What comes to mind when you think of comfort? Does it evoke thoughts of surrounding yourself with big, white fluffy pillows,
or does it make you fidget in your seat a little while a feeling of slight panic and incompetence sets in, that subtle hint of what I
can only call F.O.B.T.C (Fear Of Being ‘Too Comfortable’)? I’m afraid that the latter will be true for too many of us. The truth
is, the word ‘comfortable’ makes us feel un-comfortable. When we hear or read it, it awakens the perception of our need to always
be bettering ourselves; it reminds us that someone somewhere is probably, definitely making noise about ensuring we aren’t too
comfortable (!). Be it a brand’s ad campaign, a TV commercial or the latest headline in Grazia, we’re deluded into thinking that
comfort = bad. That we should be incessantly pushing ourselves, constantly “stepping outside of our comfort zone”, establishing
a life that’s considerably busier and much more important than that of your work colleagues or friends as that’s what we seem to
aspire to now. Even in the relentless fashion industry that I enthrall myself with, we’re expected to stay quite simply un-comfortable
in the latest trend, even if that means traipsing around town in THE most painful shoes known to man.
My point is this, although in some situations it’s certainly still important that we do all of those exhausting-sounding things, like,
push ourselves and strive for ambition, sometimes it’s nice, and just as necessary, to just be…comfortable. Throw out those inhumanly
painful shoes (I’d usually encourage a donation to charity but I wouldn’t want to put anyone else through it), consider leaving a little
early to grab that comfy seat on the tube you so often don’t get and consider taking a trip to a delightfully comfortable hotel in a
wonderful city to bask in the glory of comfort at it’s best. The Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa shares this belief (or so I have
convinced myself). They contribute almost effortlessly to ease in such a way that you can leave thought in the lobby and allow the ‘C’
word (no, not that one), to once again kindle thoughts of fresh white linen and cloud like cushions, afternoon trips to the pool after
a late lunch and waking up to stunning views over Cardiff city at whatever pace you decide comfortable.
Our entrance to the hotel was like a breath of fresh air, the friendly staff, informal reception desk and beautiful furnishings welcomed
you with a hint of modernity. We were handed the key and zipped up in the elevator to our top floor room. The hallways are filled with
quirky art – classical paintings like the Mona Lisa topped in traditional Welsh rugby gear, a quirky and comedic attribute the guests seem
to really enjoy. Vast windows, attractive views and peacefulness are what resonated most when entering our room, owing to the 12th
floor placement and being the tallest building for miles, we had a panoramic view across Cardiff city and an inviting feeling of calm.
Flourishing in the idea that we were speculatively within the clouds, safely away from any hustle and bustle the city exudes, allowing us
to choose when to dip in and out. After unpacking (and eating all of the fruit in the fruit bowl), we went down for an afternoon swim.
The facilities at The Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa are in and of themselves enough to motivate a visit. A fully equipped gym, an
almost sinfully relaxing Spa and energising pool area make for a well rounded stay. After taking a dip in the pool and sweating out
all of my toxins in the steam room (or at least one can only hope), we got ready for dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Being vegan means
I can usually only opt for a side of fries and a possibly a tomato, if I’m lucky, but the menu at the Mercure was comprehensive enough for
me to have a few options which is a rare find! The service was prompt and friendly and the food was exquisite. Full of enough carbs to
get me through a winters hibernation, we trundled back up to our room for a night of restful sleep in possibly the most comfortable
hotel bed I’ve ever slept in.
We decided to leave the drapes open, which was an instantly gratified choice when waking up to sunrise over Cardiff. We worked out,
showered, ate a hearty breakfast and embarked on a day of exploring. We began by wandering the surrounding area, noticing that almost
literally everything of interest was within a 10 minute walking distance (which was a relief to me and my ‘fashion’ shoe choice). We started
in the National Museum, followed by City Hall, stumbled then upon Coopers Field – a national park encompassing Cardiff Castle – which
was in fact our next stop. Succeeding the realisation that we were pretty hungry after all of this, we took a dawdle to the arcades and ate waffles
with fruit and honey in a quaint cafe next to the most embracing book store. We decided then to jaunt down to Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay to
see the opera house and take a boat trip, both of which did not disappoint. The most wonderful part of the day was knowing we had the perfect
base to zip to and from when exploring a city as diverse as Cardiff, and the thought of enjoying another nights rest before setting off on
wherever the day takes you next.
Experience comfort at it’s finest at the Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa in Cardiff.