The 21st-century, urban-chic city of Leeds in northern England shines with a distinct and yet un-overwhelming Yorkshire swagger. It boasts of a fabulous drinking-dining scene and revitalized architecture. Leeds is also famous for being one of the friendliest gay cities in England, with LGBTQ people accounting for almost 10 percent of the city’s population. In fact, Leeds’ gay quarter is even referred to as ‘Freedom Quarter’ and boasts of a vibrant nightlife. It’s for this reason that gay hotels in Leeds have thrived and are in demand, as rising numbers of LGBTQ travelers are eager to explore the city.
Leeds is a warm, welcoming, and inclusive city in more ways than just one. Apart from Leeds Pride, the city also hosts and celebrates the LGBT+ literature festival, a marvelous annual drag queen competition, and a queer film festival. And although Leeds’ LGBTQ nightlife scene centered around Lower Briggate is compact, it is incredibly diverse. A gay-cation in England is definitely incomplete without heading to Leeds. Here are the top 11 gay hotels in Leeds for you to make a wonderful base as you explore the city.
Cosmopolitan Hotel, Conferencing, Restaurant & Bar
The gay-friendly Cosmopolitan Hotel looks much like a lovely English bar from the outside, thanks to the cocktail bar and restaurant taking up most of its frontage. The Cosmopolitan is located smack dab in the heart of the gay neighborhood of Lower Briggate. The hotel boasts of a tucked-away entrance, green-striped canopy, and olive-green window frames.
A cozy lobby with patterned carpets, red lampshades, and Art-Deco touches is welcoming, warm, and inviting. A modern and roomy restaurant and bar with its relaxed atmosphere is excellent for grabbing a drink anytime. There’s even a spacious dining area, and the dessert is particularly recommended. The paid hearty English breakfast with hot and cold options is absolutely worth every penny. While the Cosmopolitan lacks leisure and fitness facilities, the 24-hour room service is a real perk. On top of that, guests arriving on weekdays are welcomed with a glass of wine.
Rooms at the Cosmopolitan Hotel range from standard ones to larger suites and are decked out with wood-finish furnishings, patterned carpets, and muted color palettes. Apart from the standard set of mod-cons, what is particularly likable is the liberal amounts of free toiletries like earplugs and bath salts. The earplugs are helpful since Leeds’ gay scene begins right outside the hotel’s entrance.
Novotel Leeds Center
In spite of being part of a huge global chain, the gay-friendly Novotel endeavors to integrate itself with Leeds and its culture. The hotel rooms channel a minimalist yet stylish vibe, with white being the prevailing hue. Novotel’s common spaces feature pops of ritzy colors like purple, oversized plants, and futuristic-looking furniture. Ground floor floor-to-ceiling windows steal the scene with spectacular views of the city.
If guests do not want to step out, they have two restaurants to head to. A chillout area is a great place to catch up with fellow guests or new friends that you make in Leeds. The modern gym with floor-to-ceiling views makes working out look less arduous and a lot more fun. A steam room and sauna is a fantastic place for soaking all tiredness away. Plus, the open-plan reception even has a children’s corner with video games, toys, and books. The buzziest place, however, is The Soap Factory Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen, which is popular with the LGBTQ set in the city.
Novotel’s rooms feature modern décor and are done up in minimalist greys, creams, and whites. Apart from standard mod-cons, the higher-level rooms also have wireless speakers, free drink vouchers and bottled water, and slippers and bathrobes. Bathrooms, however, are sleek and stylish throughout the board.
With the River Aire right outside the hotel, an evening walk along the river with your partner is a great idea. If you’re looking for a fun-filled evening out, head to some of Leeds’ fanciest gay clubs like the Fibre and Viaduct.
One of the swankier gay friendly hotels in the heart of all gay action in Leeds is Roomzzz Leeds. Located down the street from amazing gay bars like Queens, Roomzzz apart-hotel is also close to River Aire, Granary Wharf, and the train station.
