Newest Review: ... half an hour. We had a bit of a wander around, (this hotel is very central to Cardiff) and went back just after half an hour had elap... more
No Offence meant - and nun (sic) taken.
Member Name: andymcf
Date: 17/08/03, updated on 25/08/03 (111 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent hospitality, Brilliant location, Very comfortable
Disadvantages: Slight confusion over billing (soon rectified), They must have thought I'm a nun!
I've got something of a soft spot for Wales and, indeed, it would be fair to say that some of my very best friends are Welsh - which, I know, sounds rather like an apologist's defence of a minority grouping. It has a lot to commend itself. Looking at Wales on a map, it looks rather like a pair of somewhat saggy breasts on the front of England. Arrive in Wales and you'll instantly find yourself in bi-lingual country. The road signs proudly repeat themselves and even if "Caerdydd" is pronounced "Cardiff", you soon get used to the lingo. What other country would have a railway station called - and this, I know, will not go through the spell-checker - "Llanfairpwllgywngyllgogerychndrobyllantisili ogogogoch" It probably won't even go through a Welsh spell checker, but I've done my best to give you a feel for the language. Don't be afraid! The Welsh speak English with an alluring accent. They resort to Welsh when they're being anti-social and exclusive. It's only the rude ones that do this, like moronic language teachers in a school staff room. The difference is that Welsh is something of a minority language that you're unlikely to understand. French / German / Spanish teachers who think they're oh-so-clever will never be able to be so exclusive - and I don't know why they bother! I've always found the Welsh to be extremely friendly and welcoming; it's only the extremists who spend their time burning down holiday homes!
We were not, however, staying in a holiday home. We'd booked a room for two nights at the Hilton in Cardiff and, leaving the M4 motorway at junction 32, the A470 lead us directly to the hotel, ideally situated in the epic
entre of this very "happening" capital city.
The Hilton is a modern seven-storey building with an enviable location in the very centre of Wales' capital city, enjoying excellent views of the beautiful Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Stadium. Even if their current performance is somewhat risible, Wales has a proud rugby tradition, and this stadium - that replaces the famous Cardiff Arms Park - is a remarkable structure - you can easily organise behind-the-scenes trips. The hotel is built around a central atrium in a sort of V-shape with a rounded frontage and struck me as being very accessible; it was certainly not a problem getting baby Josh's stroller into the impressive lobby. He was fascinated by the revolving door, but there were more conventional entrances available!
We found ourselves in the spacious and elegant lobby area and proceeded to reception, where friendly and efficient reception staff greeted us. Our car was valet-parked in a car park adjacent to the hotel. We were soon checked in and directed to room 721. The seventh floor. As we headed to the lifts, I noticed that the sixth and seventh floors are "Executive floors". Ah! Joy! The perfect upgrade! We entered the lift and jetted off. Baby Josh loved looking through the glass wall of the lift into the atrium as we headed upwards. He's clearly not afraid of heights!
On arriving on the seventh floor, we headed to our room and were very impressed. The usual L-shaped bedroom, with the bathroom on the left hand side as we entered the room. The difference was that I'm sure I've been in (OK - not very nice) hotel rooms that have been smaller than this bathroom. The bathroom was magnificent, well furnished and included a stand-alone shower with a rounded, glazed, beautifully-designed front that simply screamed "Use me!" Given that the UK was experiencing record temperatures that week, it was a difficult invitation
to refuse. A superb shower, which was extremely relaxing.
Moving further into the room revealed a large, very comfortable bed, a desk and chair, an easy chair and occasional table, ample storage space, cleverly conceal
ed tea / coffee making facilities, minibar and windows which, had we been on the other side of the hotel would have afforded superb views. Our view wasn't brilliant, to be honest. The digitally-controlled air-conditioning was quiet and efficient and, in the heatwave, was a real Godsend! Josh's cot was already in place, and there was plenty of room for it; so often, cots can get in the way - but not this time!
The advantage of being on the Executive Floor is that you have access to the Executive Lounge. This had comfortable seating, excellent views, a delightfully peaceful ambience and (between 5pm and 11pm) complimentary branded drinks. If I ever get there, I'm sure that Heaven is a little higher up that the seventh floor. However, I certainly felt that I was getting a taster of what might be to come. Everything, from breakfast, to afternoon tea, to canapés to an evening's worth of drinks was stamped with my very favourite word. Complimentary - which, in Welsh, is probably "Frydd"!
We had booked a Dinner-Bed-and-Breakfast deal for two nights and, being in the company of baby Josh - whose table manners leave a bit to be desired - we'd reserved an early supper. The hotel's signature restaurant (and bar) is "Razzi's". It's stylish and served great food. I'm not a huge fan of vegetables, yet I thoroughly enjoyed a bowl of cream of Broccolli and Cauliflower soup followed by curried fillet of Sea Bass, followed by a Crème Brulee which was simply to die for! Amanda enjoyed her starter of Chicken Roulade with apricot mousseline with Avocado salsa, followed by Calves' liver with roasted parsnip and onion mash and - again - the Crème Brulee. And this was
Table D'hote. All very delicious. Josh was well-looked after with a plate of fish goujons and chips. The staff could not have been more friendly, nor more helpful, and even took Josh for a walk whilst we finished off our desserts.
We returned, satisfied, to our room. Time for a moment of comedy and an associated spot of anxiety - the only downside of our stay. As with any Hilton hotel, you can view your bill from the comfort of your room, via the TV set. I decided to check my bill. To my horror, despite being on a DBB deal, I had been charged a not-inconsiderable sum for dinner. Something like a 50% overcharge on the room-rate. I 'phoned reception and it was soon sorted out. Hey! Mistakes can be made. The important thing is how they are handled and, in this case, it was rectified very efficiently. The amusing thing was that, when checking my bill, I noticed that although my first name is actually Andrew, it was showing up as "Sister". No offence meant by the hotel - and nun (sic) was taken! Let's just hope they don't make this a habit! Once I'd pointed this out, it was soon changed. A small point but when there's a free bar up for grabs, you really don't want to be part of a convent!
Breakfast was superb. I don't really "do" breakfast, but Amanda and Josh certainly enjoyed themselves. Josh even managed a sausage and some haggis. I just stuck to tea, orange juice, toast and a croissant. The same staff were back on duty from the evening before (Big mention to Tracey and Gareth in particular). They remembered Josh and were very friendly once again.
After a most enjoyable day out in Cardiff, we returned to the hotel for dinner. Wishing to leave the diners at "Razzi" in the peace they deserved, we chose to take our meal in the "Steam Bar". A great decision! The staff were just as friendly as those in the "Razzi" and the food was superb
. I had possibly the nicest steak and chips I've ever eaten and Amanda had a superb burger. Josh had chicken and chips and his somewhat loud behaviour was swallowed up by the background music; at the end of the day, it transpired
that this hotel really does have something for everyone. Had I had longer to spare, this would have been a great environment in which to spend an evening.
Hilton do not tend to get inspected by independent authorities such as the AA (That's the respected "Automobile Association?" not "Alcoholics Anonymous", by the way), but this hotel bears 5 stars from the Welsh Tourist Authority. This is a grading, which I'd wholeheartedly support. A fantastic, friendly hotel that carries my full and very enthusiastic recommendation.
Check out was efficient and friendly and our car was delivered to the front of the hotel in under five minutes. We were very sorry to be leaving!
I may be no nun, but Amanda is certainly feeling like a Mother Superior!
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