Angel Hotel, Cardiff

The Angel Hotel, Cardiff

The Angel Hotel is a hotel on a prominent corner of Castle Street/Westgate Street in the centre of Cardiff, Wales. For much of its existence it was one of the major hotels in the town/city, visited by celebrities and prime ministers.[1]


It is claimed the Angel Hotel existed in Cardiff since 1666[2] but certainly from the 18th century when it was located opposite the gates of Cardiff Castle,[3] a short distance from its current location, on what was then called Angel Street. From around 1782 it was run by John Bradley, from a family who made their money from horse racing.[4] Bradley was also postmaster and mail contractor for Cardiff. The Angel Hotel was the destination for the daily mail coach from London and Bristol.[2]

Cardiff Arms Hotel

A century later the road in front of Cardiff Castle needed widening. A new hotel was built at the end of the street to replace the Angel Hotel and the old Cardiff Arms Hotel (which had been demolished). The plot was purchased by the Cardiff Corporation from the Marquess of Bute for a nominal sum and the new hotel, "designed by Mr C. J. Jackson" in an 'English Renaissance' style, was built by Jackson's company entirely from red bricks made by the Bute Estate Brickworks at a total cost of over £20,000.[5] It was fully decorated, furnished and ready for guests by July 1883.[6] The new hotel logo, used for the hotel signs and crockery, was designed by the Marquess of Bute, referring to the two previous hotels by combining an angel holding the Cardiff coat of arms.[6]

The new building located its large portico entrance at the prominent corner of the site. The hotel had 76 bedrooms, bars, a billiard room and a full height hexagonal hall filling the interior with daylight via a glass lantern rooflight.[5] Its principal space, the grand coffee room on the first floor commanded splendid views of the surrounding countryside "that very few even of the residents of Cardiff can have any idea that a building in the coal Metropolis of Wales commands a prospect of such varied beauty". It led onto a balcony above the portico intended to be used by the local Member of Parliament to "address his constituents when he has to return thanks for being elected".[5]

The old Angel Hotel was converted into offices for the Bute Estate.[5] In the 1930s the 18th century facade of this building collapsed while repairs were being carried out. It was reconstructed and, despite being a replica, became Grade II listed in 1975.[3]

At the turn of the 20th century the Angel Hotel was owned by Lady Honywood's Honywood Hotels and leased by hotel entrepreneur Elizabeth Miles, who built a new facade for the building.[7]

The new Angel Hotel remained an important place to stay for politicians and celebrities, including Greta Garbo, The Beatles[1] and actor Anthony Perkins (who was arrested at the hotel in 1989 after a package of cannabis he'd posted to himself was inadvertently given to another guest).[8]

21st century

The Angel Hotel was eventually superseded in importance in the 1990s and 2000s as modern hotels were built in the city centre and Cardiff Bay. It underwent refurbishment in 2000.[1]

In 2012 Jo McElveen became General Manager of the Angel Hotel, after starting work as a waitress at the hotel 14 years beforehand.[9][10]

The hotel is currently part of The Hotel Collection (previously Puma Hotels Collection/Barcelo Hotels). It has 102 bedrooms.[11]


  1. 1 2 3 Porter, Darwin; Prince, Danforth (2004), Frommer's Great Britain, Wiley Publishing, p. 694, ISBN 0-7645-3823-3
  2. 1 2 Wells, Martin (5 December 2013). "Brian Lee recalls the illustrious history of one of Cardiff's legendary coaching inns". Wales Online. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Nos.1&3 Castle Street, Castle". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  4. Childs, Jeff (2012), Roath, Splott and Adamsdown: One Thousand Years of History (e-Book), The History Press, p. 98
  5. 1 2 3 4 "The New Angel Hotel, Cardiff". Western Mail. 13 June 1883. p. 3. Retrieved 24 May 2015 via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. 1 2 "The New Angel Hotel, Cardiff". Western Mail. 9 July 1883. p. 3. Retrieved 24 May 2015 via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. Griffiths, Richard (2010), The Entrepreneurial Society of the Rhondda Valleys, 1840-1920, University of Wales Press, pp. 90, 92, ISBN 978-0-7083-2291-8
  8. "As Alfred Hitchcock opens we look back on Psycho star's Welsh hotel horror". Wales Online. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  9. Barry, Sion (4 July 2012). "Former waitress appointed as general manager at The Angel Hotel, Cardiff". Wales Online. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  10. Woodrow, Emily (21 December 2012). "Meet the real 'angel' of The Angel Hotel in Cardiff". Wales Online. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  11. "The Angel Hotel, Cardiff". Retrieved 24 May 2015.

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