Even though it’s an apart-hotel, Roomzzz boasts of luxurious suites/studios with fully-equipped kitchens and spacious living rooms. The spacious digs are ideal for larger LGBTQ groups visiting the city. It’s also perfect for groups who want their own privacy after delving into Leeds’ fancy gay nightlife. The units are all decked out with plush ostrich-leather headboards, resplendent fabrics, and bespoke walnut-fitted features. A well-stocked on-site grocery store allows guests to whip up quick meals whenever they fancy. Furthermore, the apart-hotel even serves up a fine grab-and-go breakfast with both fruit juices and hot drinks.
Roomzzz is also ideal for exploring Leeds, as it’s walking distance from the Central Library, Cathedral, Royal Armouries Museum, Town Hall, and the City Museum. The apart-hotel is also a stone’s throw from the Old City area of Leeds, which can be explored on this fascinating 2-hour walking tour.
DoubleTree by Hilton Leeds
Nestled on the waterfront in Granary Wharf in Leeds is the Hilton hotel from the gay-friendly DoubleTree brand. The Hilton’s location is enviable for more than one reason. Firstly, Leeds train station is a character-laden stroll through the Victorian-era brick Dark Arches beneath the station. Some of Leeds’ best shopping avenues are less than 10 minutes away. Plus, gay travelers will love the 10-minute pleasant walk to the lively Freedom Quarter and its bars and clubs. What’s more, the hotel has a free water taxi shuttle service thrice every hour to the Leeds Dock down the River Aire.
From within, the DoubleTree by Hilton hardly feels like a chain hotel. If there were a list of the city’s best gay hotels with views, Hilton would certainly top it. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the hotel let the outdoors in and offer sweeping views over Leeds. The lively rooftop Sky Lounge and Bar boasts of great views of the city and West Yorkshire. It’s the perfect spot to sip a cocktail with your partner while watching the sunset. It’s also here that lovely afternoon tea and day-long wines and spirits are presented. Apart from a breakout area and gym, Hilton also has a bistro-style restaurant that lays out a nice buffet breakfast.
Modern and bright rooms with standard mod-cons and well-designed ensuite bathrooms ensure a pleasant stay. Opt for a higher floor if you want great views.
The gay-friendly Jurys Inn is located on the other side of the River Aire. It is walking distance from Leeds’ main attractions, the train station, and the Royal Armouries Museum in the other direction. And even though it’s on the other side of the River Aire, the gay scene at Lower Briggate is a mere five-minute walk.
Housed in a modern, 10-story structure, the hotel is contemporary to the core with an open-plan layout. The staff is helpful and forthcoming, and especially helpful with travel tips. While there’s a restaurant on-site, the bar with the 24-hour menu is ideal for midnight feasts and untimely hankerings in the room. A small gym is great for quick workouts and the discounted parking three minutes away is a blessing for those who have cars. What’s more, the hotel serves a killer full English breakfast as well as a smattering of à la carte dishes at no extra charge.
The rooms are the main draw at Jurys Inn. Some of the best rooms are the north-facing rooms with River Aire views and the higher-floor ones with cityscape views. A brown-and-cream color scheme, a modish decor, and contemporary bathrooms with tubs and exclusive toiletries are their best highlights. It also helps that the beds are extremely comfy. P.S.: Executive room guests get a well-stocked, complimentary minibar, free coffee and drink vouchers and 10 percent off on food/drinks.
Park Plaza Leeds
Gay travelers interested in exploring Leeds cannot find a better base than the gay-friendly Park Plaza. Located right at City Square, the modern, highrise hotel is within walking distance of the River Aire, the Gay Quarter, and Leeds train station. Plus, this great 2-hour walking tour of Leeds’ best sights and attractions begins right outside Park Plaza.
