My wonderful partner, Richard, and I visited the Leopold Hotel which is a large historic building based right in the centre of Sheffield. We loved the central Sheffield hotel as the location was really perfect to use as a base to go to a restaurant or go for a few drinks in the hotel bar or in central Sheffield. I also saw lots of corporate users and a wedding (the bride looked stunning) which seemed to work really well in the function rooms near the bar. The Leopold Hotel advertised Sheffield disabled access rooms and I really appreciated the thought that must have gone into creating the wet room area with a shower seat. Overall, Richard and I loved the room decor but there were a few disabled access improvements that could be made. You can look at Sheffield wheelchair accessible rooms from the Leopold Hotel on https://www.leopoldhotel.co.uk/accessible-rooms. They have five accessible rooms throughout the hotel. The hotel could perhaps have made booking easier by putting a booking number or email on this page clearly. I also couldn’t see an option to book accessible rooms online so that would have been great!
Firstly, I thought it might have been a good idea to send people who had booked a wheelchair friendly room a dedicated ‘Access Email’ which details the accessibility of the hotel and how to enter the building. The standard email directed us to a flight of steps entrance to Reception. Obviously, if you don’t have mobility requirements then there would be no problem for you to enter the building here. A sign with a wheelchair and an arrow would be really helpful as to enter we had to go past the main entrance and through the stone arches just down the hill. Once you went through these arches, you arrived in Leopold Square which had lots of restaurants and bars you could visit within minutes of the hotel. The door was signed ‘Reception/ Bar’ but there was no sign saying that this was the wheelchair access to the hotel. However, once you got through this door there was a brilliant wheelchair access raising platform to get my chair to the level of the bar and the staff were really helpful here!
Once at the level of the bar, you had to wheel through the bar area to the Reception desk. The bar and dining area serves a delicious afternoon tea so when we entered to check in it was quite hard to wheel around the chairs. That said, this was a lovely space with nice comfy chairs and a modern bar area. It seemed a lovely place to have a drink with friends or meet before exiting the building for a meal out. I loved the period features throughout the hotel and the Reception area (pictured) below seemed light and airy. There were fresh flower displays all around the hotel and a lovely smell of lilies in the air. The Reception staff checked us in and asked whether we would like newspapers or a wake up call. You can dial ‘0’ from the phone in your room to speak to the Reception staff and they were very helpful in booking me a wheelchair accessible taxi (City Taxis) to take Richard and I to our restaurant.
When wheeling through the hotel, there were lots of lovely spaces to meet friends or have a drink from the bar. There were really comfy chairs by Reception to sit in and wait for the taxi and a large window seat looking out over the restaurants and bars in Leopold Square. The whole hotel seemed very classy and opulent and the decor was of very high quality.
One of the two lifts was out of order on the night we visited but we had no problem getting in the wide lift to get us to our room on the fourth floor. There were disabled emergency call buttons on each floor to ensure wheelchair users could exit the building in the event of a fire. We didn’t actually use them ourselves but apparently the disabled access rooms have vibrating pillows that alert hearing impaired customers to a fire alarm going off; brilliant! The room was a nice size with a large airy window. The view was of the cityscape but that is completely understandable given the wonderfully central location. I liked the biscuits given with the tea and coffee and they included some tasty fruit teas also. The bed was really large and super comfy! The lefthand side of the bed was too tight to get my wheelchair down but the rest of the room was completely wheelchair friendly which I was so pleased about! There was a red pull cord for emergencies at the right hand side of the bed but it didn’t hand fully to the floor which would have been nice in the event of a solo traveller having a fall. The wardrobe was a nice size and the dresser was the right height for me to get my wheelchair underneath to do my makeup etc. Overall, we loved the room and its decor!
The hotel provided a few luxury items such as a fridge with bottled water inside and quilted flip-flops for use within the wet room. There was a small safe in the wardrobe to lock away valuables and the normal amenities such as a hair dryer, hangers and a sewing kit. They included a book on small luxury hotels in the room which was interesting. I liked that the air conditioning thermostat had clear instructions as they can be quite complex! However, I would have liked to see a large button telephone, remote control and a large print room service menu perhaps.
The bathroom within the room was a wet room so fitted with the disabled access hotel Sheffield advertisement which was nice. There was a fold-down seat in the shower and grab rails around the shower seat and toilet. There was a shower mat rolled up and provided too in case you were unsteady on the tiled floor. As in the bedroom, the bathroom had a red pull-cord which was a great relief for me in case I needed it. However, I would have liked this to be unwrapped so it reaches the floor when a Sheffield accessible room has been booked by a disabled guest! I also would have liked a toilet brush and air freshener as a reassurance for guests with GI issues. The toiletries were in quite small bottles for two guests sharing a room but smelled delicious! The towels were nicely folded in a stack and there was a makeup/ shaving magnification mirror which was adjustable which was nice for me at wheelchair seated height. There were water glasses available for me to take my medication.
After a refreshing sleep we decided to pop down to the hotel dining area for a Full English Breakfast.The Breakfast Room was on the Lower Ground floor so we took the lift to access this. As mentioned before, there were two lifts but one was Out of Service at the time we stayed. With a small wait, we arrived at the Breakfast Room with no problem. The tables were arranged so it was quite tight for me to get my wheelchair to the seat but I think this was partly because lots of tables hadn’t been cleared and the chairs were still sticking out. Perhaps the staff needed to check this slightly more frequently as moving chairs was a little embarrassing as it drew attention to the wheelchair. However, all the staff I met were really friendly and helpful! When we asked for more fresh milk, hot drinks etc. then we were given them promptly and with a smile! I liked the flowers in cases on the table and the news channel running on the TV as they gave the room a pleasant atmosphere.
We were given lots of tea and coffee and there was a great choice of tea selection if you preferred Assam, Darjeeling, fruit tea etc. This was marked clearly on the menu which was nice. The Full English Breakfast was DELICIOUS! I really enjoyed the food and there were lots of tasty choices such as kippers, smoked haddock, omelette and smoked salmon. There was also a vegetarian breakfast option including vegetarian sausage alongside the usual Full English selection. Both Full English choices gave different egg options including scrambled, poached, boiled and fried egg which was great. Richard and I both really enjoyed the Full English and ate far too many pastries from the Continental Breakfast Buffet (pictured further below).
The continental breakfast selection was amazing and had everything from fresh pastries to a selection of cheeses and meats. They had a real variety and definitely something that everyone would love! There was a selection of fresh fruit, dried fruit, cereals and yoghurts to accompany the croissants, muffins and pastries. I must say I wish things were signed a little more clearly; although I can guess what a bowl of vaguely named ‘dried fruit’ contains, I could have had allergies or dislikes to contend with. The fruit juices were really watery but Richard and I did catch breakfast with the last hour it was served so maybe it was the timing? We had a plentiful supply of tea and coffee though so we didn’t go thirsty!
Outside the Breakfast Room there is a large disabled toilet. We had to wait for about 15 minutes for a staff member to unblock this but, once inside, it was really clean and large enough for my wheelchair to manoeuvre in! The grab rails were great. Although, I’m not entirely sure why the soap and hand cream dispenser was a meter from the sink as it made it quite hard to wheel back to the sink with soap on my hands (I can’t walk which would have made things easier).
Overall, there were a few small things that the Leopold Hotel Sheffield could change to make the disabled customer’s experience smoother but it was still very accessible and had a perfect location. I thought the decor in the room was lovely and that the wet room was brilliant as I can’t access showers over baths. I would highly recommend the breakfast and the staff were so helpful throughout the stay! Next time you’re in Sheffield, give them a try!