This time in Leeds, I stayed at the Park Plaza. I initially had no clue what kind of money was available for this trip (remember this was for work) and what kind of hotel could I afford. It was quite close to the trip that I realized that I could manage to stay in a place like Park Plaza. I needed a place for two days and my prime concern was to stay close to my conference venue. So, the Park Plaza served the purpose adequately or so I thought (Will write more about this in another post).
I booked the hotel and then went to Tripadvisor! Not a very intelligent thing to do. The average consumer rating was just three and I was a bit disappointed. But what could be done? The hotel was booked and it cost me on an average 75 pounds per day. The Friday rate was low around 59 pounds but the Saturday rate was quite high, more than 85 pounds.
This trip to UK was after gap of four years. I have often said on this blog that my sense of direction is absolutely pathetic and I find maps full of mystery. So, while the Megabus that I traveled from London Victoria was approaching Leeds, I was quite anxious. It did not help that due to the Friday traffic the journey took six hours instead of four and I was completely jet lagged as I had reached London the same day in the morning.
The Park Plaza, Leeds
It was a blessing that I could see the hotel from the bus itself. That gave me confidence that the place existed! That is how nervous I was, traveling alone after so many years. In fact I remember saying to my colleagues, “Kisne kaha tha mugjhse ye saab karne ko?” (Who had asked me to attend conferences and all, so far away? How will I find Leeds from Heathrow when I can’t find Nehru Place from Dhaula Kuan). The good thing was that the hotel was still visible from where the bus dropped me. So, one worry was out of the way, I knew where the hotel was. It was right across the bus stop.
The Room at the Park Plaza, Leeds
Then it was time to get inside the hotel and check-in. The lady at the counter was quite pleasant (quite contrary to what I read on tripadvisor about the customer service at the Park Plaza, Leeds). First she could not understand my name, and I don’t blame her. I gave her the print out of my reservation and sure enough she could find it. Then she started explaining that I need to pay some advance in cash or through my card as per hotel policies. I thought I would pay cash. But then I was so tired it was difficult for me to understand what exactly was going on. I told her so, and she said she was so sorry! I finally dished out my credit card and she did some transaction (which was not a transaction but only putting some money on hold). Then I got the room key and the room was on the 15th floor. I liked the room, nothing very fancy but a good clean comfy room, with lots of pillows, and hot water.
So, the first hurdle to the UK trip was over. I could find the Park Plaza under five minutes and could safely check-in. Later I realized that the hotel was 2 minutes from the train station, 2 minutes from the conference venue (but this is another story) and 2 minutes from the Megabus bus stop. The Park Plaza, Leeds is quite conveniently located in the city center. I took only a breakfast in the hotel and no other meal. And one of the staff in that shift was an Indian. Of course, we chatted in Hindi! I stayed only two days (mostly out of doors) and I must say I had a pleasant stay!