Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

Exploring Wales’ Coastal Beauty Spots

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

When it comes to lush landmarks and stunning scenery, there are very few places in the UK that are as striking as the Welsh Coastline. South Wales is home to some gorgeous, untouched beaches and quaint coastal towns, making it an ideal holiday destination for nature lovers and those looking for a taste of the quiet life.

Rhossili Bay

Here are the must-visit destinations you simply cannot miss out on:

Rhossili Bay

Whether you want to relax on the UK’s best beach or enjoy local shops and restaurants, Rhossili Bay is the place to be. This large, sandy beach sees thousands of tourists flocking to it every year and is extremely popular with nature lovers and surfers alike. Located at the bottom of the Gower Peninsula, Rhossili Bay is a destination that is not to be missed out on.

Tenby Harbour

Tenby Harbour

Tenby’s small harbour is a picturesque seaside town that is renowned for its amazing selection of locally sourced food. The beach features over two miles of soft golden sand and a promenade that makes year round walks of the area very pleasant. The town’s old castle walls are still standing and much of the Victorian architecture can still be seen making this a perfect destination for history enthusiasts.

Three Cliffs Bay

Three Cliffs Bay

Welsh Singer, Katherine Jenkins, famously said that the Gower’s Three Cliffs Bay has a view that takes her breath away every time. This award winning destination is a tribute to the untouched natural coastline that Wales is famous for. Often horses can be seen galloping along the sea front and families come to enjoy the safe, tucked-away feel of this gorgeous area offers.

Stackpole

Stackpole

This national trust listed designed landscape is one of the best places to go if you appreciate exotic plants, natural woodland, beautiful coastlines and luxurious estates. The beach is an excellent place to go to relax in the sunshine and it is well known for being the best surfing beach in Wales.

Swansea Bay

Despite Swansea being one of the biggest cities in Wales, Swansea Bay is where the majority of the tourism goes during the summer months. With the Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula just a stones through away you can enjoy all the goodness of the countryside without having to leave the convenience of city life too far behind. There are so many activities and attractions to choose from that you could spend weeks in Swansea and still not have done it all!

Swansea Bay

If you want to stay in a hotel that’s as gorgeous as the Welsh countryside that surrounds it then book your room with the Dragon Hotel.  We’re located just a walk away from Swansea Bay and a short drive to the most beautiful locations in Wales.

How to Keep Busy On Your Own in Swansea

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Although Swansea is a haven for families and couples visiting its shops and sights, it also plays host to many thousands of individual people on business.

And sometimes, when you’re alone in an unfamiliar city, it can be a boring, maybe even lonely, experience.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

There’s plenty to do in Swansea on your own. Get your company card out and visit some particularly single-person centric activities in Swansea:

The Grape and Olive

The Grape and Olive in SA1

Let’s face it, there’s little that a businessman likes more than a quiet beer in a pleasant pub. And if you’re looking for a great bar, there aren’t many better than the Grape and Olive.

At the very top of the tallest building in Wales, the former BT tower, the Grape and Olive is roughly 20 minutes’ walk from The Dragon Hotel and the perfect place to relax over a cold beer or even a freshly-made cocktail.

Grosvenor Casino

It’s not every person’s first choice, but Grosvenor Casino is a popular option for many businessmen.

Just a minute or two’s walk from The Dragon Hotel, the casino on High St is a decent way to while away an hour or two (responsibly, of course). Whether you’re proficient at poker, brilliant at blackjack or feeling risky on roulette, there’s all sorts on offer if you’re that way inclined.

Sports

People from Cardiff may disagree, but Swansea has risen to become the sporting capital of Wales in recent years. From Premier League Swansea City and the Ospreys rugby team to Swansea Storm Basketball, there’s every chance that there’s a sporting event on when you’re in town.

Cinemas

Thankfully, going alone to the cinema no longer has the stigma it used to. So why not pop down to Swansea’s Odeon or Vue, in Parc Tawe and York Street in the centre of town respectively, to catch the film that your other half doesn’t want to see?

And it may be a little drive out of town in the heart of studentville, but Taliesin independent cinema shows some must-see films you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere – perfect if you’ve slightly leftfield tastes and prefer a more personal approach than a soulless megacinema.

Have a night in

Every room at The Dragon Hotel is kitted out with Sky TV, free Wi-Fi and in-room movies – perfect for a relaxing night in for the self-dependant business traveller.

