The Welsh Welcome: Around the Pembrokeshire coast to Aberystwyth (Week 2)

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

The second week of my Welsh adventure is over, and I can’t believe how fast time has gone, or how lucky I am to get to explore this beautiful country and stay in such amazing and unique places. This week I have stayed in a hotel that has been on my bucket list forever, I have experienced beautiful sunsets over the ocean, and looked for the remnants of a dead elephant buried in the backyard of one of the hotels! Read on to find out which is which!

This week, my little rental car has taken me all around the Pembrokeshire coast, which is one of Wales’ National Parks. The drives have been breathtaking, and the places I have gotten to explore even better. This truly is such a stunning part of the country, and being back for the first time in 6 years was so special.

For the first few days of this week I was joined by a friend from home, and I loved getting to experience the Welsh Welcome with her, and I really appreciated getting a second opinion on all the amazing places I have seen!

Hotel no. 5 – St. Brides, Saundersfoot

As you may remember from last week’s post, I used to live in Saundersfoot when I came to Wales at 17 to do an exchange year. During my year there, I would look up at the majestic hotel at the top of the cliff overlooking the town and think that “one day I hope to stay there!”

Well, that wish came true, and Monday afternoon I checked into St. Brides Spa Hotel!

My friend and I checked into our room and spent some time marvelling at the stunning views of the beach and Saundersfoot. I don’t think there is any better place in the area to get such a view, and so we took our sweet time out on our balcony, drinking wine and catching up.

For dinner, we were treated to a three-course meal, which didn’t disappoint. Our orders were different as night and day, which makes it so easy for me to simply say that the food was amazing! What made it even better was how the restaurant has glass walls facing the harbour, so you eat your food with the same stunning views as I mentioned before, and if you time it well (like we did), you’ll also catch the sunset during dessert.

A stay at St. Brides isn’t complete without a trip to the spa. We made sure to book our time in the spa (complimentary for all staying guests), and I also booked in for a cheeky treatment. My massage was heavenly, and we really enjoyed our time in the infinity pool and relaxation suite. In the latter, they have testers out for different face masks and scrubs, so we got to lounge around in our robes with mud masks on, feeling like princesses.

Hotel no. 6 – Twr y Felin, St. Davids

On our way to the next hotel, we stopped in Tenby for a little bit to explore the beautiful town and its beaches. Tenby is actually where Henry VII escaped from when he went into exile during the War of the Roses, and an incredibly beautiful place.

Then it was onwards to the Twr y Felin in St. Davids; also known as the smallest city in the United Kingdom! Twr y Felin is a modern hotel, but with historic roots. One of the suites is actually in the old windmill of St. Davids.

The hotel had amazing art everywhere, and most of it was commissioned especially for the Twr y Felin. In the evening, we were excited to eat at the Blas Restaurant, which is an award-winning Two Rosette restaurant! Here, we were treated to amazing dishes, and I was so glad there were two of us so we could sample several of them.

The hotel is based in St. Davids, where they have a beautiful cathedral (and hence, the city title). The city of St. Davids only has around 1800 inhabitants, actually! The Cathedral is stunning, and worth a visit if you are in the area.

During our stay at Twr y Felin, we also headed out on a boat trip to Skomer Island, also known as Puffin Island, due to the 30000 puffins that inhabit it! This was a super fun experience and the end of a great stay!

Hotel no. 7 – Llys Meddyg, Newport

The next day it was time for the first “restaurant with rooms” on the trip, which is something I was very excited for! Llys Meddyg in Newport did not disappoint, and after a busy day in St. Davids it didn’t take my friend long until she had drawn a bath, and I had jumped on the bed to relax (and get some work done).

We were quite excited for dinner, and with good reason. You know you are having dinner at an outstanding restaurant when both the risotto and the steak are amazing! We had such a great dining experience at Llys Meddyg, and I strongly recommend it if you are in the Newport area.

In Newport and the surrounding area there are some, and on our drive to the next hotel, we stopped at Penbryn Beach, which is located between Newport and Aberaeron (our next destination). This beach is incredibly beautiful, and I’m so glad we took some time to see it.

Hotel no. 8 – Harbourmaster, Aberaeron

How’s this for a view from bed?

