Best hotels in Wales from the Good Hotel Guide

Wales, the land of the Celts

Much has changed, mostly for the better, since a British encyclopaedia carried the infamous entry: "For Wales, see England". Cross the border into Wales today and differences are immediately apparent. The country is increasingly politically as well as culturally independent. The road signs are bilingual. Welsh is no longer heard only, or even mainly, in West Wales. The old language is spoken by the professional elite in Cardiff, an ever-more confident capital city with spacious parkland, a fine sports stadium and a world-class opera house. Rugby, not soccer, is the game that captures the popular imagination. Welsh male-voice choirs continue to merit their international renown and in the country's sports stands, as well as its pubs and clubs, people actually sing in tune.

Welsh Hotels and restaurants, once often dire, are improving fast. Chefs use local produce, especially lamb and the meat of Welsh Black cattle, to produce excellent dishes. The cheeses are among the best in Britain. The walks and the beaches are as marvellous as the tourist brochures say they are: along the Lleyn Peninsula, The Gower, the River Wye and the rugged Pembrokeshire Coast. England's medieval King Edward I aimed to subdue the Welsh when he commissioned his still magnificent castles: Harlech, Conwy, Harlech and Beaumaris. Just as impressive are the Italianate fantasy town of Portmeirion designed by Clough Williams-Ellis; the deep disused coal mine ("Big Pit") at Blaenafon, where ex-miners guide visitors around underground; St David's Cathedral; and Dylan Thomas's boathouse at Laughharne. Natural enchantment is provided by hauntingly beautiful national parks: Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast.

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Featured hotels in Wales

The Lake, LLANGAMMARCH WELLS, Powys

In a 'beautiful' rural setting by a lake on the River Irfon, Jean-Pierre Mifsud's country house hotel has a traditional ambience. Built as a sporting lodge, the half-timbered building became the only

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Llangoed Hall, LLYSWEN, Powys

'The changes are immense and everything is lovely,' says a visitor, returning to this Jacobean mansion, now a country house hotel once owned by the late Sir Bernard Ashley. More than £3 million

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Trefeddian Hotel, ABERDYFI, Gwynedd

'I cannot think of anywhere nicer to spend a week recharging batteries; the staff are wonderful, remembering us on each visit.' Praise this year from one of many repeat visitors to the Cave family's

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Hotels in Wales

  • Harbourmaster Hotel, ABERAERON, Ceredigion

    'A wonderful place to stay', Glyn and Menna Heulyn's small hotel is a conversion of three characterful buildings on the quayside of an appealing small town. 'What makes it so special is that all the

  • The Angel Hotel, ABERGAVENNY, Monmouthshire

    The Griffiths family have been much involved in the regeneration of this small market town surrounded by seven hills between the Welsh/English border and the Brecon Beacons. This former coaching inn

  • Porth Tocyn Hotel, ABERSOCH, Gwynedd

    In a magnificent position above Cardigan Bay, this conversion of three old miners' cottages has been run as an unstuffy child-friendly hotel by the Fletcher-Brewer family for 65 years. It is

  • Ye Olde Bulls Head, BEAUMARIS, Anglesey

    For more than 500 years, this ancient inn has been welcoming travellers to the likeable little ferry port. First-time visitors in 2014 (regular Guide correspondents) were 'impressed by the welcoming

  • The Old Rectory, PWLLHELI, Gwynedd

    Near the church on the 'beautiful' Lleyn peninsula, this handsome Georgian rectory is run as a B&B by Gary and Lindsay Ashcroft, who are 'wonderfully welcoming'. 'They clearly love this place and love

  • Ty Mawr, BRECHFA, Carmarthenshire

    In a peaceful position beside a stream on the edge of the Brechfa forest, Annabel and Stephen Thomas's country hotel is a 16th-century farmhouse (later a school). It offers a 'very warm welcome' and

  • Jolyon's at No. 10, CARDIFF

    There is a youthful, 'laid-back vibe' at Jolyon Joseph's small hotel, occupying a Victorian villa near Sophia Gardens. The decoration is bright and eclectic throughout: gold-painted armchairs, crystal

  • Glangrwyney Court, CRICKHOWELL, Powys

    In extensive parkland with 'splendid' walled gardens stocked with mature magnolias, acers and rhododendrons, this Grade II listed Palladian house is run as an upmarket B&B by the owners, Christina

  • Gliffaes, CRICKHOWELL, Powys

    The River Usk runs through the grounds of this 19th-century Italianate building. A smart sporting hotel, it is run by Susie and James Suter (the third generation of the family owners). 'A very nice

  • Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, NANT GWYNANT, Gwynedd

    Time has stood still at this historic climbing hotel which has been owned by the Pullee family for three generations. It remains 'eccentric and old-fashioned in style', say visitors this year, who

