STEP INSIDE AND SEE FOR YOURSELF
Sometimes things are not what they seem – particularly from the outside.
Many of us will have driven passed a rather austere, brick built building on Wellington Street, that resembles the outside of one of the popular supermarkets or a government building.
But investigate a little further and be tempted to step inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel and you will be more than delightfully surprised.
For this hotel has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment making it one of the most stylish and modern hotels in the city.
Step through the glass doors and you will be blow away by its light, airy, modern interior design using glass and wood so skilfully.
Unlike most hotels, when you enter, you don’t walk slap bang into the reception desk, this is discreetly placed to one side and has some of the most helpful and pleasant staff I have encountered for some time.
The foyer has discreetly placed seating areas – so discreet you would hardly know they were there, but its the huge wide imposing staircase that impresses with its mezzanine gallery around three sides.
I really loved the grey decor and upholstery on this balcony -it is just so relaxing. It’s the place to sit in sinkable chairs and watch hotel life go by, wait for a friend or take a break from a meeting or function.
The hotel’s best kept secret is its swimming pool with its large glass windows, sun loungers, tropical plants and glass dome ceiling and floor to ceiling windows that looks out on a private area. Who would ever realise you are so near the hustle and bustle of the city. The pool area is open until 9.45 and looks lovely floodlit when its dark and so romantic. There’s a sauna, slide, hydro-therapy pool and Jacuzzi to help you relax.
There’s a fitness centre if you are feeling energetic and a spa that offers some great beauty treatments if you feel in need of a bit of me time pampering.
Crowne Plaza’s bedrooms are tastefully decorated and very very quiet, despite being in the hub of the metropolis traffic. The beds are comfortable, the rooms are spacious and bathrooms gleam with wondrous power-showers and deep baths. What more do you want?
Our club-room enabled us to take advantage of the club lounge facilities. Now many hotels have this facility but the service at The Crowne Plaza facility overtakes them all.
The lounge, accessible by your room card, is open 24 ours. So if you are returning from the theatre or a night out and fancy a comfy chair and a cuppa or soft drink to finish your evening its just the ticket. It’s also open for continental breakfast for those who don’t want to brave the dining room or just want a bit of early morning peace and quiet to recollect their thoughts for the day.
However from 5.30 to 8.00pm the lounge comes alive when guests can enjoy free alcoholic drinks and enjoy being served with some really tasty snacks by a very smiling and efficient waiter.
Food is now an important part of this hotel’s profile with the recent opening of the Bar and Kitchen @ LS1.
This is a very modern Scandi inspired area that goes well with either a girlie, family or working lunch, evening meal, pre-theatre supper or drinks with friends and colleagues.
Head Chef, Lee Miller, has been motivated to base his menu on flavours synonymous with the region. Almost everything, starting with the ingredients, come from local Yorkshire suppliers and what makes it special is the all day day availability of the menu.
Whilst we poured over the menu we decided to indulge ourselves with a Welsh Rarebit and we couldn’t have made a better choice. It was deliciously smooth and the cheese, from Yorkshire suppliers of course, was tasty, tangy but not overbearing on the crispy bread.
For starters my partner chose the potted shrimp, which came with a cucumber salad and wholemeal toast. This was beautifully presented and full of flavour with the cucumber salad the perfect accompaniment to the shrimps.
Being a Yorkshire lass I opted for the dinkie pork pie and I wish I hadn’t. It came with mushy peas, vinegar and onions. But this dish to make it palatable needs the pie to be hot. My pie was stone cold and served with hot peas – not very palatable and certainly not the way we serve this dish in Yorkshire. I was, to say the least, quite disappointed with the dish, the majority of it going back to the kitchen!
For main course I opted for the pan seared bream fillet. It was cooked to perfection. The fish was succulent and I swoped the vegetables it is usually served with for a super green salad, which was artistically and masterfully prepared.
My partner’s choice of sirloin steak unfortunately came cooked not as he had requested , the triple cooked chips were underdone and hard and his peppercorn sauce luke-warm.
Both of us had our food served on cold plates which doesn’t make for the perfect meal!
When it came to desserts,however, things were brilliant. I must admit I found the triple choc melt brownie, made to chef’s own recipe, was certainly my heaven on a plate. Usually avoiding the brownie, as it can sometimes be like a sweetened oxo cub, this sweet was pure indulgence – warm, melting in the mouth and with a smooth yet chewy texture plus a delicious overdose of chocolate.
My partners lemon drizzle cheesecake more than pleased and the lemon custard gave it an extra kick.
As a travel and restaurant writer, over the years I have found hotel breakfasts can more than often be nightmare – but here it was was the opposite – breakfast was the perfect dream both food and service wise.
Hot beverages were served at the table as soon as you sat down and the staff eager to enquire if you required regular top ups. The breakfast buffet was regularly replenished and re-arranged and my poached eggs for once didn’t take an age to arrive from the kitchen. Top marks to the breakfast chef and staff.
With its central location to the station, motorway and ring roads and huge free secure car park this is certainly a place to consider when you are looking for a dine and stay. It’s perfect for a weekend break where you can relax and enjoy its fine facilities, food and surroundings.
For more information about Bar and Kitchen @ LS1 or to book a stay call 0871 942 9170 or visit www.ls1barandkitchen.co.uk.