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COPTHORNE 'COPPED' OR JUST CONNED
Copthorne Hotel (Cardiff)
Member Name: sue.51
Copthorne Hotel (Cardiff)
Date: 19/04/03, updated on 19/04/03 (468 review reads)
Advantages: Convenient Location for travellers, Lots of shopping facilities around, Good sports facilities
Disadvantages: Very expensive, Would require a taxi to access any cheaper bars, Very high telephone charges
The Copthorne chain are owned by Millenium hotels, and not a brand I am particularly familiar with; I did stay in the Copthorne, Aberdeen for a number of weeks and it was good, but that was 15 years ago and time changes everything as I know to my cost.
I arrived at the hotel at exactly 12 Noon and standard check-in time being 2pm, I was given the opportunity to do so there and then, provided I took a smoking room, which suited me fine. The process was relatively quick and painless, and although someone else was picking up the tab, they took a swipe of my credit card to cover any added extras such as a glass of Coke from the bar :), a quick call to pick up my e-mails, or those lovely erotic movies on the TV (NOT). Reception is a rather grand affair with lots of high ceilings and chandeliers, despite the hotel being fairly modern.
Most will undoubtedly require a second mortgage if paying full rack-rates here; rates start at £175 per night for a standard room rising to £250 a night for a suite - very pricey, although no-one should be willing, or have to, pay full price for any hotel in this day and age with all the offer sites around. As we were attending in a large group I think we were charged an all inclusive rate for the room, conference and 4 meals of £85 per person, so as you can see there are offers to be had.
Superbly convenient, the hotel is situated probably around 8 miles from Cardiff International Airport and roughly the same distance from the city cen
in an area known as Culverhouse Cross; if you are a big shopper, and fan of M&S you will be in Seventh Heaven, as CC has what I understand is one of their biggest stores and is in the process of being expanded. M&S is open daily until 10pm, except Sundays. There is also a local PC Store, PC World, Furniture Stores, Tesco, Mothercare, Comet and a Daewoo showroom within easy walking distance of the hotel. The site is about 5 miles from the M4, Junction 33 and 3 miles from Cardiff Bay.
All decked out in a dark, oak like wood, it was bigger than your average room, with double bed, desk area, colour TV, trouser press, wardrobes, tea and coffee making facilities, some very large throne like chairs and a lit up vanity area and small stool with hairdryer and additional plug for a curling tongs etc. What there wasn't anywhere in the room was a normal chair, where on earth am I supposed to sit and watch the TV? Not that I did too much of that. The TV offered all the normal channels, plus local and national radio, Sky Sports 1,2 and 3, Sky News and Bloomberg and some other little known Digital channels. There were also the standard pay per view movie channels -£7.99 for 24 hours.
The en-suite was fairly standard, with sink area, toilet, bath and shower with thermostatically controlled taps. The shower was appalling, fixed high on the wall, and with a jet-stream that resembled something more of a dripping tap than a power shower. Additional extras were kept to a minimum, with one small bottle of bubble bath and one of a combined shampoo/conditioner. Towels were provided and the bath one was more than sufficient to cover my ample frame with plenty left over. An iron and ironing board were provided and required a PhD in Engineering to figure it out, the legs were broken, nearly resulting in me decapitating my fingers and you actually plugged the board in rather than the iron, with the iron running off a timer attached to the iron
oard - not a
very pleasant experience.
I mention these separately as they were appalling, during weekdays including evenings you pay £3 for a 5 minute local call, and £6 for a national one - I think the charge for calling a mobile was around £15 for 5 minutes - how on earth can they get away with this? The only plus side, if it could be called that, is you had a roaming freephone internet connection number, then you were only subjected to a £1 connection charge. I recently stayed in a 4 star hotel in Amsterdam and the cost for a 15 minute international call was a mere 3 Euros (around £2) - I think our hotels would do well to take a few tips from our European neighbours.
The telephone rates in the Copthorne do drop to a somewhat more respectable £1.20 for a 5 minute local call and £2.40 for a national call from 6pm on Fridays and all weekend, but still a total rip-off though.
Normally I wouldn't even consider checking the phone rates, but on this occasion I was waiting for a few e-mails and as I didn't have my super-duper kit for connecting to the internet, I had no option but to use the hotels telephone, in addition to the appalling costs, I had forgotten how ridiculously slow narrow-band connections are.
I have seen so many hotel rooms over the last couple of years that I tend to measure the facilities on things other than the room, such as leisure facilities which I often don't get time to use, and food.
The meals in this instance was a buffet lunch, which would have been very nice had I have liked the options chose, and the evening meal was a hot serve yourself buffet meal which consisted of:
* Coronation rice
* Potato Salad
* Cold Mushrooms
* Bread Rolls
And I have to say was extremely tasty and filling
* Spicy Chicken (very with red chillies on top) <
* Veggie Pasta
* A range of vegetables
* Boiled Rice
* New potatoes
I didn't venture into this but apparently the choice was a lemon pie or cheesecake - all washed down by a very pleasant tasting cup of black coffee.
Aaaggggh - definitely not cheap - a hotel for corporate business expenses methinks - £3 for a pint or bottle of lager and around £4 for a G&T, and their management should take a few lessons on how to look after lager properly, it was tasteless, seemed watered down and flat - even the barman commented that he wouldn't pay the prices, as the hotel is not really near the centre of Wales's capital city, I can only assume that they rely on business customers on expenses and their close proximity to the airport.
Of course this comes the morning after the night before, and what a night. Breakfast consisted of the usual range of cereals, fruit juice, bread rolls and croissants followed by the full English choice of:
* Fried, Scrambled, Poached and Boiled eggs
* Baked beans
* Hash browns
* Fried bread
All washed down by coffee and tea or toast. I was not offered a choice of brown or white toast. Some of my colleagues thought the breakfast was very tasty, personally although the bacon was evidently high quality cut, but undercooked and cold, and the hash-browns were indescribably appalling,
Unfortunately, the intensity of the two day visit did not really allow for a visit to the hotels extensive leisure facilities unless you wanted it at 6am, but I understand in line with company policy, the leisure suite,which was situated on the ground floor, consisted of: (from a website)
* Steam room
* Snooker room
* Swimming pool
* Fully equipped gym
* Spa bath and aerobics studio
The hotel is apparently air-
though I didn't see any evidence of it during my stay and found it interminably warm, although I do remember two cases of customers contracting legionnaires disease there a good few years ago.
I don't know if the manager was secretly anti-smoking, because despite having limited 'no-smoking' areas, including the restaurant, finding an ash-tray outside normal bar hours was impossible.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
It is very difficult when you live so close to a city to know whether there is better to be had for lower prices, as normally I could not justify an overnight stay in a Cardiff hotel, but from my travel experiences to date, I would positively guarantee there is better around, although maybe without the leisure facilities I didn't use.
It is unlikely that I shall be staying there again, as I don't have any romantic weekends in Cardiff on my agenda in the foreseeable future, but if I win the lottery, who knows?
I have said I recommend it, but I would say that unless you can get a very good rate, this applies only to those with unlimited expense accounts.
COPTHORNE HOTEL CARDIFF
Cardiff CF5 6DH, Wales.
Telephone: 02920 599100
Web: http://www.millenniumhotels.com/mc/hotel_descripti on.jsp?hotelId=48
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