WHAT’S IT LIKE? A 21-floor steel and glass new-build, the four-star Radisson Blu Cardiff opened in 2009 and is one of the tallest structures in the Welsh capital. You enter to a bright and modern double-height lobby, with floor-to-ceiling windows, white walls, reception desks ahead to the right, and red leather seats inside the door.
The feel is quite corporate, although colourful orchid displays, potted trees, a leaf-print feature wall and glossy bark-like tiles add touches of nature. There is a small bar at the far left-hand end, and a central staircase leads to the mezzanine-level Filini bar and restaurant. Staff are friendly and eager to help.
WHERE IS IT? It’s well located on Bute Terrace, at the southern edge of the compact city centre, opposite John Lewis and a five-minute walk from Cardiff Central train station.
ROOM FACILITIES The 215 guestrooms are mostly Standard category, with 25 Business Class rooms and 12 Junior suites located higher up the building – these offer excellent panoramic views of the city. The average room size is 28 sqm, with Junior suites 40-44 sqm.
Standard rooms come in three designs – “fresh”, “fashion” and “chic” – with varying furnishings and colour schemes. Facilities that come as standard include king or twin beds, air conditioning, free wifi, a workdesk, a flatscreen TV, an iron and ironing board, a laptop safe, a shower over the bath, and Anne Semonin toiletries. A fridge can be stocked with minibar items on request.
Upgrade to Business Class and you’ll get a buffet breakfast, robes and slippers, a Nespresso machine, free bottled water at turndown, additional bathroom amenities, a free daily newspaper and free movie channels. My top-floor Business Class room was quite masculine in style, with a colour palette of grey, maroon and brown. It had double-aspect windows, a smart, good-sized bathroom, and a comfy bed. It had everything I needed for my stay, though a quibble was that there was no plug socket by the full-length mirror (I could see only two free sockets in the room, one by the desk and one by the bed). The lights were controlled by switches on either side of the bed – there was no main wall switch.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Filini bar is an open-plan space with a wooden floor, red, orange and brown furniture, a long bar and lots of light through the building’s glass frontage. It leads to Filini restaurant, a spacious venue with a long glass wine cabinet and a mixture of banquettes, tables and chairs.
As the name suggests, it’s an Italian eatery, though I was disappointed to find it served only two pasta dishes – one with pesto and one cream-based. I would like to have ordered a tomato-based dish but plumped for the spaghetti with crab meat and light soave cream sauce (£14.50) – it was a big portion and nice enough, though a bit lacking in seasoning. To start I had opted for the bruschetta with vine ripe tomato and parma ham (£8.50) – also a large serving but too salty for me.
Service was excellent and very swift – in fact, if I had been dining with a companion I would probably have found it too quick, but as I was alone I was happy to eat speedily. A decent breakfast buffet is also served here. Open 6.30am-10.30am, 6pm-10pm (closed for dinner on Sundays). Lunch is available in the bar.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES These are housed in a dedicated area on the first floor and comprise a 300-capacity ballroom divisible by two (no daylight but with a 4.25-metre-high ceiling and a pre-function area), and four meeting rooms, three of which can be joined to host 150 people theatre-style. There is a PC corner here and another in the lobby.
LEISURE FACILITIES There is a small fitness room with four pieces of equipment.
VERDICT A smart, well-equipped and well-located business hotel that is a welcome addition to Cardiff’s hotel scene. I was impressed with the views from my top-floor room, and Radisson Blu’s free wifi policy is always appreciated. Good value too.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in January started from £79 for a Standard room.
CONTACT Radisson Blu Cardiff, Meridian Gate, Bute Terrace; tel +44 (0) 2920 454 777; radissonblu.co.uk/hotel-cardiff