any hassle at all. As there were two of us staying in the same room, the lady asked if we would prefer to have one or two keys, which I have never heard asked in a hotel before. Staff generally assume that you will always be together if staying in the same room so it was nice to have a choice if we had wanted to split up at any point. It only took a couple of minutes to check in and get our swipe key card and to be told how to get to our rooms. We were also told what time breakfast was served even though we hadn't paid for this in advance. The reception area itself looked very nice and contemporary, with no clutter to be seen anywhere. This reception was very professional looking, as well as the staff manning it.
Just to the left of the reception are two lifts through a small corridor, behind a quite large seating area. When we reached our floor, finding our room was easy enough. The walls are very clearly marked so that you can see which direction down the hall you need to go in order to find your room. When we got into our room, I thought it was much nicer than I had expected, due to the price we paid. In the room were two single beds, with quite plain, but nice bedding. Both beds had lamps next to them, fixed onto the wall. Later in the night we realised that they were a little too close to our heads when we sat up but that wasn't such a big problem for me. Along the far wall of the room is a small, thin desk with a mini sofa and next to that, a wardrobe. The desk didn't really have much room on it but it was quite adequate. The wardrobe, however, was large enough for both of us to have stayed there for a couple of days with plenty of space to hang all of our clothes. The room also had a TV, with a choice of channels for free as well as PPV and internet connection for an additional charge.
The en suite was a pod kind of bathroom. It included a sink, toilet and a power shower. The bathroom was very clean and looked to be in perfect condition. Only two largish towels were provided though so we did have to call room service to have some more brought up but they didn't take very long at all. The shower itself was lovely, with a nice heavy flow of water. The shower was very easy to use and the temperature of the water was exactly how you would expect it to be, depending on what setting you choose. Two small soap samples were provided as well as a shower gel dispenser inside the shower. We had taken our own toiletries anyway so this didn't really matter. I really couldn't fault this aspect of the room.
I had a fantastic night sleep at this hotel, even if Vicki didn't. As soon as I lay down to go to sleep and my head hit the pillow, I was gone, although not all of this was down to the bed. The room was lovely and warm so I didn't get cold at all throughout the night. My only problem really was that I could have done with another pillow but I was too lazy to call reception for another one. Even so, I definitely didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. I guess I ended up with the comfier bed out of the two.
During the course of the night, we decided to get some food but wasn't sure what time it was being served until so when we rang reception, they made it clear what food was being served until what time and where it was available from. We still had time left to order food from the restaurant so we decided to eat there, rather than wait a while and only be able to order bar food. Both selections were quite large though, even the bar menu which was served throughout the night. At the time we decided to eat, the bar/ restaurant was quite quiet but it had been very busy earlier on and the hotel seemed to be pretty full that weekend. Starters, mains, sharing platters and desserts were all available on the restaurant menu and there was a good choice for each section. Both of us chose a main meal with an alcoholic drink which cost around £15 each. For a meal in a hotel, I didn't think this price was bad at all, considering how much food we received. Neither of us could finish our meals so I would have happily paid that price again, especially if I was starving. Even though it was quite late, no staff rushed us out of the restaurant at any point and we were left to enjoy our food in peace.
Ibis Leeds has a check out time of 11am but when enquiring about luggage storage, the receptionist assured us that it would be ok to leave any bags the next day so that we could still go out for the whole day before heading home. I know most hotels I have stayed in offer this service but it was nice to know that our second day in Leeds wasn't going to be ruined by having to carry a load of bags around.
Overall, my stay at the Ibis Leeds was wonderful. Staff were very helpful, the room was lovely for the price we paid and I would definitely stay there again.
Address and contact information
23 Marlborough Street
LS1 4PB - LEEDS
Tel. : 0113/2204100
Fax. : 0113/2204110
Until recently I looked on the Ibis chain as a step above Formule 1 (the cheapest and most basic of the Accor Group hotel chains) and it's newer but slightly more upmarket sister chain Etap. The thing with Ibis is that the standards vary quite considerably between hotels and there is a bewildering array of room tariffs so prices can be eye wateringly expensive for what's on offer, or a really exciting bargain should your stay or the time you make the booking coincide with one of Accor's frequent promotions.
I picked Ibis Leeds for a two night stay (Friday and Saturday) based on a combination of location and price. In the past year or so I've stayed in two other Ibis hotels: one in the centre of Sheffield, the other at London Euston. Both of those stays were over a weekend. I didn't look at any reviews for the Leeds hotel, but I felt I knew what to expect.
This hotel is situated just on the edge of the city centre, about ten minutes walk from the train station and the main shopping centre, and fifteen minutes walk from the central bus station. The main business district is situated between the hotel and the train station so you'll find that at weekends, there's not a great deal happening until you get into the centre. There are, however, a couple of pubs and restaurants that are open seven days a week. A minute's walk across the main road from the hotel there is a leisure/retail park that has some chain restaurants.
