The Leonardo is a recently opened hotel located within Chester’s historic Roman walls. It’s just a 15 minute walk from the railway station which has frequent connections between London, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. It’s also just 10 miles (17 km) from Liverpool John Lennon airport for guests arriving from overseas.
Arrival and check-in:
We had an early start to the day, arriving into Chester by train around lunchtime. It was an easy walk to the hotel and we were greeted by a friendly and welcoming receptionist. The lobby has a spacious, contemporary design with circular seating. As we were too early for check-in we left our bags and went off to explore the city centre. On our return, our key cards had been prepared and we were shown to our room on the first floor.
Our stylish room was of a good size with views from the window over Pepper Street. It came equipped with a well stocked hospitality tray with both a kettle and a Nespresso machine. There was also a fridge with complimentary water, a safe, iron, ironing board and hairdryer. The bathroom featured a bath with shower over, a large pile of thick, fluffy towels and eco friendly toiletries.
There was a comfortable armchair for relaxing and watching the large wall mounted television. The desk lamp wasn’t working and on phoning down to the front desk I was impressed that this was attended to promptly with a member of staff arriving to fit a new bulb. We slept on a very comfortable mattress nestled beneath a down duvet.
Breakfast is served in the hotel’s stylish restaurant with a varied selection of both hot and cold dishes. A waitress welcomed us and after noting our room number let us know that we could request eggs cooked any way we wished from the open kitchen area. On both mornings I ordered two poached eggs which were perfectly cooked and brought to the table.
The restaurant serves meals and snacks throughout the day and although we did not eat dinner there, it seemed popular.
The hotel has a 24 hour front desk, lifts to all floors, an attractive lounge bar and a fitness centre. Wi-Fi is strong and reliable and once logged in, worked for us in all parts of the hotel. Despite the hotel not having its own car park, there are chargeable car parks available close by which allow 24 hour parking.
Out and About:
Take a walk along Chester’s ancient city walls, the nearest access being just steps away from the hotel at the Newgate Arch along Pepper Street. The walls extend for 2 miles (3 km) and it’s an ideal way to gain a perspective of the city from above. If you prefer to join a guided tour then these start from outside the tourist office offering a wealth of information and uncovering hidden gems.
Admire the beautiful Eastgate clock positioned on a footbridge overlooking Eastgate, Chester’s main shopping street. The clock was erected in 1899 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier and is the second most photographed clock in England after London’s Big Ben.
Visit the magnificent Chester Cathedral, a stunning Gothic structure that was a medieval Benedictine abbey before becoming a cathedral in 1541. Join one of the Cathedral at Height tours for a behind the scenes view of the cathedral and for stunning vistas from its tower top.
Spend a day at Chester Races which opened in 1539 making it the oldest racecourse still in operation in the world. The racecourse, also referred to as The Roodee was built on the site of an old Roman harbour and can be viewed during an extended walk along the city walls.
Go shopping along The Rows, Chester’s unique Tudor shopping streets. Steps lead up from ground floor level to long covered balconies lined with shops, galleries and restaurants. These continuous half-timbered walkways are arranged directly above those at street level.
Take a relaxing boat trip along the River Dee. Tours depart from the Groves Promenade with a choice of 30 minute city cruises and longer two hour boat trips (summer season only). Further details available at Chester Boat.
Chester Zoo was opened by George Mottershead and his family in 1931. It is one of the country’s largest zoos covering 125 acres and houses over 7,000 animals covering 500 species. It’s easily accessible from the city centre without a car as there are frequent bus connections taking around 15 minutes.
Look no further than Artezzan, a Mediterranean influenced restaurant with a delicious menu and great vibe, located directly opposite the hotel.
Also recommended is The Kitchen at The Storyhouse, serving middle-eastern dishes in the convivial setting of the city library. Food served daily until 9.00 p.m. and perfect for a pre-theatre meal in the Storyhouse Theatre.
Finally, don’t leave Chester without sampling some of Stephanie’s delectable French patisseries from her Pastry Pedaleur stall in Chester market as they are to die for.
We found the Leonardo Chester to be an ideal base for a short break as everything is close at hand. Our room overlooked the road but we weren’t disturbed by any outside noise during our stay. Being just a few months old, the hotel still looks new and showing no signs of wear and tear. Careful thought has gone into its stylish interior creating the right tone with its casual chic design. Staff have all been well trained and were friendly and helpful from the front desk team through to the restaurant and housekeeping, making it a lovely place to stay.
Details: Leonardo Hotel, Pepper Street, Chester CH1 1DW.
We were guests of the Leonardo Hotel and Visit Chester and Cheshire and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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