Outside of its main towns and cities, Wales is a wonderfully diverse wilderness that offers visitors almost endless possibilities for escaping into nature in a whole array of dramatic landscapes, from soft sandy beaches to sea-battered cliffs and rugged mountains.
It also has an incredibly rich heritage, with its own unique food, language and culture, and many historic market towns, castles, stone circles and manor houses to explore. Whether you settle on a relaxing short break or an action-packed holiday, you’ll find boutique hotels throughout the country that offer you the ideal base for your Welsh adventures.
For places to stay in the capital city, read our dedicated guide to boutique hotels in Cardiff here.
Hotels included in this article
- Escape – 48 Church Walks, Llandudno, LL30 2HL
- Olif Guest House – Holyhead Road, Betws-y-coed, LL24 0AY
- Tudor Lodge – Penamser Road, Porthmadog, LL499NY
- The Town House at Brecon – Market Street, Brecon, LD3 9BU
- Ty Croeso – The Dardy, off Cwm Crawnon Road, Llangattock, Crickhowell, NP8 1PU
- Captain’s House – 2 High Street, St. Davids, Wales, St. Davids, SA62 6SD
- Glangwili Mansion – Llanllawddog, Carmarthen, SA32 7JE
- Blas Gwyr – Llangennith, Llangennith, SA3 1HU
North East Wales
Much-loved by the Victorians and the Edwardians, and known as the Queen of the Welsh Resorts, Llandudno is home to a wealth of elegant seaside period architecture and attractions that appeal to every generation. Just an easy stroll from the town’s beach and seafront, Escape (*****) is a five-star boutique bed and breakfast with nine plush guest bedrooms housed within a fine Victorian home. The owners have retained many of the building’s original period features, like oak panelling and handcrafted fireplaces, but have given it an edge by designing quirky rooms with contemporary additions such as LED wallpaper and “floating” beds. Everything Llandudno has to offer is right on your doorstep, making the hotel an excellent base for a seaside break – but if the weather decides otherwise there are plenty of reasons to relax in your room and enjoy some of the nice extra touches – from flat-screen TVs, Blu-ray DVD players and Bose iPod docks to deluxe en suite bathrooms with indulgent Aveda toiletries.
Escape to Llandudno at Escape.
North West Wales
If a family seaside holiday sounds a bit tame, and you’re after an adrenaline-fuelled outdoor break, mountainous Snowdonia should tick all the right boxes. The most rugged region in Wales offers endless possibilities for outdoor pursuits, from hiking and mountain climbing to horse trekking or watersports on the stunning Llŷn Peninsula. Nestled in a valley within the Snowdonia National Park, Betws-y- Coed is a superb base for climbing, caving, hiking and gorge-walking as well as more relaxing activities like angling, scenic riverside walks, or visits to local waterfalls and other beauty spots. With river and mountain views, the lovely Olif Guest House (*****) capitalises on its idyllic location in Betws-y- Coed by offering guests the chance to sample some of Wales’s finest products and produce – from complimentary organic Welsh toiletries in the bathrooms to locally-sourced Welsh tapas dishes and local drinks in the on-site restaurant. Each of the five stylish, en-suite rooms has a rainfall shower, a flat-screen TV, an iPod docking station, a Bluetooth radio and a seating area. Guests get up in the morning to a freshly-cooked breakfast (or you can ask for a cold takeaway breakfast if you’re in a rush to get out and about), and you can even enjoy room service during restaurant opening times if you’re too tired to face the world after all of your day’s adventures.
Olif Guest House
If you’re keen to combine trips to the mountains and the coastline, Porthmadog packs quite a punch. Often referred to as the “gateway to Snowdonia”, this small harbour town offers easy access to both Snowdonia National Park and the stunning Llŷn Peninsula, where the majestic mountains of Snowdonia meet Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea. It is the terminus of the famous Ffestiniog Railway, and is just a few minutes’ drive from the fantastical Italianate village of Portmeirion, home to a collection of weird and wonderful vibrantly-coloured buildings masterminded by Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis over a period of 50 years, from the mid-1920s onwards. Less than a mile from the centre of Porthmadog, Tudor Lodge (****) is a warm and friendly 14-room boutique hotel with clean, comfortable and tastefully decorated en suite rooms, plus free Wifi and a continental breakfast to fuel your day.
Star gazers can head south to mid Wales where the spectacular Brecon Beacons National Park – which has International Dark Sky Reserve status – offers some awesome opportunities for star seeking as well as walking, cycling, caving, rock climbing, mountain biking, horse riding, canoeing, fishing, and hang-gliding. A stay at The Town House at Brecon (*****) offers gorgeous five star accommodation in three individually-styled guest rooms within the Brecon Beacons National Park. They all have either a private bathroom or an en suite shower, plus bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries. The rooms are equipped with an internet-enabled flat screen TV with Netflix, iPlayer and Freeview channels, and some also have a comfortable seating area, while there is a cosy guest lounge with an honesty bar for everyone to enjoy.
Town House at Brecon
Also in the Brecon Beacons, perched high on a hillside above the Monmouth and Brecon canal, Ty Croeso Boutique B&B (*****) is housed within a former Victorian infirmary that has been lovingly furnished to offer three classy rooms with sweeping views of the mountains and the Usk Valley. It is just over a mile away from the quaint town of Crickhowell, and within easy striking distance of many of the region’s most beautiful spots. Each morning brings plenty of breakfast choices, from full English or Welsh to great vegetarian options, plus Fairtrade tea and coffee, orange juice and local organic apple juice.
South & South West Wales
Heading west, there are few finer places in the country to enjoy surfing and coastal walks than pretty Pembrokeshire in South West Wales. In the heart of St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, the grade II-listed Captain’s House offers contemporary accommodation in fresh, crisp and comfortable rooms with excellent guest facilities – including free Wifi and flat screen TVs with satellite channels and Netflix, Tassimo coffee-making facilities, and modern bathrooms with high quality toiletries. It also has free on-site parking and a walled terrace for guests to enjoy in finer weather. The location is ideal for exploring Pembokeshire’s picturesque coastline, including great swathes of sandy beaches such as Whitesands Bay, which is a popular surfing spot. In St David’s itself, home to a population of just 1,841, the immense cathedral dominates, alongside the 14th-century Tower Gate, the Celtic Old Cross, and a cluster of art galleries, independent shops, pubs and restaurants.
Captain’s House B&B
If you really want to escape the hustle and bustle, however, the five star Glangwili Mansion (*****) (pictured top and below) is set in the as yet virtually undiscovered Gwili Valley on the edge of Brechfa Forest, offering a genuinely tranquil retreat in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. It has won many awards for its accommodation – including Best Place to Stay in the Guest Accommodation category of the National Tourism Awards for Wales 2015 – and is made up of three boutique bed and breakfast suites with large private bathrooms, leather sofas, vibrant original art, and velvet and silk throws. The peaceful forest surroundings are perfect for cyclists and walkers, but if guests do find they are missing the crowds the lively county town of Carmarthen is only a few miles away.
Also in South Wales, the Gower Peninsula was the first place in Britain to be named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and for visitors this will come as no surprise. Covered by lush fields, woodlands, sea cliffs and clean sandy beaches, and dotted with charming villages, this finger of land is well-loved by artists, surfers, sunbathers, walkers and birdwatchers alike. In the heart of the seaside village of Llangennith, which is a mecca for surfers, Blas Gwyr (*****) is a luxurious boutique bed and breakfast with a courtyard garden, surrounded by picture-perfect Gower beaches and countryside. Seamlessly blending old and new, the establishment has retained original features merged with 21st-century design and modern conveniences such as free Wifi and flat screen TVs. Guests tuck in to a traditional cooked Welsh breakfast each morning, with produce sourced locally wherever possible, or alternatively there is a breakfast buffet of locally-baked bread, Welsh cheeses and summer fruits. Close to Rhossili Bay, one of the Gower’s finest beaches, you can look out for shipwrecks at low tide, walk along the beautiful coastline, and go sea canoeing or surfing. You can also cross to the famous tidal island of Worm’s Head (at the right time!), or even make it your mission to reach the blissfully remote and uncrowded beach of Fall Bay.
Blas Gwyr is surrounded by Gower beaches
Author: Rebecca Burns