This hotel cannot boast a visually appealing exterior. The hotel was opened in 2005 and has a rather grim exterior which is clearly meant to look very modern but doesn't do anything for me. It's directly on a busy road, not set back at all and without any grounds. The entrance is very discreet and you may find yourself thinking that there's a "main" entrance elsewhere: there's not.
The ground floor contains reception, the bar-restaurant and a small seating area which also has a single public internet terminal for which there is a charge for use. A buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant until noon and then other meals are served there until 10.00pm.
We had booked online and the friendly receptionist found our reservation quickly. We hadn't paid in advance for breakfast but he didn't mention that we could pay in situ if we wanted it. (We did know this but I would have thought it should have been mentioned). We were issued with a single swipe card for entry to the room and were told it was on the tenth floor. He walked off before we could ask where the lifts were and we had to find them ourselves.
Coming out of the lift on the tenth floor we paused to look at the view from the picture windows which each landing has: it made me feel slightly vertiginous as the window goes all the way to the floor. You get quite a good view of the city skyline. Our room was the last one on the corridor which we were happy about as it meant that nobody had to troop past it in the early hours. The public areas were all well maintained with none of the horrible marks on the walls you often get in hotel corridors.
Our room was exactly as we'd expected. Neither small nor large, and as bland as can be: a simple double room with en suite bathroom "pod" (some Ibis hotels have a conventional en suites with proper walls rather than the curved pods which, in my experience, tend to get very hot). You have to step up to get into the bathroom which may not be suitable for everyone but it is just one small step.
The room had a small clothes hanging space, beside tables and a desk. All rooms have colour television with basic channels but for an additional charge you can have extra channels and/or internet access. You can either use your own computer or access the internet via the television and a keyboard which is situated under the television set. I used this in Sheffield and the keyboard was pretty rubbish making it virtually impossible to use the internet successfully.
The bathroom was very clean but two yellow cigarette burns in the vanity unit spoiled the look. There were two miniscule towels but they were, at least, really soft. There was a tiny bar of soap beside the wash basin and body wash in a pump dispenser on the wall inside the shower.
As with all Ibis rooms there was a kettle, mugs and tea bags, coffee sachets, sugar (and artificial sweetener) and tiny cartons of UHT milk. This was the sum total of the complimentary items: Ibis don't do extras.
Overall we were happy enough with the room. The room was quite warm and although it didn't have actual air conditioning, it did have air cooling: I'm not sure of what the difference is but it did work well and was easy to use, making the room much more comfortable without making much noise.
One issue clouded our stay. We went out early on the Saturday morning, returning mid afternoon for half an hour to deposit some items and have a brief rest. The maid had been in and had made the bed and replaced the towels. When we returned that night, however, the room smelt quite distinctly of cigarette smoke. My partner had gone straight into the bathroom and I had been going to ask him if he could smell it too when he called through to me that he could smell cigarette smoke. I went to reception to report this and a duty manager came back with me with a machine that he used to check who had accessed the room during the day. According to the machine, other than the maid in the morning and ourselves in the afternoon, nobody had been in the room. We got no further, but one thing is definite - that room smelt of cigarette smoke.
We had two surprisingly good nights sleep: I say surprisingly because it seems that this is a hotel that is popular with stags and hens and other groups of younger people and I thought that might mean a noisy night, or at least noise in the early hours. At weekends the hotel has two of what Ibis call "floor walkers" - bouncers, alternatively; I didn't know whether to be reassured or alarmed by this.
We didn't have breakfast at the hotel but a variety of options are available depending on the time you want breakfast. I imagine the earliest one is pre-packed, but most people will probably avail themselves of the buffet breakfast which starts later. At £6.95 per person it wasn't the most expensive breakfast I've seen for a hotel in this price bracket.
This is a basic hotel with very little in the way of facilities. Business travelers will probably want to move up a class but if you're on a budget then this place isn't bad at all. It was ideal for us as we spent hardly any time at all in the room and had no need for additional facilities.
On the whole the standard of housekeeping was very good but on exiting the lift on Sunday morning we did find a scattering of ketchup smothered chips on the carpet in the lobby which I would imagine had been there since the early hours. All the staff we encountered during our stay were polite and helpful to a point and while didn't really present any particular challenges as customers, I wouldn't say that anyone really went the extra mile.
We paid £35 for our first night and £39 for our second, a promotional rate obtained by booking in advance. If you book through the Accor website you currently can get a 30 per cent reduction by booking thirty days in advance and there are a variety of pricing options that give a degree of flexibility with date changes and cancellations. (For example, for the very cheapest price you won't be able to cancel but if you pay more you can change dates but not cancel and for a higher price still you can have complete flexibility to cancel or reschedule).
I wouldn't have wanted to pay much more for the room but that was really down to location rather than the experience. Although it's a short walk into town, most people would probably prefer something more central.