Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

Why You Should Visit Swansea… The Beaches

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Why should you visit Swansea? We think one motive shines above all others – the beaches. There’s nothing we love more than getting out into the country and visiting the locale’s compelling coastline. And whether spring, summer, autumn or winter, thousands of our patrons feel the same every year.

Here are five reasons why the beaches around Swansea are the best in Britain:

Rhossili

1 – The ratings

It’s not just us who think Swansea’s great. Earlier in the year Rhossili Bay, the jewel of Swansea’s Gower peninsula, was voted as Europe’s third-best beach – and Britain’s favourite. With typical Welsh class, Swansea council said that it was: “delighted but not surprised”.

What’s more, many of the local beaches have won awards. Bracelet Bay, Caswell Bay, Langland Bay and Port Eynon Bay are some of the best beaches near Swansea and have all been recognised with the Blue Flag and Seaside Award, while the latter was voted by Cadbury Flake 99 customers as Britain’s best.

2 – The aesthetics

If you’re looking for unspoilt, beautiful beaches you’ll adore the coastline around Swansea Bay and the Gower. Many shorelines stretch for miles and are framed by picture-perfect sand dunes, cliffs and with some wildlife that can only be found in the local area. Put simply, it must be seen to be believed.

3 – The variety

Locals and tourists love the beaches around Swansea because they offer so much variety. Whether you want to enjoy a spot of surfing (more on that later), play some beach cricket on some long sandy areas, take in some extreme sports or investigate cool crustacean pebble-strewn coves, you can do pretty much anything down here. There’s something for every taste!

4 – The logistics

Sure, it’s not a particularly romantic reason to visit some beaches, but we can’t deny that logistics play an important role in choosing a holiday. After all, why would you spend hours going down increasingly windy roads on the way to Newquay or Bude in Cornwall when you can zip along the M4 to Swansea in an hour or two less time? We rest our case.

5 – The waves  Surfing

Of the many thousands of people frequenting beaches in south west Wales, a significant percentage are there to do one thing: surf. The Gower Peninsula is renowned for having a number of super spots for both beginner and expert surfers to battle the waves. Lllangenith is a consistent favourite and popular with amateurs, while Oxwich Bay and Porthcawl, found further east, are also great options. In winter months, Langland Bay is also a particularly popular spot, with a variety of different spots to suit a range of surfers.

With free parking, easy access and a central city centre location, the Dragon Hotel is a perfect base for those looking to explore the picturesque local coast. Get great rates by booking online today!

(Images: Nigel’s Europe, Placeboe)

What to Do in Swansea if Your Golf is a Washout

Monday, January 6th, 2014

It’s every golfer’s worst nightmare. The golf break you’ve planned for months turns into a washout.

We’ll do just about whatever we can to ensure that your golfing break at the Dragon Hotel is as enjoyable as it can be. But there are some things we can’t control and the occasionally wet Welsh weather is one of them.

However, there’s plenty to do in and around Swansea when bad weather stops play. Here are some wet-weather alternatives:

Skidz Karting

Washout

For over 50 years, we’ve helped many thousands of golf groups to enjoy the best breaks possible. And over the decades, we’ve learned one primary thing about golfers: you boys love competition. Getting on the golf course is all about teeing off with your best mates and see who comes up tops.

Although the wet weather may have curtailed your golfing hopes for the day, there’s still plenty of scope for getting your competitive side out in Swansea. Skidz Karting in Swansea is absolutely perfect for that reason. Groups of lads can turn up and battle each other in a number of different races – from half hour sprints to endurance races with qualifiers spanning three long hours. What’s more, the lucky winner gets to take home a trophy to lord it over his mates too.

Visit Swansea’s museums – or The Chocolate Factory!

Swansea’s positively foaming with plenty of museums and interesting educational areas where you can learn all about the local area and its culture. From Swansea Museum and the National Waterfront Museum to South Wales Miners’ Museum and the Dylan Thomas Exhibition, there’s more than you could shake a cultural stick at.

We’re also aware that some golfers aren’t quite such culture vultures. That’s where The Chocolate Factory comes in. Sure, it’s a factory, but it’s about chocolate. What’s not to like?

A day out at the cinema

Taking a trip to the cinema is the perfect rainy-day outing. In Swansea, you’ll find two of them in the centre of town, both of which are in walking distance of the Dragon Hotel. Plus, if you’re getting a bit fed up of your mates’ banter, it gives you 90 minutes of precious respite.

Partake in some retail therapy

Swansea’s great for shopping, with a number of great department stores, high-street names and cool independent boutiques to help you get kitted out in the latest gladrags. After all, when you’re going out in Swansea only the best clobber will do. What’s more, everything’s pretty compact so you won’t get very wet making your way from one shop to another.

