All posts in Feature

  • The night Charlotte Church beamed a live brain onto a Sleeperz hotel

    Charlotte Church beams a live brain onto Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff

    Welsh singer Charlotte Church is no wallflower.

    She’s done some incredible things in her 30 something years on the planet.

    We’re thinking: exploding to fame as a child opera singer, morphing into a ‘Crazy Chick’ pop siren, marrying a Welsh rugby pin-up, outsmarting politicians on Twitter and raising children Ruby and Dexter.

    So, with a life story like that, you’d think it couldn’t get any more surreal and interesting?

    Except, it can, and did.

    One cold November night last year, Charlotte and a TV crew turned up at our Cardiff hotel and beamed a world first image of a live brain onto the side of the building.

    The giant bristly pink shape looked more like something David Attenborough would find in a coral reef than a human thought box.

    Charlotte Church beams a brain onto Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff

    What is that? It’s a world-first image of a real live brain, and , yes that’s Charlotte Church too…

    For several hours, the brain flickered and shimmered across our bedroom windows, causing gasps and inciting wonder among the passers-by traipsing to the rail station or heading into Cardiff.

    It was all part of a BBC TV documentary on mental health presented by Charlotte and exploring depression, mental illness and research into new cures.

    Charlotte Church: Inside my Brain

    Charlotte Church: Inside my Brain, aired on January 25th, 2018, on BBC One in Wales and followed her as she chatted to a host of amazing people, from neuro-scientists to military veterans afflicted by virtually incurable PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

    Sleeperz Cardiff Brain Image courtesy BBC Wales

    The programme also included a revealing and heartfelt exchange with Charlotte’s mum Maria, who has bi-polar disorder and has suffered with mental health issues for over 30 years.

    During filming, Charlotte popped in for a cup of tea in the hotel and filmed some scenes in our dining room. She was an absolute pleasure to serve and be around and her programme is a thought-provoking and worthwhile look at issues that affect so many people in today’s world.

    Charlotte Church at Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff

    Charlotte Church filming at Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff

    Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff, our award-winning design-led hotel, appears eight minutes into the programme with a stunning image of the world-first brain scan – referred to as a ‘road map’ – that shows the complex wiring and pathways of a living brain.

    The image was taken by Dr Chantal Tax from Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre, using one of only three rare MRI scanners in the world.

    Sleeperz Hotel transformed into a giant brain

    Laura Peeroo, general manager at Sleeperz Cardiff, said: “We were thrilled to be asked to take part in ‘Charlotte Church: Inside my Brain.’

    We are located in one of the busiest footfall areas in Cardiff, on route to the rail station, and the living brain image really turned heads and got people talking; which is exactly what this important programme hopes to achieve.”

    Javeed Anwar, Head of Sales and Marketing for Sleeperz Hotels, said: “It’s normal to receive unusual requests in the hospitality industry, but, in over three decades working in hotels this is easily the most unusual thing I’ve ever been asked to do.

    We loved it and our guests were both intrigued and understanding about the bright lights, cameras and sight of Charlotte Church enjoying a cup of tea in the lounge bar.”

    Sleeperz Cardiff opened in 2008, opposite the then Millennium Stadium and under two minutes’ walk from Cardiff Rail Station.

    Its modern, minimalist look earned it a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) award for architectural excellence in 2010.

    In 2017, Sleeperz gained planning consent to build an additional 21 rooms.

    Charlotte Church: Inside my Brain is available to watch on BBC I Player in the UK, click here to watch.

    You can see Sleeperz Cardiff eight minutes and 51 seconds into the show. Better still, you can stay with us in Cardiff whenever you fancy, just log onto www.sleeperz.com and book direct for the best rates.

    Sleeperz Select, our loyalty program, can earn you 10% off your stay when you join.

     

  • Rough Guides say Newcastle is the world’s #1 place to visit in 2018

    NewcastleGateshead

    Rough Guides, one of the world’s leading publishers of travel guidebooks, has revealed their annual list of the world’s best places to visit in 2018.

    Here at Sleeperz Hotels, we weren’t as surprised as some to read that Newcastle, England, beat off stiff competition from destinations such as Cuba, Malta and Malawi – to be named Rough Guides’ #1 place to visit in 2018.

    We’ve been blogging, tweeting and posting about Newcastle’s best-bits and city break credentials ever since we opened our 98-bedroom design-led hotel on Newcastle’s Westgate Road, back in 2012.

    Rough Guides says that 2018 is time for the Geordie Capital to take centre stage.

    The travel publisher told The Daily Express newspaper that:

     “Next summer the city – along with neighbouring Gateshead – will host the Great Exhibition of the North, a two-month jamboree that will tell the story of Northern England and how its artists and innovators have helped shape the world we live in. 

    “Expect live music, performance art and insightful exhibitions at some wonderful venues.”

    Newcastle also got the vote because of its famously friendly people and the fact that a visit to the city is easy on the wallet.

    TOP-TIME FOR A NEWCASTLE CITY BREAK

    A stay at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle starts from as little as £69.99, including a cooked breakfast, in the heart of the city – close to the nightlife – and cultural attractions including Newcastle Castle, Cathedral and The Stephenson Quarter – where ‘Rocket’ – a pioneering steam-powered locomotive was engineered by George Stephenson.

    Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle

    Award winning architecture and unrivalled location have made Sleeperz Newcastle a success

    The Great Exhibition of the North is undoubtedly one of the major reasons why Newcastle has picked up this honour.

    The exhibition promises to be a fascinating two-month journey through the culture, heritage and art of the former industrial powerhouse of the United Kingdom.

    Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive at destination marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative which is leading work to deliver Great Exhibition of the North 2018, said: “We’re delighted to feature at the top of such a prestigious list. Next year we’ll play host to England’s biggest event which will attract and engage audiences from across the UK and beyond, telling the story of Northern England through cutting-edge art and culture, design and innovation.

    “The Rough Guide also comments on the famous Geordie welcome, lively nightlife, burgeoning restaurant scene and wider cultural attractions and museums – all of which ensure that visitors for next year’s Exhibition, and indeed all year-round, will enjoy a fantastic experience in NewcastleGateshead.”

    Newcastle wasn’t the only spot in the UK to make the top 10, with Wales also coming in at number 5 for its UNESCO World Heritage sites and great outdoors.

    WALES MAKES THE TOP-10

    For visitors to Wales, you can’t beat basing yourself in Cardiff, the capital city. Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff is only 500m from Cardiff Rail Station opposite the Principality Stadium – home of Wales Rugby.

    Other highly recommended places in the Rough Guides list included the Civil Rights Trail in the US, visiting sites such as Martin Luther King’s birthplace and Woolworth’s store in North Carolina where four black students sat in the “whites-only” seating area in the 60’s.

    ROUGH GUIDES 2018 – TOP-10 PLACES TO VISIT

    1. Newcastle

    2. Civil Rights Trail, USA

    3. Malawi

    4. Valletta, Malta

    5. Wales

    6. Cuba

    7. Russia

    8. New Orleans, USA

    9. Chile

    10. Sierra Leone

    You’ll find lots of great ideas for things to see and do in Newcastle in the pages of our blog, along with recommendations for family-friendly breaks, a guide to watching football in the Toon and some of the best day trips you can have for under £30 when you stay at our great value Newcastle hotel.

    Sign up today for our Sleeperz Select loyalty program at www.sleeperz.com and receive 10% off your booking to stay at the Rough Guides #1

     

  • The best British cities for a New Year’s Eve Party

    Newcastle on New Year's Eve

    When the last cracker is pulled, left-over Turkey turned to soup and the wrapping and boxes consigned to the bin bag, the thoughts of many turn to a New Year and how to celebrate it.

    We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t share a round-up of some of the best events, gigs, parties and experiences that you can enjoy on NYE in three of Britain’s best party cities, Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

    EDINBURGH

    Some parties become so big they take on a life of their own. Think Mardi Gras in New Orleans?

    Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is now one of those must-visit events and is now billed as ‘Scotland’s New Year Festival’ – three days of events and bands, with audiences from every corner of the globe.

    Edinburgh Hogmanay 2014 by Michael Curi creative commons

    Edinburgh Hogmanay 2014 by Michael Curi creative commons

    Our sister hotel Cityroomz Edinburgh is in the heart of Edinburgh’s trendy West End, near Waverley Station and Prince’s Street, and is a perfect base for your Hogmanay knees up.

    Edinburgh’s Hogmanany features the traditional Street Party and fireworks on December 31, but there’s always a host of other great stuff going on, including torch-lit processions, live music in Prince’s Street Gardens, street parties, ceilidhs and candlelit music recitals.

    For the truly hardy, you can finish off your New Year’s Eve Party by taking part in the Loony Dook, a fancy dress themed dip in the River Forth at South Queensferry at 11am on New Year’s Day.

    Most of the events are individually ticketed but some event packages are available for the entire festival.

    To check ticket availability visit the festival website and to check availability at Cityroomz, visit: www.cityroomz.com

    NEWCASTLE

    A little further South of Edinburgh is Newcastle, the Geordie Capital, and recently voted the #1 place to visit in the world in 2018 by travel guide publisher Rough Guides.

    Newcastle’s New Year fireworks are often compared to those in London and Edinburgh, as the sight of colours bursting over the iconic Tyne Bridge and Quayside attracts huge crowds year on year.

    Newcastle on New Year's Eve

    So special is New Year in The Toon that the city has created its own mystical Winter Festival.

    There are huge numbers of events going on in the city and further afield in the North East and the best place to find out more is from NewcastleGateshead Initiative, the destination marketing agency for the city. Click here for a list of all the NYE events in the Newcastle Winter Festival.

    winter festival newcastle

    Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle is less than two minutes’ walk from Grey Street right in the heart of the city and perfectly located for The Diamond Strip, Bigg Market and Quayside night spots.

    CARDIFF

    The Welsh Capital is another super-cool place to say farewell to one year and welcome in another.

    For something a little different, head to the Civic Centre for an evening ice skating at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland before catching the Midnight Fireworks extravanganza. The Winter Wonderland is open from 10am on NYE, so it’s possible to make a real day of it if you’ve got the stamina.

