Today, the gal is looking at luxury that is not going to break anyone’s bank. Stay in a hotel that gives excellent value so you feel good, but you still have a happy experience and, although to be honest you would not drive 300 miles especially to go there, if you were ten miles away you would divert, and gladly. The hotel in question is the Holiday Inn Leeds Garforth, and some of its prices are amazing. Tonight, Wednesday July 26th, 2017, it is fully booked, but if you want to overnight this Saturday, July 29th, 2017, it is £84.60, breakfast extra. Wait until the holiday season, however, and rooms go down to as low as £59. Can you afford to stay home? Presumably your home does not have plenty of games to play, and a sports-bar section, and lots of company.
The location is clever, three minutes east of exit 46 of the M1 and yet in countryside, with a regular bus into the centre of Leeds city, half an hour away. The structure was built in one fell swoop in the mid-1960s, a 145-room hotel, on a surprising number of different levels over only two floors (to get to room 103 you walked down five then four then four stairs, and up 15 stairs). It had about 2.5 acres of land then, and it still does, which allows for hundreds of carpark slots, all complimentary, and masses of mown grassland which are ideal for events, both corporate and hotel-run. There is a School’s Out Summer Disco this Friday (July 28th) and, on Sunday August 27th, 2017, a Summer Fête with gymnastics. The main door of the hotel has mirrored external columns, the highlight outside, to be honest. Go inside, however, and everything opens your eyes.
The hotel is franchised, owned and operated by Kew Green – interestingly now owned, in turn, by China National Travel Service Group, that company’s largest travel entity, which already has one Kew Green property, in Hong Kong. Whether it was the Chinese or the Brits, someone authorised a mammoth spend, finished a few months ago, that has turned what apparently was a set of rather faded ground floor rooms into one big free flow. Yes, there is a reception desk, next to a wall-set Starbuck’s kiosk (buy your cup from reception and fill it just the way you want). Next to this is the first of the sitting areas, that flow back and back, right through the bar and its counter to the end games corner, with pool table. There are lots of tables-and-chairs areas, and one semi-private buffet servery, for all breakfasts and for special events.
Several of the servers say how lovely and bright it all is now. Before, they were in formal black and white and now they wear lime green shirts, dark trousers and mushroom-coloured aprons. I loved my dinner – what were dark-wood tables are now light-wood, and everyone was cheery. The bread selection was outstanding, with a board of sourdough, tomato and onion and more (£4.95) to go with a real traditional mixed grill – rump steak, lamb, gammon, two sausages, a fried egg, lots of fries, lots of peas and, not on the menu, half a tomato and a big portobello, all for £19.95. The breakfast buffet too was memorable (and ‘if your stay is not 10/10 please let reception know’): for the same price, £14.95, I could have had it in the room, with choice of breads, plus fruits, yoghurts, cold cuts, bespoke eggs and much more. The room, by the way, had an excellent walk-in shower, a safe and minibar, free WiFi and an eight-foot-long desk. I have not even mentioned the Matrix gym, but I must finish with praise for the universally lovely staff at this hotel. What luxury it was always to have a smile, and hear such stories as after 34 years wearing a suit serving retail in a department store this life is a refreshing change… NOW SEE A VIDEO OF THE BREAKFAST BUFFET, BELOW