Shopaholics love Oxford St and The Quadrant shopping centre, where all the big brands can be found, while more conscientious shoppers find that they can get stylish, more individual fashions and keepsakes in Swansea Market and the arcades dotted around the city centre.

Start your drinking…

Golfers love golf, we know that. We also know that golfers love drinking. So if your golf has been rained off for the day, why not start a session off early? Get some early drinks down you at the famous Wind Street, or visit some of Swansea’s more reputable pubs and bars. Of course, we recommend that you drink responsibly…

Looking for a golf break that suits you and your mates down to the ground? Take a look at the exciting golf packages on offer today at the Dragon Hotel. For more information, or for custom breaks completely tailored to fit you, call our team today on 01792 657 100.

 

Golfing in Swansea… Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The 1st Green  Looking Out To The Bristol Channel.1

Here at the Dragon Hotel we’re passionate about golf. Fans of the great game come from across the country to play South Wales’ great courses and to stay at the Dragon Hotel.

With that in mind, we’re starting a series looking at some of the best courses and links around Swansea. So here’s our run-down on one of South Wales’ most popular places: Royal Porthcawl, regarded as one of the UK’s finest courses.

Where is Royal Porthcawl Golf Club?

Head Eastward on the M4 from Swansea and leave at Junction 37 of the M4. Join the A4229 towards Nottage for nearly 3 miles then take the third exit onto Fulmar Road. Follow the road round and follow signs to Royal Porthcawl Club.

How it plays out

With its holes facing a range of different directions, the strong wind coming in from the Atlantic plays a very important role on each of the Royal Porthcawl’s 18 holes – particularly because the course isn’t protected by many trees or dunes.

Over the first few holes, all par 4s, you’ll be down on sea level playing some terrifically raw links golf. However unlike most links courses, Royal Porthcawl isn’t particularly flat. There aren’t many easy holes here. The 14th is perhaps the toughest: a par 3 with a tiny green and a breeze that’s often impossible to predict.

Over the course you’ll head gradually uphill where you’re afforded some truly stunning views of the Bristol Channel. Your prize for climbing up after the 17th is a downhill 18th with Devon and Pembrokeshire in the background, on a good day.

Why you’ll love it

Hole 10

Royal Porthcawl is perfect for both amateur and professional golfers and has hosted many of the game’s most distinguished competitions – from the Walker Cup and the Dunlop Masters to the Home Internationals and the Coral Classic. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

Next to Rest Bay, one of West Wales’ most renowned beaches, Royal Porthcawl is in a stunning location. The lower holes offer engaging, if frustrating, links golf while the middle few holes are further up and resemble heathland. The course is known as the ‘thinking man’s’ golf course: perfect for the golfer who likes to play with every club. There’s no one size fits all approach here.

Golfers also love the clubhouse and the course for its relaxed, convivial atmosphere. It’s perfect for visiting
with a group of lads who want to really test their technique and boost their golfing experience.

Why you might not

You may have gathered by now that Royal Porthcawl can be a slightly unforgiving course. It’s visually stunning and offers a wide range of holes for golfers to pit their wits against, but it can be a struggle if you’re visiting on a bad day.

However, this is Wales’ best rated golf course for a reason – even on a bad day you won’t fail to acknowledge the stunning scenery and varied play. We recommend.

Looking for a hotel near Royal Porthcawl Golf Club?

Are you looking to play at one of Wales’ most well-renowned courses? At the Dragon Hotel, we’re a popular, modern option for golfers looking fo accomodation near Porthcawl Golf Club. Let us build your golfing holiday online today – call +44 (0)1792 657 100 or visit our golf page today.

Hole 2

The Festive Factsheet to earning those Christmas Calories

Friday, December 13th, 2013

christmas-calories-infographic

Christmas is a time for giving, seeing loved ones, relaxing and, of course, eating. The average person in the UK manages to eat around 7000 calories on Christmas Day alone – that’s three times a woman’s daily recommended intake.

However, there are plenty of extra-curricular calorie-combatting activities that the average Brit gets up to in readiness for the big day. We wanted to take a look at how many calories you actually burn in the days and weeks of preparing for your festive feast.

Go on, take another roast potato or honeyed parsnip – you deserve it!

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What’s on at Swansea’s Winter Wonderland?

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Christmas Swansea

Swansea’s Winter Wonderland is back, and it’s better than ever. Until the 5th January, revellers from across South Wales will descend upon the grounds outside the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea Bay.