Our next hotel was The Harbourmaster. Located in a Grade II Listed building that once controlled the traffic of the Aberaeron Harbour, this place took our breath away. Our room had the best views of the harbour, apparently, and we were quick to open up the massive windows facing it.

One of the things I loved about the Harbourmaster was their complimentary tea, coffee and cakes for all hotel guests from 3-5pm every day. Such a nice little treat after a day of exploring Aberaeron! We spent our day lounging in the sun shining through into our hotel room, and went for a nice little walk around town.

While at the Harbourmaster I also had my first bath of the trip, and it was about time! I have seen so many incredible tubs while visiting all of these amazing hotels, but I hadn’t had the time to get in and relax. So while at the Harbourmaster I grabbed a glass of wine and my Kindle, and had a nice, long bath before dinner. All their toiletries were Molton Brown, which made the bath just heavenly.

Hotel no. 9 – Y Talbot, Tregaron

My friend left me the morning before I jetted off to Tregaron for my next hotel, and so I got in my car alone to drive into the countryside. What waited for me there was an interesting Inn with some incredible fun facts.

If you have been following my adventures on Instagram, you’ll know that I absolutely love a good fun fact, and Y Talbot did not disappoint in this matter. The older part of the hotel (pictured below) dates back to the 1600s, and you can still have a drink in the old bar! President Carter has stayed there, and just wait until I tell you what’s in thebackyardd.

In 1848, a circus came through Tregaron, and sadly, one of their elephants died during their stay. That elephant was buried in the yard behind Y Talbot! How random is that?

The Y Talbot was a super cozy hotel with great food, and with a story like that, what’s not to like?

Hotel no. 10 – The Falcondale, Lampeter

The drive up to the Falcondale was enough to make me realise that I was going to be very happy there. This luxurious hotel was a family home a long time ago, and I can only imagine what it was like to live there! I arrived early and got to get a taste of it, however, as I sat down in a chair by one of the fireplaces to relax while I waited.

In addition to a beautiful house that’s over 150 years old, the Falcondale has 14 acres of greeneries you can enjoy. I made sure to spend some time walking around the gardens after breakfast, and walking along the woodland paths and listening to the chirping of the birds was such a relaxing experience.

Dinner was splendid, and I felt right at home at the Falcondale. From my room, I had incredible views of the gardens and surrounding fields, and I loved waking up to look over it all. Every inch of the place has been cared for, and you could tell that nothing at the Falcondale was left to chance. Several guests also had their dogs with them during their stay, as the Falcondale prides themselves as being incredibly pet-friendly.

Hotel no. 11 – Gwesty Cymru, Aberystwyth

The final hotel of the week brought back many memories for me. I was staying at the Gwesty Cymru in Aberystwyth, where I had visited before as a student. In addition to getting to relive fond memories of friends and good times in this beautiful town, the weather was absolutely incredible.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with incredible friendliness and got to spend some time relaxing and soaking up the sunshine in the front garden. Aberystwyth is so beautiful in the summer, and the Gwesty Cymru couldn’t have a better location! The views from my room were stunning, and the view from the bath tub were just as good.

After dinner (steak with blue cheese sauce – absolutely amazing) I was lucky enough to get to see an amazing sunset over the ocean. I then proceeded to jump in, and it was surprisingly refreshing! I went to bed with the windows open, and got to listen to the waves crashing in over the sand as I fell asleep. Better than any meditation app.


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

And the award goes to…

Welsh Rarebits and Great Little Places members came away from the AA Hospitality Awards 2017 with a clutch of accolades last night.

The prestigious event was held in London and was attended by world-renowned chefs, prominent hoteliers and restaurateurs, hospitality gurus and key media. The Awards are a highlight in the industry calendar and recognises the excellent service provided by the very best establishments.

Wales’ first contemporary art hotel, Twr y Felin Hotel, was awarded AA Hotel of the Year, Wales.

The stunning Mansion House received AA Guest Accommodation of the Year, Wales.

Bryn Tyrch Inn is one of our newest members and triumphed in the Pub of the Year (Wales) category.

Michelin Star Restaurant James Sommerin scooped a whopping 4 Rosettes at the Awards.

These achievements reflect our Collection’s high calibre of accommodation and fantastic hospitality provided by our members. Our congratulations go out to all the winners.

