Well I may be biased as Sheffield is my birthplace and home but this city is a pretty cool place.
Having undergone a multi-million pound city centre re-generation in the past few years (with still more to come), Sheffield has transformed beyond recognition from the city centre I knew as a child.
No area demonstrates this more than Leopold Square, where trendy bars and restaurants adorn the perimeter. A water feature and fountains provide seating for passers-by, the perfect vantage point to admire the bands playing on summer weekends, and the lux Leopold Hotel.
Bought in 2004, and painstakingly renovated before opening in 2007, the Leopold Hotel is a Grade 2 listed building and a former school, with the owners having retained many of the features of its former life.
Pictures of schoolboys adorn the hallways, and school pegs remain to this day, varnished but empty. The old Victorian staircase gleams above a forlorn schoolboy bench. There are traces of this building’s history in every nook and cranny, yet it is modern, sleek and glamorous.
As you enter through the arched doorway, you sense you are entering somewhere special. The bar provides an enticing backdrop to the grand arched entrance, bedecked with champagne and grandiose flower decorations. We are greeted warmly, and personally shown to our room, where we admire the décor and the goodies.
Rooms vary from standard Leopold rooms to Mezzanine suites. Our deluxe is on the back of the building, overlooking the square and is a good size. Modern and chic, with a king-size bed, the room is light and airy, with free WIFI and an IPod dock.
A nice touch is the jar of gratis branded strawberry bon-bons, and a boxed luggage tag. The bathroom is modern and bright, with the good quality towels and accessories which my wife immediately starts cooing over (what is it with women and scented bottles?!).
The Leopold Hotel is Sheffield’s only 4 star boutique hotel offering 90 individually designed en-suite rooms, a world away from the monotony of many chain hotels. A few celebrities have been known to stay here too which is always a good sign.
A small gym is available to satisfy any fitness requirements, with a bar and restaurant to quickly counteract any good deeds you may have achieved! We skip the gym and head straight to the bar area which is funky and colourful. Crisp, white tables are dressed for our pre-booked afternoon tea, and its all very refined with hushed conversations taking place (a sharp contrast to the evening buzz!).
Afternoon tea offers a selection of delights, which we eagerly await. A glass of champagne, a silver tray of sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, a sweet tooth lover’s cake selection and my wife’s bumper pot of rooibos tea. I opt instead for a cappuccino (I can’t stand tea!). What a feast!
Outside, in the square, a live jazz band has attracted a crowd, enjoying the music, a few drinks and the rays of sunshine. What more could you want on a Saturday afternoon?
Later, after partaking in some drinks, and a meal at a nearby restaurant (literally a hop, skip and a jump away!), we return to enjoy a few night caps in the hotel bar. It’s bustling with activity, as a special occasion is being celebrated in one of the hotel’s function suites. Drinks aren’t Wetherspoons prices, but nor are they ridiculous!
A comfortable nights sleep in the comfy bed ensues, followed by breakfast in the downstairs breakfast bar. Gluttons, or those just needing to soak up a hangover can indulge in cereals, meats, hams, granola yoghurt combos, and a good hearty breakfast. It’s busy and the waiting time is a bit tiresome, but the quality is good and certainly beats the cold platters often served on buffet style breakfasts.
Room rates vary from £65 for a Leopold Room to £99 for a mezzanine Suite, and you can save 5% by booking directly with the hotel. This is a great value hotel, in an unbeatable location!
All in all, the Leopold Hotel is a Sheffield Gem, and the staff deserve a special mention. Although young, they offer great service and attentiveness. A huge thanks especially to Heather and her team for their warm welcome.
If you like the look of the Leopold Hotel, but are unconvinced that you want to visit Sheffield, then check out my wife’s review of the city on Travelcandy.
We stayed courtesy of Leopold Hotel, but all views are my own, and unedited.