I turned in to the car park of the Marriott hotel feeling tired, confused and a little stressed. I was late. My journey from Surrey to central Cardiff had taken much longer than I’d expected (Severn Bridge – can I introduce you to Dartford Crossing, a river crossing which doesn’t make cars queue for flipping ages to pay its tolls, because it uses modern technology and number plate recognition so that ALL DRIVERS PAY ONLINE?), and then my SatNav had given up, and I’d missed the turning for the hotel.
The road which the hotel is on appears to be for buses and taxis only, although it’s actually for hotel access too. The bus driver behind me honked his horn at me when I turned into the road. Or maybe he just honked his horn because I’d driven past the road and then done a u-turn in front of him in order to get to it. Either way, I was honked at, and I felt the gaze of throngs of costumed hen and stag groups upon me. (Although they probably didn’t actually notice me at all, having other stuff on their minds. The city centre was teeming with jolly hens and stags on both nights of my stay – a local guide told us that groups come here from ‘all over Europe’ to celebrate).
Once inside the Marriott, I relaxed. The hotel interior is luxurious and modern and the reception staff, all smiles and helpfulness, told me about the hotel facilities and gave me a map of the city centre.
I was in Cardiff for the Traverse blogger conference and I was sharing a room (number 707) with BritMums co-founder and fellow travel blogger Jen Howze. Jen had arrived earlier than me (sensibly, she travelled to Cardiff from London by train – the hotel is right by the station) and had already checked out the hotel’s Executive Lounge, which we’d been given access to as part of our review stay. I made this quick video of our room before popping to the Executive Lounge for a drink and a snack before heading out for the Traverse welcome party:
As you can see in the video, the room is comfortable, welcoming and well-equipped, although it doesn’t have a fridge. The room has two double beds and would work for a family of four. It also has an interconnecting door to the next room, so it would also suit bigger families, or families who prefer to have two rooms next to each other.
The Executive Lounge, on the eighth floor of the hotel, was a sanctuary for us during our two-night stay. You can access the lounge if you’re staying in particular rooms, if you’re a guest with a certain number of loyalty points, or if you pay £50 per booking.
Now, £50 may sound pricey, but I think that it offers good value: it’s payable per booking, per stay, so it would cover a whole family. You can go to the lounge for tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks (including fruit) at any time when it’s open (from 7am until midnight), in the mornings for breakfast, and in the evenings for drinks and canapés. There’s a limited range of options on offer for breakfast, but it was perfect for me. I had scrambled egg on brown toast, decaff coffee, cranberry juice and fresh fruit for breakfast there on both mornings of my stay.
There were also fresh pastries on offer, and bacon. There are some daily newspapers available for you to read, and free wifi while you’re in there. If you were sightseeing in the city, the hotel is in such a central location that you could easily pop back to the Executive Lounge instead of going to a café.
The hotel also offers breakfast in its main restaurant on the ground floor. This costs £12.95 per person if booked on arrival, or £15.00 per person after that. We didn’t try this breakfast, but it looked like a high quality hotel breakfast buffet.
The hotel has an indoor heated swimming pool which looks very inviting. I couldn’t use the pool as I had a head wound which I couldn’t get wet (don’t ask) but it would definitely be worth packing your swimming stuff in order to try it out. There’s also a sauna, steam room and gym for hotel guests to use.
In the area
The hotel is right in the centre of Cardiff, in a great location for exploring the city. There are shops, bars, restaurants and cafes right by the hotel. On the morning before we left we walked to medieval Cardiff castle and toured the Victorian gothic interior.
Cardiff Arms Park and the Millennium Stadium are also a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, and Cardiff Bay and the Doctor Who Experience are a short bus ride away.
The Cardiff Marriott hotel is a comfortable and welcoming place to stay, in an excellent location for exploring the Welsh capital. I’d definitely recommend this hotel.
The cost of staying at the Cardiff Marriott hotel depends on when you stay, when you book, and the type of room that you choose. Go to the Marriott website for more details.
Disclosure: We were guests of the Cardiff Marriott hotel for the purposes of this review. All opinions, images, videos and Harry-Potter-style head wounds are my own.