    Christmas in Cardiff by Jon Candy - creative commons

    Winter Wonderland Cardiff by Jon Candy – creative commons

    Cardiff has a major music scene and most of the cities bars and clubs will be hosting themed NYE events. Missoula is hosting a Ministry of Sound NYE Takeover from 10:00pm to 06:00am – a party that will need some serious stamina. Tiger Tiger’s Champagne and Ciroc takeover is another all-ticketed event perfect for serious party goers.

    If you prefer a few gags to see in the New Year, then check out The Glee comedy night in Cardiff.

    Whether it’s glamour or guffaws you go for, New Year’s Eve in Cardiff is a night to remember.

    Our 74-bed Sleeperz Cardiff Hotel is less than 500m from Cardiff Rail Station and close to all major shopping, night spots and cultural attractions.

    Britain’s best New Year’s Eve Breaks

    So, there you have it, three of Britain’s best New Year’s Eve party cities that you can enjoy while staying at Sleeperz Hotels.

    Book direct through www.sleeperz.com and receive 10% off your stay with the Sleeperz Select Loyalty program.

    Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

     

     

     

  • Telegraph Travel praises Sleeperz Hotels for style on a budget

    Exterior shot Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle night

    A top travel expert from The Telegraph has heaped praise on Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle in a recent review of the ‘Best Budget Hotels in Newcastle Upon Tyne.’

    The newspaper sent a destination expert to the city to stay at and review the best affordable city centre hotels.

    They chose Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle as one of them and had lots of good things to say about their stay.

    Journalist Helen Pickles gave us a glowing 8/10 rating based on style, location, service, value for money, food and drink.

    Helen picked out lots of the things that make Sleeperz Hotels fun to stay in – from our colourful, vibrant rooms to our space saving furniture and funky extras like laptop safes in beds and open wardrobes.

    Stunning hotel room at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle

    Colourful, vibrant, funky rooms with smart, space-saving design at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle

    Our staff were delighted to have been given a special mention because we try hard to ensure that everyone is passionate about where they work and the cities our guests come to explore and enjoy.

    You can read her review of Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle here and ‘Best Budget Hotels in Newcastle Upon Tyne,’ feature here

    To get the best rates on a stay at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle, book direct at: www.sleeperz.com

    Sign up free for Sleeperz Select, our guest loyalty program, and save 10% on bookings at Sleeperz Hotels in Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

  • Sleeperz’ colour rush for Children’s Cancer Research

    Sleeperz Newcastle team at Color Rush Newcastle

    THREE managers from Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle completed the ‘world’s happiest 5k run’ last month to raise funds for the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

    General manager Mark Armstrong, sales manager Deborah Parkinson and financial controller Carol Campbell all took on the quirky challenge of the Colour Obstacle Rush at Newcastle Racecourse to raise funds for NECCR.

    The trio ran 5km while being showered with coloured powder, navigated 20 different obstacles – most of them bouncy and inflatable – and partied in the event’s music zones.

    Mark, said: “I’ve run a lot of half and full marathons, but this was something else. It was a crazy, wacky, weird run but we loved it and are delighted to have raised funds for a brilliant regional charity.

    It did take days for all of the coloured powder to leave my beard, so goodness knows what our hotel guests made of me for days afterwards.”

    Mark, Deborah and Carol raised over £511.20 for NECCR, which has been matched by Sleeperz Hotels Ltd, giving Mark, Carol and Deborah a grand total of £1022.40.

    A Just Giving page is still open here if anyone reading this would like to donate.

    30 Million Reasons why NECCR deserves our help

    The North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund is a North East children’s charity formed in 1979 by a small group of parents whose lives had been changed forever by childhood cancer.

    Some parents had lost children, while others were grateful that their children had overcome disease.

    In the past 30 years, NECCR has raised over £30m to fund and support research into the prevention and cure of childhood cancer.

    That’s a truly remarkable achievement and inspired the team at Sleeperz Newcastle to do something to help this great organisation.

    You can find out more about its work here: https://www.neccr.org.uk

    Here’s a cool gallery of pics from Mark, Carol and Deborah’s colour obstacle rush!

    Well done to all of you.

    colour rush 2017 019 colour rush 2017 021 colour rush 2017 024 colour rush 2017 030 colour rush 2017 031 colour rush 2017 033 colour rush 2017 034 colour rush 2017 035

  • Meet the Little Guide to Cardiff 2017

    River Taff and Principality Stadium Wales

    Cardiff is the Welsh capital and home to the first-ever Sleeperz Hotel, a design-led budget hotel offering city centre rooms less than 500m from Cardiff Rail Station.

    So, you’re visiting Cardiff, maybe for a major sporting event – like the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final – or possibly International Rugby or an adrenaline-packed Speedway Grand Prix. Perhaps it’s for arts, culture, shopping or just entertainment, pure and simple.

    There’s no better guide to the city than the people who live here, so we’re grateful to the folks at We are Cardiff, a brilliant website compiled entirely by locals who write about all the best places to live, visit, eat and explore.

    WAC have kindly produced their Little Guide to Cardiff 2017, especially for visitors, taking you on a brilliant tour of this fascinating city, from Castles to Edwardian arcades and white water kayaking.

