York Place has always been something of a hidden gem in Leeds, often overshadowed by the bustle of nearby Wellington Street and Park Row.
Boasting a small but well edited selection of indie bars and restaurants, it’s a place for those in the know.
Perched towards the far end of the street, The Mercure Leeds Central is quite unlike any of the other venues in the Splendid Hospitality Group portfolio. Previously a jazz themed hotel named The New Ellington, the Mercure chose to leave much of the distinctive features intact when they took over last year, and this has worked in their favour.
Conveniently located just five minutes from the train station, it’s an ideal spot whether you’re in Leeds for business or a up for a big night on the tiles. The exposed brickwork and designer décor largely remain, but the jazz memorabilia has been replaced with a charming tailor theme that nods back to the local heritage.
One wall is emblazoned with a quote from Montague Burton that reads ‘’Today clothes no longer divide the masses from the classes. Masters and men rub shoulders in the crowd, and no one can tell one from the other.’’ I don’t know if this quite rings true today, but then I bet Montague wasn’t hanging round the outdoor terrace at Wetherspoons Leeds Station on a Saturday afternoon back in 1937.
Whether he’s right or not, the sharp suits, vintage sewing machines and tailors mannequins dotted around the plush bar and restaurant area look the part and make you feel welcome as soon as you arrive. Check-in was swift and friendly, and I couldn’t help but notice how well-stocked the in-house bar was.
We opted for a Privilege Queen Room, which is surprisingly luxurious given the modest price. Subtle hints to the tailoring industry are carried through nicely, and the stylish pendant lamps and furnishings create a cosy and homely vibe.
As well as a minibar, coffee machine and flat-screen TV, you can also expect complimentary biscuits and water. A nice touch that’s much appreciated for those arriving in the wee small hours.
The bathrooms are clean and minimalist, with generously sized toiletries and a modern power shower. Heading back downstairs, we dropped into the Loom Bar to inspect the drink offering a little more closely.
With a strong focus on gin, you’ll not tire of their mix of both local and international pours. Scotch is well represented too, with some surprisingly artisan brands on display. And, whilst the drinks menu has been stripped of cocktails, our skilled barman was more than capable of whipping up an exceptional gin cocktail, using Rhubarb Slingsby and ginger beer.
The Mercure has recently done away with its previous food offering of premium steaks and British classics, favouring a range of comforting snacks and bar food instead. Think deep fried filo prawns, southern fried chicken and burgers and you’re on the right tracks. The breakfast on offer was tasty, with the usual choices of Full English and Eggs Benedict, all done very well using decent local produce.
By focusing more on the bar, the Mercure are able to offer much better value on its drinks menu. Fizz Fridays allow you to pick up a bottle of Prosecco for just £15 all day and night, which is pretty tempting by Leeds standards.
With 59 boutique rooms, great staff and a contemporary bar with plenty of choice, the Mercure Leeds Central is a great pick for those looking for affordable luxury in the heart of the city.
Mercure Leeds Centre, 23-25 York Place, Ls1 2EY. Tel: 0113 204 2150.