Did you know the London to Cardiff train takes an hour and a half? Crazy, isn’t it? You’ll take longer commuting across our capital than travelling to another one altogether.
Even today, with borders opening up, there’s an understandable desire to holiday within the borders of our beautiful island rather than brave passport control and more testing requirements than the average Olympic cyclist. Belfast, Oxford, Brighton – there are no end of destinations on this side of the channel. Cardiff is another.
Here’s the first thing you notice about Cardiff: as capital cities go, it’s pretty damn compact. No need to break the bank on taxis or wear out your shoes. The castle? It’s bang in the middle of town. So is the Principality Stadium. And the train station. The waterfront? That would be a 20 minute walk, tops.
If the centre of Cardiff is the place to be then The Parkgate Hotel is most certainly the place to stay. The Parkgate only opened in 2021, although the hotel is spread across to historic buildings – the former head post office and the old county court. (Don’t judge.)
The Parkgate is perfectly designed for the weekender. Five minutes from the station, two minutes from the main strip. There are 170 rooms, a spa, a bar and one of the best restaurants in town in the form of The Sorting Room.
The Sorting Room is located in what used to be the post office, and the food is indeed first class. Grilled Octopus with paprika chorizo is deconstructed on the plate and arrives looking like a piece of modern art. Decorative and delicious, what more could you want?
How about a 35-day aged Tomahawk steak? Or a 21-day aged Beef Wellington? The Sorting Room is serious about meat and its meat is seriously good. As is the grilled seabass should you be feeling fish. Pair with chips, mushrooms and a decent bottle of wine – bosh.
Enjoy some post-prandial downtime by ascending to the spa. Here you will find a sauna, steam room, infinity pool and some lovely views across Cardiff. As the pool overlooks Cardiff Arms Park, you could even enjoy some free rugby – well, half of it. Treatments are available should you wish to treat yourself.
There are a range of bedrooms and suites to cater from all budgets. The suites are really quite impressive: stylish and stacked with amenities, from Nesperesso coffee machines to sizable sofas, bathtubs and TVs. Go big or go home, right? Only don’t go home because the suite is far nicer.
The Parkgate’s quality and location means the hotel is certain to be a regular outpost for visiting sports teams. We stayed on the weekend of Chris Eubank Junior vs Liam Williams and kept bumping into various luminaries, from Roy Jones in the lobby to a besuited Eubank Senior coming out of the lift. Worth bearing in mind if you’re heading down for the Six Nations or the football.
The world is reopening and that is good. However it would be remiss to forget the many adventures closer to home. Cardiff is one of them. Go visit.
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For more info, see The Parkgate Hotel