First Look Inside Cardiff Bay’s New ‘Apart-Hotel’


The first images of the new luxury suites inside Wales’ first ‘apart-hotel’ in Cardiff Bay have been revealed.

The apartments include a fully equipped kitchen and enough space, storage and flexibility to provide a home away from home for visitors looking for longer stays in Cardiff, whether for business or leisure.

Work has started on the 73 long-stay apartments at the Staybridge Suites Hotel, which will form an extension to the existing Holiday Inn Express at Cardiff Bay. It is the company’s first venue in Wales and will be operated by First Inn Ventures under franchise from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

The communal spaces have been designed to promote relaxation and a sense of community with a fireplace, communal kitchen and dining area, and roof terrace with views across the Bay, as well as practical facilities such as a 24-hour convenience store, gym, laundry facilities, and meeting room.

The interior design for the scheme has been undertaken by HLM Architect’s Cardiff studio, which is also delivering the architectural and landscape detailed design for the project, as well as overseeing construction, working with South Wales-based contractor Carter Lauren.

Lisa Don, HLM’s interior lead based in the Cardiff Studio, commented:

“Design-savvy consumers are looking for experience-driven design that responds to their location and provides a clear sense of place, and we seek to incorporate something unique, different, eclectic and authentic in our hotel interiors.

“Creating a clear identity was a key element of the brief for this project, alongside practical considerations for long-stay residents, such as creating a sense of community, comfort and convenience. The rooms have been designed to provide a home from home, and communal areas such as a coffee bar and lounge have been designed to encourage residents to meet and relax.

“As the Staybridge brand is so new to Wales, we had relative freedom to create a truly unique, regional and user-centric design, rather than rely on a prescriptive brand standard.”

Matthew Thomas, associate architect and hospitality, leisure and culture sector lead for the Cardiff Studio, explained:

“The operational requirements of this type of building are complex, and we have built on the Cardiff Studio’s hospitality experience to ensure we deliver the standards required by IHG for its buildings.

“Securing the scheme post-planning, we undertook an optimisation exercise, ensuring that the brand standards and operational aspects of the design have been achieved, whilst improving customer experience. It is great to be delivering this unique development for Cardiff as we continue to build on HLM’s diverse portfolio of hotel and leisure schemes.”

HLM has strong expertise in the leisure and hospitality sector and is working on a range of hotel projects across the UK and internationally, including voco St Davids in Cardiff, the Armed Forces Officers’ Club and Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane London and Leeds Indigo.

It is anticipated that the Staybridge Suites Cardiff Bay will be open to guests in spring 2021 following a phased construction programme.

The HLM Cardiff studio is based in the Creative Quarter, and offers a full range of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, master planning, interior design and sustainability expertise in all sectors.