Picture a luxury holiday and you probably envision white sand beaches in the Caribbean or a grand chateaux on the Cote d’Azur. As fond as we are of our neighbours to the west, it's unlikely Pembrokeshire or Powys comes to mind.
Well, allow us to dispel you of those notions. With overseas travel decidedly unlikely this year, if you’re looking for border-crossing travel, Wales might be as exotic as it’s going to get – but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice opulence and style. From grand manor houses to sophisticated spa resorts, read on for our guide to the best luxury hotels in Wales to book for your 2021 staycation.
The Grove of Narberth, Pembrokeshire
This romantic countryside retreat in the heart of the Pembrokeshire countryside is a truly idyllic getaway. Even its name sounds like something out of a fairytale. The vibe here is very much old school elegance meets modern luxury. The 14 rooms are understatedly sumptuous, think roll top baths, upholstery in rich, earthy tones and contrasting wallpaper, while there is also a collection of 15th- and 16th-century cottages available for private use.
Children and dogs are warmly welcomed and, with the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park just a short drive away, the Grove of Narberth is a great base from which to explore its quaint villages and sandy beaches. After a long day of exploring, book yourself a luxurious in-room treatment before donning your finery for dinner at Fernery, the hotel’s three AA-rosette restaurant, where sample dishes include pigeon with black pudding, grape and walnut, and scallops with truffle and chives.
Coes Faen Spa Lodge, Barmouth
Okay, the Mawddach Estuary may not exactly be the Maldives but, when it comes to sophisticated adults-only luxury, Coes Faen Spa Lodge is about as good as it gets in the UK. Set in 30 acres of private woodland, each of the lodge’s sumptuous rooms has been individually decorated to make the most of its unique position and incredible views over Snowdonia.
Food comes courtesy of chef Daniel Peate, who serves a modern fine dining take on classic Welsh dishes at the onsite Môr restaurant. The real draw here, however, is the incredible subterranean spa. A full range of treatments using Temple Spa’s award winning products is available, as are a number of indulgent day spa packages that will leave you positively floating back to your room.
St Brides Spa Hotel, Pembrokeshire
Perched on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Saundersfoot beach, St Brides excels in the kind of informal luxury the makes you feel at once pampered and completely at ease. The hotel’s proximity to the ocean informs everything it does, from the 34 beach chic rooms and suites to the extensive seafood offering at its fine dining Cliff Restaurant.
Those travelling with children may wish to avail themselves of the hotel’s serviced and self-catering apartments, while the Gallery and Marina restaurant, found a short walk away in the village of Saundersfoot, each serve a more informal menu. The spa, meanwhile, is a haven of peace and quiet hovering above the ever-busy beach. Take a dip in the heated outdoor pool, unwind in the thermal suite – complete with herbal rock sauna, ice fountain and salt infusion room – or book a treatment from the extensive menu of Voya massages and Caudalie facials for complete indulgence.
Peterstone Court, Powys
A gorgeous country house hotel beloved by hikers and honeymooners alike, Petersone Court offers just 12 luxurious rooms, meaning staying here is more like being the guest of an exceptionally generous lord of the manor than a guest in a vast hotel. Rooms are traditionally designed, with four-poster beds and squishy sofas as standard, while a well-rounded dining offering includes afternoon tea, hearty Sunday lunches and seasonal modern British classics.
Elsewhere, Petersone Court is home to a heated outdoor people and spa located in caverns beneath the house that were formerly used to store produce from the orchard. As well as aromatherapy massages and Dermalogica facials, the menu also includes a full range of pedicures, manicures and pregnancy treatments to cater to your every beauty need.
The Royston, Powys
The modern boutique stylings of The Royston have made it a hugely popular option for luxury holidays in Powys but, with only seven rooms, you’ll have to be quick if you want to secure one. From the outside The Royston looks like a quintessential Victorian gentleman’s residence (the building was constructed in 1880). Inside, however, it is an eclectic mix of period features, mid-century furniture and bold colour choices. It is, in short, an Instagram delight.
Along with its design, The Royston’s location, nestled among the Cambrian hills and with 10 acres of pastureland to explore, is undoubtedly its biggest draw. This is worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London city life. And, while the nearest towns are only a short drive away, The Royston’s onsite restaurant, serving a seasonal menu of simple, homemade fare, is a welcome site when the British weather isn’t playing ball.
Palé Hall, Bala
Like the security of accolades when picking a hotel? How does AA Five Red Star rating, Relais & Châteaux accreditation, three AA rosettes and a Michelin green star sound? Palé Hall, a grand Victorian country mansion in the Dee Valley, is all about old world charm and elegance – and it delivers in spades. Rooms are suitably lavish, with majestic mahogany furniture, wood panelled walls and vast windows overlooking the landscaped grounds. With grounds aplenty to get lost in, the hotel also offers onsite fly fishing and 4x4 experience packages but, for many, it is the food that lures them to Palé Hall.
Helmed by chef Gareth Stevenson, organic produce for its three restaurants is sourced from local farmers, butchers and fishermen. The marquee eatery is the Henry Robertson Dining Room – recipient of the aforementioned rosettes – which serves afternoon tea and fine dining tasting menus. The Venice, meanwhile, is an eccentrically-decorated family restaurant, which doubles as a private dining room, while the dog-friendly Huntsman Bar offers up high quality pub classics.