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Looking at Leeds in 2011

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What a difference a year can make. It doesn’t seem two seconds ago when we were sitting in Roomzzz Aparthotel sometime last January. But while we continue to offer two of the finest hotels and serviced apartments in Leeds, the city itself is changing fast.

The perfect destination for a short break and, with a host of world class conference facilities, a business trip, Yorkshire’s biggest city is also an ideal choice for a night out. And as the New Year arrived, so too did a fresh destination on the area’s burgeoning nightlife map.

Vox has been open for a short while now. It be a few months before all the city centre faithful discover this converted warehouse gem, but discerning clubbers from across the country have already had a look. Located just out of town off the M621, it offers state of the art lighting, a soundsystem capable of bringing the brickwork down, and an events calendar that’s the envy of most venues.

Staying on a musical note, we’re delighted to hear that the Council have confirmed there will be even more reasons to book a night with us on the cards in the not-too-distant future. Work will soon begin on Leeds Arena, a new, world class, 13,500 capacity performance and events space located on Clay Pit Lane. In addition to the big name acts the ‘future theatre’, as the building is being referred to, will attract, it will also boast a unique colour-changing exterior and honeycomb design.

Moving further north, and Leeds’ bustling shopping streets are set to get a whole lot busier, as the new landmark, £300 million Trinity Quarter Shopping Centre continues to take shape. Situated in what was the City Plaza and Burton Arcade, this new 1million square foot development promises to alter the skyline over the next few months, before it revolutionises retail come 2013. 100 stores will be located therein, with restaurants, including a D&D’s, offering everything from quick snacks to haute cuisine.

With such changes on the horizon the city’s future is set as a major capital of culture, fashion and business. We’ll only see the foundations put in place, and the seeds take root over the next year. But this is a place that lives life at some pace, so there’s umpteen new items worth adding to your Leeds itinirary each and every week. As always, we’ll be keeping you updated on the best events and news worth checking out, leaving you free to concentrate on when you want to check in.

Merry Christmas to all!

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You’re standing in your room at Roomzzz Aparthotel, the perfect combination between a luxury hotel and serviced apartment. Through the condensation you can see it’s snowing.

Whether enjoying a short break in our hotels in Manchester or hotels in Leeds, it’s a sight you could well see this week. Because on Monday the bookies’ odds were even for a white Christmas in either city, largely due to the healthy covering both has received in recent weeks.

There are just seven days to go until 2011. We still think of the date as something from a science fiction film, though there are no prizes for not getting involved. Obviously we need to embrace next year’s potential, but it makes sense to cast our eyes back over the last 12 months first.

It’s been a time of progress here at Roomzzz Aparthotel, as the business continued to expand successfully. We unveiled two changes that made big impacts, as Leeds City West was given a fresh facelift, and the 361 site got re-branded as Leeds Headingley, strengthening our brand identity.

Even if we put our stunning interior design decisions to one side, there’s still plenty more to talk about. We centralised our bookings system to improve efficiency, and then drafted some new recruits into the fold, re-energising our management team in the process.

Mark Walton might be a new addition, but he’s a familiar face we have welcomed back after a stint with Easy Hotels. The fact that he launched our first site in 2007 makes this a real homecoming for one of our own heroes, who again holds the mantle as Head of Roomzzz.

Our Manchester aparthotel, now just over a year old, is the latest phase in Roomzzz’s rapid growth. And it’s anyone’s guess where we could be by this time next year. Britain is our oyster; so watch this space for more pearls of news and wisdom. In the meantime, thanks for your bookings, support and feedback throughout 2010. We look forward to welcoming you again, so here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Image (C) voxtheory

Things to do in Leeds… before Christmas

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As a town it’s perfect for a short break. Just like our serviced apartments and luxury hotels in Leeds city centre are.

The heart is easy to navigate, and crammed with fantastic shops, bars and clubs. In contrast the outskirts sit just a short journey away, and often hark back to days gone by- boasting Yorkshire stone and rural idylls.

