March saw Mr GFB celebrate his 40th birthday. Of course, we celebrated this with a bunch of friends at the Bangers and Bacon Chef’s Table, at Guerrilla Eats, but I couldn’t help wanting to do something else.
Something just for us.
So, in true sneaky style, last month I asked him to pack an overnight back, leave work early, and told him I’d meet him at the train station, where we’d head to a secret destination.
Of course, things never go to plan. And after a frazzled day in the office, I had to send him a message asking him to collect the train tickets, as a meeting had run over and I was going to have to pretty much run to meet him.
It was not an auspicious start.
Things got much better. One rather crowded and rickety First Transpennine train later, we were in Leeds, where the sun was shining, the traffic surging and we were a hop skip and a jump (almost literally) from our hotel.
I’d chosen Queen’s Hotel, as not only is it a sister to our Midland Hotel, but it’s also bloomin gorgeous. Oh, and Hotels4U had a great deal on it. I might want to spoil Mr GFB, but I also wanted to get value for money (I can’t help it, it’s the northerner in me).
Yes, the outside is a little traffic stained, unsurprising given just how centrally located it is, but underneath the soot, there’s a gorgeous Art Deco beauty hiding.
Walking in, doors opened by the doorman, the Art Deco touches are even more visible in the vast reception area, from the coving, to the lifts themselves.
My OCD adored the symmetry apparent throughout the building. And the corridors to the rooms were no different, with geometry on the floor, walls and doors.
We were staying in a Superior Room, at the front of the building, so we got lots of gorgeous light streaming through and a giant bed – no fighting for space. Of course, it helped that the cats were at home and not likely to take a section of it for themselves.
Fridge present and correct, TV set up ready to go, free wifi. Yes, we were settled nicely.
And of course, tea and coffee things neatly hidden away. I always also thrilled to see there was fresh coffee, not a hint of Nescafe instant sachets in sight. There is nothing more disappointing than a hotel room Nescafe first thing the next morning, unless it’s no coffee at all.
Our superior room also meant we had big fluffy robes to snuggle into and a horde of gorgeous toiletries. It’s surprising how much time I can find for a pamper in a hotel room.
It also has lifts downright made for selfies – perfect for showing off my new dress ahead of dinner, for the best was yet to come, we were dining out at the Man Behind the Curtain, a fine dining venue that looks like a 1980s New York loft apartment, above the Flannels store in the city centre. But that’s for tomorrow.
Breakfast the next morning was buffet style, which means you can ignore the bits you don’t want and eat the good ones. Giant pile of mushrooms and sausage it is. It was also nice to see hot vegetarian options – the veggie sausages were rather good.
Sadly, the scrambled eggs suffered for being made in bulk, and the fried eggs were a bit oily, but to be honest, it was better than the buffet breakfast I’ve had at the Midland and the one I had at the Mercure London Bridge, so I’ll take that as a win.
Our trip was only overnight, but it was good to get over those hills and hear the Yorkshire accent again – reminds me of my mum.
Next time… We’ll have to stay a little bit longer.
All accommodation was paid for by myself.
And with thanks to Gunnar Larsson for the main image of the hotel.