“ Imperial Gate St, Mary's Street Cardiff CF10 1FA. Tel:0871 984 6224 „
Myself and my girlfriend stayed at the Cardiff Central Travelodge for 2 nights during one of the busiest weekends of the year - Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd December 2012. We were visiting the area for some friend's Wedding in nearby Penarth (about 4 miles away).
The hotel has a fantastic location in the heart of the city. The area is very popular with hotel companies, with many of the big names located within about a 400m radius. The Cardiff Central Travelodge is probably the least spectacular of the buildings, as it looks as though it has been converted into a hotel. The hotel sits upstairs of a Walkabout bar/club, so the street was very lively on our arrival on Friday evening, with many people out celebrating Christmas parties or the end of work for the year.
Check in was fairly straight forward, I provided my name and address and was handed a key card which was required to access the lobby with lifts and stairs and then once again to enter our room, which was located at the rear of the building on the 1st floor.
Our room was located down a higgledy corridor which seemed a bit run down, but we eventually went through another set of doors and it looked like your traditional hotel corridor again. On first inspection our room seemed OK, with a lovely view of the quaint looking Cardiff Central train station (About 2 minutes walk). We had tea and coffee making facilities, a nice clean bathroom and fresh bedsheets with 1 pillow each. I wanted an extra pillow each, as I really struggle with 1 pillow, which I'm sure most people would. We delayed the order of extra pillows until we passed through reception on our way out later in the evening.
We decided to have a cup of coffee, but was a bit disappointed to discover the cups and tea spoon were sticky and smelt like coffee. Either the cleaner had just rinsed them quickly under the tap or their dishwasher is rubbish. It wasn't a big deal for us, but it's not really acceptable at all is it?
On our way out of the hotel on the Friday evening, we requested 2 extra pillows, but the man on reception said they had a shortage due to some large numbers in the family rooms. Again, I wasn't too bothered, but once again it is simply unacceptable for a hotel to run out of pillows. Their fundamental purpose is to provide a good nights sleep and they were unable to provide us with 2 pillows each.
There was a restaurant/breakfast room on the 1st floor, which I popped my head in. It looked a little dated, but the chef was friendly and said Hello. Cannot comment on the food as we chose to have a McDonalds breakfast which was located 400m up the road.
Our 1st night in the hotel was poor, being above a Walkabout bar, we thought we had fell lucky with being given a room to the rear. However, we were so wrong! Every 30 minutes or so, we were woken by the clattering of glass bottles from the bar being emptied into a bin at the rear, right below our room. Later in the night/very early morning, a delivery lorry was reversing in the street at the rear of the hotel, which once again woke us up. I was quite tired the next day, but following the wedding on the Saturday night and following a good amount of ale, I slept very well and didn't wake once! The solution to a good nights sleep I guess!
Check out consisted of dropping our key through a letterbox and we were done.
A good hotel if your going to be drinking in the nearby bars. If not, I strongly suggest you ask for a room on a higher level (floor 2 or above) as hopefully the noise will have dissipated by the time it reaches your windows!
This will be my last review (I promise) on Cardiff. Well until I go down again. As you probably all know if you have read previous reviews that I was recently down in Cardiff for my hen weekend and I had such a great time I thought I would review what I could about it in case anyone else is planning a trip down there.
We decided due to it being a hen weekend and everyone was on a tight(ish) budget that we would book a hotel in the centre of Cardiff to cut costs on taxis and trains etc. We also decided that we would book somewhere a bit cheaper as we wouldn't be in the room much and just use it for sleeping each night.
We came across the Travelodge website whilst searching and many of us had stayed at Travelodge's across the country before so we all knew what to expect from the hotels. Sometimes I feel I can trust to go to a budget hotel more so than private hotels as you know what to expect whereas with a private hotel you've never been to it can be a huge disappointment for twice the price.
There was 4 Travelodge's in Cardiff to choose from which was a choice between Cardiff Central which we thought would be noisy due to it being on the same road as most of the nightlife, Cardiff Atlantic Wharf which was located down in Cardiff Bay which is a lot quieter than the centre and I would probably choose this one if I was on a family break. There was two other Travelodge's that were further out from Cardiff so we riled them out before looking into them.
So we decided on Cardiff Central, we were a bit nervous about how noisy our room would be with the nightlife right outside the building but I was happy to stay there knowing it was only for 2 nights.
We booked online and we were happy to see that you could book up to 3 adults in each room which really cut the costs for us as there was 5 of us going so it meant we had one room with 3 in it and the other with 2. I thought there might be an extra charge for this as I know Holiday Inn charge an extra £10 per night for more than two adults in a room.
The hotel is located on St Mary's Street. This is a 2 minute walk from the Central Train Station and the bus station so it was great to be able just to walk to the hotel and drop off all our bags and head out again without anymore travelling.
It does state on the website that rooms are from £55.00 per night but for the weekend we went it cost us £60 for the Friday night and then £64 for the Saturday night. I still thought the prices were very reasonable.
Extras whilst booking hotel
Whilst booking online you can choose to add breakfast and dinner to your booking at an extra charge. To be honest with being in the centre with plenty restaurants about I would find somewhere else to get your meals.
Breakfast is charged at £5.99 which is quite high compared to Wetherspoons a couple of doors along priced at £2.85 for a fully cooked breakfast.
Dinner is charged at £6.00 for a two course meal which is actually a really good price but it is a bar café meal so you might just end up with a snack for dinner, it wasn't really for me.
