Fit for a Queen

After undergoing a $22-million (£16-million) transformation for the past nine months and poised to boost the city’s post-lockdown economy and hospitality sector, The Queens Hotel Leeds officially opened its doors to guests.

Celebrating more than 80 years in the city, the modernized hotel will not only pay homage to its rich and iconic history but most importantly, it will play to the ‘new way’ people are now using exciting city-center hotel spaces for coworking and socializing.

“The main inspiration for the creation of The Queens’ Hotel Leeds new spaces was a growing trend of hotels opening up to the cities and its people, not only hotel guests,” said Agnieszka Dziedzic, senior interior designer, Iliard Architecture & Interior Design. “Our aim was to turn it into a certain point of interest on the map of Leeds, a hip place bustling with life, glam and movement. Restoring the splendor of the place was one of the main goals. Our wish is that The Queens will again be able to inspire, to mesmerize and to form part of the identity of the city of Leeds. Whether it’s a big event, business meeting or evening hang-out with friends, The Queens Hotel wants to be part of all of that.”

Situated in City Square at the heart of Leeds, the hotel is set to be a tourism magnet and will be instrumental in the city’s post-lockdown revival. With too much uncertainty surrounding foreign holidays, a staycation boom is on the horizon, bringing much-needed footfall back to cities and tourism hot spots across the UK.

“In the course of the refurbishment, original ribbed ceiling has been exposed in hotel’s Coffee Bar, while the beautiful wooden floors of conference rooms and ballrooms, previously covered entirely by carpeting, have been renovated. True fans and regular guests should also be able to spot their favorite armchairs in new upholstery,” Dziedzic said.

The Queens Hotel refurbishment includes a renovation of all bedrooms, as well as adding an additional 17, bringing the room total to 232.

“The biggest challenge was to remodel the hotel’s common spaces in order to create their new function—the bottom line was to make them attractive both to visitors and local guests. As a means to do so, the main lobby was combined with the Coffee Bar. Together they formed a spacious and lively Social Hub with views of City Square. On the other hand, by moving the reception further, into a more intimate place, we managed to design a comfortable space for hotel guests where they can feel truly cared for by the hotel team,” Dziedzic explained.

The ground floor has been totally transformed into a host of communal areas, with a ‘social hub’ at the heart of the hotel. The cohesive space will give visitors flexible options to socialize, work or dine. A far cry from the traditionally quiet hotel lobby, The Queens Hotel aims to ‘bring the outside in’ by offering communal spaces targeted as much at locals as hotel guests.

“Another challenge was the artful use of old, traditional forms and patterns and adapting them into modern entourage,” Dziedzic said. “Existing wall and ceiling decorations form one of the most vivid points of the project. The spherical ceiling in the lobby, accentuated with light and finished with decorative plaster, is meant to catch the eye and enchant hotel guests. To finish the look of common spaces, we adorned them with objects of unique and remarkable design and custom-made furniture. Classic patterns of wallpapers, carpets in bold colors and unconventional graphics are another step in obtaining an eclectic, chic interior.”

The hotel will be home to Grand Pacific, an all-day dining destination comprising a 100-cover restaurant, private dining rooms, bar and café.

“Our main source of inspiration is usually traveling—getting to know new people, new cultures, its habits, architecture, design, handicraft,” Dziedzic said. “There’s nothing more inspiring than finding yourself in new surroundings and being able to feel the spirit of the place. It triggers the imagination and is often the cornerstone of creative processes in our team. There are also more down-to-earth motivators, like unusual design tasks or unconventional customer needs. New challenges encourage us to break patterns and think out of the box.”

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