The Hampton by Hilton is one of the most popular hotels in Sheffield. It’s popular because it is has pleasant, modern rooms, good facilities and is great value. It’s not popular because it is housed in a gorgeous piece of architecture. So when you first spy the hotel sign attached to what looks like a 1960s concrete office block, don’t panic, just remember it’s much nicer inside…
The reception gives you a first taste of the modern efficiency that defines the Hampton. It combines the check-in desk with a shop counter for drinks, snacks and the essentials you may have forgotten and a small bar area with draft taps. And if that sounds like it would be a bit of a mess, it’s not, it’s neat and there’s something really quite pleasing about the clever use of space.
Around the corner from the reception is an extended seating area, where breakfast is served but which guests can use all day, and which includes a hub of sofas around a big-screen TV. Meanwhile, the banks of stools flanking a high desk each have a power socket next to them – just another reminder of how well thought out, practical (and therefore comfortable) the hotel is. And that’s a theme that very much continues into the bedrooms.
Our standard double room is no more than four metres square but makes fantastic use of that space and feels a generous size. That’s helped by the high ceilings and plenty of natural light. There’s free wi-fi and for anyone who needs to get a bit of work done during their stay, the desk right in front of the large window is a lot more pleasant an area to sit than you’ll find in most hotel rooms.
The décor is modern and attractive and the room basically feels brand new (at the time of writing it pretty much is). The high bed is solid and comfortable with good quality linen and the TV opposite is a good size. The bathroom is bright and white with a walk-in shower (but no bath), good lighting and a large mirror. I liked the range of soap, shampoo and conditioner dispensers in the shower and by the sink, although my wife would have preferred some individual bottles she could steal. One minor warning: the wardrobe and bathroom share a sliding door that means when one is closed the other is open. So if your partner is using the facilities, to avoid embarrassment, remember to leave the wardrobe open…
You also get an armchair and footstool, while a spare bit of wall by the door is put to good use as space for a wide, full-length mirror. There’s a kettle, tea and coffee, as you’d expect, and in the wardrobe you’ll find an iron and ironing board, but there’s no fridge. And although the room is billed as having a safe for valuables, we couldn’t find it (which I suppose at least means thieves would have trouble too).
Overall, it’s a really pleasant, comfortable and practical room, and – from £59 per night including breakfast, wi-fi and use of a small gym – it’s incredibly good value.
Food and drink
Breakfast is a buffet that covers pretty much all the bases – croissants and other pastries to go with your coffee and orange juice, cereal, toast and all the cooked breakfast items you’d need to put together a full English.
The small bar serves draught beer and cider, spirits and bottles but you may have to wait a while during check in and check out times as its staffed by the receptionists.
Officially, the Hampton doesn’t have a restaurant but effectively it does. It’s “affiliated” with a branch of Marco Pierre White’s Marco’s New York Italian, which is on the ground floor of the same building and has it’s front door right next to the hotel entrance. And it’s a lot nicer than most restaurants you’d expect to find in a three-star hotel. It may be part of a chain but inside – past the windows plastered with Marco’s trademark belligerent face – the low ceiling, long, gleaming bar and leather banquettes and booths give it a moody, classy feel with maybe a hint of low-key 70s opulence (see photo gallery below).
Despite the fact that we went for a late lunch on a Saturday when it was relatively quiet, it was easy to see that it would be a buzzy, atmospheric place later on and, as expected, around 7pm that evening cabs of dressed up punters started arriving.
Service was polite, friendly and down to earth and the food was good. The menu of pizza, pasta, steaks and burgers also caters for those looking for something lighter with a short list of salads and fish, and is made more interesting by a nice range of starters and the option to downsize selected mains.
Squid rings – always a good test – were fat and tender with a thin, well salted tempura batter, while crunchy bread-crumbed arancini (risotto balls) were fragrant with basil and a mild goat’s cheese and enhanced by a fresh tomato salsa. A side of coleslaw, though, had a vaguely artificial taste.
The gnocchi in my vegetarian primavera dish were good, if on the dense side, but the iron tang of the spinach – unusual in a primavera – cut through the richness of the parmesan cream beautifully. My wife’s duck burger was decent (even if it didn’t quite live up to the gamey, aromatic promise of our imaginations) and came with a lovely crispy poached egg and delicious onion marmalade.
The wine list includes a selection of four or five of each colour by the glass, and while arguably a little pricey, those we tried were good.
Without dessert, but with some olives, our bill came to a very reasonable £20 a head. With two glasses of wine and a pint each (hey, it was the weekend!) it was twice that.
Marco’s may not be the best Italian in Sheffield but we really enjoyed the experience. If you’re staying in the hotel, don’t want to venture far and are looking for a decent meal in a restaurant with atmosphere, this is the place to go.
RadioTimes.com rating: 8/10 – “A great value, cleverly designed and comfortable hotel in the centre of Sheffield, that proves you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”
Price: Rooms start from £59 per night, including free wi-fi and complimentary breakfast
Address/location: West Bar Green, Sheffield, S1 2DA, 15 minutes walk from Sheffield Railway Station
Contact: 0114 399 0999 firstname.lastname@example.org