The other extras are early check in prices and late checkout prices which is £10 per room for each. I suppose if you have a really early flight arrival and need in the room before hand then early check in would be good as you get to book in at 12 midday instead of 3pm. Or if you want a lie in then you can check out between 12 midday - 2pm. We didn't bother with this as we were checking in late and leaving early for a flight.
SMS confirmation - for a small charge of 15p you can get a text sent to your mobile with all the booking details, this would save you printing out the confirmations and then having to search for them when you arrive at the hotel. From past experience in a Travelodge I knew we wouldn't need the confirmation as they can bring your details up with your surname which is easy enough.
Pets - remember to specify if you are taking pets with you at the time of booking. If you turn up with pets without prior consent from the hotel you maybe refused entry to the hotel. There can also be an extra charge for pets but I actually think it's worth it as there's not many hotels you can take pets with you.
Arriving at the Hotel
Whilst pulling in at Cardiff Central Station it would be hard to miss the Travelodge with a huge sign on the side of the building, makes it easy for you not to get lost if you've never been here before.
It took us 2 minutes to walk to the hotel from the Station and I was surprised to see that from the front there was only a small entrance to the hotel so from looking at it maybe the hotel wouldn't be loud at night as there didn't seem to be any rooms facing onto the busy street.
We walked into the hotel and we were greeted by a very friendly receptionist who took all our details to check us in, as I thought we didn't need our confirmation and just asked for the surname the rooms were booked under.
The reception area was quite small and with all 5 of us booking in the reception area looked really busy. There was also 3 vending machines with chocolate, ice creams, juice and other items including toothpaste and sewing kits. I was surprised about the toiletries as usually the hotels supply these free of charge if you ask for them.
There was also a computer for internet access and a payphone. If we were here for work then maybe we would need to use this but we never tried it so unfortunately I can't comment on costs for this.
The check in was a quick process as we had pain for the rooms when we booked them online as far as I'm aware it's the only way you can book rooms for a Travelodge now, before they used to just take an authorisation of your card but now they take the full payment.
We weren't give any information about where the bar was in the hotel and I'm assuming that's due to us not booking in for the breakfast or the dinner.
We were given our key cards for each room and noticed that our rooms hadn't been put anywhere near each other in fact they were on two separate floors. I was actually really disappointed by this and we asked if we could get rooms at least on the same floor but they said they couldn't do this.
So we had checked in and we went off to the rooms. We hadn't been told how to get to the rooms which you normally are told but it was pretty self explanatory once you get through the security door (which you have to use your key card in) to gain access to the lift. There is also stairs right next to the lift so if you're feeling fit then you can just climb the stairs which is probably quicker than waiting for the lift.
Once we got to our floor we had to work out which way our room was as the numbers went off in different ways but again it's self explanatory and we went straight to our room.
You have to use your key card every tome you want into the room so make sure you don't leave the room without it.
The room itself was a nice size and had one double bed and a single bed. There was also room to hang up some clothes with only 4 hangers which for 3 females sharing a room wasn't enough for us.
As there is with every room there was a kettle with teas and coffees and a small tv. This is where the first problem lay for the three of us in the room they had only put enough cups in for two people, we looked around and noticed there was the same problem with towels again they only had a bath and hand towel for two people.
We discussed it and decided we would call down to reception to arrange for them to send up an extra cup and towels..... Erm where's the phone? Unfortunately there wasn't a phone so we couldn't call reception. So we decided we would do this once we passed reception on our way out.
The room was a standard Travelodge room and was clean enough, when we opened the curtains to let in some light and have a wee nosey to see if we could see what the street was like. To our delight we had been given a room at the back of the hotel so there was no noise and we could have our window open so the room wasn't so stuffy without being woken in the middle of the night.
I then went into the bathroom to freshen up before heading out and I notice there was a bath as well as a shower, I thought this was great that they had both as usually they just have a shower.
So far the room was average but good for the money. Off we went to go out for the evening and we stopped at reception to ask about extra towels, we were told that we would need to wait until the cleaning staff came round the following day. Slightly unhelpful as it meant not all of us could have a shower in the morning.
The Next Day
In the morning we all decided that one pillow wasn't enough and everyone had a pretty bad sleep so whilst requesting towels and cups we asked for an extra pillow for each of us. Finally we would have everything in the room we needed for our final night.
We spent the whole day in Barry and when we returned about 5pm the cleaning staff had been in the room. There was one extra pillow instead of one for each of us so I texted the girls and asked them to get one from reception as they were still out shopping while I returned to sleep due to a really late night the night before and a bad hangover. Thankfully they had given us extra towels but no extra cups.
That night we had a better night sleep with two pillows each and I would say that the rooms were really quiet with absolutely no noise from the hallways or outside at all which was great.
So it's home time and we're all feeling pretty down about having to head home. We had left the room as clean as we found it and went down to the reception area. There was no staff on so we just had to drop the keys in the box and leave. Easiest check out I've ever had, it was great to not have the hassle of paying.
I did have a great weekend and even though there were a couple of problems you do get what you pay for. The staff were all really friendly and I couldn't actually fault them for anything.
The rooms were basic but just what we needed for our weekend and I knew what to expect before I arrived. As for location you really couldn't have got anywhere closer to the train station and also close enough to the night life.
I do recommend this for anyone going for a trip away with friends but I don't know how suited it would be for families.