The Welsh Welcome: Through Mid-Wales back to Cardiff (Week 5)

Written by Lisa from Fjords and Beaches as she travels through Wales experiencing the Welsh Welcome for the whole of June.

After months of planning and anticipation, followed by weeks of adventures and incredible hotel experiences, my trip with the Welsh Rarebits Collection has sadly come to an end. I can’t believe how fast time has flown by, and wish I could go back and do it all again!

In case you have missed out, I have been travelling Wales for the whole of June, staying in 32 of the incredible Hotels of Distinction in the Welsh Rarebits Collection. Each week I have summed up my stays, and you can catch up on all the blog posts below.

Week 1 – From Cardiff to Pembrokeshire

Week 2 – Along the Pembrokeshire Coast to Aberystwyth

Week 3 – Through Snowdonia to Anglesey

Week 4 – From Anglesey across the North

It is absolutely incredible to think of all the stunning hotels I have seen and gotten to stay in these past weeks. And this last week has been no exception!

Hotel no. 25 – The Metropole Hotel & Spa

Upon arrival at my next destination, I got a fun invitation to go on a tour through the nearby Elan Valley (and seeing 3 out of the 4 dams built here to supply Bristol with water). I naturally said yes, and was treated to a joy ride in a very unique car. So unique, in fact, that there are only 60 of it in the world! It was such a fun trip, and I highly recommend visiting Elan Valley for anyone staying at the Metropole Hotel and Spa.

I was really excited when I saw this hotel, mainly because of its fairytale-like towers. I was even more excited to enter my room and realise that it was in one of these towers! It didn’t take me long to get settled in and start getting some work done, because the wifi was absolutely incredible. I spent the majority of the afternoon writing blog posts, editing photos and streaming Downton Abbey in my tower room. Before dinner, I made sure to have a walk through the hotel hallway, where the interesting (and long) history of the hotel is displayed. This was such a great touch, as one of my #1 questions when getting to a new hotel is how old the building is and if there are any fun facts to share!

I had dinner in Spencer’s Brasserie, one of their two restaurants. Starting off with a lovely gin & tonic from the bar, I then had a hard time choosing from the many options on their menu. The food was great, and I was super excited to see cannelloni on the menu, which is one of my favourites. In addition to the great food, the staff was incredibly welcoming, and I had a really good dinner experience.

Hotel no. 26 – Lake Country House & Spa

The next stop on my drive through Mid-Wales was the Lake Country House and Spa. I almost cried upon arrival, because in the sweltering heat I was met in the doorway by a man who carried my suitcase for me, which was incredibly welcome at the time. I was shown to my room (the Master Suite), and almost squealed with excitement over the tall bed with the princess curtains. Then I saw the in-room tub, and got even more excited. This room truly was made for comfort.

I spent the day walking around the lake that the hotel takes its name from, and relaxing at the spa. They have a hot tub and a pool, in addition to a steam room and sauna. I was made to feel right at home at Lake Country House, and wasn’t surprised to learn that many of the guests of the hotel came back after their first visit.

The next day I was treated to an Indian Head Massage before checking out, and it was absolute heaven. The 50-minute treatment included a back and shoulder massage, and left me feeling so refreshed. As I was struggling with hay fever, the massage therapist spent some time focusing on the channels around my nostrils, and even used a menthol rub for me to breathe in, in order to clear my nose. I left feeling so much better than I came in, and was incredibly grateful.

Hotel no. 27 – Gliffaes Country House Hotel

Arriving at Gliffaes Country House Hotel had me smiling. The drive up to the hotel was beautiful, and I couldn’t wait to start exploring their 33 acres of land. The trees on the property were incredible, and I quickly understood why one of their leaflets include a tree walk, with information on all the trees you can see on the property. Once I had checked into my room (which was absolutely lovely), I jumped in the shower and was in awe of how good the shower pressure was! This may seem like a random thing to notice, but when you’ve travelled as much as I have, you know how important it is when staying at a hotel.

Dinner was such a lovely experience, and I truly enjoyed it. Afterwards, I was asked if I wanted to enjoy my coffee out on the porch, which was too good an offer to turn down! The views were just incredible, and I had such a lovely evening relaxing and enjoying coffee and a couple of treats.

After dinner, I drove down to Cardiff airport to pick up a friend who joined me for the rest of the trip. The drive was super quick, and it’s incredible to me how easily you can get to Gliffaes from Cardiff. When we woke up the next day, we went on the lovely tree walk around the grounds of the hotel and spent some time enjoying the views before it was time to head off to our next destination.

