The Sandringham is at the very heart of the city centre. Equidistant from the new sparkling shopping hub St Davids 2, the Millennium Stadium and the castle, the hotel is on the centre of St Mary’s Street, one of Cardiff’s oldest thoroughfares. Now pedestrianised, there’s a new air to The Sandringham’s atmosphere; the spluttering busses of old are a distant memory, creating a sedate, almost retreat-like air about the place.
They’re much bigger than I’d assumed from the initial staircase on entry and compact reception. Double or twin, there’s plenty of room to manoeuvre and more than enough storage for a long weekend stay. The same can be said for the bathrooms; they make a refreshing change from other two star hotels who just throw a bathroom in a small corner cupboard.
The roomy Grovesnor Suite and cosy Stuarts Lounge don’t really seem like they’ve changed since the 70s. For some this will add to the hotel’s personality, for others it might seem a little too dated. CafeJAZZ downstairs, however, is an unarguably cool area with subdued lighting and carefully placed seating that’s waiting to be taken outside on the newly pedestrianised street when the sun comes out.
Eating and drinking
A hearty breakfast can be found in the Grovsenor Suite but for main meals CafeJAZZ is open to guests with a 20% discount (and free entry to all events in the club later on in the evening). Food in CafeJAZZ is equally as hearty; a reliable blend of traditional pub food such as homemade pie and beef lasagne.
The play-safe menu does seem a little at odds with the cool reputation the venue has developed on the UK jazz and blues circuit, but it’s always been well appointed with guests and locals whenever I’ve been there.
Professional but relaxed and extremely welcoming, the manager takes a remarkable hands-on role.
Who stays there
Music aficionados visiting CafeJAZZ, business travellers during the week and sports fans visiting the Millennium Stadium.
Sundays are the cheapest days to stay, breakfast is included in the price and WiFi is free. Guests also have access to the Vitality Gym about five minutes across town for the reduced rate of £5.
- High-Speed Internet
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
- Stag / hen parties
- Live entertainment
Pros & Cons
- Incredibly cheap for somewhere so central
- Genuine character
- Free WiFi
- Slightly dated decor