    Check out the Little Guide to Cardiff here:

    The inside track from Cardiff's best local writers and bloggers

    The inside track from Cardiff’s best local writers and bloggers

    Tempted to jump on a train to Cardiff for a fun-filled city break, check out the best deals on staying with Sleeperz Hotels by booking direct at: www.sleeperz.com

  • A Rugby Fan’s Guide to Cardiff

    Rugby Fans Cardiff

    February and March means one thing for Rugby Fans in the UK – the Six Nations Championship.

    Every year, Europe’s six most powerful Rugby playing Nations play each other to discover who is best over 80-minutes of big hits, pacy runs and thunderous scrums.

    Along the way, historical scores are settled and ancient rivalries reignited with national pride running at fever pitch.

    With hotels in Cardiff and Edinburgh, two host venue cities for the 2017 RBS Six Nations Championship, Sleeperz Hotels is an ideal choice for fans looking for convenient quality accommodation and a good night’s sleep.

    Here is our essential Rugby Fan’s Guide to Cardiff

    The Principality Stadium – formerly the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

    Wales, surely one of the proudest of Rugby nations, plays its matches at The Principality Stadium in the centre of Cardiff – less than five minutes’ walk from Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff.

    With seating for 74,500, The Principality Stadium is one of the world’s truly great Rugby venues. It is also the second largest football stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof.

    Principality Stadium Cardiff

    Photo – David Roberts

    Sleeperz Cardiff is one of the nearest hotels to the Principality Stadium.

    Wales used to play at the historic Cardiff Arms Park, which still stands next door and is home to The Cardiff Rugby Football Club.

    The stadium is on Westgate Street, situated near major Cardiff attractions such as Cardiff Castle and The Motorpoint Arena. The stadium overlooks the River Taff.

    River Taff and Principality Stadium Wales

    Photo – Ben Salter

    Getting to Cardiff

    Rail

    Cardiff Central is the nearest rail station to the Stadium and operates mainline services from West Wales, the Midlands, the South Coast and London.

    Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff is the nearest hotel to Cardiff Station.

    Cardiff Central Station

    Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff in view left near Central Station

    Cardiff Queen Street Station is a 15 minute walk to the east of the Stadium and offers local rail services across Cardiff and from the South Wales Valleys.

    People usually have to queue at Cardiff Central Station after matches so please check the Arriva Trains website before travelling for further information.

    When arriving from Cardiff Central station passengers should bear left along Wood Street for Principality Stadium Gates 5, 6 and 7 or bear right along Wood Street to Westgate Street for Gates 4, 3, 2 continuing around to Gate 1 on Castle Street.

    Coach

    You can travel to Cardiff by coach from most UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh. There are also with regular buses services between most town/cities in Wales if you staying outside of Cardiff.

    Cardiff Central Bus Station is a five minute walk from the stadium, passengers exit the bus station and bear left along Wood Street for Gates 5, 6 and 7 or bear right along Wood Street to Westgate Street for Gates 4, 3, 2 continuing around to Gate 1 on Castle Street.

    Coach parking on event days is usually located at Sophia Gardens which is just a five minute walk away, following the river.

    Air

    Principality Stadium is located within 30 minutes’ drive of Cardiff Airport and 45 minutes’ drive of Bristol Airport. An express bus service (T9) operates directly from the terminal to the City Centre.

    A short shuttle bus journey connects the Airport to the train station at Rhoose, which is a 30-minute rail journey to Cardiff Central Station.

    Best for Pre-Match Beers

    Nothing goes with Rugby quite like a pint, or several, of beer.

    These are our top Cardiff pubs for watching the Rugby or having pre-match beers before heading to the Stadium.

    The Old Arcade

    Locals call this Cardiff’s ultimate Rugby pub. On match day it’s heaving but what makes it so special is all the International and Club memorabilia that adorn its walls.

    It was all kindly donated by the Welsh Rugby Union and makes the pub feel like a holy place for Welsh Rugby lovers.

    The Old Arcade Pub Cardiff

    Image – We Are Cardiff

    There’s even a timeline of Welsh Rugby history from 1881 to the present day and press clippings galore.

    You can even get your picture up on its ‘Wall of Fame,’ by walking in with a Welsh jersey on and buying a pint.

    They’ll take your picture and put you on the wall, this has to be your first stop-off when coming to Cardiff for a rugby weekend.

    14 Church Street, Cardiff CF10 1BG, 029 2021 7999, www.sabrain.com/oldarcade

    The City Arms Cardiff

    One of Cardiff’s oldest and most celebrated pubs, The City Arms was built in the 1880’s, the same decade as the iconic Welsh Brewery Brains was founded.

    It’s a beer lover’s paradise where staff are trained in every aspect of sourcing, storing and serving delicious real ales and ciders. Voted Cardiff’s Pub of the Year in 2012 and Highly Commended in 2013 and 2014, it’s one of the best pubs close to Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

    10-12 Quay St, Cardiff, CF10 1EA, Tel: 029 2064 1913, www.thecityarmscardiff.com

    The Goat Major

    A classic small cask ale house located directly across from Cardiff Castle, The Goat Major is packed with character, history and quality ales.

    There has been a pub on this site since 1830 but it changed its name to The Goat Major in 1995 to celebrate its links to the Royal Regiment of Wales.

    The Goat Major Pub Cardiff

    Image – Creative Commons DncnH

    As well as being a short walk from Principality Stadium, it serves a menu consisting entirely of pies. What full-blooded Rugby fan wouldn’t like  pie and a pint before heading to the ground.

