Advantages Cheap. Nice location. Good service.
Disadvantages Rooms not up to standard. Healthclub unequipped. Tiny pool.
How do you end up in Garforth? Quite simple really, it's one stop out of Leeds City Centre on the rail route to York. I was looking for a pampering weekend away for me and my partner, as usual it was a last minute decision and our first choice of a stay in historical York soon proved unrealistic as there was race meet. Our second choice Leeds seemed equally as hectically booked out for our weekend of choice but hotel booking websites continually named the Hilton in Garforth as having availability at rather an attractive rate so after much deliberation we booked it.By road Garforth is easily accessible from the M1 and M62 motorways, it is 7 miles from Leeds City Centre. We travelled to Garforth by train from Manchester, the direct route takes just under an hour and a half or a local service can be caught from Leeds, the connection takes between 5 and 10 minutes and is very regular. Stepping off the train it was clear we were in a peaceful little country town and we immediately started to relax. The Leeds Hilton is exactly 2 miles from the train station and there is a small taxi office actually on the station.
We arrived at the hotel just after midday, my first impression of the hotel from the outside was pretty negative. The building was flat and very grey with what looked like double storey corridors jutting out in every direction, my first guess that these were the bedroom quarters was proved correct. On a positive note there seemed to be more than ample parking facilities.On entering the hotel we were greeted by a friendly receptionist and although check in should not have been until 3pm we were allowed to our room immediately. The check in was fast, most professional, very friendly and I certainly would struggle to pick fault.
Directions seemed very straight forward to our room however we soon managed to get lost in what seemed to be a maze of very long corridors. There were no lifts but being set over only 2 floors I guess that is understandable. Maybe it's just me but our room appeared to be the furthest from reception, I'm only pleased I travelled light as we were not offered any assistance with our luggage.On entering the room I was disappointed. There was a double and a single bed, with next to no floor space, confusing really as I'd only booked a double and if there had been one less bed the space would have been ample but as it stood with two of us in this confined space we were going to struggle. The furniture looked a little tired, the lampshade on the bedside lamp badly stained and the door seemed smeared with fingerprints. There were tea-making facilities, terrestrial TV with additional pay-per-view films and a Playstation. (Which I warned my partner I'd be less than impressed if he showed it any attention!) The bathroom was basic, a little dated but in it's favour spotlessly clean.
Agreeing that we hadn't come to spend our weekend in our hotel room we decided that our pokey little room wasn't going to spoil our stay. One of the features of the hotel that attracted us to this hotel in particular was its health club.Hilton branded Livingwell Health Clubs are usually of a high standard so we were keen to check out the facilities. I'm not a fitness fanatic but I love a good workout so clad in our fitness gear we head for the gym. Upon arrival we requested some towels but the staff member said she didn't have any, when I said we were guests of the hotel and didn't have our own she said she would 'try' to get us some. Luckily my other half is good in these situations as I would normally lose my rag with such an attitude! But with one towel for me and a promise of one for my partner we head off to the changing area. I hope I don't sound a snob but I'm only glad I had my flip flops because the floor was slimy, the changing rooms tattered and the showers had also seen better days…
Out in the gym area I was pretty sorted, there were enough cardiovascular machines for me to do my full workout however my other half is a weights man and it was clear even to me (who merely dabbles in weight training from time to time) that this gym certainly wasn't equipped with either fixed or free standing weights for man nor beast to fulfil a full workout! Not being selfish we decide to cut our losses and head for the pool, something we had both been excited about. Now when a hotel boasts at having an indoor pool I do not expect a paddle pool. The website had shown a photograph but it was clearly not the same pool. The pool was 1.2m deep throughout and, 3 strokes would see you complete a length. To add to frustrations about 8 - 10 teenage girls (in clothes not swimwear) were splashing around the pool quite noisily. With the sauna out of order we retreated to the Steam Room, which I will admit was utter bliss!Late afternoon we retreat to the lounge for some drinks, now after everything I have said up until now the lounge is going to seem quite out of place! The area is open, spacious and tastefully decorated in modern shades of plum and purple. We sat in quiet corner on a large leather sofa which was just perfect for relaxing. Drinks purchased from the bar weren't too pricey £2.50 for a pint of lager and just under £5 for a large red wine, which may sound pricey but as far as hotels go I think it's pretty standard. Bar staff were attentive, friendly and again welcoming.
Whilst staying at the Garforth Hilton we ate in their Aioli Restaurant and were quite impressed with the food - it was modern, fresh and the hotel would cater for my 'gluten free' diet. I had grilled salmon and my boyfriend had steak. A meal for two cost us around £40 and we certainly thought it was worth the money. We did not have breakfast (we don't) but we did see other guests tuck in to what looked like a pretty fine buffet style event!Room service was served until 11pm, we had a snack one evening but I would admit was over priced but my sandwich was really tasty and was garnished with posh crisps and salad, just what I'd expect for £6 in a hotel really.
So there you have it our impression of the Garforth Hilton! I'm going to surprise you now by saying that we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, for sure facilities could have been so much better, the website had been misleading but all in all (health club staff aside) we were treated very well indeed. I didn't make a complaint as staff really did make us feel welcome. On waking up with a hangover, I stumbled to the bar at about 7am craving a pint of orange squash and staff were happy to accommodate. This is the type of service I expect although I admit it would have been nicer to have it delivered but room service hours were limited. Late night drinking at the bar for guests wasn't a problem either which again added to our enjoyment.We only paid £45 per night to stay at the Garforth Hilton. This is a special, non-transferable rate and I would say our stay was worth every penny. The hotel claims to be a four star establishment and I would have to argue that in my experience they resemble more of a three star. The health club should not be advertised as it's basically non-existent, and my biggest bug bear was that there were trays from room service left in corridors all weekend which I did mention upon leaving as well as being unsightly it is also was an obvious health hazard. Service on the whole could not be faulted, there were 2 weddings and a holiday event taking place in the hotel but we still managed to be served easily and quickly at both the bar and restaurant. The hotel never seemed overcrowded and staff never seemed hassled. I requested a late check out and our stay even at our low rate was extended to 2pm rather than the very early 11am normal check out - again this impressed me!
The hotel is well situated for you to be able to take country walks straight from the front door and there is a Beefeater opposite which I would say was the best option for both lunch and dinner. The town of Garforth is just over a miles stroll along a country road were more bars and restaurants can be found.All in all we did relax and I would return to this hotel especially if I can stay for the same rate of £45. I would like to see the rooms decorated and brought up to standard and this hotel could certainly start charging a better rate. As for the health club… Why bother!
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