Grab a beer or three, put your feet up and get the football or the latest film on. Can’t say better than that.

Looking for somewhere comfortable to stay when you’re in Swansea on business? Get exclusive rates by booking online today at The Dragon Hotel. Talk to our team today on +44 (0)1792 657 100.

The Welsh Kilts Come Out at The Dragon for St David’s Day

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

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The knees were on display a day early at The Dragon Hotel this year when St David’s Day was celebrated on Friday 28th February. And our handsome men celebrated in style by donning some sensational Welsh Tartan kilts!

The traditional apparel, which came courtesy of The Welsh Tartan Centres, was all part of our St David’s celebrations as we entertained special guests with a Welsh-themed 3-course menu.

Guests were welcomed with a taster of Tomos Watkin Dewi Saint Ale before enjoying our exclusive Welsh 3 course menu. The meal included such delights as:

  • Bacon, Leek & Lava Bread Risotto
  • Roast Chicken Supreme stuffed with Tarragon Mousse, Wrapped in Carmarthenshire Ham and served with Creamy Mashed Potato and Chive Veloute
  • Merlyn & Welshcake Parfait with Berry Compote.

What’s more, our very own Welsh beauties Tanisha & Emma wore traditional Welsh costumes. Sadly, they didn’t break out into an old Welsh folk dance… maybe next year girls!

We hope our guests all enjoyed the convivial atmosphere and that our bid to promote St David’s Day will continue to go from strength to strength in years to come.

 

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Boot Size Matters: The Best Cars for Golfers

Friday, March 14th, 2014

When it comes to picking a car there are many things to consider. How luxurious is the ride? Is there space for all the family? But the most important question of all is can you fit your golf clubs in the boot?

There’s nothing worse than having to stick your trusty clubs in the passenger seat. Not only is it extremely dangerous if you had a collision, but it can be messy and limits the number of people you can fit in the car. Here are some of the best cars for golfers:

#1 Mercedes S-Class Mercedes S-Class

When it comes to combining sleek, sophisticated style with a large amount of storage space and a smooth ride, the Mercedes S-Class is one of the best cars on the market. There is more than enough room in the boot to fit both your clubs and your partners, while still having seating room for four adults.

#2 Audi A6 Avant Audi A6 Avant

If you want a car that allows you to fit all your clubs inside with ease then the A6 may just be perfect for you. With a whopping 1,680 litres of boot space you can fit all of your golfing gear inside with room to spare. The car itself offers all the latest in luxury and cutting edge technology, allowing you to be the envy of your golf club.

#3 Porsche Panamera Porsche Panamera

For Porsche and golf enthusiasts, the Panamera is the way to go. With an ample 450 litres of trunk space, it provides way more room for your golf clubs than a BMW 7 Series. On top of this, the four seats allow you to drive your family around in comfort, while retaining the sporting capabilities Porsche are known for.

#4 Volkswagen Passat Volkswagen Passat

A cheaper option than the previous cars, the Passat has a huge amount of room for all your clubs. The ride may not be the same quality as more expensive options, but you receive the best technology and reliability that Volkswagen can produce. The Passat has incredible economy, with extra urban producing a fantastic 74.3mpg.

#5 Volvo S80

Volvo are well known for their unbelievable reliability, with the engines running well even past 100,000 miles. The space you get in the boot is ample for at least two sets of golf clubs, without infringing on the legroom your rear passengers receive.

#6 Honda Civic Honda Civic

Not looking for an estate car? The Civic is a hatchback that allows plenty of room for your clubs to be placed either vertically or horizontally in the boot. This is a much shorter vehicle than others in the list, making it a great option for anyone who has to do a lot of tight city driving.

#7 Toyota iQ Toyota iQ

No, that’s not a joke. This tiny micro car may be incredibly short, but it is actually very wide allowing you to fit your golf bag into the back. By folding down the rear seats there is even enough room to get the trolley in. With an average economy of 65.7mpg, this will save you a lot of cash on fuel – giving you more money to spend on things you love.

 

 

If you’re planning on golfing around the Swansea area then do it with the Dragon Hotel. We have a selection of golfing packages to make your stay as perfect as possible. To learn more visit our website or talk to our friendly team today on 01792 657 100.

Where’s The Best Cappuccino? Swansea’s 7 Best Coffee Houses

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

As well as being home to some of South Wales’ most respected restaurants, Swansea is also full of plenty of chic, enjoyable coffee houses – perfect for whiling away the hours whether you’re at work or play. You don’t need to visit a faceless national chain for a cracking cappuccino – there are plenty of amazing independent options.