When you wrap up warm and head down to the Bay, you’ll find that there’s plenty to do and see at the annual Wonderland, including:

Ice skating

At Winter Wonderland, there’s not one but two most-excellent ice rinks so that both young and old can slide and skate their way across the frozen floor. Anyone under 1.35m tall can sharpen their skating skills on the children’s rink and the Admiral Rink is perfect for revellers of all ages.

You can buy tickets from Tourist Information in Plymouth Street, or by booking online. And if you’re not skating, you can sit back on a rink-side seat with a warming cup of mulled wine and watch your loved ones slip and slide all over the place.

Funfair

Perhaps the most spectacular part of Winter Wonderland is the funfair which has more rides and attractions than ever before, including:

  • The carousel
  • Snow storm
  • Fun House
  • Children’s rides
  • Simulators
  • Games and Stalls

The best of the lot, however, is the brand new Sky Ride – a spectacular chair ride that takes you 60m into the air above Swansea. Check out this video of the Sky Ride from when it operated in Cardiff.

Santa’s Grotto

Until the 22nd December, when he’ll take a trip back to Lapland to ready himself for a reasonably busy Christmas Eve, Father Christmas is residing in Swansea in his grotto at Winter Wonderland – so why not bring your little ones along to meet him? For £5, children can meet Saint Nick himself, receive a festive present and get a picture with the big guy.

As the most respected hotel in Swansea City Centre, there have of course reports that Santa is staying at the Dragon Hotel in between his shifts at the grotto. We cannot confirm or deny the rumours.

The stalls

As well as the rides and attractions to be found at Winter Wonderland where you can browse, buy and play. From hot and cold food and speciality fare to chic stocking fillers and classic fair games with great prizes, there’s all sorts to do and see.

If you’re heading down to Swansea to sample the festivities during the most wonderful time of the year, why not stay overnight? At The Dragon Hotel, we offer great rates on overnight stays and a classy, comfortable four-star experience. Talk to our team today about exclusive online deals.

(Image © City and County of Swansea www.swanseachristmas.com)

Your Guide to Swansea Christmas Market 2013

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Christmas Swansea

Have you visited Swansea’s Christmas market? Whether you’re one or two stocking-fillers away from finishing your well-constructed Christmas shop or have a long list of presents yet to buy, it’s an absolute haven for festive shoppers of all ages.

The colourful, exciting market on Oxford Street, just a few minutes’ walk from the Dragon Hotel, is perfect for buying those extra-special gifts for your loved ones. Whether you’re visiting from the local area or from further afield, it’s perfect for getting in the festive spirit.

What’s on offer at Swansea market?

With 39 different stalls – painted in a spectacularly seasonal green and red – offering all sorts of wares, foods and gifts, there’s every chance you’ll find what you’re looking for. There you’ll find:

  •     Arts and crafts
  •     Homewares
  •     Jewellery
  •     Speciality foods
  •     Christmas accessories
  •     Decorations
  •     Gifts

Heck, even if you’ve done all your shopping you should head on down. With all sorts of lights, trees and Christmassy smells, the atmosphere’s sure to get you feeling merrier than a night in with Home Alone, Die Hard and other classic festive flicks. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to catch local school choirs singing some of your favourite carols.

What’s more, you can get your photo taken with a life-size snowman amid plenty of the white stuff in the innovative snowglobe.

When is it open?

You can visit the market 7 days a week between 10AM and 5.30PM and on Thursdays until 8PM. There’s also reduced parking rates of £1 in St David’s multi-storey car park for late-night shoppers on Thursday nights.

However, if you’re one of those who likes to leave your Christmas shopping down to the very last minute, beware! The last trading day is on Sunday 22nd December.

Will you buy the golden ticket?

To add a little more excitement to an already-exhilarating time of year, anyone who shops in the city centre markets could win £1,000 worth of presents by entering the special golden ticket competition. All you have to do is fill in your details on a ticket – available in many shops and stalls around Swansea – and post it into one of the few golden post boxes around Swansea city centre.

(Image © City and County of Swansea www.swanseachristmas.com)

Why is Free WiFi More Important than a Comfy Bed?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

In recent years, many travellers have started rating free Wifi as one of the most important aspects to look for when finding a hotel to stay in. This is even more prevalent for business travellers who need access to the internet in order to check their emails, do work online or simply Skype home. The need for WiFi has driven the majority of hotels and B&Bs to have some form of internet available; here’s why most people think WiFi is more important than comfort:

Short term stay

If you’re a business traveller then chances are you won’t be staying in the hotel for a very long time. However one or two nights on a hard bed is nothing in comparison to one or two nights without the internet. Depending on how far you have to travel and the amount of meetings you have to attend, by the time you get to bed you’ll probably be too tired to notice the bed.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to use your phone’s data to do the work you have then you’ll be cursing yourself for not finding somewhere with WiFi. When people stay for longer periods than this then comfort starts to play a bigger part; however, many people have claimed to have stayed at a ‘less ideal’ location for the added benefit of an internet connection.