     High Street, Cardiff, CF10 1PU, Tel: 029 20337161, www.sabrain.com/goatmajor

    Stay at Sleeperz Cardiff for Rugby Weekends

    To make the most of your Rugby weekend in Cardiff, it’s best to stay overnight and spend as much time as possible in the city centre soaking up the atmosphere.

    Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff is a funky budget hotel less than a minutes’ walk from Cardiff Rail Station and only five minutes from the Principality Stadium.

    There are 74 stylish rooms featuring en-suite bathroom pods, bespoke beds and mattresses, fast free wi-fi and tea and coffee making facilities as standard.

    Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff

    With a choice of cooked or continental breakfast, there are few cooler and better value places to stay in Cardiff.

    Even better, book direct at www.sleeperz.com and you’ll receive £5 to spend on food and drink in the hotel.

  • 3 Cool Christmas City Breaks on a budget

    Christmas in Cardiff by Jon Candy - creative commons

    It’s almost here again, the most “Wonderful time of the Year” – the festive season, Christmas and New Year.

    As well as a chill, there’s usually magic in the air, and there’s no better time to take a city break in the UK.

    A long weekend is the perfect time to do your Christmas shopping, visit traditional Christmas Markets and soak up the spirit of the season.

    Here are our three of the coolest Christmas City Breaks you can take in the UK this year and all without breaking the bank.

    3 Cool Christmas City Breaks

    Cardiff                                  

    The Welsh Capital has excellent transport links by rail, road and air and is a brilliant blend of cosmopolitan culture, history, sport, shopping and unforgettable architecture.

    Where to Shop

    Cardiff has been voted the UK’s 6th best shopping destination and blends historic Edwardian and Victorian arcades with super-shiny and new St David’s Dewi Sant shopping mall.

    There are 88 stores in Cardiff’s newest shopping mall and its glass-roofed Grand Arcade is the length of 24 double-decker buses. You’ll find chic designer brands and high street labels under its roof.

    Wander further afield into one of Cardiff’s many shopping arcades and you’ll find distinctive and independent retailers, charming café’s and the world’s oldest existing record store – Spiller’s Records – in the Morgan Arcade.

    Photo Royal Arcade - creative commons Ben Salter

    Photo Royal Arcade Cardiff – creative commons Ben Salter

    What to See

    Cardiff Christmas Market

    Where: St John Street, Working Street, Hills Street, the Hayes and Trinity Street

    When: Thursday 10 November to Friday 23 December, (10am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sundays), open every day.

    What:  Cardiff’s pedestrianised zones are turned into a stunning Christmas Market with over 80 stalls where talented artists and crafts-people sell everything from local cheeses, pottery, handmade jewellery, artwork and micro-brewed ales to hand poured candles.

    Christmas in Cardiff by Jon Candy - creative commons

    Christmas in Cardiff by Jon Candy – creative commons

    Hotdogs roasting on an open fire - creative commons Jeremy Segrott

    Hotdogs roasting on an open fire – creative commons Jeremy Segrott

    Find out more about Cardiff’s Christmas Market at Visit Cardiff: http://www.visitcardiff.com/

    Must-visit Event

    Carols for Christmas at St David’s Hall is an unmissable performance by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Chorus of Wales.

    18th December, 15:00 to 17:00pm, Tickets: £5

    Where to Stay

    Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff is less than 400m from Cardiff Rail Station in the heart of the city. Rooms in our design-led budget hotel start from £49pp pn including breakfast. Visit www.sleeperz.com

    Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff exterior shot Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff

    Edinburgh

    Step off the train at Waverly Station in November or December and you simply can’t miss the fact that Scotland’s Capital loves to go Christmas and Hogmanay (Scots for New Year) crazy.

    The giant Ferris Wheel of the Christmas Market creates a stunning silhouette against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

    Edinburgh Castle and Princes Gardens at Christmas

    Edinburgh’s Christmas – creative commons Fearful Stills

    Edinburgh’s festivities all fall under the handy banner of Edinburgh’s Christmas and there’s all the usual favourites – pop-up ice rinks, European Christmas Markets, rides, attractions, theatre, song, dance, food, drink and lots of revelry.

    At the same time, you can enjoy the world class shopping on Princes Street or the more traditional Scottish wares available on the Royal Mile and in the Grass Market.

    What: Edinburgh’s Christmas is an organised annual collection of festive events and experiences

    When: 18 November 2016 – 7 January 2017

    Must-Visit Events:

    Street of Light returns to a new location on the west end of George Street.

    Opening on 20 November as part of Light Night, Street of Light runs until 24 December with performances at 6pm & 8pm.

    It will illuminate the West end of George Street in a canopy of light, synchronised to music from local choirs and bands including the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, fiddle music from the Highlands with Blazin’ Fiddles and Scotland’s very own bhangra group, Tigerstyle.

    The European Christmas Market in East Princes St Gardens, opens 19 November – 7 January, and the Scottish Market at George Street opens from 26 November – 24 December.

    Where to Stay:

    Cityroomz Edinburgh is a 72-bed budget hotel on Shandwick Place, just off Prince’s Street only a few minutes’ walk from Waverly Station. With free Wi-fi and comfortable stylish bedrooms, it’s ideal for your low-cost Edinburgh city break.

