Spain in the Heart of Cardiff.
20 years ago, brothers and sister Tom Morgan, Owen Morgan and Natalie Isaac opened their first Spanish tapas restaurant, Bar 44, in their hometown of Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales. Since then, they have opened another three sites, two in Wales and one just across the border in Bristol, England.
We visited their remarkable Northern Spain-inspired restaurant in Cardiff called Asador 44 – but more of that in a following article. One might not notice, but there is now a small yet striking hotel just upstairs, and it’s called Parador 44.
The boutique hotel takes its inspiration from Spain – not holiday hotel Spain but exquisitely furnished stylish private home Spain. There are nine individually designed and furnished en-suite rooms sporting restful colours, thoughtful textiles and carved wood. The bustle of Cardiff city centre seems a million miles from this tasteful oasis.
The untutored might remark ‘Oh, but where is the kettle?’ In truth few continental hotels have in-room brewing facilities, but worries will be short-lived when one is introduced to the well-stocked lounge area. It has shelves laden with drinks and nibbles. It is an honesty bar and the perfect spot for one’s traditional cuppa or a glass of something reviving. One walks away from the washing up rather than looking at used cups all afternoon. The lounge leads out to a secluded Andalucian outdoor terraza installed for the pleasure of those staying at Parador 44. A perfect tranquil island so rarely found in European cities.
Inspired home from home
Parador 44 is polished in every regard. Each decorative element has been carefully chosen and placed. The hotel is designed with comfort and smiles in mind; there is nothing banal here. This is not your regular chain hotel but rather an inspired home from home … well, if your home happens to be beautiful, luxurious, well-
proportioned and just a rugby-ball kick from a wealth of retail therapy. Cardiff Arms Park, the home of Welsh rugby, is the hotel’s near neighbour, so convenient for sport-loving visitors. Yes, Parador 44 will be appreciated by both shoppers and sports watchers, but the hotel is made for those who are passionate about fine food: not just any cuisine but the flavours of the real Spain. The food at Asador 44 is authentic, innovative and well-executed, and the beauty of it is that it’s just down a flight of stairs from your cosy Parador 44 hotel room. This duo of outstanding hotel and restaurant is hard to find anywhere, and I was certainly not expecting to find it in Cardiff. I am a Londoner, and I can honestly say I have rarely found such quality in the capital.