Donnie, Debbie and Manuel in Cardiff

I booked tickets Thursday night to see Donny Osmond in the Cardiff International Arena (CIA) ages ago as a treat for Debbie who’s a huge fan.  We drove there via the Heads of the Valleys Road & the A470 bypassing Merthyr, following the route Debbie took to work when she was based at Companies House in Cardiff.

The show started at 8pm and didn’t end until after 10pm so we stayed in the Hilton hotel, now renamed Fawlty Towers, more on that later!  Our room 515 was huge & overlooked the tower block where Debbie had had he Civil Service interview so it brought memories flooding back for her.

After a quick glass of wine or two in the luxurious room we headed off into the cold night air to have dinner before the concert at “The Smoke Haus” in Mary Ann Street which was absolutely delicious, before heading to the excited crowds of people queuing up to get into the CIA.

Yummy!  Debs had an 8oz medium rare steak with pepper sauce & salad while I had the “threesome” with skin on fries…
Any moment now!

The concert was a sell-out and although I’ve seen Donny and his brothers quite a few times before his performance really shone with an enthusiasm and enjoyment that I don’t believe was put on and the audience responded accordingly.


The highlight of his show was when he talked about the man that gave him his first break in show business Andy Williams and he sang “Moon River” in tribute to him.  It was a great evening out and we got back to the Hilton by about 11am safely for a good night’s sleep as we had an early start the next day to take James to Newport for his National Express coach to London so we hung up our room breakfast order for 7-7.30am on Friday morning…


We got ready nice and early ready for our breakfast as we were starving & thirsty after the events of the night before but as 7.35am ticked away I called room service to find out about our missing breakfast.  The phone rang for about 2-3 minutes before a rather hassle sounded man answered promising “only ten minutes more”!

At around 7.50am and needing to leave at 8am to get back home in time for James no knock on the door and we got ready to leave when just as I put my hand on the door handle “Manuel” suddenly knocked with a trolley containing huge amounts of food we’d not ordered in “compensation” for the delay.

Looking on bemused we looked on exacerbated with me holding the door open while he carried each plate & glass in individually, rushing in and out of our room rather than wheeling the trolley in!  After asking me to sign his docket whilst assuring me “no charge, no charge” in a Spanish accent (really!) he then disappeared when we realised he’d forgotten to leave us any utensils…

Looking sadly at the heaped plates of cold, congealed food we realised they’d deceived two cooked breakfasts as well as the cereals & yogurts even though Debbie had only ordered continental, together with greasy fried eggs even though I’d ordered scrambled.  Of course this was all academic as we had nothing to eat them with when all of a sudden the waiter reappeared with two knives and forks saying “sorry, sorry”.

He then ran out of the room again when we realised we had no spoons!  Smiling now even though we were angry and astonished at the Hilton we then heard him return scampering down the corridor holding up two spoons!  As only Brits do we thanked him and decided to leave the whole sorry mess in the room as we went downstairs to check out.

As we approached checkout we could see the waiter talking to the main receptionist who I have expected to greet us with “sorry, he’s from Barcelona” but instead gritted his teeth and waived the service charge of £6 for room service and the overnight car park fee of £25.  Too much in a rush to remonstrate further, we “escaped” to our waiting car and made it back to LLanfoist to make the return trip to Newport in time for James visit to his brother Alex in London for their whiskey tasting experience.

The first thing I did when getting back home was to lodge a formal complaint to Hilton and I received a $50 voucher to “enjoy” at our next stay and two more apologies via email!  We can both laugh now about the breakfast experience, but we’re looking rather forward to the Travelodge eating experience when we go to see the Stranglers! 🙂


Donnie, Debbie and Manuel in Cardiff

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