Novotel sits on a pretty cool spot... It’s only a five minute walk from the city centre, and it also marks the start of the bay area. Without crossing any busy roads you can take a stroll along the water front en route to the Wales’s biggest art and culture zone the Millennium Centre.
Sizeable, even the standard rooms. Family rooms can easily sleep two adults and two children with some rooms connecting for larger families. The queen size beds are flourished with cosy bedding and I thought the new sink fittings cut a really cool contemporary shape in the bathrooms. The bathroom radios are a novel touch, as are the Bose iPod docks in the executive rooms.
If you’re accessing the Novotel on foot you can get a peak of their striking lobby and restaurants through their giant windows as you walk round the building to the entrance beyond the carpark. It’s a cool teaser for what awaits when you finally enter; the high roofs of the old warehouse building suspend cool lighting, showing off suspended walkways from one side of the building to the other. The combination of old brick and futuristic decor has been executed really tastefully too.
The gym, swimming pool, bar, restaurant and children’s area all lead off the lobby, creating quite a lively, buzzy atmosphere without being too over-facing, or so busy the staff don’t notice you.
Eating and drinking
Element Bar’s warm red colour scheme compliments the brick work really nicely and I doubt anyone can deny themselves the decadently wide, high-backed armchairs that are dotted around thoughtfully. The lobby’s lively vibe filters into the bar easily and they’re happy to serve food from the restaurant menu in the bar if you so choose.
As for the Elements Restaurant, if you didn’t know any better you’d think it was a regular restaurant and not part of a chain hotel. During the evening it’s especially remarkable as the lights are turned down low and there are enough quiet corners spread over two floors for you to find peace during your meal. The menu’s changed on every visit, suggesting they utilise seasonal ingredients and not rely on a formula sent from head office. Opting for a brasserie style selection, the vegetables are notably cooked with care and not soggy and lifeless.
With two gyms (cardio and free weights), a swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi, Novotel definitely delivers. They’ve even got an Turkish style hammam bath. With a strong public membership, it’s always busy without being too crowded, and the pool at night is lit up in a really groovy glow. Definitely a hotel highlight... And the pool fits in with the family angle too, if you can tear the kids away from the X-Box!
The bubbly staff on reception made me feel really welcome
Who stays there
Families and international tourists seemed to be the largest contingent of guests, but its location and facilities would suggest a large amount of business travellers stay too.
Internet will cost you £7.99 for 24 hours. Novotel regularly offer ‘buy one, get one half price’ for large families. Being slightly outside the city centre means there’s private parking. It’ll cost you, but nowhere as much as a multi-storey (and it’s much safer).
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
- Sporty types
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Family friendly
- Great leisure facilities
- Cool design and architecture
- Those looking for a peaceful stay might not be happy about the families
- Its location is great but it’s not quite centre of the action