  • The Felin Fach Griffin, FELIN FACH, Powys

    Between the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains, this roadside inn has been owned by brothers Charles and Edmund Inkin, whose childhood home is nearby, for 14 years. It is here that they created

  • The Manor Town House, FISHGUARD, Pembrokeshire

    Near the town square of the ferry port (with 'wonderful' views of the lower town harbour), this Grade II listed Georgian house is run as a B&B by Helen and Chris Sheldon. In warm weather, guests can

  • Milebrook House, KNIGHTON, Powys

    The 'settled and reassuring feel' at Beryl and Rodney Marsden's small country hotel in the Teme valley was liked by returning visitors this year. Three generations of the family are now involved in

  • Tyddyn Llan, LLANDRILLO, Denbighshire

    Once a shooting lodge, Bryan and Susan Webb's restaurant-with-rooms is 'a truly lovely place', say trusted reporters this year. The pretty Georgian house stands in well-maintained lawns and gardens

  • Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, LLANDUDNO

    'Impressive and hospitable', this Grade I listed 17th-century mansion is owned by the National Trust and run by Historic House Hotels. 'A place for a quiet luxury break', it stands in a park with

  • St Tudno Hotel, LLANDUDNO

    On the seafront of the Victorian resort, this traditional hotel has been owned and managed in hands-on style by owner Martin Bland for more than 40 years. 'He is still very much involved,' said a

  • Carlton Riverside, LLANWRTYD WELLS, Powys

    In a small mid-Wales spa town, Mary Ann and Alan Gilchrist give a 'warm welcome' to their restaurant-with-rooms by a bridge over the River Irfon. 'The food is very good at both dinner and breakfast,'

  • Cnapan, NEWPORT, Pembrokeshire

    The Cooper family, 'lovely, caring people', have been running this listed Georgian town house in the centre of a small coastal town as a restaurant-with-rooms for 30 years. Judith Cooper is in charge

  • Hotel Portmeirion, PORTMEIRION, Gwynedd

    'One of the best tourist attractions in Wales', this eccentric resort was built on a wooded peninsula by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis to demonstrate that it was possible to develop a

  • Plas Bodegroes, PWLLHELI, Gwynedd

    The first sight of this white Georgian manor house in wooded grounds on the remote Lleyn peninsula 'raises expectations' that are invariably met by visitors to Chris and Gunna Chown's popular

  • The Crown at Whitebrook, WHITEBROOK, Monmouthshire

    Six miles south of Monmouth, in a small village in the wooded Wye valley, this former 17th-century drovers' inn is run as a restaurant-with-rooms by Raymond Blanc-trained chef/proprietor Chris Harrod.

  • Castle Cottage, HARLECH , Gwynedd

    Chef/proprietor Glyn Roberts and his wife, Jacqueline, have run this former coaching inn as a restaurant-with-rooms for 25 years. It stands on a steep slope above the river estuary near the castle

  • Patricks with Rooms, MUMBLES

    There are views across Mumbles Bay from this informal restaurant-with-rooms on the promenade. It is owned and run by two husband-and-wife teams, Catherine and Patrick Walsh, and Sally and Dean Fuller.

  • Crug-Glas, ST DAVID'S, Pembrokeshire

    In countryside close to St David's, Britain's smallest city, this Georgian farmhouse has been modernised by Perkin and Janet Evans to provide accommodation and a restaurant on their working farm.

  • Lasswade Country House, LLANWRTYD WELLS, Powys

    'We were impressed.' There are 'superb' views of the Cambrian Mountains, Mynydd Epynt and the Brecon Beacons from Roger and Emma Stevens's small hotel and restaurant, in a traditional Edwardian house

  • The Old Vicarage, DOLFOR, Powys

    In the hills of the Welsh Marches, this red brick Victorian vicarage on the main road to Newtown is run as a small guest house by the 'charming, helpful' owners, Helen and Tim Withers. 'We were warmly

  • Gwesty Cymru, ABERYSTWYTH, Ceredigion

    The name translates as 'Welsh hotel' and a sense of national identity is strong at Huw and Beth Roberts's stylish restaurant-with-rooms on the Victorian seafront promenade. Using Welsh materials

  • Y Goeden Eirin, DOLYDD, Gwynedd

    'Welsh is spoken by everyone here,' say Eluned and John Rowlands, who run this informal guest house in a hamlet on the edge of the Snowdonia national park. 'But guests are welcomed from all over the

  • Fairyhill, REYNOLDSTON

    'Our favourite hotel anywhere', Andrew Hetherington and Paul Davies's small country hotel stands in 'wonderful' grounds with lawns, woodland, a stream and a lake. There are log fires in the public

