Written by Lisa from Fjords and Beaches as she travels through Wales experiencing the Welsh Welcome for the whole of June.
Another amazing week in Wales has passed, and I have stayed in 7 more incredible hotels. In case you missed my recap of the first two weeks of testing the Welsh Welcome, head this way to read all about Week 1, which started in Cardiff and took me all the way to Pembrokeshire, and head this way for Week 2, which saw me travel around the coast of Pembrokeshire and up to Aberystwyth.
I started this week in Snowdonia National Park, and I can only say one thing about the drives I have had from hotel to hotel; stunning! What a beautiful and green landscape. I have had to pull over to the side of the road several times in order to take it all in, and share it all on my travel Instagram.
The hotels of this week have been stunning, too. From old stately homes to architectural wonders, there is something for everyone on this list, I swear!
Hotel no. 12 – Penmaenuchaf Hall
From the gates and the drive up to the main entrance, Penmaenuchaf Hall took my breath away. I was in no way prepared for such a fairytale of a hotel and was giddy with excitement as I walked inside. This place has an atmosphere that takes you back 100 years, to a time of butlers and private libraries, and as the Downton Abbey fan I am; this was right down my street.
My room was spacious and with stunning views of Snowdonia. The 20 acres of land surrounding Penmaenuchaf made for great walking trails, and you can even have a look at their very own beehives. The honey from these bees can be purchased at the hotel.
Dinner at Penmaenuchaf Hall was an experience in its own. I was asked to have a seat in the drawing room before entering the dining room, which made me feel quite like in an episode of Downton Abbey. In the drawing room, I was treated to hors-d’oeuvres whilst browsing the menu for the evening, and the experience was topped off when one of the owners herself took my order for dinner, explaining that “this is what I love to do”.
Hotel no. 13 – Portmeirion Hotel & Village
Driving down to this hotel I was incredibly confused. I had not done enough research to really understand where I was heading, and the Italian village of Portmeirion stood out to me against the cliffs overlooking the estuary of River Dwyryd. My confusion continued as I noticed all the incredible details in the architecture, and I quickly asked once I reached the reception.
I was informed that Portmeirion is an Italian-inspired village envisioned by architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, with interesting details, beautiful colours everywhere and stunning views across the estuary of River Dwyryd. Once I had calmed my confusion a little, I was ready to take in the beautiful scenery and architecture of the village and spent the day walking through cobbled streets, admiring the colourful buildings, and having a bellini down by the waterfront.
Dinner was absolutely lovely and I really enjoyed the great service in the restaurant. Afterwards, I retired to sit and relax outside the Portmeirion hotel, and spend the evening looking at the estuary filling with water, and loved chatting to other visitors who were enjoying their stay.
Hotel no. 14 – Castle Cottage
I drove towards my next hotel almost right after breakfast the following day, as there was something quite important in the nearby area I wanted to explore. Castle Cottage is literally a stone’s throw away from Harlech Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and location I had been very eager to start exploring. I had already announced my excitement on Instagram, and Glyn at Castle Cottage had already seen it and made sure that my room was ready early! I was so happy and incredibly grateful at this – what incredible service!
After being shown to my room and given some information about the place (such as the buildings including the old mill house, which supplied Harlech Castle back in the day, and the beams in my room being the original ones!), I cried out as I saw the most exciting thing of all; I could see the castle from my bedroom window! Definitely one of the highlights of the day!
I spent the day exploring the castle, learning interesting facts and gushing over how impressive it must have been in its glory days. After a long day, it was time for dinner, and I was treated to the 5-course tasting menu at Castle Cottage, which included an incredible asparagus soup, succulent lamb and the best goat’s cheese dish I’ve tried. The meal left me incredibly full, and I slept like an angel in my massive bed knowing I had the castle just outside my window. I swear I fell asleep dreaming of Margaret of Anjou and her court, which she held at Harlech in the summer of 1460..
Hotel no. 15 – Porth Tocyn
I followed the coastline all the way out to Abersoch and checked into Porth Tocyn Country House Hotel. From here I had the Wales Coast Path at my doorstep and incredible views across Cardigan Bay to the mountains of Snowdonia. The sun was shining, and it didn’t take me long before my trainers were on and I was out the door.
