The last hotel room that I stayed in didn’t have any windows, so when I was offered the chance to stay the night in Newport’s tallest building – which offers stunning views across the city, I jumped at the chance.

Newly opened, The Mercure Hotel is a 15-storey, 135-bedroom venue smack bang in Newport city centre, moving into Chartist Tower.

The redevelopment of the tower has taken a fair few years, and understandably, there is quite a lot of interest in finding out how the former office block now looks.

And inside, it certainly passes the first test – with a sleek reception lobby greeting visitors on arrival, with three lifts to send visitors high above the city to the guest bedrooms.

South Wales Argus: The hotel reception areaThe hotel reception area

Throughout the hotel, the designers have clearly been inspired by Newport – with Transporter Bridge themes throughout.

But, while themes can sometimes come across as tacky, the industrial design works nicely here, as it isn’t too in your face.

The rooms

Staying in a Privilege Room – one of the six room types available, up on the 12th floor, one thing is clear, the rooms are spacious and well presented.

While the big windows offer great views of either the river, or the west of the city, attention is drawn to the room’s interior, and the amenities on offer.

This includes a king sized bed, and top tier hot drink facilities – including a Nespresso machine for caffeine addicts.

Staying at the hotel on Friday, June 17, the hottest day of the year, we were certainly putting the room to the test.

It certainly looked the part, but could it stand up to 30C heat?

For the most part, the answer was a resounding yes. The air conditioning worked like a dream, and the bed was extremely comfortable without leading to overheating.

South Wales Argus: The bed and the shower, two of the most important - and best featuresThe bed and the shower, two of the most important - and best features

Up until the sun set, the room was pretty hot with the sun blasting in, but to their credit, the staff factored this in by keeping the curtains drawn ahead of check-in.

Another welcome addition inside the rooms was a copy of the latest Voice magazine, giving visitors to the city a glossy look at what’s new in the local area.

The star attraction though, had to be the bathroom.

Bigger than some entire hotel rooms elsewhere, the cavernous bathroom was the height of luxury – with the walk-in shower complete with rainfall shower head a particular highlight.

Restaurant and other facilities

With the rooms taking up most of the building, the hotel’s third floor is home to many of the facilities, including the gym, bar, and restaurant.

The hotel gym is small and compact, possessing a fairly well stocked wall of free weights, as well as a couple of cardio machines. Individually, it is a perfectly serviceable fitness facility, though you probably wouldn’t want to share the space with any strangers given the close quarters of it.

South Wales Argus: Inside the fitness suite at Newport's Mercure HotelInside the fitness suite at Newport's Mercure Hotel

But, by far the most interesting aspect of the floor is the bar and restaurant area – which is also open to the public.

The Kitchen and Bar at NP20 offers a mix of Italian and Welsh cuisine, along with tapas on the bar menu.

With Newport chef Steve White at the helm, the menu isn’t to be found online yet – thought to be as part of plans to bring people in to experience it for themselves, there is just one fundamental flaw with the dining offer.

Simply put, there is just too many tasty sounding options on offer.

A Welsh lamb offering, and steaks on the grill are some of the more appealing options, and the presence of a proper pizza oven in the kitchen has allowed for an entire pizza menu too.

But, as the Argus’s resident wings connoisseur (a self-appointed position, it has to be said), the BBQ chicken wings coated in crispy onions were a no brainer for starters – though the leek and potato soup of the day might’ve won me over on a cooler evening.

South Wales Argus: Crispy chicken wings at The Kitchen and Bar at NP20 Crispy chicken wings at The Kitchen and Bar at NP20

The tangy sauce and crispy onions made for a great pairing, setting the tone for the evening.

Overall, the wings don’t quite take home the title of Newport’s finest, though they are among the best that you will find in the city.

For a main course, we opted for a grilled supreme of chicken, served with mushrooms, gnocchi, and asparagus, in a cream and white wine sauce.

We also ordered a side of fries because this reviewer is uncultured and has never tried gnocchi before.

South Wales Argus: A delicious main course meal at The Kitchen and Bar at NP20 A delicious main course meal at The Kitchen and Bar at NP20

As it happens, it was the best meal that I have eaten in quite some time – gnocchi and all.

The chicken was grilled to perfection on the outside, while staying moist on the inside, all served on a mountain of delicious mushrooms and soft gnocchi.

Unfortunately, the addition of fries, though delicious ended up being a carb overload, and as mouth watering as the dessert menu looked, we had to admit defeat.

But, diners have the option of a number of tarts, brulees and cheesecakes, and once again, the only real dilemma is deciding what best to pick.

Even though many Newport residents might not have the need for a hotel on their doorstep, the bar and restaurant is certainly worth a visit – which in turn will almost certainly lead to repeat trips.

South Wales Argus: The Kitchen and Bar at NP20 The Kitchen and Bar at NP20

The visit to the Kitchen and Bar at NP20 couldn’t go without giving a huge amount of credit to both bar and wait staff for friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive service.

Indeed, that is a theme which runs through the hotel itself.

The rooms have a disclaimer in them for guests, pointing out that as a new hotel, teething problems are possible.

But, from our perspective, the staff inside Newport’s Mercure Hotel are doing more than fine, running a hotel which is well worth checking out.

I just wouldn’t fancy being the window cleaner responsible for the entire tower.