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In the Heart of Cardiff
Holiday Inn (Cardiff City Centre)
Member Name: azana
Holiday Inn (Cardiff City Centre)
Date: 10/04/12, updated on 11/04/12 (59 review reads)
Disadvantages: the first room we had was smelly
Initial impressions were not that great I have to say. On our arrival having entered the car park (an additional £10 a day) and being quickly checked in we were a bit bemused to arrive at our family room on the sixth floor to find that, though not a smoking room it absolutely stank of smoke, so clearly had been a smoking room in the recent past. The window having been left open made absolutely no difference to the impression that you were in an ash tray - to the hotel's credit when I phoned down and said politely that we weren't too happy to have been assigned a room that smelled so strongly of smoke seeing as we had two young children with us they gave us another room on the floor below promptly with no fuss at all and the rest of our stay was a very good, and blissfully tobacco smell free one.
The room itself had a double bed, a sofa bed and an additional put up bed, perfect for our needs. There were all the touches you need for a comfortable stay from a hair dryer to choice of hardness of pillows and the room was bright and clean with what must be Holiday Inn blue accents. The bathroom was a bit on the small size, and the shower wasn't great, but the room itself didn't feel poky even with the extra beds. There was an LCD TV and internet point - though we didn't use this as the £15 charge seemed a bit steep. Importantly the beds were comfortable, the sofa bed had obviously been recently replaced, the rest of the furniture was a little tired around the edges but perfectly fine. My husband appreciated the kettle and coffee making facilities and the room, though not luxurious by any means was good - there was a great view over the river. We found the walls a bit thin and were disturbed one night by neighbours next door, not the hotel's fault, but you could hear the TV so how well and long you sleep may depend on your neighbours.
Having paid for a package we ate in the restaurant both nights that we were there. The staff were all very friendly and service was good. We couldn't choose everything off the adult menu in our package but there was enough choice and frankly for three courses and breakfast £25 or so per person was a bargain. On the first night I had a duck roll starter, followed by a scrummy salmon and prawn keebab with vegetables and potato with brownie and icecream to finish. The children enjoyed their garlic bread starters and pasta one night and fish fingers the next. More dessert choices for them would have been great, there was only banana split or icecream with a teddy wafer but seeing as children stay and eat for free it seems churlish to complain . For adults there was also a buffet (£15 for non package guests) every night which you could have in the package which included a drink too - my husband had the curry buffet one night and I opted for Chinese on the second night of our stay with a glass of red wine. Both options were very good and the restaurant food in general was excellent, definitely more fine dining than all you can eat. We were a bit bemused by the hotel's accounting system which saw us being billed for the food and then by some complicated accounting system this was re-credited back at reception and then any extras added on. We never did quite understand it, or know if the staff got the tip we left as our final bill seemed to include a reasonable £8 or so per night which given we had extra drinks too seemed reasonable, the details were unfathomable in all honesty so we chose not to worry.
Breakfast too was very good with a choice of cooked and continental buffet. The staff were lovely and attentive without being over present, and everything was fresh and well cooked. There was plenty of juice, fresh fruit salad and also enough sausages and beans to keep the children happy, I couldn't really fault it. There were plenty of newspapers available - the 20p "i" which seems to be very popular with hotels for obvious reasons. The pastries and pain au raisins were fresh and there was an efficient toaster and lots of choice.
Being so centrally located the hotel was very convenient for most of the city's main attractions. Bute park on the river was literally just outside the door and equally it was a short stroll to the castle, shopping area and the National Museum, again the staff were more than happy to oblige with details of how to get the bus to the Techniquest and newer areas of the city. When we decided to extend our stay we were able to get the same rate, which was great given that it was actually lower than the rack rate, advertised on reception as £110.
Overall I would recommend this hotel and booking via holiday inn rather than expedia where you won't get the package deal we did. The location was excellent and would be good too for anyone travelling by train as the station was nearby. I didn't really begrudge paying the extra £10 for parking per day, but you should be aware that this applies before arrival. For business people this would be a good hotel and for families it is excellent. Though there is no pool or fitness suite there is all you need for a city break and frankly, for the price we paid it was a bargain given how good dinner was. Recommended.
For more details and photos:
the photo of the front of the hotel makes it look a bit more ugly than it is in reality - so don't be put off.
Summary: Good hotel in city - bargain for families
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