Swansea (review published 2015)

We awoke to views of a marina filled with speedboats and some ​very expensive yachts.
Then, after breakfast in a dining room that overlooked a landscaped garden with palm trees, we stepped straight on to miles of golden sands.
Sounds like we were staying at some boutique hotel in the Med, except that the sea wasn’t the turquoise colour so often mentioned in travel brochures.
In fact, we were staying in a chain hotel in… Swansea.
The Marriott is in the Maritime Quarter of the south Wales city, at one end of Swansea Bay, which stretches five miles round to the wonderfully-named town of Mumbles.
Mum, Cerys (four), Owen (one) and I, stayed overnight in a second floor family room with two queen size beds and plenty of room for a travel cot – plus that view of the marina.
We arrived too late to dine at the hotel but it was close enough to the city centre for me to walk to a Dominos and bring back a couple of pizzas before they got cold.
Beside its fabulous location, the thing I liked best about the 119-room, four-star Marriott was its buffet-style cooked breakfast – with big plates!
It was probably the biggest and best full English I’d ever eaten yet I still found room for a Danish whirl and large blueberry muffin to follow, as you do!
I think I built up more strength than the professional rugby players who were breakfasting with us ahead of a big game later that afternoon.
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After checking out, we found that the tide had retreated and we practically had the whole bay to ourselves, allowing Cerys to run wild in between collecting shells.
From the beach we could fully appreciate the height of the Marriott’s next door neighbour, the 29-storey, 107m Meridian Quay Tower.
Opened in 2009 and easily the tallest building in Wales, its mostly apartments although the top three floors form the Grape and Olive restaurant.
For the price of three soft drinks we were able to enjoy stunning views of the bay, the marina and the rest of Swansea through the floor to ceiling windows.
There are two more attractions in the Maritime Quarter that make the Swansea Marriott an ideal base for a short break for a family.
There’s Wales’ largest waterpark, the LC, which boasts fountains, a wave pool, a lazy river ride, a whirlpool and a thrilling rollercoaster-style slide.
The LC is also home to a 30ft climbing wall and a four-tier play tower with a maze, slides, bridges, ball pits and sensory equipment.
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Next to the LC is the National Waterfront Museum, which tells the story of Welsh industry and innovation through cutting-edge, interactive technology.
After descending the tower, we followed the curve of the bay to Mumbles.
As we drove, we noticed that the five-mile prom looked perfect for a family walk / cycle, with playgrounds, golf and a boating lake to break the journey.
Mumbles forms the gateway to the Gower peninsula, the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home to around 50 unspoilt beaches, coves and bays.
More than once, Rhossili Bay has been voted one of the best beaches in the world while for a more remote experience there’s the picturesque Three Cliffs Bay.
We ended our day at one of the Gower’s more accessible beaches, Langland Bay, which holds a Blue Flag and is lined with identical beach huts.
Then we headed home in the knowledge Swansea is a city break that’s got the lot.
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Langland Bay
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Travel file
Adrian Caffery and family were guests of the Swansea Marriott Hotel, in the city’s Maritime Quarter. Its spacious guest rooms include workspaces and wi-fi. Many rooms have views of Swansea Bay or the marina. There is a leisure area with mini gym, a pool, whirlpool and sauna. Prices from £45 per person per night. To book click here or call 01792 642020.
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