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The Bells, Leeds, Yorkshire
The sober-looking, red-brick Victorian building, opposite Leeds Minster and close to the river, gives no clue to the edgily designed loft-style apartments within. Each of the eight - all different in layout and design - seems far bigger than the building should allow, and all, amazingly, have views of the Minster. With huge living spaces, hot tubs (in most), a choice of one or two bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchens and hi-tech entertainment systems, these are apartments to wallow in.
We love crossing the pedestrian-only Centenary Bridge to explore the south side of the river around regenerated Brewery Wharf (the former home of Tetley's brewery) with a contemporary art gallery in the former brewery HQ.
For the military history buff, the Royal Armouries Museum is a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
By car: around 2 hours 20 minutes from Birmingham and 4 hours 15 minutes from London or Edinburgh.
By train: there are direct trains to Leeds station from Sheffield (1 hour), Manchester Picadilly (2 hours) and London Kings Cross (2 hours 20 minutes). The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
This hotel is for romantics and anyone wanting to celebrate, pamper or impress, and who wants an edgier experience than traditional champagne, four-poster beds and flowers. We love the bravura of the design, whether the exposed copper piping, lampshades dangling on rusty chains, irreverent portraits or mezzanines and spiral staircases in some apartments.
Service & Facilities
We love the extravagance of the apartments whether in the size of the sofas, the number of televisions or the fact not one has a bad view. Pets are allowed in all the apartments for an upfront deposit of £50.
- Outdoor dining area
- Great views
- Hot tubs
- Free Wi-Fi
The decor is fun - you'll find oversized sofas, irreverent pictures and photographs and quirky vintage pieces such as an old school desk, or a glass cabinet of old fire hoses. Its tricky to pick a favourite… Big Ben has a rooftop hot tub, Liberty has a romantic mezzanine bedroom, Hosanna has a steam room, while Old Tom has a balcony.
Little John, Hosanna, Big Ben, Great George, Old Tom, Emmanuel, Liberty, Santa Maria
Facilities include: free-standing bath, rainfall shower, 4K projector, kitchen, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
The fridge is handsomely stocked with beers, wines, Champagne, Prosecco, spirits and mixers… One of the staff's favourites is Eat Your Greens, in nearby New York Street, an organic grocery store and restaurant serving European style dishes and natural wines, and with a laidback vibe.