Discover Cardiff's oldest hotel where Star Wars and beehives await you
A Cardiff girl born and bred, I’ve always known The Royal Hotel St. Mary Street has been going for years but until my recent stay, I had no idea it was the oldest hotel in Cardiff. A Grade II-listed Victorian building built in 1866, The Royal Hotel has a rich, vibrant history and in 1910, it hosted the farewell dinner of Captain Scott and his team before they embarked on their ill-fated Antarctic expedition.
Despite its old age, the contemporary decor is anything but old-fashioned. From the plush purple velvet sofas and armchairs in the foyer and lounge bar, to the luxury embossed wallpaper and framed pictures of Cardiff landmarks, the whole place exudes sophisticated glamour.
Conveniently located just 100m away from Cardiff Central train station, The Royal Hotel is the closest hotel to the Principality Stadium. It’s location is at the heart of Cardiff’s nightlife scene, just a stone’s throw away from popular cocktail bars and clubs, as well as the Stadium Plaza sports and entertainment complex. Meanwhile, if you’ve come to Cardiff to hit the shops, you’ll be pleased to know that boutique arcades, St David’s Shopping Centre and Queens Arcade can all be found less than a ten-minute walk away.
The Cinema Room
As we stepped into our Cinema room, we were greeted by a striking cardboard cutout of Marvel Comic’s Colonel Nick Fury. When we glanced around the rest of the room, we were even more flabbergasted!
A colourful Star Wars mural occupied an entire wall, accompanied by a TV cabinet plastered in DVD covers, a colour-changing Pac Man table lamp, movie posters hanging on the walls, movie buff books on the desk, board games in the wardrobe and Game of Thrones cushions on the super-comfy Hypnos bed.
My partner was like a little kid at Christmas when he discovered the PS4 and the selection of games that came with it – not to mention the 75-inch LED HD TV with USB connections, Freeview HD and Surround Sound. It was probably the only time he hasn’t been bothered by how long I took to get ready for our meal out!
If we didn’t already have a restaurant booking, we would’ve had no reason to even leave our room. We could’ve just ordered room service and pigged out on our movie munchies. The food menu includes light meals, sandwiches, snack and desserts, with most mains priced at £10.95 (all room service orders attract a tray charge of £2.50). Sandwiches can be ordered to your room 24 hours-a-day, while hot food can be delivered to you from 5pm – 9.30pm.
Our en-suite bathroom was almost as impressive as our bedroom, boasting a large horizontal mirror, spacious power shower, luxury limestone finish and complimentary Bee Kind toiletries made using beeswax from The Royal Hotel’s very own beehives. In line with the Cinema theme, there were a couple of movie posters hanging on the walls too.
Located on the rooftop of the hotel, the beehives have their very own room number – 6B – and they have been residents of The Royal Hotel around four years.
The beeswax they produce is sent to a local producer, who transforms it into pure honey for use at breakfast time and shower gel, shampoo and soap for guest bathrooms. Guests are also welcome to purchase jars of honey and full-sized toiletries from reception to take home with them. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can put on the protective gear and go for a full tour of the beehives!
BreakfastBreakfast is served in the Captain Scott room from 7am until 10am on weekdays and until 10.30am on weekends and Bank Holidays. This is the only room in the hotel that still has a somewhat old-fashioned feel to it, but given that it was the setting for Captain Scott’s famous farewell dinner, we’re glad it’s retained its old-world charm. In fact, if you look closely enough, you can see a copy of the original dinner menu framed in glass behind the breakfast buffet.
There was a hot buffet serving a traditional Full English breakfast in addition to a cold buffet selection of cereals and porridge, jams and preserves (including honey made by The Royal Hotel’s own bees), fresh fruit, continental cheeses and meats, indulgent pastries and muffins. A number of dishes are also available to order for a £3 supplement including kippers with poached eggs, American-style pancakes with maple syrup, poached or scrambled eggs, or an omelette with a choice of fillings.Book The Royal Hotel
You can book The Royal Hotel’s Cinema room from as little as £88.95 per night including breakfast for two people, but if you’re staying for at least two nights, you’ll save 10% mid-week or 15% off Friday-Saturday, so you could pay as little as £63.71 per night (excluding breakfast), dependent on when you stay. When you book direct, there are no booking fees and you get a £5 voucher to spend in the hotel bar lounge. Keep an eye out for promo codes to get a discount on your booking.