Such a bustling place naturally comes alive at Christmas, and the surrounding Pennine hills are currently receiving a generous dusting of snow, causing chaos as drivers battle drifts and daytime temperatures below freezing. But still, warmth and goodwill defines the town at this time of year.

Like most major municipalities, Leeds is no stranger to a Christmas market or two, and we highly recommend the Christkindelmarkt in Millennium Square. Grab some stereotypically crafty gifts from the predominantly German sellers, take a nostalgic ride on an antiquated merry-go-round and then move inside for weissbier and meat filled brotchen in the Frankfurter Scheune. Afterwards, head back to your Roomzzz aparthotel, conveniently located nearby.

If historic festivities are more your sort of thing then take a trip to Harewood House- a great alternative to the heaving streets. There are rare birds on show, and 100 acres of award winning gardens to explore. But right now you can also find English gift stalls, brass bands, and festive food. Plus, special ‘behind the scenes’ events offer an insight into the priceless collections housed at this stately home.

Just down the road in Wetherby, and a seasonal favourite has made a welcome return. The Christmas cheer continues as Stockeld Park opens its family friendly Christmas Adventure. Ascend the big wheel and gaze across majestic vistas of North Leeds’ leafy suburbs, try your hand at cross-country Nordic skiing, skate on the ice rink, explore the enchanted forest and find your way out of the snowflake maze.

Heading back into town, and Leeds Craft Centre is offering visitors the chance to get Up Front and In the Spotlight with artists. Things kicked off last month, and run through to January. Jewellery, glass, ceramics, wire and woodwork will all be on show, lovingly created by some of the best designers in the UK. What finer place to pick up a real one off for that extra special someone?

By now the cold air will be kicking in, while stomachs are beginning to churn. Some fine food is in order then, and the best way to end your day. Whitelocks sits just off the hustle and bustle of Briggate, down a narrow snicket. Licensed in 1715, and originally named The Turks Head, the old stained glass and celebrated interior make for perhaps the most traditional place in which to fill your pre-Christmas plate. And the food is highly recommended too.

Red carpets & champagne

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The coast near Cannes is far removed from the canals and Corn Exchange of Leeds. But at this time of year they feel a little closer, what with Yorkshire’s biggest city hosting the UK’s third largest International Film Festival at the moment.

We already pointed you to Leeds’ 24th cinematic celebration on this blog, but now the time has finally arrived we couldn’t help but give another heads up. After all, it’s not just the final major European movie event of the year, it’s also widely regarded as the best audience focused event in the country. So there’s no better time to book a short break in this fine city.

Events began last week, with Tom Hooper’s acclaimed George IV biopic, The King’s Speech. A sell out well before the screening, if you missed the chance to get tickets, then perhaps booking accomodation in Leeds for the weekend of November 20th is a good idea. A second showing will take place at Hyde Park Picture House, conveniently located close to Roomzzz City West.

Away from historic dramas, and onto more oddball antics, the critically lauded Cravendale-style animation, A Town Called Panic, has its final moment of glory on Tuesday November 9th, at Leeds Town Hall. We highly recommend this film, after all, the story- which follows madcap characters on the hunt for the perfect home- is close to our hearts.

Other highlights over the next seven days include Stanley Kubrick’s 50-years-on-and-still-hilarious Dr Strangelove, or How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which needs little introduction before it screens tonight and Wednesday. And further reasons to visit this week can be found in Anton ‘Control’ Corbijin’s eagerly anticipated George Clooney thriller, The American. You can catch that on Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th, again at Hyde Park Picture House.

Our serviced apartments offer the ideal accomodation to use as a base while taking in your selection from the hundreds of screenings taking place during this 18 day showcase. Both Roomzzz sites are close to all city centre and district venues, so simply download a festival programme, then contact Roomzzz Central Reservations and turn your cinematic stay into a luxury city break.