Possibly thanks in part to the 'Doctor Who' effect, the Welsh principality has sloughed off a rough reputation over the last decade to offer a city break that has it all; indie shops in gorgeous Victorian arcades, awesome attractions, amazing sports and culture venues, and yes, the Doctor Who experience. Its range of hotels is just as impressive. Read on to find the best hotels in Cardiff.
Cardiff's best hotels
Set on grand tree-lined Cathedral Road, a lovely 15-minute walk through Sophia Gardens to the centre, this boutique-y B&B in a large restored Victorian house is charmingly laidback. Inside, its rooms (and self-catering apartments) make it feel very special; light-filled spaces over two floors mix modern amenities and décor with restored period features. Free breakfast and wifi complete the package, though we like the sound of the optional personal chef and chauffeured Rolls Royce.
It’s a bit of a schlepp into the centre, but worth it not only for an interesting walk through the gritty history of Tiger Bay, but for the glorious views across Cardiff Bay. Large rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and super-modern amenities and décor, plus Molton Brown toiletries, and the location is perfect if you’re in town for the attractions of Cardiff Bay – the Doctor Who Experience being the key one. The spa includes a swimming pool, sauna, gym and ESPA treatments.
This glorious example of 1960s office block architecture is a steal, with 165 modern, well-designed rooms from £69 – plus it includes a tip-top spa with pool, sauna, steam room and gym. Try to get an upper room for great city views; they all come with free wifi and breakfast, and upgraded rooms include Nespresso machines and minibars.
Small, select and in a great spot on Cathedral Road near Bute Park, this private hotel has it all – good prices (rooms from £90), plus free breakfast, wifi and parking, but also personal touches like Welsh cakes for breakfast (alongside a full Welsh breakfast), an open fire and fresh flowers in spacious rooms that feature modern amenities mixed with period features.
A rugby ball’s throw from the Millennium Stadium, the grand old Angel Hotel has hosted everyone from Marlene Dietrich to The Beatles. These days it’s not quite so grand, but its Victorian elegance still has a real appeal, with 103 en-suite rooms that are contemporary, if a little corporate, and public spaces that feature gorgeous period features. Rooms can be had for as little as £59, and include free wifi and tea- and coffee-making facilities, and the location, in the heart of the city centre, is the best.
The Grade II-listed Victorian Royal Hotel is Cardiff’s oldest hotel, and despite its faded grandeur it's still a great spot to rest your head, though you might want to bring earplugs – at weekends, its setting on raucous St Mary Street can be challenging. Sixty revamped rooms feature modern décor and some have great views, all have free wifi and Bee Kind toiletries – a nod to the hotel’s sixth-floor bee hives.
Yes it’s a chain, but its super-central location and expansive city views from the 21-storey tower can’t be beaten, and the smart, slick design of the 215 bright rooms and suites (take your pick from Chic, Fresh or Classic style), all featuring contemporary design, mini-fridges and free wifi, will satisfy most comers. Upgrades come with Nespresso machines and a complimentary buffet breakfast.
Holm House is actually just outside Cardiff in Penarth, but the art deco mansion’s location on the coast overlooking the Bristol Channel is a gorgeous one from which to make the easy 30-minute train ride into the city centre. Its 12 contemporary, bright rooms are filled with special touches like copper baths, homemade Welsh cakes, and cafetieres. There’s a lovely spa too, including a hydrotherapy pool, tidal current machine, steam room and small gym.
The Park Plaza is one for those who like their hotels as modern as they come, but with an air of sophisticated individuality. From the soaring lobby space to the art-filled, super-slick rooms, the feel is tres chic. The location’s nice too; set away from the main drag of St Mary’s Street but within easy walking distance of it. A spa features a 20m pool, spa bath, steam room and large gym. Free wifi and buffet breakfast complete the appeal.
Set in the countryside on the northern outskirts of Cardiff, this sprawling Georgian country house has lots to offer those who love the feel of a place steeped in history. They’ll love the look too; lots of historic bits and bobs and open fires in grand fireplaces, all kept from feeling too museum-y with modern textiles and bright rooms. Free wifi and fun local touches (Welsh shortbread and toiletries) make it feel very homey. Breakfast is included.