Rarebits rooms with a view

Welsh Rarebits hotels take the idea of a good view to a new level. Admire panoramic sea views, National Park sights and glorious gardens scenes – they will keep you pinned to the window of your room for minutes on end.

Harbourmaster, Aberaeron

You’ll be spoilt for choice at the Harbormaster – most rooms come with spectacular views of the beautiful Aberaeron harbour or look out over Cardigan Bay – the sunsets here are unmissable!

Penmaenuchaf Hall, Dolgellau

Located within the Snowdonia National Park and overlooking the beautiful Mawddach Estuary, it’s hard to find a room without a fantastic view.

The Falcondale, Lampeter

Wake up to lush valley views – scenic rooms are situated at the front of the building and overlook the beautiful garden and well-kept lawns.

Llansantffraed Court, Abergavenny

Indulge with breakfast in bed while taking in this scene – admire the hotel’s 20 acres of manicured grounds (complete with trout lake) and beyond to unspoilt rural Monmouthshire.

Porth Tocyn Country House Hotel, Abersoch

The hotel sits on a bluff high above the southern coast of the Llŷn Peninsula, commanding a stunning panorama that seems to take in most of North Wales – on a clear day you can see along the peninsula all the way to the top of Snowdon.

Gwesty Cymru, Aberystwyth

Located on Aberystwyth’s Victorian promenade, overlooking the blue waters of Cardigan Bay – most of the hotel’s rooms boast spectacular sea views.

Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Crickhowell

Set in a beautiful location, in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Views of the gorgeous surroundings are sure to leave you feeling calm and well rested.

Twr y Felin, St David’s

Tyddewi is the best room in house, located in the Windmill Tower. This two story suite has a spiral staircase leading you to the original observatory located on the highest floor of the hotel, which boasts spectacular 360 degree views of the St Davids Peninsula.

Warpool Court Hotel, St David’s

The hotel is situated in a magical spot overlooking one of Britain’s loveliest stretches of coastline – many of its bedrooms come with glorious sea views, soak up the views in the Skomer Room (above).

St Brides Spa Hotel, Saundersfoot

Most of the individually styled bedrooms have lovely sea views and balconies. Their decor is bright and contemporary, echoing the maritime scene outside.

A stay to remember at Twr y Felin

Twr y Felin Hotel, a former historic windmill, now has a very modern interior. It is Wales’ first contemporary art hotel and is filled with stunning specially commissioned art – there are bold and striking paintings to admire everywhere. Located in Britain’s smallest city, St David’s, the hotel is now home to 21 no-expense-spared rooms – most with views over the Pembrokeshire coast and landscape. All are furnished to the highest of standards, including ours which was Ramsey Room. Located in the eaves of the hotel on the 2nd floor with three windows, two of which have scenic views of the coastline.  Room facilities were fantastic too: super comfy super king-sized bed, bathrobes, slippers, aromatherapy toiletries, Sky TV, iPod docking station and tea and coffee making facilities. That evening we dined at the two Rosette Blas Restaurant, which has a locally sourced menu influenced by the seasons. We devoured all our courses – all beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. Breakfast the next morning was an absolute pleasure! There was a fantastic range to choose from. Every member of staff were friendly, helpful and offered fantastic customer service – we were well looked after.

Watch a film showcasing Twr y Felin Hotel here:

The next day we were taken on a tour of the exclusive group of hotels. The first stop was Penrhiw Hotel, a former priory transformed by high-end interior design – it’s luxurious bedrooms have a masculine, minimalist look with abstract art on the walls. Located in a peaceful spot above a wooded valley on the fringes of St David’s and just a 5 minute walk to the cathedral – it’s a perfect escape from rush and stress.

Watch a film showcasing Penrhiw Hotel here:

Finally we witnessed Roch Castle, a restored 800 year old Norman castle, now with stylish and contemporary features. The views were obscured with mist on our visit, but it added to the dramatic atmosphere. Perched high above the landscape with panoramic views across to St Brides Bay and inland across Pembrokeshire countryside. Boasting a cool and chic interior, yet remaining warm and welcoming – and should be on your list of places to stay!

Watch a film showcasing Roch Castle here: