A Fun Place to Stay in Leeds

A lesson in speaking Tyke

As part of our parenting remit we found ourselves with the opportunity to stay overnight in Leeds last weekend.  We were delivering drumsticks, cymbals (and stand), a drum pedal and a small drum to our son who was playing with his old band mates at a gig in the city.  Someone was providing the main drum kit, but I was informed that it is not the done thing to use someone else's drumsticks or cymbals...
He didn't want to take the kit back to Glasgow with him (a bit tricky on the train) so we agreed to pick it up again on Sunday.

Having had a great stay in an ibis Styles hotel in Glasgow earlier in the year we decided to give their new Leeds hotel a try.  I'm pleased to say we were not disappointed!

The reception area was lit up with a multitude of lights spelling out Eee By Gum ...... setting the scene for the Yorkshire experience to come. There were also references in the lounge to the Yorkshire tradition of weaving  and to football with a big photo of Leeds United, with Billy Bemner, winning the FA Cup (I guess).

Reception of ibis Styles hotel in Leeds

We checked in and headed up to our room.  The carpet leading to the room had letters scattered all over it... strange.

When we opened the door to our room the letters spelled 'Ay Up'  which is a greeting in the Yorkshire dialect, or Tyke.

Floor of a room at the Ibis Styles Hotel in Leeds
Greeting at the bedroom door

Around the room were more Tyke sayings and above the bed was a graphical display of the Leeds skyline made of names of buildings and streets.

Decoration in a bedroom sat the Ibis Styles hotel in Leeds
Leeds skyline in words

The full length mirror featured the phrase 'Ave a gander' which translates to 'have a look'.

Decoration in a bedroom at the Ibis Styles Hotel in Leeds
Mirror caption

Next to the bathroom the phrase 'Put t'wood in t'oil' means 'close the door', but literally translates to 'put the wood in the hole'. There was also Yorkshire tea to drink, of course.

Decoration in a bedroom at the Ibis Styles Hotel in Leeds
Close the door

The shower features a full size photo of a cricketer, not sure who it is mind you.  It was a bit different showering with a cricketer at your side!

Decoration in the bathroom at the Ibis Styles Hotel in Leeds
Cricketer in the shower!

The hotel is located next to the Merrion Centre, behind the First Direct Arena and very close to the main shopping area of Leeds. A great location for a city break.

We headed off to find some of the old pubs hidden in alleyways between the main shopping streets, and had a drink in Whitelocks.  This old pub is really popular, and the alleyway was crowded with people enjoying the warm weather with a pint of Yorkshire ale.  It dates from the 1715 and is the oldest pub in Leeds. It was originally called The Turk's Head and is situated in Turk's Head Yard.

Oldest pub in Leeds
Whitelocks, Leeds
People enjoying a drink in Leeds
People having a drink outside Whitelocks

Wandering around the city centre there is plenty of fine architecture to admire. Leeds has a few old Victorian arcades with some very smart shops inside.  The one below is called County Arcade and is part of the Victoria Quarter.

Victoria Quarter shopping in Leeds
County Arcade, Leeds

Walking around the city made us thirsty so another stop was made in The Calls area, at a tapas bar and restaurant called Ambiente. The place was buzzing and we sat at a large table with another couple who had just gone in for a drink.  I selected a glass of their limited edition Tio Pepe En Rama 2017 sherry.  This is an unclarified and unfiltered Fino, described as 'alive and wild' and was very aromatic with a salty edge, tasting very fresh and delicious.  So much so that I bought a small bottle to take home.

Glass of Fino sherry 'En Rama'
Tio Pepe En Rama 2017

Back at the ibis Styles hotel we decided we were getting hungry. The restaurant attached to the hotel is called Marco's New York Italian, and is owned by Marco Pierre White.  As guests of the hotel we were given a 25% discount on our meals.  We were also offered 2 for 1 on cocktails (up until 7pm) but it was already later than that so we didn't make the most of that benefit.

The waiting staff were attentive and the restaurant manager, Ciro Ciampa, was really friendly and efficient.  The food was excellent too, my seared seabream with caponata was perfectly cooked and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We decided against a dessert but did have a selection of Italian cheeses which were outstanding.  This included gorgonzola, fontina, mozzarella and parmesan, some tasty honey, a rich chutney and great crackers. Quite possibly the best cheese board we have ever had!

Selection of Italian cheeses served with crackers, honey and chutney
Selection of Italian cheeses

If you need somewhere to stay in the centre of Leeds I would definitely recommend the ibis Styles. Here is the link:

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