Queens Hotel in Leeds City Square gets £16m investment to modernise Art Deco landmark

An impression of the new restaurant at the Queens.An impression of the new restaurant at the Queens.
An impression of the new restaurant at the Queens.
It is an imposing landmark and one the first sights for those setting eyes on Yorkshire's biggest city, with famous guests in its many decades including the likes of classic Hollywood stars Laurel and Hardy.

Now The Queens Hotel in Leeds is being modernised throughout with a £16m investment, it has been announced.

Owners at the QHotels Group said the new-look City Square hotel, which is more than 80 years old, will be unveiled in the summer as building work is already under way.

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It includes a renovation of all bedrooms, as well as the creation of another 16, bringing the room total to 232.

The Queens in Leeds.The Queens in Leeds.
The Queens in Leeds.

However there are also plans for a "social hub" at the heart of the hotel, say owners, as the "totally transformed" ground floor will offer a number of communal areas and a place to meet with friends or colleagues, as well as an outdoor terrace.

Owners are claiming that it will offer "the best cocktail and dining experience in Leeds".

Richard Moore, group chief executive of The QHotels Group, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be part of such an exciting project for the group and the city of Leeds.

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"The Queens Hotel, Leeds, is a special place, with fond memories for many who have visited or stayed at the hotel.

How the new bedrooms will look.How the new bedrooms will look.
How the new bedrooms will look.

"It therefore provides a wonderful contrast of positivity for everyone at such challenging times.

"We’re very fortunate to have supportive shareholders who, despite the current economic conditions, remain passionate and continue to share our vision for the hotel.

"We are excited about the project ahead of us and can’t wait to share the next chapter of our exciting journey."

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Owners are planning a new wine bar, "outdoor terrace that spills out into the heart of the city", extensive cafe space and central restaurant offering the likes of afternoon tea

and a la carte options.

Working with Upperworth Studios and Iliard Design, they say "every detail has been painstakingly chosen to re-transform the hotel into a destination with a difference".

The renovation also aims to "retain and enhance" as many of the building’s historical Art Deco features.

Full restoration of the hotel reception’s barrel-vaulted ceiling and original timber floors will provide a "showstopping ground floor", while its listed red passenger lifts will be "lovingly renovated and brought into the 21st century" with modernised functions.

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As a nod to the hotel’s glamorous history, new chandeliers and pendant hanging lights will feature in the public areas.

The Grade II-listed building, as it is now, was built in 1937 in the Art Deco style of the period as a railway hotel by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and still has private access to the station.

It was one of the first in Britain to have en-suite bathrooms.

Famous guests have included Laurel and Hardy, who stayed overnight in 1932 and 1954.

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A night in the Queens in the 1930s cost the equivalent of £18, at a time when the average house cost £540.

The hotel is clad in Portland stone and fossils can be seen in the brickwork.

Beneath the hotel are underground tunnels and rooms used for storage. One opens directly onto the diverted River Aire and scenes from crime drama A Touch of Frost were filmed there.

An original hotel on the site was built in 1863 by the old Midland Railway, near to the terminus of their line at the Wellington Street station. It was a break point on the Leeds-Glasgow route.