Hotel no. 28 – Peterstone Court Hotel

Peterstone Court hotel welcomed us with stunning weather, friendly faces and a very inviting pool. We arrived in time for lunch and settled in in the shade on the porch, looking forward to the time when we could jump in. After a tour of the hotel, we quickly realised that the spa was just as inviting, and opted for a relaxing hour in the indoor hot tub. Here, Ida fell asleep for a half hour (tired from the journey the night before), while I read my book and doubling as a lifeguard (making sure her head was above water at all times). I can’t imagine a more relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

After our visit to the spa, Ida stayed behind to have a Swedish massage, while I spent some time getting some work done in our room. Our room was large and spacious, with lovely mountain views and a beautiful fireplace.

Dinner was incredible, and I really enjoyed my Perl Las (blue cheese) pannacotta, which I had never tried before! We opted to enjoy our desserts outside in the warm evening and were super happy with the lack of midgies and mosquitoes. We repeated this process after breakfast the next morning, asking to bring our pot of fresh coffee outside. Such a lovely place.

Hotel no. 29 – Llansantffraed Court Hotel

Our next hotel was one I was already quite excited about. I had done my research on Instagram, and seen the facade of Llansantffraed Court Hotel in several photos, knowing very well that this was a very aesthetically pleasing hotel. The drive up to the hotel proved me right, and as we passed the pond in front of the hotel, both me and Ida were smiling from ear to ear.

They were kind enough to give us separate rooms, something we couldn’t have been more grateful for. Not only were the rooms stunning to begin with, but we had two of them! Once we were all checked in, we arranged to have afternoon tea out in the grounds of the hotel (something which the staff are happy to accommodate for), and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon out in in the sun, eating scones and having tea and local sparkling wine!

Dinner at Llansantffraed was an experience worth travelling for, and both me and Ida squealed with excitement at each course that was brought out. We went through an incredible 7-course dinner, complete with matching wine pairings. I left the dinner with a list of wines to buy once I get home to Norway! Did I mention that out of their impressive wine list (almost 200 wines), all are available to order by the glass?

Hotel no. 30 – The Bear

The following day we headed towards Crickhowell, where we found our next destination. In the area surrounding the Bear Hotel, you can find the incredible Tretower Court, which is an impressive castle and stately home. Owned by William Herbert and inhabited by his half-brother and the Vaughan family, you’ll be amazed at the interesting history to be found here.

Our room at the Bear Hotel was absolutely incredible. The tub was huge, and the four-poster bed was stunning, which impressive details carved into the posters. We quickly learned that we had been given the honeymoon suite, which we were very happy with! I made sure to find the time to have a nice bath before dinner, and it was incredibly relaxing.

The dinner at the Bear was a great experience, and we were so excited to experience ‘pub dining’ at its finest. Great service, great food (and portions), and a great selection of dishes. In addition to the menu, we could also choose between their selected specials, and so you are bound to find something you love here. For desserts, we opted for the Eton Mess and the Tiramisu, and both were mouthwatering!

Hotel no. 31 – James Sommerin

The last night of my adventure saw me back along the oceanfront in Penarth, and it was a little bittersweet to be back. However sad I was to be finishing my month, I was really excited to stay and dine at what I had been told might just be a culinary highlight of the trip; Restaurant James Sommerin.

Our room was great, and we loved the green and blue colour scheme of it. We had a lovely balcony overlooking the Penarth Pier and loved being so close to Cardiff. We made sure to head to central Cardiff on the day we arrived, to have a nice stroll around and enjoy being back in the city. We did, however, head back to James Sommerin a little early, so we could get ready and enjoy the excitement before our dining experience in the evening.

Dinner did not disappoint, and we spent the entire evening awing and ooh-ing over the meals we were served. We went with the 6-course tasting menu, which is a surprise menu that is specially prepared for each table, and served by the chefs! We had a selection of meats and new tasting experiences, from smoked eel to leg of rabbit, and every course was as delicious as the one before. The highlight of the evening has to be the raspberry and granola souffle, which was cut in front of us and finished with a hot raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.

I can’t explain enough how unbelievable this month has been! From an Italian village and Michelin star restaurants, to manor houses and former Parliamentarian headquarters, the Welsh Rarebits Collection really has something for everyone!

I hope you have enjoyed following my adventures around Wales, because I have LOVED it! Please stay in touch with me on Facebook and Instagram, and leave any comments you may have below!

— Lisa from Fjords and Beaches