The prow-shaped silhouette of Cardiff's St David's Hotel and Spa, www.thestdavidshotel.com, dominates the once notorious dockside district of Tiger Bay. Local attractions have changed in the past 30 years. Prostitutes looking for sailors on shore leave once rubbed shoulders with the myriad nationalities who made up one of Britain's oldest multicultural communities. Regeneration means the Welsh parliament, the Millennium Centre (home of the Welsh National Opera), smart shops and restaurants now draw local professional couples and business visitors who would once have steered clear of the area and its nefarious reputation.
When it opened in 1999, St David's Hotel was one of the first businesses to embrace the challenge of reviving the locality. Today, guests stepping out of the hotel's seven-story atrium for a stroll along the foreshore may be forgiven a touch of déjà vu. The area's panoramic setting is a backdrop for the British sci-fi TV drama Dr Who (the cast of which stays at the hotel during filming). Each of the 132 Olga Polizzi designed rooms enjoys views of the bay, and the spa's hydrotherapy pool maintains the illusion of merging with the glinting, steel-gray waters. A day in the city, which likes to call itself Europe's newest capital, can be rounded off in the hotel's Tides Bar and Grill, where locally sourced produce is served. Rates are from around $160 a night.
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