More important than breakfast

A study carried out by hotels.com found that WiFi in the rooms was more important than a complimentary breakfast – not just for business travellers, but for those staying for leisure as well! In this day and age, people are constantly connected to others through the internet; without it, people start feeling lost and are happy to get breakfast elsewhere as a compromise.
People use their laptops and tablets not just for business use, but also to plan trips and activities. Staying in a comfy room is great, but if you can’t find out what’s out and about with quick internet access then the holiday could be jeopardised.

The future is tech

When it comes to traveling people no longer seem to be so focused on having a comfortable room, instead they want simple amenities such as power outlets and WiFi. This doesn’t mean that hotels will be cutting their budgets for fluffy pillows in order to put the internet in every room, but it does mean that the way we stay is changing.
Expect to see everyone from five star hotels down to low budget B&Bs starting to provide the internet as a free service. Many chains across the UK have already started doing this, making it very easy to find free Wifi Hotels in Swansea, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Birmingham and other major cities. This will make your choices when looking for hotels much easier, as you can pick on other merits like comfort and location as you know that WiFi will be provided as standard.

The Dragon team go on the sales offensive!

Friday, November 29th, 2013

“Whose silly idea was this” text Colonel Whitticase at 6.30am while sipping a latte waiting for the troops to arrive at the three Swansea Park & Ride depots.

Our mission was to spread the word about The Dragon Hotel to the good people of Swansea so we filled our tanks with mince pies and targeted commuters on their way to work by attacking them while they were half asleep!

We operated in three teams:

  • Team 1 – Tara & Justin dubbed themselves ‘Team Misbehave’ and were the first to finish sharing their mince pies (we can’t decide if they were at the busiest park & ride or if they simply ate them all themselves!)
  • Team 2 – General Garcia and Beautician Byrony AKA Beauty & the Beast had a splendid time with the help of Scott and team at the Fforestfach Park & Ride despite not many takers for mince pies. They boarded the buses for their campaign which resulted in General Garcia joining the conference call late………………whoops!!!
  • Team 3 – Rudolph & Prancer, fortified with lattes along with their mince pies, force-fed their targets by getting them in a head lock as they mounted the buses. It was a pretty effective tactic.

The word was certainly spread and we have a number of new BFFs in all the Park & Rides. Our mission was completed with a few visits to some car dealerships on the way home to spread the Christmas Cheer.

At the time of writing, we are sitting at 4,319 covers for Christmas and hope this campaign will boost our enquiries for those last few spaces remaining. If you’re looking to book somewhere to stay over Christmas give us a call on (0)1792 657 100 and find out what deals we can sort for you.

Cheryl as Rudolph Bryony in the Park & Ride Depot

Beaujolais Nouveau Day at the Dragon Hotel

Friday, November 29th, 2013

The Dragon Hotel welcomed over 300 guests again this year to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day on Thursday 21st November. We can’t believe how quickly this day seems to come around each year.  The whole event was sponsored by Fine Wines Direct, who supply The Dragon Hotel all year round with all sorts of vineyard delights, and Flags and Bunting Galore who have a huge collection of traditional sewn flags all made locally.

The Brasserie and Restaurant was bursting at the seams with 200 guests booking individual tables to entertain friends, colleagues and clients.

The event in our Pembrey suite enjoyed a 3 course lunch and guests were entertained at their tables by Sean Heydon, one of Britain’s top illusionists!  Sean brought the afternoon to a Pembreyclose with his grand finale that saw some guests floating from the furniture!  A lucky dip took place and the winning table enjoyed a complementary bottle of champagne – certainly a good finish to a great afternoon.

Beaujolais Day is on Thursday 20th November in 2014…book now to avoid disappointment!

Firstly though, back by popular demand, we will be celebrating St David’s Day, albeit a day early, on Friday 28th February 2014 with a 3 course Welsh lunch menu complete with Dewi Sant ale tasting courtesy of Tomos Watkin Brewery, all for £19.95 per head.

To book Beaujolais Day or Saint David’s Day please call our Events team on 01792 657100.

SWIMMING POOL OPEN!

Friday, November 29th, 2013

We are glad to announce that the swimming pool has now reopened and that full operations are restored at The Dragon Health & Fitness Club.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we ensured that all was safe following the incident on Thursday.