Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The best hotels in Wales for 2022

A vast natural playground blessed with some of the world’s most sensational beaches, together with rugged mountains, magnificent national parks, classic seaside resorts and hidden fishing villages, Wales is irresistible for every type of traveller.

Adventure lovers find plenty to get them active, from inland surfing to whitewater-rafting and coasteering, but there’s plenty of scope for simple walking too – not least on the 870-mile Wales Coast Path or the inland Dyke Path along the Wales–England border. Cycle paths abound too, while boat trips can take you for whale, dolphin, puffin and other fabulous wildlife encounters.

The best hotels in Wales are all, in their own way, heavenly retreats from the elements with an emphasis on delicious food created from the freshest seasonal ingredients with very low food miles.

Sometimes it’s even zero food miles, as many of them – including the walled Grove of Narberth and the vintage-inspired gem of The Royston in deepest mid Wales – have their own kitchen gardens. Many also serve afternoon teas perfect for refuelling after a day of climbing those mountains or tackling those clifftop paths.

Whether you're looking for places to stay in the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia, you'll want to keep scrolling for our pick of the best hotels in Wales to check into in 2022.

1. The Grove of Narberth, Pembrokeshire

Blissfully secluded within walled grounds with vegetable gardens and a cutting bed for the florist, boutique hotel The Grove of Narbeth is also only a few miles from the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park, sandy beaches and cute harbour villages. Inside, it’s all country-house chic in rooms and suites that each have their own character, with antique fireplaces, four-poster beds and deep cast-iron bathtubs.

The Grove is child- and dog-friendly (the top floor harbours a family suite, and cottages dot the grounds) but it’s also romantic, with dining ranging from gourmet food in the Fernery, reserved for over-12s, to laidback meals in the Artisan Rooms and highly civilised afternoon teas.

2. Harbourmaster Hotel, Ceredigion

A dream of a coastal retreat occupying the 1811-built home of the local harbourmaster and an adjoining former warehouse, this independent boutique option in Cardigan Bay conceals 13 stylish rooms. Many have sea views and all offer contemporary decor in welcoming hues heavy on plums and blues, offset by original features such as exposed stone walls and wood panelling.

At Harbourmaster Hotel, there’s also a two-bedroom cottage just a few steps away. It’s among the best hotels in Wales for its onsite dining, with Cardigan Bay shellfish, fish, Welsh lamb and beef, Ceredigion cheeses and local organic vegetables accompanied by dreamy views of bobbing fishing boats in Aberaeron’s tidal harbour.

3. Roch Castle, Pembrokeshire

Unique and atmospheric, with its very own chapel, this 12th-century relic affords 360-degree views over Pembrokeshire including Skomer Island from its volcanic outcrop. Meticulously restored, Roch Castle offers sleek rooms with muted neutral colours that leave the limelight to original features including traditional castle windows.

Some rooms are within the upper turrets, and one, in the round tower, is almost circular. There’s a treatment room with the likes of reiki (plus the option of qigong in the nearby adults-only Twr y Felin Hotel in an old windmill in St Davids).

4. The Royston, Powys

Nestled deep in pastureland in the heart of mid Wales, surrounded by the Cambrian Mountains, The Royston is a gem of a guesthouse that mixes original artworks and curated vintage and designer furnishings in just seven cocooning rooms all with gorgeous views.

There’s no restaurant, but you can book simple homemade suppers based on ingredients grown on the property’s own land or by local suppliers, including moreish tartlets and Welsh cheeseboards with homemade chutneys. There’s also an honesty bar including local beers in the lounge with its wood-burning stove, and you can book a fire-pit out in the grounds to watch the sun go down over a class of fizz.

5. New House Country Hotel, Cardiff

Up in Thornhill with magnificent views from its vast picture windows down over the glittering lights of the Welsh capital, Cardiff Bay and the Severn Estuary, and across to Devon, this Grade 2 listed country pile was built by a wealthy local industrialist and oozes period charm.

New House Country Hotel's rooms and suite are cosy nests with feature wallpapers. The best tables in The Sequoias restaurant are in the glass pergola with its sublime views; the menu mixes classic and more innovative fare, with the accent on local produce including blade of Welsh beef and regional cheeses.

Perched on its own peninsula and quite unlike anywhere else in the world, this visionary and even eccentric spot – familiar to many as the location for the cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner – embraces a spa, shops, restaurants, café and a gelateria, all tucked within subtropical woodland gardens with estuary views.

Classic and contemporary accommodation is divided between the Grade II listed Hotel Portmeirion, an early-Victorian villa with an open-air swimming pool on the estuary lawn, and Castell Deudraeth, a Victorian castellated folly, or there are also rooms and suites dotted around the village itself, and 15 cottages.

7. Tynycornel Hotel, Gwynedd

"Location, location, location", shrieks the early-1800s built Tynycornel Hotel in a dreamily secluded spot on the glacial ribbon lake of Tal-y-llyn, with activities including fishing for wild brown trout and migrating salmon, wild swimming, boat trips and mountain walks up Cadair Idris looming moodily over it all.

The 23 rooms feature the likes of solid wooden four-posters and exposed stone walls, often enlivened by quirky modern artworks. Given the old-school feel, the fare on offer in the restaurant has an impressive global range, from Sri Lankan curries to Hungarian goulash, but always with an emphasis on Welsh produce.