The walk along the coastline was absolutely stunning, and I had to stop several times just to take it all in. It was a lovely, sunny day, and I walked along the cliffs, staring out into the ocean and meeting loads of sheep and cows along the way. I thought that this is what serenity must feel like! When I got back to Porth Tocyn, I grabbed a glass of wine and sat out in the sun editing my photos from the walk.
The dinner at the hotel restaurant was incredible, and I tried ‘risotto bonbons’ for the first time. This was an incredibly fun and inventive dish, and I really enjoyed it. Paired with just the right glass of red, this was a dinner to remember. This hotel is the perfect stay if you want beautiful walks and hikes at your doorstep, and end the day with a great meal.
Hotel no. 16 – Ty’n Rhos
On the way to my next hotel, I stopped at the famous Caernarfon Castle. This was one of the biggest castles I had visited so far on this Welsh adventure, and I spent quite a while exploring it. Once I got to Ty’n Rhos I was ready to sit back and relax, and this couldn’t have been a more perfect place for it. From their gardens and conservatory, you can see all across to the Island of Anglesey, and I spent quite some time enjoying the sunshine and the amazing views.
Ty’n Rhos is an old farmhouse, and when walking around the hotel you can still see the thickness of the walls from the original building. The extensions keep the charming traditions alive while giving you all the comforts of a modern country house hotel. My bed, in particular, was incredibly comfortable, and I kind of wish I could have taken it with me!
In the evening, I was treated to a great 3-course dinner. They had a super fun starter that was basically ‘Beetroot 3 ways’, and displayed quite an interesting and imaginative use of beetroot, paired with delicious goat’s cheese. Upon leaving I made a mental note of the interior of my room, as it was so elegantly decorated that I want to keep that in mind for my own apartment!
It was time to head to Anglesey, and my first stop on the island was right in the middle of it. Tre-Ysgawen Hall is a luxurious former stately home where you’ll want for nothing. It didn’t take me long after arrival before I had walked through every single hallway that wasn’t marked with ‘Private’, studied every single photo on the wall, booked a massage in the spa, and situated myself comfortably in the library with my MacBook to get some work done.
My massage was absolute heaven, and I only wished it could have been a little longer (don’t we always?). I spent my day at Tre-Ysgawen walking the grounds (21 acres to enjoy), reading in the library, and having photoshoots on the staircase (#NoShame).
Dinner was an experience on its own, and worth visiting Tre-Ysgawen for even if you aren’t a staying guest. I was served the best soup ever as a pre-starter (Sweet Onion) and was quite disappointed in myself when the Head Chef later told me that I could have asked for more of it. By then I was so full after the amazing dinner that I didn’t stand a chance. They have 2 restaurants open for dinner, and I dined at Nöelle in the evening. For lunch, their Clock Tower Café serves lighter bites (the ciabatta is heavenly).
For my final night of the week, it was time to visit another castle! The Bull is a historic hotel located in Beaumaris, which is also home to Beaumaris Castle, aka the ‘Greatest Castle that was Never Built’! Beaumaris Castle is said to be the perfect textbook example of what a castle should be, but sadly it was never completed. The history of the castle stretches all the way down the street to the Bull, previously Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn.
The Bull, and the accompagnying boutique hotel The Townhouse, is a place of historic value and fun facts (yayy!). Charles Dickens has stayed there, and General Mytton made it his headquarters during the siege of Beaumaris Castle in the Civil War. You know I was a happy girl after hearing that, I practically live for this stuff! My room was in the loft of the Townhouse, and I absolutely loved it.
The Bull has two restaurants; The Loft and The Coach. I dined at the latter, and dinner couldn’t have been better. It was finished off with a ‘Spring Mess’, and if you know me, you’ll know that any version of the Eton Mess is a favourite! Staying at the Bull was definitely an experience, and I hope to go back and stay in one of their Charles Dicken’s themed rooms one day.
I hope you are planning to continue to follow my adventures around Wales, because they aren’t done yet! Make sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram, and to check back here on the blog next week!
— Lisa from Fjords and Beaches