The hotel is set in what is one of Leeds’ tallest buildings, a 1960s-built former office block. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the restaurant and bars ensure sweeping, panoramic views of the city. A modern-minimalist color palette of blacks and creams is a great base for pops of neon lighting and color. Fitness fanatics will like the fact that there’s a fair-sized gym. The Latin cocktail bar, which also serves a hot buffet breakfast, is great for grabbing a sundowner cocktail.
Of all the rooms at the Park Plaza, we’d recommend the corner Executive rooms, which are not only spacious but have two windows. Standard mod-cons and stylishly simple decor render the rooms very comfortable. Those with the urge to splurge can choose the top-floor suites, which have kitchenette and dining areas and even a bathtub. The zenith of all luxury at the Park Plaza is the Penthouse Suite which boasts of gorgeous views of Leeds, the River Aire, and beyond.
Almost every English town has a distinct ‘train-station hotel’, and the gay-friendly Queens Hotel is the one in Leeds. However, this 1937-built hotel is anything but run-of-the-mill. It preserves much of its ’30s heritage in the form of Art Deco motifs in the décor and furnishings.
The restaurant, bar, and lobby have a generally upmarket flair with bright lighting. The ground-floor bar boasts of opulent decor and is buzzing with guests and locals lounging around. The basement restaurant also serves a superb breakfast, apart from a dining menu featuring a bevy of modern British fare. Guests can choose from standard/superior rooms and spacious suites. Chic and contemporary Art-Deco style interiors dot every room. High-end toiletries, a great set of mod cons, and super-comfy mattresses make for an extremely comfortable stay-in. Travelers with deeper pockets can try the QClub rooms which have access to an exclusive lounge and even have their own balconies.
The Queens Hotel is a stone’s throw from some of Leeds’ best attractions like the Art Gallery, the Trinity Leeds shopping mall, City Museum, and Cathedral. Even the gay scene at Lower Briggate is right down the street. What’s more, the hotel features good soundproofing, so one doesn’t have to sacrifice on sleep.
Right across from the fabulous gay bars of Blayd’s and Bridge in Leeds lies the gay-friendly Malmaison Hotel. The plush, glamorous hotel is reminiscent of an era gone by which is evident in the Moulin Rouge-inspired decor. For LGBTQ travelers seeking a blend of old-world British and modern living, the Malmaison is perfect.
Dramatic chandeliers and dimly-lit interiors radiate an intimate and private vibe. Helpful staff doling out travel tips and 24-hour room service and reception have travelers gushing at the level of service. The on-site brasserie and bar is done up in a charming way and features excellent happy hours. Their Sunday lunch is particularly well-liked, as is their afternoon tea. Moreover, breakfast is a hearty affair, complete with coffee and eggs Benedict.
Rooms ranging from cozy double rooms to spacious suites at Malmaison channel a distinct contemporary and urban-living feel. Huge headboards and exposed lightbulbs make for classy touches. To top it all, soft beds, comfy robes, standard mod-cons, and a well-stocked minibar keep the rooms from feeling nonexclusive.
The Bells – Serviced Apartments
The Bells Serviced Apartments make for a great accommodation for discerning gay travelers looking for style and a wee bit of history at the same time. Housed in a 17th-century building ensconced by trees, The Bells comprise six gorgeously restored apartments. Victorian-era touches blend with modern living at The Bells. Stained glass, Gothic windows, and exposed brick complement the open-plan living and handpicked furnishings. The decor is equally eclectic, ranging from antique cash registers and statement art to retro phones and mid-century furniture.
The history of the eponymous bells, for which the structure is named, can be found within each apartment. They have a slew of mod-cons including soundbars, wall-hung flat-screen TVs, and fully-equipped kitchens. Foot-soothing carpets and huge, snuggle-worthy beds make you feel at home. Each apartment also boasts of its own personality and touches range from a floor-to-ceiling glass wall in one to patios with hot tubs in another. Yet another unit features exposed brick walls and Gothic windows. All-in-all, gay couples seeking old-world romance will certainly love The Bells.
Located a street away from River Aire and the Gay Quarter, The Bells also boasts of a great location. Furthermore, Leeds train station and most cultural attractions are a short stroll away.
Dakota Deluxe Hotel
If luxurious low-key is what LGBTQ travelers are looking for, then the gay-friendly Dakota Deluxe is ideal. The hotel is close to River Aire, shopping areas, and the Gay Quarter, which makes it one of the best-located gay hotels in Leeds.
The hotel boasts of the same low-key elegance as the eponymous transatlantic aircraft of the 1930s, the Dakota. A pearly-white and glossy-black exterior with tinted windows lend the hotel exclusivity. Interiors are seductive to boot, with black-and-white photographs of Hollywood greats, low lighting, mirrored wall panels, and velvet sofas. The staff is enthusiastic and yet unintrusive. The intimate ground-floor bar is perfect for grabbing an evening cocktail and the hotel offers guests a £5 day-pass to a leisure center closeby. Foodies will love the full Yorkshire breakfast offered at the stylish restaurant.
Rooms at the Dakota radiate cocooned luxury with big mirrors, soft throws, velvet upholstery, and a restrained grey-on-grey palette. Huge TVs, well-designed bathrooms, and framed musical photos adorn the rest of the room.
Delve headlong into Leeds’ gay scene at the funky, gay-friendly Art Hostel. The hostel lies right down the street from some of Leeds’ best gay bars including the New Penny. Designed for younger travelers, the hostel will catch the fancy of the LGBTQ set in a heartbeat.
Housed in an 18th-century, four-story brick building, the hostel is outfitted with a 1960s retro theme. Porthole windows, Victorian iron fireplaces, flea-market fittings, and lots of ’60s retro curios dot the eclectic space. The lobby area features a small kitchen stocked with essentials and a lounge ideal for striking conversations with fellow travelers. The brick-lined basement strung with dainty fairy lights makes for an offbeat setting for paid yoga classes. The backyard houses a firepit, which turns into a lively barbeque area during good weather.
Rooms at Art Hostel showcase Leeds’ alternative and industrial heritage and have been designed by various visiting and local artists. Dorms and private rooms both are modern and feature fun and quirky decor. With someone at the reception all the time and no curfew, party monsters can head in any time after a night of revelries.
Just So You Know:
- Leeds’s Pride festival is currently the largest Pride festival to be completely free of charge in the United Kingdom.
- Leeds has many LGBT+ friendly sports classes and clubs.
Get Some Culture in Leeds:
- Leeds Pride: The Pride Parade in Leeds is Yorkshire’s biggest celebration of the life of the LGBTQ people. The festival is free to attend and features a host of events centered around and for the LGBTQ set. There are musical acts, rides, a family area, a marketplace, a pop-up DJ booth, and tons of food outlets. Plus, there’s the huge Pride Parade which begins at Millenium Square and ends at Lower Briggate.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Leeds:
- The Viaduct: This is Leeds’ most popular gay bar. It features some of the most exciting and steamy performances in the world.
- Queens Court: This gay bar with fantastic drink deals is a great place for starting your evening revelries in Leeds.
- Fibre: This gay bar has a cool, younger LGBTQ+ crowd and sees parties go on till the wee hours of the morning.
- Blayds Bar: This cheerful place is very popular with the LGBTQ crowd.
- The Bridge: Friday nights see a fabulous free karaoke night happen at this gay club.
- The New Penny: The Penny, as it is locally known as, is not just Leeds’ oldest gay pub, but is supposedly the oldest gay pub in the whole of the UK.
Best Gay Saunas in Leeds:
- Base: This is the most popular gay sauna in Leeds. It has two spa pools, a steam room, a dry sauna, and a ‘resting space’ to meet the hot guys. The gay sauna is open 24/7.