8. St Brides Spa Hotel, Pembrokeshire

The outdoor heated infinity pool with views down over Saundersfoot Beach is enough of a draw, but this clifftop hotel also has a brilliant spa using marine products (including organic and seaweed therapies), contemporary dining with plenty of locally landed fish, and airy rooms in fresh nautical hues.

There are only 34 of the latter, along with six two-bedroom apartments, so the accent is very much on a personal welcome and tailored service. For a bit more privacy, you’ll also find apartments down in the village, where the hotel has its own stylish fish-and-chip restaurant.

9. Palé Hall, Bala

On the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, this member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group is a sumptuous hideaway in the tranquil Dee valley, with woodland gardens rolling down to the riverbanks. Inhabiting a grand high-Victorian mansion and with a dog-friendly ethos (there are designated rooms, plus dog-care facilities), Palé Hall is a place for both being active (fishing and 4X4 driving experiences are both on offer) and for holing up in front of a flickering fire with a glass of something restorative in hand.

The impressive cuisine includes both tasting menus accompanied by a sommelier-selected wine flight and bistro menus ideal for families. Of the 22 classically decorated rooms and suites, two have charming circular sitting rooms within the building’s turret.

10. Château Rhianfa, Anglesey

Like something out of a fairytale with its turrets, galleries and chimney spires, this Grade II listed building was inspired by the châteaux of France’s Loire Valley. Divine views over the Menai Strait and Snowdonia mountains are one of the attractions, as is the Wine Cave with its tastings, the banqueting hall by Alfred Waterhouse (architect of the Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum), and Le Dragon Rouge restaurant.

The decor at Château Rhianfa is extraordinary, with elaborately carved wooden doors and ornate stone fireplaces. The 16 rooms have more contemporary inflections; some have four-poster beds, some have coastal views, and one has a freestanding bath in the bay window. Eight further rooms in the modern lodge annex are more contemporary still, and the gardens also hold cottage suites sleeping up to six.

11. Escape Boutique B&B, Llandudno

Perfect for an adult getaway (it doesn’t accept children under 10 years), contemporary bolthole Escape Boutique B&B occupies a grand villa in this popular Victorian seaside resort, with its classic pier, sweeping bays and towering headlands.

Each room is unique, but expect the likes of Eames-style swivel chairs, crocheted throws, retro radios, vintage cocktail chairs and, in one, a vast roll-top copper bath. Breakfasts set you up for a day of exploring, with the hearty likes of local meats and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.

12. Llangoed Hall, Powys

Elegant and timeless, this country house with its history dating as far back as 560AD was restored to its former glory by Sir Bernard Ashley of the iconic Laura Ashley textile design firm, and Llangoed Hall's 23 bedrooms all bear witness to its classic English styling.

Food is very much at the core of the experience here, based on ingredients from the fruit and vegetable garden and including a unique Kitchen Pass experience that invites six guests into the creative heart of things to watch the team prepare their seven-course tasting menu. The hotel is in the Wye Valley, just a short hop from the glorious Brecon Beacons and book-lovers’ paradise of Hay-on-Wye.

13. The Brown’s Hotel, Carmarthenshire

The favourite watering hole of Dylan Thomas (the poet famously gave out the bar’s phone number as his own), this boutique hotel in the estuary town of Laugharne offers a respite from the world in rooms with beds crafted from organic Welsh wool, painted in contemporary dark hues that offset the exposed stone walls and beams.

At The Brown's Hotel, the most desirable rooms have double roll-top baths, and all have coffee machines. There’s also Dylan’s Den self-catering cottage, sleeping up to seven people. When you’re not feasting in the on-site steakhouse, great things to do include driving to Carmarthen's market to sample fresh cockles with vinegar and pepper, and following Dylan’s Walk including a stop-off to pay homage at the poet’s grave.

14. Tyddyn Llan, Denbighshire

Georgian hotel Tyddyn Llan in the heart of the countryside just east of Snowdonia and a 20-minute drive from Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall welcomes guests in 12 rooms and suites that all differ, with some including cast-iron or carved wooden beds and freestanding roll-top baths. Many have separate seating areas, too.

Considered one of the best restaurants in Wales,, Tyddyn Llan’s low-key dining room offers set-price dinner menus, eight-course tasting menus and a cheese menu, plus wines from a list focused on little-known small wineries where the proprietor is actively involved in production.

15. Seabreeze Restaurant With Rooms, Gwynedd

In the picture-postcard seaside village of Aberdovey on Cardigan Bay, family-run Seabreeze Restaurant With Rooms offers eight fresh and airy rooms, some with sea views over the estuary, vast, sandy Aberdyfi beach and the mountains beyond.

The restaurant with its rustic feel and exposed stone walls has a policy of training young chefs through local colleges and sourcing from trusted and passionate producers, yet its scope is ambitious, imaginative and globally inflected: think the likes of seared king scallops, pea purée, crispy pancetta, black pudding croquette, chorizo crumb and curry oil.

16. The Hand at Llanarmon, Llangollen

The ancient hostelry Hand at Llanarmon is now a country hotel and spa with bags of character that shows through in everything from the roaring fires and exposed beams to the real ale and prize-winning pub food including the likes of steak and ale pies and slow braised shoulder of Welsh lamb.

Riding, fishing and shooting are all available locally, and there’s amazing walking with only the sheep for company. Rooms are cosy cocoons with fluffy robes and towels, some with freestanding tubs, while the restored pumphouse is home to a sauna and and an outdoor hot tub with Ceiriog Valley views.

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