With over 30 million people passing through Leeds train station each year, The Queens Hotel, which is found on the stations doorsteps is one of Leeds most iconic buildings. Costing around £149 a night, it is popular amongst those on business trips to Leeds and is a brilliant base for anyone wishing to explore the joys of Yorkshire, with access to perhaps the most well connected station in the North.
But what is the story behind this iconic, Art Deco style building?
Although the original hotel was built in 1863, the grand and unique building which stands today was not constructed until 1937. The Art Deco style of the building is somewhat typical of the period, inspired by French architecture, with a focus on grandeur; Art Deco has become the subject of resurgence in popular culture in recent years, fuelled by the 2013 film depiction of the iconic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel themed on decadence and idealism, The Great Gatsby.
The Queens Hotel was built as a flagship hotel for the Leeds Railway Station, which along with the emergence of Leeds as an economic powerhouse was designed with this new status in mind.
Interestingly, The Queens Hotel is stated as being the first hotel with en-suite facilities. The price of a night here was 10 shillings and 6 pence, which was roughly £18 in today’s money. When compared to the average house price of £540, this gives indication of how high-end the hotel would have been.
The building is clad in white Portland stone, which if you look close enough you can see evidence of fossils, a fact which is often overlooked by the busy people travelling through Leeds.
Although the building has been restored over the years, care has been taken to maintain its character features, which include the original lifts and windows.
Underneath The Queens Hotel are fabled underground secrets, with service lifts connecting cavernous subterranean rooms, some of which interconnect with the abandoned tunnels which run beneath Leeds train station. There are rumoured storage areas which contain priceless paintings and grand chandeliers as well as a gantry onto the banks of the River Aire.