Here are our 7 favourite coffee houses in Swansea:

The Cove, Castle Street

It may be just a minute’s walk from the famous Wind Street, but The Cove is exactly what its name suggests – a quiet, intimate venue that’s perfect for chilling out a little if you’re a little sick of the crowds in Swansea City Centre. With ever-changing art on show from local artists, The Cove It serves some of Swansea’s best coffee. Well worth a look.

The One Shoe Café, Kind Edward’s Rd

Situated in an old cobbler’s shop on King Edward’s Road in Brynmill, the One Shoe Café isn’t lacking in atmosphere and certainly knows how to make a coffee that stands out from the rest. If you’re dropping in around lunchtime, we’d recommend one of their many paninis.

Verdi’s, Knab Rock, Mumbles

Coffee © UmerShabib

It’s a drive outside of Swansea, but the quality you’ll find at Verdi’s – not to mention the glorious views of the Gower coastline –  is well worth the trip. If you’re one of those that eats ice cream all year round, you’ll love Verdi’s, with up to 30 different Italian flavours made on-site with local produce, while the coffee also exhibits a typically Italian flair.

Café Twocann, Swansea Docks

Based in an old grade 2-listed grain store in Swansea Docks, Café Twocann offers excellent views over the marina and is the perfect  place to stop and sit with a really tasty cup. We recommend ordering the latte which comes with a separate shot to allow you to control the strength of your coffee and, of course, a traditional Welsh Cake.

Steam Coffee & Tea Room, Uplands

With an intimate ambience and homely wooden décor, Steam Coffee Room is as charming as it is cosy. With seasonal menus – as well as local artists and performers – you can be sure of something new on the menu, as well as its ever-reliable hot drinks.

Maddocks, Southgate

Yes, it’s another Gower coffee house – but another that you won’t regret making a trip to, especially if you’re on the way to Threecliff Bay or more of the locale’s beaches. Maddocks Tea Room makes all its food on location. Try its freshly-ground coffee which is a definite highlight, as well as the range of leafy teas on offer.

The Lounge, The Dragon Hotel

On our first floor, the Lounge is a contemporary and comfortable setting for you to enjoy a wide range of drinks and afternoon teas – and one of Swansea’s most popular places to stop for a coffee. Both visitors and patrons love us for our free Wi-Fi (perfect if you want to mixture of work and pleasure), friendly service and tasty lunch menu.

What are your favourite Swansea coffee houses? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and let us know!

(Image: Umershabib)

The Best Business Venues in Swansea

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Swansea is building its reputation as a key location for big business conferences and company training days. Whether you’re looking for an intimate location for a small staff meeting or to entertain hundreds of important delegates, thousands of people are finding that you can do it in and around Swansea.

Here are some of the best business venues you’ll find in Swansea. And yes, The Dragon Hotel is on the list…

The Liberty Stadium

As well as being home to the famous Swansea City, the Liberty Stadium is also a first-class conference venue. With a range of different rooms and lounges that can house 8 to 800 guests, it’s used by a number of different companies – particularly those with a sporting interest.

However, it is just under two miles from Swansea station, so it does mean that anyone arriving without a car will have to take a short taxi drive to the stadium. .

Brangwyn Hall

Situated down on Swansea Bay, just a stone’s throw from the sea, Brangwyn Hall is one of Swansea’s most aesthetically pleasing large venues. A popular choice for big events, this beautiful venue is adorned with art deco styling, classy wood panelling and decorated ceilings – so if you’ve plenty of budget to spend and want to make a big impression you’d love Brangwyn.

Capable of accommodating 500 diners or just over 1000 in a conference event, Brangwyn Hall certainly isn’t small and would only be suitable for the biggest, most show-stopping events.

Sketty Hall

It’s not quite as large as Brangwyn Hall, with only space for 150 people, but Sketty Hall is no less impressive. With a range of rooms, and some excellent grounds if you fancy a quick walk, the venue is very popular with smaller conferences.

It is a few miles out of Swansea towards the Gower coast, and while this means its settings are pretty impressive, it means that logistics can be difficult if you’re not all travelling by car.

The National Waterfront Museum

Not only is the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea a great place for the young and not-so-young to learn about Welsh history, but it’s also a decent venue for conferences too. The museum has a range of spaces available for hire by businesses and training specialists, and can be an interesting, niche way to chew the fat with clients.