    Book far enough in advance and you could save 10% off standard room rates.

    Cityroomz Edinburgh bedroom

    Great value stays in the heart of Edinburgh – www.cityroomz.com

    Newcastle

    With world famous nightlife, iconic bridges, chic shops, epic city streets and Georgian architecture, Newcastle is another cool Christmas city break destination.

    The Geordie capital is easily reached on the East Coast mainline route from London to Edinburgh and boasts some amazing Christmas shopping venues including INTU MetroCentre in Gateshead – Europe’s biggest shopping mall – measuring 2,093,000sq feet and home to over 340 stores.

    Closer to the heart of the ‘Toon’ is Newcastle’s Eldon Square and Northumberland Street, where you’ll find high street stalwarts like John Lewis, M&S and the iconic Fenwick’s Window – a stunning Newcastle tradition – which draws huge crowds to see an animated Christmas story brought to life through toys and moving figures.

    The Reindeer Express 2012 - Fenwick's Christmas Window courtesy Fenwicks

    The Reindeer Express 2012 – Fenwick’s Christmas Window courtesy Fenwicks

    Must-Visit Event

    NewcastleGateshead runs its own Winter Festival each year and curates an outstanding series of events including the illuminatingly brilliant Enchanted Parks at Saltwell Park, Gateshead, an expansive outdoor ice rink at The Centre for Life and The Living North Christmas Fair at Newcastle Racecourse.

    Our top pick is the Christmas Market at Monument, right at the top of Grey Street – often voted the most beautiful street in Britain – and which houses around 50 chalets selling Geordie gifts from local ales and handmade jewellery to pottery, prints and landscape photography.

    Runs 12th to 18th December 2016.

    Newcastle Christmas Market Monument  creative commons by Brett Jones

    Newcastle Christmas Market Monument creative commons by Brett Jones

    Seasonal treats at Newcastle Christmas Market creative commons by Long-Ing

    Seasonal treats at Newcastle Christmas Market creative commons by Long-Ing

    Where to Stay:

    Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle is a 98-bedroom design-led budget hotel right in the heart of the city, only two minutes’ walk from Newcastle Central Station. Rooms are sophisticated and stylish, with bathroom pods, wet rooms and luxury beds. New in 2016, Sleeperz Newcastle beds each have a handmade Sleepeezee mattress with over 800 individual pocket springs.

    There’s no more convenient and wallet friendly place to stay in Newcastle than Sleeperz Hotel. Rooms start from £59 pp pn, book direct and receive £5 to spend on food and drink in the hotel.

    There you have it, three cool Christmas City Breaks on a budget to get you in the mood for the 2016 festive season.

    For more about Sleeperz Hotels and its design-led budget hotels in Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh, visit: www.sleeperz.com and www.cityroomz.com

    Stay in style for less!

     

     

  • 7 Super Cool Gin Joints near Sleeperz Hotels

    Gin and Tonics by Randy Connolly

    Gin is experiencing a revival. This strong pure spirit, distilled from grain and malt and flavoured with Juniper, is today’s trendy tipple.

    Bars dedicated to Gin are popping up in major cities all over the UK and people are flocking to try brands like Hendrick’s, Sipsmith, Bombay Sapphire and Plymouth mixed with artisan tonics and exotic botanicals from the far corners of the world.

    Gin was created in London in 1689 and people love it because it’s low in calories, high in taste and ‘insta-cool’ (looks sweet on your Instagram) – especially when served in big goblets with ice, lime and juniper berries.

    Here are seven super-cool gin joints that you can try when staying with Sleeperz Hotels in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

    Sleeperz Hotels are design-led budget hotels with rooms designed to be minimalist and functional without sacrificing style, comfort and convenience.

    One of the advantages of staying in a Sleeperz budget hotel is that once you check in you’ve got plenty of cash left over to style it out with a few G&T’s!

    7-Super Cool Gin Joints near Sleeperz Hotels

    Newcastle

    Dacantus

    A chic and compact eatery and bar on Newcastle’s famous Grey Street, Dacantus boasts its own Gin Lab serving more than 40 speciality G&T’s from around the world. To guarantee a seat, it’s best to book a table and eat there too before setting off on your Gin journey.

    Dacantus
    30 – 32 Grey Street
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    United Kingdom
    NE1 6AE

     0191 261 8111

    Bealim House

    In the 18th century, one in every four London homes had a gin still. The owners of funky bar and eatery Bealim House were obviously inspired by this British tradition and created their own gin distillery producing exclusive blend called Newcastle Gin.

    Newc gin

    Bealam House NewcastleThe still is an 8ft tall, 400 litre receptacle, hand-beaten in Portugal – and is on view to customers in the bar and restaurant. Newcastle Gin has ‘hibiscus tones’ and is made in collaboration with the makers of Durham Gin.

    Bealim House,
    17-25 Gallowgate,
    Newcastle upon Tyne,
    NE1 4SG

    0191 221 2266

    Pleased to Meet You

    PTMY on Newcastle’s High Bridge claim’s to be the city’s original gin bar. Known for cool cocktails and sharing plates, this is a great option if you would like to do Gin on a shoestring.

