Where is it? At the southern end of the city centre, opposite Cardiff International Arena and five minutes from Cardiff Central station, the café quarter and St David's shopping centre.

Where is it? At the southern end of the city centre, opposite Cardiff International Arena and five minutes from Cardiff Central station, the café quarter and St David's shopping centre.

What's it like? From the outside there's no concealing the fact that this hotel was conceived from a 1960s office block. On the inside, however, the transformation is as brilliant as the paintwork. This is what all budget hotels should be like.

Ambience The hotel was built within a strict budget and the DIY-chic extends from the astro-turf covered seats of the ground floor bar to the Ikea dustbins, fleecy curtains and Formica furniture of the bedrooms. Somehow the designers have managed to pull all this off with a generous dollop of glamour.

Rooms The hotel's narrow corridors increase the sense of light and space when you step into one of the 81 large, airy rooms. Most have enormous windows running around two sides of them (giving views of the Millennium stadium among other things), and even if you're not staying in the penthouse suite (from £85), you can book one of the refurbished ninth-floor rooms (from £58) and pretend that you are. The standard rooms (from £45) are less sexy but equally comfortable. All have just the facilities you need (comfortable beds, fluffy towels and big mugs for coffee) with none of those you don't (trouser presses, shower caps and jogging maps).

Service There's not a great call for it here since the hotel operates more like a b&b but you get the feeling that the attitude of the staff matches the facilities - pleasant and efficient but with no unnecessary airs or graces.

Food and drink There is no hotel restaurant so, for dinner, it's a choice between the take-away list at reception or a five-minute stroll to the café quarter. Breakfast - orange juice, coffee, croissants, cereals, toast, yogurt and fruit - can be packed "to go" or enjoyed at leisure in the cheerful dining room.

Clientele A more run-of-the-mill bunch than the hotel's glittering stakeholders (including the actor John Malkovich) but the range so far (Argentinian rugby players, Canadian politicians, suits and young London media types) reads enticingly like the character list of a Jilly Cooper novel.

Things to do Rugby matches aside, you can see bands such as Catatonia play in the Arena, explore the regenerated Cardiff Bay area, see the high-Victorian castle, head to the north of the city to discover some of Wales's best museums, or just relax in your room, admiring the views.

Address The Big Sleep Hotel, Bute Terrace, Cardiff CF10 2FE (tel: 029-2063 6363; net: www.thebigsleephotel.com; e-mail: bookings@thebigsleephotel.com).

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