The Dragon Hotel

Even if we do say so ourselves, our business facilities are definitely some of the best in Swansea. With a wide range of intimate rooms, all the audio-visual equipment you need, free Wi-Fi, food from award-winning chefs and a tailored service, at The Dragon we specialise in making your business meeting as personal and as enjoyable as possible.

Guests also love us for our central location, free private car parking facilities and very easy access to both the M4 and Swansea railway station – as well as access to our health club and award-winning restaurant.

Want to find out more about our conferencing facilities? Take a look at our events page today.

How to Make Healthy Chocolate Protein Cookies

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

What’s going on in the health club?? They’re behind the desk eating cookies!

Chocolate cookies

But these aren’t any chocolate cookies…
They’re healthy, high protein cookies.

So this means you can now eat cookies guilt free.

Our resident Health Club expert Tara was getting creative in her kitchen and has put an incredible twist on the chocolate whey protein that we offer at the health club.

Bet you didn’t know you could use this powder for more than just your protein shake did you?

So if you want a guilt free treat, check out this recipe from Tara’s Chocolate eBook.

How to make healthy chocolate protein cookies

All ingredients are available at our health club.

  • ¼ cup whey protein
  • ¼ cup pea protein
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp crunchy nut butter

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough.
  2. Split into 6
  3. Pop onto greaseproof paper and cook in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees for 12-15 mins.

1 serving is 2 cookies for a yummy, balanced snack. Perfect eating after a heavy workout!

Enjoy!

Want more tasty, healthy recipes from Tara?

Pop down and we’ll share more delicious recipes with you!

6 Things You’ll Never Find Outside Wales

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Wales is a glorious country – the land of Gareth Bale, Dylan Thomas, Richard Burton and Aneurin Bevan. And there are plenty of things to enjoy when you’re here, many of which you just couldn’t anywhere else.

Here are five of the best:

Welsh cakes, done right

Welsh cakes © ZingyYellow

Even if you cook them, or eat them, outside of Wales, they won’t taste the same. That’s a fact.

A good cwtch

Cwtch © Phunkstarr

Once you’re not in Wales, a lovely Welsh cwtch becomes a boring cuddle. And we all know that a cwtch trumps a cuddle, every time.

Not sure what a cwtch actually is? Check out our beginner’s guide to the Welsh language.

A healthy disrespect for vowels

Welsh Vowels

Why use one vowel when you can supplement it with six similar consonants, eh?

Really long place names

Long welsh name © Espinar

Or not this long anyway. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is officially the longest place name in Europe and, according to Wikipedia, the second longest place name in the world.

Score-knowing rugby players

We’re certainly #TeamMike in this instance.

An Araf, approaching your car slowly

Araf © Phillip Perry

Want to make the most of Wales? Here at The Dragon Hotel we’re perfectly positioned in central Swansea for you to enjoy the best that Wales has to offer – from stunning beaches and natural scenery to great restaurants and sensational shopping areas.

Get exclusive web rates for your Swansea break by calling +44 (0)1792 657 100 today.

6 Reasons the Gym is Best for Travelling Businessmen

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The Dragons Health & Leisure Facilities

The gym is becoming the new boardroom. And for businessmen who travel, it’s an essential part of 21st century life. Here are 6 reasons why.

1 – It’s where you get healthy

First things first, the gym is where you go to get healthy. We don’t just mean firm pectorals, strong legs and an enviable six pack – nice though they are – but a strong brain and good decision making skills. That’s essential for any ambitious employee.

2 – It’s where you get productive

You can never have too much productivity and creativity in your life. And doing the same thing breeds the same results, over and over again. If you’re stuck in a rut and want to improve your output at work, get down the gym! Working your body hard in the gym gives you more energy and can boost creativity.

3 – It’s where you can get fit for free

Let’s face it, many travelling businessmen travel with the hallowed company card. For their night away with work, the company pays for everything – within reason, of course. And at The Dragon Hotel, our business rooms include free use of health facilities and the gym for all guests, so it makes sense to get yourself down the gym and work out while it costs you nothing at all.

4 – It’s where you can hone those abs

OK, it’s time to be superficial. If you’re on the road with business, that means you’re probably in the practice of impressing people. And people, whether you like it or not, are more likely to be swayed by someone who looks good. Healthy, well turned-out businessmen will make an impression – so you owe it to your commission fees to make the most of hotel health facilities when they’re available!

