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Phil’s Travels – Leeds, England (05.24)


Phil’s Travels – Leeds, England (05.24)

I met with a client at the InterCon Hyde Park Corner on Monday evening, in glorious sunshine and 22C. I went to Leeds less than 36 hours later under loaded skies, constant rain and 13C. Will summer ever come and be with us for more than just a day or so in 2024? It was so wet that I could barely see outside the train’s windows.

My train was due to leave at 07.33 and at 07.00, armed with croissant and cappuccino, I bumped into our man for Leeds, who had been in the Big Smoke for a Hilton event. Such serendipitous encounter was not lucky. Within minutes of the usual pleasantry greetings the PA piped up to advise the concourse that due to a train hitting a person somewhere near Retford all trains on the East Coast Line were delayed or cancelled. The latter included our 07.33. And the 08.03.

The PA chap did not know when the lines would be cleared and spent the best part of an hour encouraging travellers to stomp off to Euston (in the pouring rain), catch an alternative to Manchester and then figure out a route east to Leeds and beyond. We stuck and did not twist, and our bet paid off. The 08.33 ran, albeit with an anticipated detour delay of around 90 minutes. Our bet became an accumulator as 10 minutes into the journey, a different PA chap advised that the line was clear and that we would be going direct and arriving on time in Leeds.

We arrived at 10.47 (an hour later than our original itinerary had allowed for), so we split up and I headed off with the GM to inspect our maturing baby. This was my first full and detailed tour of the site, including a wander around the Rooftop and the public areas, including the MICE on Mezz.

  • Rooftop is going to be stunning. The indoor space was full of builders’ stuff but will be very atmospheric if the design drawings come anywhere close to reality. The terraces will be iconic – spacious and great views of the city.
  • Bedrooms were coming along and a floor was nearly complete.
  • On the Mezz Level I suggested a rejig be considered in future (switching the gym room with one of the meeting rooms, so best view goes to the more valuable revenue generating space).
  • Serious ground floor crossovers between the entrances, reception desk and lift lobby will be an operational challenge. GM already thinking of an extra bod to manage people flows at busy times.
  • Did you know that fancy bricks can effervesce? I didn’t know that this was the term but is simply means you have to wipe off the white dust that leaches from the bricks as they weather and mature.

Our site visit was followed by a quick carbohydrate heavy lunch and four hours of budgeting. Many thanks to the teams who worked so hard to prepare for this critical session. With the clock ticking down more quickly than anticipated (we started an hour late after all), I nearly missed my return train (thank heavens for laptop clocks). There were no persons hitting trains this time and I made it home on time.

During this whirlwind of day, I missed the mood music and the most momentous announcement of the year. Whilst I was so distracted Rishi got busy and ruined another Phil’s Forecast – he called his election four months earlier than would have suited me (or indeed the audience, so I don’t feel too bad). As a result, we can all look forward to six weeks of tedious political posturing clogging up our TV sets. What better way to prepare for our relaxing summer holidays? Enjoy!

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