Swansea is not your typical tourist hot-spot but with a location framed by hills and nestling in a sheltered bay you wonder why not. Add to that a sweeping waterfront leading on to Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula and it gets even better. We last visited Swansea years ago when Son was pre-school age. I remember a glorious morning on the beach at Mumbles and a couple of days exploring the breath-taking beaches, cliffs and scenery that is the Gower Peninsula. This time (unfortunately) due to time constraints we couldn’t repeat that fabulous experience. On the plus side though it did give us time to take in all Swansea had to offer.
Last time we opted to stay in the Maritime Quarter, a great base then and our first choice now for exploring, what Dylan Thomas referred to as “this ugly, lovely town.”
A trawl through the last minute booking websites we unearthed a reasonable deal for the Marriott. The clincher was the description “convenient for the Maritime Quarter.” Great location but the whole place was somewhat stuck in a 1980’s time warp – from the exterior to the corridors to the room itself. Looking back though I fear I am being too picky maybe – our room was spotlessly clean and comfortable for sure, it just lacked the wow factor. In hindsight our posh pad in Cardiff the previous evening probably spoiled us.
We were allocated a disabled room on the ground floor. Nice enough but alarms and call buttons everywhere meant I was on heightened alert with Son who was drawn to all these like a magnet. Add to that a bathroom full of aides – masquerading as climbing apparatus to him and tension levels (mine) were high. We felt also a fraction uneasy about denying someone else these facilities who might need them. Husband enquired at reception about moving rooms, they were dismissive and none too interested so we stayed put.
The Maritime Quarter is great for strolling – not quite the buzz of Cardiff but quiet, peaceful and lovely. Loads of interesting boats to look at and views galore. A lot of empty shop units and a scarcity of eating/drinking establishments made me think someone must be missing a trick here. Such a lovely setting, surely people would flock here to eat.
After exploring the outer reaches of the marina and checking out some great fishing boats hunger was rearing its head. We struggled somewhat to find an (open) restaurant, eventually found one lone Spanish place – very nice – then refreshed and refuelled we had one last look at all those boats.