Dine and Stay for a right royal treat
Since 1937 the imposing white Portland stone building that is The Queens Hotel has stood majestically overlooking City Square.
This magnificent building has played host to royalty, the rich and famous over the years and even withstood the great Leeds air-raid in 1941 when most of the buildings around it were damaged or destroyed.
As a little girl growing up in the city I would love to walk passed the hotel and imagine one day I would be able to stay there. As we walked passed usually on the way to the station or post office, there would be chauffeur driven cars dropping elegant couples in evening dress or dowager ladies in furs and haute couture outfits arriving for lunch – pure enchantment for the little wide-eyed girl that was me!
Mum used to tell me that my father, a dashing army major, proposed to her over dinner at the Queens during the war and they often dined there spotting many famous people in the famous grill room after the war.
The Queens was the venue for my first grown-up ball and where I wore my first dance dress and later for many functions from weddings to corporate lunches. Even when the more modern trendy hotels of the 70’s started to appear for me, the Art Deco magic and old-style romance of this hotel could not be beaten.
To me the Queens if The Claridge’s of the North – and I can say that with credibility having stayed at that hallowed place in London many times.
So, for anyone looking for a memorable dine and stay The Queens is the ultimate choice. The moment you walk up the red carpeted steps and into the foyer the glamorous 30’s ambience engulfs from the top hatted grey suited doorman who is always there to greet you to the beautiful art deco lifts.
Our room was on the QClub Floor – one of eighteen that have been luxuriously furnished to the hotel’s style with lots of extra goodies awaiting you including the most comfortable duvets and pillows, fluffy dressing gowns and a good old-fashioned turn-down service. Life at the top in the QClub rooms is a must as you have use of the QClub Lounge with complimentary facilities throughout the stay.
The lounge is comfortable but step outside on to the private terrace and you will be totally blown away. Here you can enjoy complimentary drinks from an expresso in the early morning to aperitifs in the evening or a midnight glass of wine. The terrace is just so drop-dead romantic, beautifully lit with white walls, comfortable chairs and tables and incredible views over Leeds. At the midnight hour, we even danced in the moonlight – admittedly we were the only ones up at that time – but it made for a wonderful memory.
All through the hotel there is that Art Deco theme – and what’s more it’s for real. The Queens Bar reflects the glamour of a bygone era with its chandeliered ceiling. A great place for pre-dinner drinks or taking a decadent afternoon tea. The Queen’s Grill is a reflection of the hotel’s illustrious past and includes dishes such as Art Royal Pie (once the city’s adopted aircraft carrier) and Yorkie Blue, a gourmet, keeping the Leeds image to the forefront and celebrating local produce.
For starters, I opted for the Trio of Prawns which was presented in a delightful and the most unusual way I have encountered. The three-tier glass tower had warm garlic prawns in one section, tempura cutlet in another and lemon-scented shrimps in another.
My partner opted for the charred asparagus, sourdough, wild leaves and raspberry vinaigrette with cured ham. The asparagus was not very hot but the raspberry gave it a kick and brought out the fusion of flavours.
For mains, I chose the Honey glazed gammon steak, which was succulent and cooked to my expectations. The trouble was it came with two friend eggs, which wasn’t mentioned on the menu and for someone who is not a fried egg fan, eating only a couple every year, this was rather off putting.
My partners Hereford Rib-Eye Steak was grilled just right. It was juicy and tender but unfortunately rather cold. However, our shared dish of ale battered onion rings were hot and crispy with a fluffy centre and my mixed salad flavoursome.
Being a Yorkshire lass at heart when it came to pudding I opted for the Baked Yorkshire curd tart with clotted cream. However this was not the Yorkshire version that many of us know and love – well not as my great gran passed down to my gran, mum and me – but more a designer, lighter whipped cheesecake version.
My partner did much better with his apple and hedge berry crumble. It was bursting with fresh fruit and the crumble mix was tasty and just as it should be.
Breakfast next morning was a veritable feast with a buffet table bursting with fresh product and hot crusty breads plus the option of a good old Yorkshire fry-up from a more than adequate selection of dishes. Just the thing to set you up for the day!
The Queen’s is blessed with friendly and efficient staff for whom nothing is too much trouble. Old style service values its called. As Leeds answer to Claridge’s it’s The Queens is ultimate place for the dine-and-stay experience – and I assure you as Arnie says ‘I’ll be back’.
The Queens Hotel, City Square, Leeds Ls1 1PJ
Tel: 0113 243 1323. Email: queensreservations@QHotels.co.uk