    Its Highbridge Gin Club invites you to sample cocktails at a special rate of two for £10 between 4pm and 7pm, Sunday to Thursday.

    For groups, hens and stags – they even run a 90-minute Gin Making Masterclass with tasting and nibbles for £30 per head.

    Pleased to Meet You

    41-45 High Bridge

    Newcastle Upon Tyne

    NE1 1EW

    0191 340 5137

    Cardiff

    The Potted Pig

    Located in an old bank vault beneath the city, The Potted Pig is a place for people who love eating, drinking and Gin. Serving only the finest Welsh produce to your plate, kick back after dinner with one of 30 premium gins on its hand-picked drinks menu.

    The house may be a classic Tanqueray but you can also choose from specially selected London Dry’s, Floral gins, Oriental and Spiced gins and Fruity gins.

     Potted Pig cardiff Gin Bar

    Potted Pig

    27 High Street, Cardiff, CF10 1PU

    Tel: (029) 2022 4817

    Lab 22 Cardiff

    Lab 22 is not exactly a Gin Bar, more a mixologist’s mash up and a Cathedral of Cocktails. Whatever your fancy, they’ll make it and shake it, but they do a rather special line in Hendrick’s Gin cocktails which will tempt any lover of the Juniper.

    From Gindian Summer to Ginny Hendricks, these drinks alone are worth the visit, see the full bartender’s Hendrick’s selection here

    Lab 22

    22 Caroline Street
    Cardiff
    CF10 1FG
    Tel: 02920 399997

    Edinburgh

    If you’re heading to the Scottish capital for a city break you’ll find a slightly different version of Sleeperz Hotels. Our sister brand of budget hotels is called Cityroomz and you’ll find our flagship property just off Prince’s Street, in the heart of Edinburgh’s West End.

    Even though Gin was invented in London, today 70% of the UK’s Gin is produced in Scotland – including Hendrick’s and Tanqueray.

    Where better to enjoy a G&T than Scotland’s best-loved city.

    Juniper

    The name says it all and the gin cocktails are great too. Best of all, it’s not far from Cityroomz Edinburgh and if you manage to get one of the most coveted window seats – you’ll have stunning views of Princes Street and the Gardens.

    Juniper’s cocktails are blended by top mixologists and for the more adventurous among you can try a selection of tasting menus. If you like to drink Gin in peace and quiet head to the Library section with its comfy wingback chairs.

    Juniper is at 20 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AN.

    Jolly Botanist

    One of the newest gin bars in Edinburgh, the Jolly Botanist is in the West End near Haymarket. The bar has an old school Victorian decor with old taps, top hats and pressure gauges tucked around every corner.

    As well as a choice of 72 great gins, check out the full list here, Jolly Botanist is also a first rate dining room serving tasty treats from Haggis Scotch Egg to baked in a bag salmon.

    The Jolly Botanist is located at 256–260 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8DT.

    Credit - Jolly Botanist Instagram

    Credit – Jolly Botanist Instagram

    Those are our seven super-cool gin joints near Sleeperz Hotels in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

    One of the benefits of choosing a design-led budget hotel brand like Sleeperz, is that you get to stay in style for less – leaving you plenty of spare cash to visit great bars and experience the finer things in life.

    When you finally make it home from these Gin joints don’t forget to check out the lounge bars in our Sleeperz hotels which stock a premium range of wines, spirits, imported European lagers and craft beers.

    For the best rates book direct at www.sleeperz.com

     

  • Three North East Day Trips for under £30

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    A couple of years ago, Guardian readers voted Newcastle Britain’s best-city.

    The fun-loving and friendly Toon is always high on the list of cities where people can enjoy a big party, lashings of culture, hearty food and plenty of craic with the locals.

    Staying at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle puts you in the heart of the action, two minutes’ walk from Central Station, a tiny pub crawl from the booming bars of the Bigg Market and close to gig venues and St James’ Park – the Cathedral of football in the North East.

    What you maybe haven’t considered when you’re planning your next North East escape is some of the brilliant cheap-as-chips days out you can have, using Newcastle as your base.

    Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle is a design-led budget hotel less than 800m from the nearest Tyne and Wear Metro station and Central Station, giving brilliant access to some neighbouring cities, coast and culture for less than the price of a Mojito on the Toon’s diamond strip.

    • Tynemouth – Surf Shacks and a beach that lives up to its LONG name
    • South Shields – mega award winning Fish & Chips and a park dedicated to pleasure
    • Durham – delicious cafe’s, cobbled streets, world class culture and history – and the best new burger joint in the North East

    Here are THREE North East days out for under £30

    Tynemouth                                                                     

    Tynemouth is a trendy town, you guessed it, at the mouth of the River Tyne. It started life as an Iron Age settlement but is now the place to see and be seen on the North East Coast.

    You can get there and back from Newcastle using a Nexus Metro Day Saver ticket, price £4.90, and have plenty left to enjoy the independent retailers, artisan shops, market stalls and café’s in what locals call ‘The Village.’

    If you’re visiting on a weekend, your first stop should be Tynemouth Market, open 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. This stunning station dates back to 1882 and is a Grade II listed building.

    The market houses eclectic stalls, street food pop ups and traders selling everything from rare books to homemade cupcakes. Close by is Green Ginger Arcade, a series of quirky shops and businesses in a converted Church.

