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Sheffield's first city centre boutique hotel
The Leopold Hotel (Sheffield)
Member Name: micksheff
The Leopold Hotel (Sheffield)
Advantages: Lovely building, very central location
Disadvantages: None that I can see
Despite being one of the largest cities in Britain until recently Sheffield was distinctly lacking in good quality centrally located hotels. We had a Novotel and a Hilton, which were nice but the other once grand central hotels like the Grosvenor and the hotel at Victoria Quays (now Holiday Inn) were beginning to show their age and had become drab and the sort of place that was best avoided. All of this has changed in the last three years however when the Victoria Quays was completely revamped and two brand new city centre hotels were built. One of these St Paul's occupies what was for a short time Sheffield's tallest "skyscraper" and the other, the Leopold claimed to be "Sheffield's first city centre boutique hotel".
The Leopold Hotel opened its doors to the public in the June of 2007 after much gossip and rumours. An impressive Grade 2 listed building that was located right in the heart of the city centre was empty, it was being ripped apart internally but nobody seemed to know what exactly it would be. Generations of locals had always known this building as the city's grammar school but in the more recent times that I recall it was a private school where the kids with posh parents got sent. Then finally the local press announced that the former school building on Leopold Street was going to be another hotel.
Sheffield has some fantastic examples of architecture and the Leopold stands in the shadow of the Town Hall, it backs onto the City Hall and is just a few short steps away from both Cathedrals (Anglican and Roman Catholic) and three different theatres (the Crucible, Lyceum and Montgomery). Of course St Paul's hotel can boast just as impressive a location but this is a modern building with a history that doesn't even date back a decade.
When the Leopold finally opened it had been shrouded in scaffolding and plastic sheeting for so long that I had almost forgotton how nice a building it was, but the renovated sandblasted exterior looked truly magnificent and I was itching to get inside and have a nosey around but what I needed was an excuse.
My first experience of the Leopold hotel was sampling the public bar which also gave me an excuse to look at the lobby area. The staff were all very smart with the men (and boys) in waistcoats and dickie bows whilst the women had smart dresses and Cheshire cat grins from ear to ear. All were dressed in red and black uniforms and looked sophisticated enough to force a second glance.
There is a courtyard to the rear of the hotel and I was impressed that this had been completely transformed. I suppose that it was once the school playground but now it has fancy paving, modern fountains and fashionable tables and chairs. Part of this courtyard which has become known as Leopold Square is owned by the hotel but there are café's and coffee shops around the other side of it. During the summer there were street entertainers, jugglers, acrobats and musicians. It was all very laid back when I visited for the first time and a bit of a shock to the system - Sheffield had never known anything like it but 18 months on it is just as impressive.
During the summer my friend's parents stayed at the Leopold and this was my chance to have a bit more of a snoop around. It is a 4 star hotel but is also as far as I can see quite reasonably priced. Everything still looks very new and it still even has that clean, crisp smell to it. I guess that it has benefited from the non smoking laws and you certainly won't find any cigarette burns in the carpet. All of the public areas that I saw looked very nice and very modern. There seemed to be lots of plants everywhere in fancy stainless steel pots and the lights on the ceilings had been made to resemble miniature chandeliers. Sadly I didn't manage to get into any of the bedrooms but from what I saw of the general condition of the hotel and the public areas, coupled with its location I certainly wouldn't hesitate in recommending this place to others. My friend's parents were quite impressed and said that they would definitely return.
At last it would seem that Sheffield has a decent city centre hotel.
Summary: A 4 star hotel in the heart of Sheffield city centre
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