I was recently invited to review a hotel from the Clayton Hotel chain and as it tied in nicely with my son’s graduation (yes I don’t look that old!) I decided to review the Cardiff branch.
The Clayton Hotel in Cardiff is situated at the end of Mary Street, right in the city centre and only next door to the train station. This 4-star hotel has 216 guest bedrooms and facilities include free Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, conference facilities and a gym.
Check In & Rooms
Check in was swift and James the receptionist was pleasant and helpful – always a good start!
Our room was one of the refurbished executive rooms on the 10th floor. Nicely decorated the room was an average size and in muted shades of browns and creams. I thought the room looked smart.
I liked the print of Cardiff Bay in the room, adding a nice local touch.
The bathroom was clean, and modern in appearance, with both a bath and shower, fluffy towels and complimentary toiletries. So nice not to have scratchy towels for a change and the supersoft robes and slippers available to use were of a good quality too.
In the room was a safe and iron and ironing board as well as a hairdryer. There were also plenty of USB chargers and plugs and a large mirror perfect to style your hair.
The tea and coffee tray had some really tasty shortbread biscuits and a Nespresso coffee pod machine was also available to use, and which you don’t get everywhere. A flat-screen TV was on the wall and had all the usual channels.
Welcome chocolates were a lovely surprise too!
There were two seating areas in the room – a desk and chair, as well as a small seating area by the window. perfect to look at the view.
You pay a little extra to get an executive room, and as well as a refurbished room you get a fridge with Coke, water and a Kit Kat, This was a nice touch, however, another Kit Kat would have been nice, as if you have a chocolate fiend like Mr W, you don’t get to share.
Room service was available and prices on the room service menu were average for a four-star hotel, with a burger and pizza being £12.95.
All in all, I thought the room was a good quality, with the robes, slippers, and coffee pod machine being a nice touch and drinks in the fridge reflected it being an executive room in a 4-star hotel. I would have liked a king bed however as the double seemed a little small. Maybe that’s because Mr W likes to spread out in bed!
We spent time in the room relaxing that afternoon and then after a shower (the pressure was great!) we went to the restaurant for a meal that evening.
The View Restaurant & Bar
The View restaurant is situated on the first floor with a view of Mary Street. Perfect for people watching. We were welcomed by James, the waiter and who was very personable. He gave us the wine and dinner menus and we sat and over a glass of wine, and decided what we would have.
The menu looked really good and consisted of steaks, a variety of fish dishes, lamb, chicken and vegetarian options. The way it was written made me think the food would be presented well, but little did I know I was in for a real treat.
There was also a specials menu, with some interesting sounding dishes, what about the strawberries and watermelon?
First I ordered smoked tomato soup and Mr W the asparagus, black stick blue cheese and walnut salad.
The soup tasted light and fresh and was not creamy which I was pleased about. There was a smokey flavour but it wasn’t overpowering. Served with a hunk of bread and butter it was a good choice if you were hungry.
The asparagus and cheese salad was very tasty, and I liked the strong flavour of the blue cheese with the crunch of the walnuts. It looked great too.
I was recommended the duck from the specials menu so I ordered that whilst Mr W ordered the chicken.
The duck was served pink, on potato Anna, a thin potato cake. I thought the duck could have been a little pinker and wasn’t quite tender enough although it had great flavour. The potato cake was yummy though, crispy layers of potato added some texture to the dish. The jus was rich and delicious and the broad beans were a great accompaniment.
The chicken was very well cooked and the red wine jus very rich and delicious. Mr W commented he would have liked a little more jus as it was so good. The confit potatoes were roasted well, with a little colour and the Tenderstem broccoli wasn’t overcooked.
On to desserts.. well you have to don’t you?!
I thought the desserts were outstanding. The lemon tart was amazing, the crisp pastry shell held a smooth creamy lemon curd filling and the Chantilly cream was the perfect accompaniment. A smattering of granola added texture and all topped off with a lemon macaroon too.
The strawberry and watermelon dessert on the specials menu was also very well presented and tasted fabulous. A smooth strawberry mousse set on a vanilla sponge was presented in a small can and was accompanied by biscotti and watermelon cubes. It looked exceptional on the plate and Mr W really enjoyed it.
After our dinner, we sat and had coffee in the lounge area by the bar. The small lounge area was lovely and relaxing, and I even spotted a Banksy or two (prints, not originals I’m afraid).
So we retired to bed, and yes Mr W did spread out that night leading to a bit of an uncomfortable night sleep. It was a warm night and the air conditioning was good though so a big thumbs up there.
Breakfast At The Clayton Hotel
The next morning we were really looking forward to breakfast. The breakfast consisted of a hot and cold buffet with a selection of pastries, cereals, fresh fruit and more. The cooked options included back bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, sauteed potatoes, mushrooms and baked beans. The bacon was crispy which was good, no soggy bacon here. I noticed the bread was particularly fresh and excellent for making doorstep bacon sandwiches!
They make a point of having a ‘vitality breakfast’ section too with lots of healthy options which included luxury granola, bio yoghurt, homemade porridge, seeds and nuts. If you have dietary requirements they appeared very accommodating as there was a good selection of gluten-free cereals for those avoiding gluten, and an allergy notice showing which foods contained potential allergens.
So what did I think of the hotel? I thought the Clayton hotel was in an excellent location in Cardiff city centre. The hotel was modern and the executive room was of a very good standard, with complimentary drinks, a Nespresso machine, and comfy robes and slippers. I personally thought that the bed could have been bigger. Staff were very well trained and personable and are a credit to the company. The food in The View restaurant was excellent, with the desserts being stand out dishes. Breakfast was very good and they are accommodating for dietary requirements.
Would I stay here again? Yes for certain. Recommended.