    The real jewel of Tynemouth is its beach.

    Called Longsands, it’s just that, long, sandy and a great place to enjoy stunning views of Tynemouth Castle and Priory (English Heritage, adult admission £5.80) and the local surf community braving the chill North Sea in search of waves.

    Tynemouth Longsands Arseni Mourzenko

    Image courtesy of Arseni Mourzenko (Creative Commons)

    There’s a nice little café on the beach called Crusoe’s, but expect to queue for a table, and it’s a prime spot for watching beach football, lifeguard training or groups of hardy young folks learning to surf at Longsands Surf School.

    For a real treat, visit Gareth James Chocolatier at 12 Front Street. This bespoke chocolate maker has deservedly earned a reputation for melt-in-the-mouth delicacies. You can also grab a barista made coffee here while you browse the sweet treats.

    If you still have some money left to spend, then you can try mini-golf, visit The Blue Reef Aquarium or splurge in one of the many great restaurants and bars that make ‘The Village’ so popular.

    South Shields

    Next on our list of North East day trips under £30 is South Shields, home-town of Little Mix stars Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, and let’s not forget X-Factor winner Joe McElderry.

    It’s not all falsetto’s and talent shows, more like classic seaside fun with a beach, amusements, arcades, world class fish and chips, a stunning Park and ferry rides.

    You can travel there on the Tyne and Wear Metro using a £4.90 day saver pass from Newcastle or combine your day out to Tynemouth with a short visit to South Shields by catching the Shields Ferry (also included in your day saver pass) from North Shields.

    South Shields is the home of ‘sand dancers,’ and so the beach is your first stop for low-cost fun. More Blackpool than Bali, you’ll find amusements, candy floss and the Ocean Beach Pleasure Park – a waterfront fun fair with more than 40 rides.

    14132899897_31b8042711_o

    Image courtesy of Newcastle University

    After the adrenaline has eased, head to North and South Marine Park for a lovely stroll and a choice of boating on the lake, mini-golf or a ride on the Lakeland miniature railway. Entry is free but there is a small charge for activities such as hiring a pedallo.

    Finally, no day out in South Shields is complete without a visit to Ocean Road – the long straight street leading down to the seafront. Its home to lots of great curry houses but one very special fish and chip shop.

    Colman’s, 186 Ocean Road, South Shields, has been family owned and operated since 1926 and is regularly voted among Britain’s best chippies. Esquire Magazine even voted it #1 and it’s even been in the Waitrose Good Food Guide and Hardens.

    Colman's Fish and ChipsColman's Fish and Chip shop south shields

    Lather on the salt and vinegar and head for one of the many lovely benches in North Marine Park to hoover up your haddock, before jumping on the Metro and heading home to Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle.

    Durham

    Hop aboard the East Coast mainline at Newcastle, on most trains heading South, and 12 minutes later you’ll arrive in Durham (any-time day return costs £8.80).

    Called a ‘perfect little city’ with ‘the best cathedral on Planet Earth,’ by travel writer Bill Bryson, Durham is a compact historic city with cobbled streets, world famous buildings, river walks and cool café’s hiding in unlikely nooks and crannies.

    No visit to Durham is complete without a visit to UNESCO World Heritage site Durham Cathedral and Castle, one of Britain’s best-loved buildings and the best example of what clever folk the Normans were for building it in 1093. Admission is free but visitors are asked to make a donation to help with the considerable upkeep of the Cathedral.

    DurhamCathedral David Ireland

    Image courtesy of David Ireland (Creative Commons)

    Durham Castle is a working student hall of residence so you can only visit it outside term-time and on arranged guided tours. It’s a stunning building, perched high above the looping River Wear with views down onto Framwellgate Bridge – one of seven in the city – and West to Durham viaduct and rail station.

    A fun way to spend an afternoon is to hire a wooden rowing boat from Brown’s Boats and float your way along the River Wear, which loops around the peninsula where Durham Cathedral and Castle stand sentry and enjoy peace, quiet and stunning views.

    Rowing Boats Durham Darren Price

    Rowing boats courtesy of Darren Price (Creative Commons)

    If you’d rather not row then take a trip on The Prince Bishops River Boat Cruiser which includes a brief history of Durham.

    If you need to stop and refuel, Flat White Kitchen (Saddler Street) is a heavenly place to enjoy Barista coffee and superb food. New in town is The Fat Hippo, a burger lover’s bonanza, and the place to enjoy a juicy hulking meat patty in a brioche bun.

    To spend your spare change, check out Durham Indoor Market (just off Durham Market Place) for odds and sods, rare comics, fresh fish, olives and local North East cheeses.

    There are few better places to wile away a day and just 15 minutes door to door from Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle, Durham is a brilliant and affordable North East day out.

    So there you have it – three North East days out for under £30 when staying at Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle.

    One of the benefits of choosing a design-led budget hotel brand like Sleeperz, is that you get to stay in style for less – leaving you plenty of spare cash for great days out like these.

    Our rooms are designed to be minimalist and functional without sacrificing style, comfort and convenience. You can stay with Sleeperz in Cardiff and Newcastle and at our sister brand Cityroomz in Edinburgh. For the best rates book direct at www.sleeperz.com

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