5 – It’s where new clients and connections are

Want to grow your business? Perhaps you’re feeling like you’re in a professional dead end? Get yourself down the gym. If you want to see your friends, and make new ones, you should get yourself down the gym. Sure, you can also fraternise at the footy, down the pub or even over dinner, but the gym’s where you can meet a wide variety of connections.

Sure, at the gym there’s no place for overtly-aggressive self-promotion and marketing (not many people will accept a business card on a bench press after all). But at some gyms such as ours, where we’ve a heavy contingent of travelling businessmen, you’d be surprised at the potentially-influential people you could meet.

6 – It’s where you de-stress

There’s no denying that travelling around for business can be sometimes be a stressful process – particularly if you’re somewhere unfamiliar. Getting on the bike or pumping some iron is the perfect remedy for a worrisome business life as exercise increases your brain’s production of the stress-busting chemical norepinephrine.

Every guest at The Dragon Hotel enjoys access to our unrivalled health, leisure club and gym – one of the finest in Swansea. Find out more about our Swansea gym and leisure facilities today.

FORE-feits – How Golfing Forfeits Can Add Spice to Your Golf Trip

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The perfect 'GOTCHA!' © Akeg

Have you ever brightened up a golf trip by introducing forfeits? Incredible scenery and challenging courses may be important aspects of enjoyable golfing play, but the beauty of golf lies in the banter.

Forcing rules and funny golf forfeits is a great way to make a golfing break that little bit more memorable – and to put an extra ounce of pressure when you’re teeing off.

What are your punishments?

If you’re doing golf forfeits, you need to establish the perfect punishments. Golfers are famed for their ability to put drink away at a remarkable rate, and plenty of golfing forfeits do revolve around booze. Players will pick up ‘tabs’ and be obligated to settle their ‘debts’ at the bar later.

However, we’re keen to promote safe and responsible golf and it is possible to create non-alcoholic forfeits.  Why not introduce financial forfeits, with a charity kitty benefitting from golfing failures? Or perhaps the golfer with the worst record has to buy the steak dinners later on? You could even establish a series of embarrassing forfeits to complete if you fail your challenge – whether that’s swimming in the mid-winter sea, playing a hole without any clothes or banning specific clubs. The choice, dear reader, is yours.

Which are the best golf forfeits?

First in…

A simple one, this, but very effective. Are you the first player in the bunker? Forfeit. The first in the water? Forfeit. The first to hit a tree? Forfeit. The first to bogey? Forfeit. The first to double bogey? Forfeit. The first to triple bogey? You get the idea.

Bloodsome scrambles

Want to shake up a round? Try a Bloodsome Scramble, where each golfer drives and marks their effort. However, everyone hits their second shot from the same place as well – wherever the worst shot went. The same happens until you eventually hole out. This is perfect if you like a challenge.

The Portuguese Caddy

Do you find yourself wanting to sabotage your friends’ golf rounds sometimes? Thanks to the Portuguese Caddy rule, you can do just that. Each player is allowed one opportunity during a round to kick an opponent’s ball. Don’t use this special rule lightly – this is a highly tactical tool that can really transform a game.

Gotcha!

The Gotcha! rule is a perfect way to build an uneasy anticipation during a golf game. It allows each player one opportunity to shout GOTCHA! during an opponent’s drive in the hope that they’ll shank their first shot wide. However, be careful with this rule – once it’s gone it’s gone and you’ve lost the fear of anticipation too!

The worst putts

Any golfer will tell you that putting can make or break a round. You can do all the excellent approach work you want, but if you haven’t brought your game on the greens then you’ll struggle, big time. Putting is a great way to introduce some forfeits – perhaps a set punishment for the most consecutive missed putts or the easiest shanked putt of the day.

Last, but not least

And finally, there should be forfeits for every ‘last’ that happens on the golf course. For instance, if you’re the last person to find the water, to bogey, or to make a shoddy excuse for a mis-hit shot, you deserve punishment. We think that’s only fair.

Looking to create a golf break to remember? Visit The Dragon Hotel in Swansea and visit some of Britain’s best courses around South Wales.

This spring, enjoy 2 nights’ bed & breakfast at The Dragon Hotel as well as rounds at two of South Wales’ finest golf courses for £132.50pp. Book online today or call +44 (0)1792 657 100 today to get your golf break sorted!

(Image: © Akeg)