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The Hotel Metropole (Leeds)
Member Name: SWSt
The Hotel Metropole (Leeds)
Advantages: Striking exterior and stunning lobby, large rooms
Disadvantages: Some dark, noisy rooms, may under-cater for large parties, expensive
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
Summary: I'd rather spend the money on country hotel
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