Ah, hotels, hotels.
Great for staying in occasionally as a break from the norm or as a retreat in a spectacular location, but for regular city business travelers, they can be a bit samey, not to say pricey.One city centre hotel is much the same as any other city centre hotel, especially when it comes to the hotel chain varieties.
That is why smaller, boutique style hotels have come to the fore in recent years, offering something out of the ordinary.
A more recent innovation however, has been the introduction of serviced apartments to many cities. These are more like private rooms or suites with very high specifications, largely catering for the discerning business traveler or those leisure travelers who desire a touch of luxury with a higher degree of privacy.
One such, in Leeds city centre is The Chambers, a handsome building right in the middle of the city, being only a short walk to all the attractions, yet on a quiet street in the financial/legal district.
Built in 1865 by famous architect Thomas Ambler, this building has been totally refurbished whilst retaining many period features. It was operated latterly as barrister’s chambers.Now beautifully contemporary, it offers 63 spacious apartments and is independently family run, so no chain hotel mind-set here.
For peace of mind there is a 24hr. concierge service and all three of these staff we met on our visit were genuinely friendly and welcoming.
There are a variety of room and suite styles available, each one individually designed.Our apartment consisted of a hall with utility cupboard containing a washer/dryer machine, iron and ironing board. a superb lounge/dining/kitchen with sofa, chair, dining table and a fully equipped range with hob, oven, fridge and all the utensils needed.
Provisions were supplied which included a sliced bread loaf, preserves, butter, beans, juices, cereals, milk, Harrogate spring water, snack bars and an unlimited supply of free range eggs, tea and coffee.For longer self catered stays, there is a Tesco Express store just two minutes away whilst it is but a short walk to find cafes and restaurants nearby.
The double bedroom had ample wardrobe space and a comfortable double bed.The bathroom was spacious with a lovely walk-in shower whilst the complimentary bathroom products were by Molton Brown. Fluffy towels were to hand, of course.
There is free wi-fi, whilst both of the the tv’s had Sky channels as well as terrestrial.
The decor throughout the Chambers was immaculate, fresh and contemporary as well as being spotlessly clean.
For those not wishing to venture far, there is a superbly equipped on site gym, a well stocked library, two small but beautiful lounges, an outdoor communal courtyard for warmer days and evenings and a lovely bar which operates on an honesty basis. How refreshing.I could easily see myself living here full time!
On the doorstep are the many delights of Leeds.
It has one of the best shopping centres in the UK, all in a compact square mile which ismostly pedestrianized, with flat easy walking and much of it under cover.There are superb Victorian arcades brought bang up to date, modern up-market malls, the wondrous Corn Exchange building which is full of independent shops, whilst close by is the largest covered market in Europe. This even has a ‘gastro-pub’ within it’s confines.Larger stores include a John Lewis and a Harvey Nichols.
There are several art and sculpture galleries including the Henry Moore Institute and The Tetley, a modern art centre.Opera North have their base here at the magnificent Grand Theatre, whilst touring company Northern Ballet also have their base in the centre and often perform here.The newly refurbished Leeds Playhouse and the City Varieties offer excellent entertainment, as does the 13,000 seat First Direct Leeds Arena, which hosts world class artistes.
There are many events held in the centre, from marathons, triathlons and cycle races to various parades and Europe’s biggest and best Light Night.
There are so many excellent chain restaurants, bars, nightspots, cafes, food courts and independent food haunts, up to Michelin star standard, that it would be unfair to single one out. Find your own!
Christmas is so special with the illuminations switch-on event, traditional street markets, and seasonal musical performances at the Town Hall, some of them completely free.
There is pre-bookable car parking available at The Chambers, but these apartments are only a five minute stroll from Leeds railway station, which, considering the amount of traffic around the city centre, would be a far preferable way to arrive for a stress free stay. For undeterred motorists the place can be found at LS1 2SP.For further details click on https://www.morethanjustabed.com/
Whilst some hotels may be little more than horror chambers, these Chambers are truly outstanding, so very impressive and offer a great experience for visitors to this wonderful city.