Meeting with the Irish sea on one side and the English border on the other, Wales’ is home to some astounding mountainous scenery. Its National Parks are popular for hiking, glacier spotting and climbing, while historic medieval castles and quaint towns provide some more sedate sightseeing options. Here you can experience a life usually unseen in the modern-day while staying in finery.
Slebech Park Estate
This stunning 18th-century mansion is perched on the banks of the Dau-Cleddau River, in the Pembrokeshire National Park. It’s a grand building, but contains just 15 bedrooms, creating a boutique indoor atmosphere. Surrounded by 700 acres of countryside, the area is home to ospreys, birds of prey, badgers and otters. The decor is evocative of an old country estate and the two AA Rosette restaurant has an elegant, timeless feel. Much of the produce comes from the hotel’s vintage kitchen garden, along with Welsh specialities from slightly further afield.
The Grove Narberth
Four cottages and a 15th-century longhouse make up the Grove of Narbeth. Here, the old world meets the new with interiors designed by Martin Hulbert. Furniture, pottery and lace come from local artists and makers, along with a few exotic textiles from far-flung lands. The Fernery restaurant operates a low mileage policy on produce and has it’s own veg and herb gardens under the direction of executive chef Allister Barsby. It’s an all-round eco-friendly staycation choice, with electric car charging points courtesy of Tesla, solar panels and recycled water. There’s also a casual dining area, The Artisan Rooms, and 26 plush bedrooms in bold and autumnal classic shades.
Six months after opening, The Royston was declared the best hotel in Wales by The Sunday Times. It has just seven rooms and welcomes both pets, and children over the age of 12. The grounds yield a breakfast bounty with its own orchard, egg-laying hens and polytunnels. The kitchen serves hearty homemade meals – but you’ll need to book in advance – and the homely ambience extends to the well-stocked honesty bar. Enjoy an alfresco beverage, drinking in both the majestic scenery and your tipple.
Coes Faen Spa Lodge
This is a spa resort with a difference. Instead of a single shared therapy space, each room is furnished with its own spa features and the facilities for private treatments. Marvel at the lodge’s unique details like wooden baths crafted by a boatbuilder and waterproof TV remotes to take into them. Coes Faen has the UK’s largest glass atrium and a natural rock formation with an interior spring, included in the lobby’s architecture. The Victorian-turned contemporary interiors were inspired by the region of Tuscany, while the exterior area is made up of pretty woodland gardens in the foreground with views of Snowdonia beyond.
Twr y Felin Hotel, St Davids, Pembrokeshire
Opened in 2015 after an extensive refurb by architect Keith Griffiths, Twr y Felin was branded as a contemporary art hotel. Abstracts, local landscapes and portraits of Welsh celebrities adorn the walls, while the 21 bedrooms (a larger number are currently under construction) are styled in earthy colours with clean lines. The hotel is named after the early 19th-century windmill that sits within the property and was once used as a World War II U-boat lookout point. Guests can even sleep aloft in the luxe Windmill Tower Suite, while the hotel’s dining takes place in the swish Blas (meaning Taste) restaurant.
St Brides Spa Hotel
Looking down on Carmarthen Bay, the hotel’s proximity to sandy beaches makes it ideal for an upscale UK break. The spa here is considered to be one of the finest in Wales, with its thermal suite, herbal rock sauna, seaweed wraps, algae facials and the pièce de résistance – a hydrotherapy infinity pool with ocean views. St Brides is decorated to echo the palette of its coastal locale and in addition to standard rooms, guests can book self-catering apartments. And of course, seafood is the speciality at St Brides’ sophisticated Cliff Restaurant.
Peterstone Court Country House & Spa
Opt for an inland stay at the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. This graceful country house hotel sits close to a multitude of hiking and bike trails, as well as proffering opportunities to fish, golf and climb. Many of the Georgian rooms have mountain views, with contemporary furnishings complementing the period features. Meals at Peterstone Court are simple and sustainable, with much of the meat coming from the local farm. And be sure to head down to the cellar where you’ll find a beautiful gym, jacuzzi and blissful spa with organic products.
Spend your Welsh break in a romantic fairytale castle overlooking the Menai Strait. The magnificent 30 bedroomed, six-storey stately home is situated on the island of Anglesey and has received a five-star rating from Visit Wales. It was built as a gift for Lady Sarah Hay Williams – based on a series of chateaux in the Loire Valley – and contains immense period intricacy both inside and out. A more recent facelift has retained its character but added modern comforts. Guests can take a RIB ride from the hotel’s private slipway, soak under the stars in a hot tub or cosy up by the fireside with a nightcap.