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The Royal Hotel 2.5

Cardiff, South Wales, Wales

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Prime central location in Cardiff, near the Millennium Stadium 
  • Cardiff's oldest hotel in an impressive Victorian building
  • Contemporary rooms with comfy Hypnos beds, free Wi-Fi, and HDTVs
  • Daily hot breakfast buffet (for a fee)
  • Art Deco bar/lounge offers 24-hour snacks
  • Rooftop bee hive provides local honey
  • Facilities for group events
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the property
  • Cocktail mixing classes available (for a fee)

Cons

  • Outdoor noise and large indoor events can get loud
  • Breakfast buffet is not included
  • Lack of on-site parking 

Bottom Line

The Royal Hotel is a two-and-a-half pearl option located in the core of Cardiff, across the street from the famed Millennium Stadium and within walking distance to St. David’s Shopping Center. Cardiff's oldest hotel is inside a grand 19th-century Victorian structure with thoroughly modern interiors. Plush beds, renovated bathrooms, and triple-glazed windows keep all 60 rooms comfortable and generally quiet. There’s no formal on-site restaurant and breakfast is pricey. For a more intimate hotel slightly insulated from the busy city center, travelers may prefer the Lincoln House Private Hotel. 

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Scene

Updated, contemporary furnishings inside Cardiff’s oldest hotel 

Built in 1866 (explorer Sir Robert Falcon Scott was a regular guest), and Cardiff’s oldest hotel, The Royal Hotel’s pedimented windows and balustraded balconies are unmistakably Victorian. Inside, classic notes can be spotted here and there, notably in the sprawling Captain Scott meeting room’s mahogany walls and via white linen tablecloths. But the vintage vibe ends there: both Art Deco and contemporary designs dominate throughout the rest of the hotel, from the hardwood floors and purple velvet sofas in the reception area to the metallic upholstered chairs and geometric wallpaper in the lounge bar. The combination of historic exteriors and refurbished interiors strikes the right note between classic and contemporary, retaining enough of an old-fashioned atmosphere but including the comforts of a modern hotel. This is a popular choice for business travelers, tourists, and weddings. 

Location

In the heart of Cardiff, across the street from the Millennium Stadium

Most of Cardiff’s major attractions are easily accessible from The Royal Hotel, thanks to its location smack in Cardiff's city center. Guests should also expect some noise from the bustling urban surroundings of nightclubs, shops, and traffic. It’s a four-minute walk to the massive St. David’s Shopping Center and a six-minute walk to the Millennium Stadium across the street. Cardiff Castle is seven minutes away on foot and the National Museum Cardiff is a 12-minute walk away. Cardiff Central train station is a four-minute walk from the hotel, and there are at least two local bus stops two minutes away on foot. Public transport will reach other tourist sites like Cardiff Bay in 12 minutes, or St. Fagan’s National History Museum within 30 minutes. Cardiff Airport is a 30-minute drive away, or 43 minutes away by public transport.

Rooms

Contemporary decor, with large bathrooms and spacious Hypnos brand beds

Simply but tastefully decorated rooms use a stylish red, black, and white color palette for their contemporary furnishings. Leather tufted headboards, hardwood floors, and sleek work desks are trendy touches. Warm lighting and framed black-and-white prints of yesteryear Cardiff keep the spaces feeling cozy. Most room windows peek out onto lovely views of the shops lining the main street, and windows are triple-glazed to keep out (most) outside noise.

All Twin and Double Rooms feature spacious Hypnos brand beds, HDTVs, air-conditioning, safes, and free Wi-Fi. Ironing equipment and coffee-and-tea-making facilities are also provided. Larger Deluxe Rooms include additional amenities like free mineral water and a bottle of wine per night. Cinema Rooms provide a more entertaining experience. These rooms include board games, 75-inch HDTVs with surround sound for films and video games, mini-fridges, and movie-themed decor and snacks. Triple Rooms accommodate larger groups and baby cots can be requested for a flat fee. There are four handicap accessible rooms at the hotel.

The slate-gray bathrooms are spacious in all rooms. These include shower/tub combos with fixed showerheads, hairdryers, and the hotel’s own honey-scented toiletries.  

Features

No restaurant, but a hearty breakfast spread and stylish bar with 24-hour snacks

The lack of an on-site restaurant or room service is surprising for a hotel of this size, but a partnership with the Mia Porto Duo restaurant across the road provides discounted dinner packages. On the property, food and drinks can be found at the refurbished Fitz's Bar, where plum-colored couches and dark oak paneling create an inviting atmosphere. Cold bar snacks are on offer 24 hours a day, and cocktail-making classes are offered for groups. A hearty, but pricey hot and cold breakfast spread isn’t included with the room fee, but is marginally cheaper if pre-booked. 

While there is no business center, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. Additionally, two large meeting rooms are popular venues for weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, business meetings, and local events like charity fundraisers.

The hotel’s rooftop beehive is an especially fascinating feature; guests can be escorted by a staff member to view the honeybee-breeding farm.

Parking can be an issue here, as the hotel doesn’t have an attached lot, nor are there any parking garages in the immediate area. However, guests get a decent discount at a nearby parking lot a few streets away, with which the hotel has an arrangement. Additional amenities include shoe shining, laundry and dry cleaning services.

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Address

88 St. Mary Street, Cardiff CF10 1DW, United Kingdom

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