Initial impressions were not that great I have to say. On our arrival having entered the car park (an additional £10 a day) and being quickly checked in we were a bit bemused to arrive at our family room on the sixth floor to find that, though not a smoking room it absolutely stank of smoke, so clearly had been a smoking room in the recent past. The window having been left open made absolutely no difference to the impression that you were in an ash tray - to the hotel's credit when I phoned down and said politely that we weren't too happy to have been assigned a room that smelled so strongly of smoke seeing as we had two young children with us they gave us another room on the floor below promptly with no fuss at all and the rest of our stay was a very good, and blissfully tobacco smell free one.
The room itself had a double bed, a sofa bed and an additional put up bed, perfect for our needs. There were all the touches you need for a comfortable stay from a hair dryer to choice of hardness of pillows and the room was bright and clean with what must be Holiday Inn blue accents. The bathroom was a bit on the small size, and the shower wasn't great, but the room itself didn't feel poky even with the extra beds. There was an LCD TV and internet point - though we didn't use this as the £15 charge seemed a bit steep. Importantly the beds were comfortable, the sofa bed had obviously been recently replaced, the rest of the furniture was a little tired around the edges but perfectly fine. My husband appreciated the kettle and coffee making facilities and the room, though not luxurious by any means was good - there was a great view over the river. We found the walls a bit thin and were disturbed one night by neighbours next door, not the hotel's fault, but you could hear the TV so how well and long you sleep may depend on your neighbours.
Having paid for a package we ate in the restaurant both nights that we were there. The staff were all very friendly and service was good. We couldn't choose everything off the adult menu in our package but there was enough choice and frankly for three courses and breakfast £25 or so per person was a bargain. On the first night I had a duck roll starter, followed by a scrummy salmon and prawn keebab with vegetables and potato with brownie and icecream to finish. The children enjoyed their garlic bread starters and pasta one night and fish fingers the next.
It's hard to imagine a more central Cardiff location than the Holiday Inn; it's right behind the Millennium Stadium and metres from Cardiff Castle and was my choice of hotel for my first ever trip to Cardiff this month during the Easter holidays. That I can recall I've not stayed at a Holiday Inn before, though I have often used the Holiday Express chain. Having found a great rate of £101 ( and 7% quidco cashback) for 2 adults and 2 children for dinner, bed and breakfast in one room I decided to stay for one night, and eventually ended up staying two. It proved to be a good hotel and I would stay there again.