THE ‘LEEDS LEADERS’ BATTLE IT OUT AT OULTON HALL AND THE QUEENS.
Who wouldn’t want to accept an invitation into a world of luxury and leisure in Leeds, in the midst of a temperamental English Summer? I muse on this, as several invites to London BBQ’s ping through our inboxes. As much as I love a swanky London rooftop party with canapes whisking around your head and the wafts of BBQ smoke blending into the still city air; I’m a bigger fan of country escapes, northern city road trips and outdoor pursuits. An invitation to explore Oulton Hall and the Queens Hotel in Leeds, Yorkshire, was, therefore, the perfect opportunity for a getaway.
As we meandered through 300 acres of landscaped gardens to arrive at Oulton Hall Hotel & Spa, we were warmly welcomed with our bedroom keys, instructions to meet with our exclusive event party and a mysterious itinerary of activities, to be revealed the next morning!
I took a moment to indulge my senses in the pure elegance of this properties interior. The entrance hall alone instantly dazzles you with its sheer sense of grandeur. I mentally noted this as a winning venue to impress any guest. As we passed through the giant-sized wooden doors and tried not to make eye contact with the overhanging historical statues and portraits (of no doubt very important people in history); a beautiful, classical composition of a talented pianist, cut through the buzz of excited guests gathering for our private dining experience. We followed the sound to find the grand piano, which was situated in a luxurious lounge area, filled with plush sofas and armchairs. A room for ultimate relaxation and socialising.
I was appointed to stay in one of their more contemporary, ‘Classic’ bedrooms, perfect for short stays. You will find these in their modern wing, which seamlessly merges with their elegant suites in the Historical Hall. You have to appreciate here, that there is clearly no compromise on the properties history or culture, as the aesthetics of the past and the present are blended together so gracefully.
After a quick outfit change and a peek in our goody bag, we joined the rest of the party for a tour and dinner, in one of their exclusive hire function rooms. Everyone was in high spirits and enjoying the fresh and local Yorkshire sourced food selection, as well as the wine! We retired to their charming Champagne Bar adorned with numerous bottles of Moet including several empty magnums! We refrained from letting the evening escalate to this level however, as we had a full itinerary to wake up early too!
Fuelled with a delicious breakfast the following day, challenge 1 commenced. Escorted in groups to the renowned 27-hole, par 36 golf course, the atmosphere began to change, as each group labeled themselves with a winning team name and prepared to battle it out on the putting green and driving range. The ‘Leeds Leaders’ was born! It became clear that it’s in an event planners nature to be competitive. Some were roaring and high fiving, whilst others threw down their putters in frustration! With a little experience at driving range golf, I somehow managed to complete the course and enjoyed the entire activity! A few points added to the ‘Leeds Leaders’ team at least. For those less interested in Golf, Oulton Hall has a stock full of team games perfect for indoor or outdoor team building days, such as Jenga and connect 4.
Our action-packed day, then had us whisked away into the bustling city centre of Leeds, to be met by the friendly event team at Harvey Nichols. A hotel partner of The Queens Hotel, our second destination. Challenge number 2. A personal shopping competition! Ok so imagine a group of frantic women, fast-paced walking around Harvey Nichols, hurriedly squeezing passed unassuming browsers on the escalators and grabbing items to make up an outfit for a client outlined on a brief, all within a budget! The males of each group, naturally all congregated in the shoe lounge and sat chatting waiting for the females to get back…
Challenge number 3 took us up into the cocktail bar! A lively event space that can be hired at Harvey Nichols, Leeds. Here we enjoyed cocktails that we made ourselves, albeit guessed the ingredients for. Regrettably, we qualified for the clear losers making a classic daiquiri with spiced rum in the absence of white…thus no prizes for the ‘Leeds Leaders’!
On route back to The Queens hotel, we bypassed the pedestrian flow of Saturday shoppers and ducked into Leeds Train Station to use the hotel’s private entrance, that conveniently connects with the inside of the station. The entrance decor has all the wow and wonder of Art Deco style elegance, particularly with their specially commissioned wallpaper, designed in the United States. This majestic styling runs throughout the hotel and all of its event spaces. 16 flexible and well-appointed conference and meeting rooms to be exact, including the magnificent ‘Queens Ballroom’, which has its own bar and a max capacity of 500 banquet style. The most intriguing thing about this room is the attention to detail. There are doors that line the walls, some real, some fake! A pure design intention to maintain the symmetry, that is so paramount to be pleasing to the eye in Art Deco styling. All meeting rooms were bright and comfortable, with some equipped with the latest ClickShare technology, for the ultimate intuitive, meeting collaboration.
Their comfortable and stylish QClub bedrooms and suites, gain you an exclusive QClub level experience on the eighth floor, with private lounges and rooftop terraces, to enjoy the city views from. There would be time for this later, but first, a drinks reception with the opposing teams, dinner, and a round of musical bingo, our last chance to win something! The food was exquisite, the service exceptional and our skill level at bingo unrivaled. Luck, however, was not on our side! (I blame luck). But we didn’t leave empty-handed! Our memories were filled with great experiences and our goody bags were filled with thoughtful gifts and sweet treats. The ‘Leeds Leaders’ will just have to make a comeback!
To find out more about The Queens and Oulton Hall, simply click on the links below to submit an enquiry: