Anne-Claire Heels enjoys her stay in this secluded, character-filled hotel just a couple of miles from the seaside
WHAT’S THE VIBE?
Award-winning Bodysgallen Hotel & Spa sits in 220 acres of magnificent gardens and parkland just outside the seaside town of Llandudno. Part of the Historic House Hotels of the National Trust, this 17th-century building is packed with character and original features. Think quirky low doors or concealed doors in wood-panelled walls, twisty staircases and split-level floors, leaded windows and stained glass, creaky floorboards and low beams. You feel cocooned away from the weather in cosy lobbies with heavy drapes and comfy sofas, where fires crackle in the grates. In a separate building you’ll find the spa, where an Aromatherapy Associates treatment by skilled therapists or some time in the pool, steam room, sauna or gym will soon have you feeling like a new person.
WHAT ARE THE ROOMS LIKE?
Traditional and comfortable. There are 31 rooms, spread over the hotel and charming cottages dotted around the estate. They include Principal Suites and Main House bedrooms, and are decorated in a country-house style, with antiques and paintings, and you’ll find king-size beds, fluffy robes and slippers, and toiletries by classic London brand Floris, plus water and tea and coffee-making facilities in all rooms. There’s also free WiFi. The cottage accommodation varies, sleeping up to four guests, some have gardens, some open onto the main gardens.
Being part of the National Trust, doing right by the environment is key here. The hotel uses as much produce as possible from the estate; fruit, vegetables, herbs, cut flowers and foliage. The conservation charity always needs volunteers in the gardens to help too – the volunteer section appears at the bottom of the main website, if you’d like to get involved.
BEST SEA VIEWS?
The hotel is a couple of miles from the sea, but boasts stunning countryside views in all directions from its secluded location, including towards Snowdonia and Conwy Castle. There are also tours of the beautiful gardens – see online for dates.
HOW’S THE FOOD?
The Dining Room restaurant, under head chef John Williams, boasts three AA Rosettes and overlooks the gardens. There is a focus on local produce, such as Welsh lamb and rhubarb from the estate, and a three-course dinner costs £63, two courses £49. I opted for a flavoursome heritage beetroot starter, which came with wonderful Welsh feta and crisp apple, followed by a superb main course of buttered halibut with cauliflower purée polenta fritters, baby leeks and courgette. Breakfast was generous too – on the continental side there was the most welcome wide variety of fruit that I’ve ever seen anywhere, as well as the cooked menu which included a ham and Caerphilly cheese option. Traditional afternoon tea is served daily, and very popular at a cost of £26pp.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
There is currently a special offer running until 31 March (excludes 14-16 February) which includes accommodation, cooked breakfast, a three-course candlelit dinner, plus full use of the spa. Tues-Sun from £226 per double room, based on two sharing, single occupancy from £153.
HOW DO I BOOK?
Call 01492 584466 or visit bodysgallen.com.
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