£4.5m price tag to polish Leeds Crowne Plaza

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ONE of the city’s longest standing modern hotels is about to unveil the results of a £4.5m ‘Polishing The Crowne’ project.

The Crowne Plaza on Wellington Place is about to unveil the biggest shake up in its 30 year history as it seeks to reinvent itself following the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015, which closed the business for two months, and also to keep up with the competition in the city.

Over the last six months, in a phased programme, all of the hotel’s 135 suites have been ripped out and re-decorated, the reception has been re-located with a new staircase to the upper floors, board and club rooms have been added where public bars were, with private kitchens for corporate events and then, there is the piece de resistance.

Bar & Kitchen @LS1 is a new bar and restaurant in the hotel which is open to public as well as guests and is set to be the only gourmet restaurant in that part of the city.

It has all the British classics you would expect but with a nod to the Crowne Plaza brand’s Yorkshire location, there are some familiar twists on the menu such as Black Pudding Scotch Egg, a Dinkie Pork Pie and a rip and share Yorkshire Pudding with marrowbone gravy.

Marina Haigh, the Crowne Plaza’s sales and marketing co-ordinator, told City Buzz what the reasoning was behind Interstate Hotels, a global hotel management firm, making a six-figure investment.

She said: “The hotel has been around for 30 years but this came about because of the floods. We were closed for two months and spent over £1m trying to re-open the hotel.

“We realised with the market we are in, being a four star hotel, we are up against the Marriott and Radisson Blu and wanted to be beyond that.”

As well as the obvious alterations there are little touches which raise the bar.

The suites and club rooms have Nespresso coffee machines, toiletries are from Temple Spa, bathrooms have heated mirrors, there are USB ports in the restaurant and there are free canapes and drinks for guests using the Club Lounge.

But the hotel is also looking to attract guests from much closer to home as it seeks to capitalise on the boom of Wellington Place.

Ms Haigh added: “We want people from the wider area to enjoy dinner and after work drinks. We are a diverse hotel and have a huge influx of corporate and leisure as we are in such a prime location.

“This is only the beginning, with all these brand new bars, people live here now, Wellington Place is the main place to work - this area will be so much more and is becoming the newest district in Leeds.”