As a born and bred Cardiff girl, it is often hard to imagine the city from a visitor’s perspective. If I was travelling to Cardiff, where would I stay? What places would I go to? What would the city look like to me? Why is there a man playing drums on a bin? What would I make of chippy lane at 4am? These are the important questions. I have never spent a night in a hotel or apartment in my hometime but I would love to see what it was like?
Luckily I recently had the opportunity to spend a night in an Aaron Wise serviced apartment, this meant I got to stay right in the middle of Cardiff city centre, like some sort high flying city chick, just slap a power suit on me and call working girl. It’s been a busy few blogging weeks for me, so a night away in the town centre with neglected husband Luke was definitely a much-needed break.
As we arrived at our accommodation Luke asked ‘What is a serviced apartment?’ as he looked at the building quizzically. ‘It’s not like a hotel’ I confidently announced, whilst trying to slyly Google ‘what is a serviced apartment?’, without him noticing. The interwebs informed me that ‘Serviced Apartments’ offer facilities that are like a traditional hotel but with added space, amenities and offering guests the chance to live like a local.
The Aaron Wise serviced apartments are located across from the iconic Principality Stadium, offering some great views of our magnificent stadium from the window. You really do feel like you are right in the heart of Cardiff here, with all the bars and restaurants only a few minutes’ walk away.
Our first impression of our home for the night was that it was an uber modern and luxurious space. The apartments have clearly been designed with careful attention to detail.
There was an open plan living room and kitchen with a dining table next to the window, meaning you could look out on the city as you ate dinner.
There was also a fully-fitted kitchen should you wish to cook your own food. We decided to be particularly lazy that evening and order in some Sushi and curl up on the sofa.
There’s little features like a smart TV, self-proclaimed super-fast Wifi, spotlights and gorgeous lamps, giving ever such a classy ambience. It was incredibly stylish and as I wandered around I kept thinking ‘why doesn’t my house look like this?’ I want a Tassimo coffee machine, why is life so unfair?’
Luke poured me a glass of wine to soothe my envy and then helped me get online as I was hosting a Travel Twitter chat that night and it was imperative that the internet was super-fast, it was time to test it out. Thankfully the wifi in the apartment was super speedy and I was able to totally boss my Twitter Chat, like the blogging queen I am.
We decided to freshen up and go and explore Cardiff for a few hours, as we were so close to the centre, we may as well make the most of some of the fabulous bars that Cardiff has to offer. The independent bar and restaurant scene has exploded in Cardiff the last few years, there is all manner of amazing eateries, bars, pop ups and microbreweries to try in the City, you are frankly spoiled for choice. Whilst you are in Cardiff why not try and give the chain places you can go to at home a miss and support some of the innovative and brilliant independent and local venues the city has to offer?
There’s a huge array of choices but a few places in the City Centre I would recommend are:
Nine Yards – Prosecco, little cakes & Italian inspired eats
Meating Place – Amazing steaks and frankly incredible onion rings
The Hashery – Two for one on cocktails and the best mozzarella sticks around
Ten Mill Lane – Late night drinks, cool tunes and booths
Chai street – Lush Indian street food & great vibes
29 Park Place – awesome cocktails in lounge style surroundings
Grazing Shed – Bang tidy joint serving the best burgers in Wales,
City Arms – Proper boozer serving real ales in a buzzing atmosphere
Park Plaza – Stylish bar, fabulous afternoons teas and spa
Café Citta – Snug Italian place serving gorgeous, authentic pasta and pizza
We went to a few of our favourite venues for some drinks, before heading back to snuggle up in the apartment. As we were so centrally located, it was lovely to stroll through the city on a summer’s night without trying to work out bus timetables or flag a taxi in sideways rain.
After our pleasant walk back and decided to retire to bed. The bedroom in our apartment was also very sleek, there were spacious fitted wardrobes to hang your clothes, a flat screen TV, dressing gowns laid out on top of a very comfy bed complete with lovely linen to cuddle up in and watch some late night TV, obviously with a glass of fizz as a night cap.
We awoke the next morning refreshed and ready for breakfast with a stadium view. As I laid breakfast out I started to make us a ’posh coffee’ from the machine. This turned out trickier than I imagined. How does one use a coffee machine? Where do you put the pod? Where does the water go? Why is this so complicated? A full 20 minutes had passed and I realised I was now angrily asking an inanimate object if it was ‘taking the piss out of me?’. This is clearly why I do not have a Tassimo, it’s not for people like me. In the end, I had to watch a YouTube video on ‘How to use a Tassimo machine’, which was vaguely reassuring, as clearly other people cannot operate simple coffee machines.
Coffee now mercifully in hand and my inner balance restored, I reflected on our stay. Overall I enjoyed our experience staying in a serviced apartment. For me, it was the little touches that made it a pleasant experience, the luxury toiletries for use in the bathroom, the dressing gowns, the complicated coffee machine.
It also had a more ‘homelier’ vibe than a than a hotel. As a travel blogger, I stay in an awful lot of hotels and some of them can feel a bit nondescript if I’m honest.
I would recommend staying in an Aaron Wise apartment if you are looking for something a bit different from a hotel. It’s more of a comprehensive accommodation and with all the extra amenities and home-like features, it would be great if you are looking to stay longer than a few days as well. I frankly wanted to move in after just one night!
Visit the Aaron Wise website for more information.
Aaron Wise very kindly provided me with accommodation for the evening but all views, as always, are my own.