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The Inspector is impressed by Parador 44, a new boutique hotel in Cardiff that’s inspired by Spain

A slice of Spain… in the middle of Cardiff: The Inspector is impressed with a new hotel in the Welsh capital that transports him to sunnier climes

  • The Inspector checks into Parador 44, which sits above the acclaimed Asador 44 restaurant in the city centre
  • His top floor room is ‘neat and tidy’ and he’s particularly taken by the hotel’s wonderfully-stocked honesty bar 
  • He declares his meal at Asador 44 as ‘grown-up’ – he dines on ‘glorious’ prawn croquettes and cured salmon 
  • Remember, the Inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is 

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A Welsh friend said there are few decent places to stay in Cardiff, but had heard good things about the recently opened Parador 44, just off the city centre’s notorious pedestrianised street. 

Even on a damp Tuesday night, it’s packed with revellers; there’s even a hen party.

‘You should see it at weekends,’ says the well-spoken hotel manager, as he shows me to a neat and tidy room on the top floor, with an attractive embroidered headboard and simple shower room.

The Inspector calls at the recently opened Parador 44, an 11-bedroom boutique hotel in Cardiff city centre

'It really does evoke a sense of northern Spain,' the Inspector says. Above is the hotel's outdoor terrace

‘It really does evoke a sense of northern Spain,’ the Inspector says. Above is the hotel’s outdoor terrace

Parador 44 sits above the acclaimed Spanish restaurant, Asador 44

Parador 44 sits above the acclaimed Spanish restaurant, Asador 44 

On the way, he points out the wonderfully-stocked honesty bar and guests’ living room. ‘Help yourself and just write down in the book what you’ve had,’ he says. 

There’s something life-affirming about an honesty bar.

Parador 44 sits above the acclaimed Spanish restaurant, Asador 44, run by brothers Owen and Tom Morgan whose blend of Wales and Spain is proving a triumph. 

They launched their first restaurant 20 years ago in nearby Cowbridge and have built up a loyal following throughout the principality.

Apparently, Oliver Cromwell stayed in this 11-bedroom building during the Civil War — but, thank goodness, there’s nothing puritanical about the place now. 

It’s dark and moody with an open kitchen behind glass, on which various specials are written. 

And despite what’s going on round the corner along the pedestrianised street, it really does evoke a sense of northern Spain.

The cooking is superb. I start with two glorious prawn croquettes with charcoal mayonnaise, then a generous slab of cured salmon, followed by Spanish pork shoulder, served rare.

Apparently, Oliver Cromwell stayed in the building during the Civil War, the Inspector reveals. Above is one of the guest rooms

Apparently, Oliver Cromwell stayed in the building during the Civil War, the Inspector reveals. Above is one of the guest rooms 

The Inspector describes the guest rooms as 'unfussy'

Doubles at Parador 44 are priced from £175 B&B

The Inspector describes the guest rooms as ‘unfussy’. Doubles are priced from £175 B&B

The Inspector is impressed by Parador 44, a new boutique hotel in Cardiff that's inspired by Spain

At Asador 44, pictured, the Inspector dines on two glorious prawn croquettes with charcoal mayonnaise, followed by a generous slab of cured salmon

A serving of beef in the restaurant. 'I like how the menu explains that the meat comes from ex-dairy cows,' the Inspector says

Above is the 'wonderfully-stocked' honesty bar

Pictured left is a serving of beef in the restaurant. ‘I like how the menu explains that the meat comes from ex-dairy cows,’ the Inspector says. Pictured right is the ‘wonderfully stocked’ honesty bar. ‘There’s something life-affirming about an honesty bar,’ says the Inspector

A couple on the next table are just finishing their feast and have spotted Owen and Tom’s recipe book on sale. 

‘We’ll take three of them, please,’ says the man, waving his credit card excitedly.

I like how the menu explains that the meat comes from ex-dairy cows, with a ‘higher fat content than a traditional steak and with age they lose some tenderness, but the flavour is rich and intense.’

This is grown-up food, cooked and served by grown ups in a professional, but convivial atmosphere, with unfussy rooms above it. A proper package. 

You’ll have a treat.

TRAVEL FACTS

Parador 44, 14 Quay St, Cardiff, CF10 1EA. Doubles are priced from £175 B&B. 

For more information call 029 2002 0039 or visit grupo44.co.uk.

Rating: The Inspector is impressed by Parador 44, a new boutique hotel in Cardiff that's inspired by Spain

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