  • The Manor, CRICKHOWELL, Powys

    The birthplace of Sir George Everest in 1790, this white-painted 18th-century manor house is owned by Glyn and Jess Bridgeman and Sean Gerrard; Catherine Lloyd is the manager. 'Comfortable, with good

  • Plas Dinas Country House, CAERNARFON

    Set in 15-acre grounds, this 17th-century Grade II listed building, once the country home of the Armstrong-Jones family, is packed with history; new owners Neil Baines and Marco Soares have filled it

  • Osborne House, LLANDUDNO

    On the 'elegant' promenade of the seaside resort, this small hotel 'takes a lot of beating', says a returning visitor this year. Sister to the larger Empire Hotel, 200 yards away, it is managed by

  • Gales, LLANGOLLEN, Denbighshire

    On one of the oldest streets in Llangollen, this quirky hotel has a wine bar and restaurant, and a wine and gift shop in its Reception area. It is run by oenophile Richard Gale and his family.

  • Bryniau Golau, BALA, Gwynedd

    In an elevated position overlooking Lake Bala, this renovated Victorian mansion is run as a small guest house by the owners, Katrina Le Saux and Peter Cottee. 'They are delightful hosts, who make

  • Ynyshir Hall, EGLWYSFACH, Powys

    Once Queen Victoria's country retreat, this 'pretty' manor house is run as a luxury hotel/restaurant (Relais & Châteaux) by Joan and Rob Reen, who own it with John and Jenny Talbot. The

  • Llys Meddyg, NEWPORT, Pembrokeshire

    Once a coaching inn, then a doctor's house (the name translates as Doctor's Court), this Grade II listed Georgian building has been given a smart make-over by Ed and Lou Sykes. They run it as a

  • Llwyndu Farmhouse, BARMOUTH, Gwynedd

    'Peace and tranquillity' prevail at this Grade II listed 16th-century farmhouse, which stands on a hillside above Barmouth overlooking Cardigan Bay. It is run as a small hotel/restaurant by Peter and

  • Pentre Mawr, LLANDYRNOG, Denbighshire

    Visitors like the 'homely, welcoming atmosphere' at Graham and Bre Carrington-Sykes's guest house, on a 400-year-old farmstead. Accommodation is in country house-style bedrooms in the main house, two

  • The Forest Country Guest House, NEWTOWN, Powys

    In the Vale of Kerry, this family-friendly B&B is owned by Paul and Michelle Martin. Run on eco-conscious lines, the Victorian country house has solar panels for heating water, and photovoltaic

  • Lloyds, LLANIDLOES, Powys

    In an unassuming building in a small market town in the Cambrian Mountains, this 'modest' guest house is liked for the 'quirky and personal' style of the owners, Tom Lines and Roy Hayter. They tell us

  • Ffynnon, DOLGELLAU, Gwynedd

    In a small market town at the foot of Cadair Idris, this Victorian Gothic house began as a rectory and later served as a convalescent home and cottage hospital. Today, it is a stylish guest house run

  • The Grove, NARBERTH, Pembrokeshire

    Close to a village of 'surprisingly interesting shops' facing the Preseli hills, this 'imposing' building is run as a small hotel by the owners Neil Kedward and Zoë Agar. 'Relaxed' hosts, they

  • Escape, LLANDUDNO

    Close to the promenade, Sam Nayar's unusual B&B, in a white-stucco Victorian villa, has a traditional facade and a cool, urban interior: contemporary and vintage furnishings and fabrics are set

  • Hotel One Hundred, CARDIFF

    'Perfect for short stays in Cardiff', this small budget hotel, run by brother-and-sister team Charlie and Abi Prothero, is close to the city centre, with shops, pubs and good eating places just around

  • The Bear, COWBRIDGE, Vale of Glamorgan

    Dating to the 12th century, this characterful coaching inn is in a lovely market town, 20 minutes' drive from Cardiff; a handy local bus service goes straight to the city centre. There is a relaxed

  • Y Garth, NEWPORT, Pembrokeshire

    'Well worth a return visit.' Popular with walkers, Joyce Evans's 'faultless' B&B lies midway between Newport and Fishguard, and a short distance from the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Welsh cakes and a

  • Penbontbren, GLYNARTHEN, Ceredigion

    'Everything is of a high standard' at this luxury B&B, a conversion of an old farmhouse hotel in extensive grounds near National Trust beaches. The owners, Richard Morgan-Price and Huw Thomas,

  • The Kinmel Arms, ABERGELE

    In a tranquil hamlet in the Elwy valley, there is a 'relaxed' atmosphere at Lynn and Tim Watson's Victorian inn. Modern bedrooms are 'finished to a high standard, displaying the artistic temperament

  • Ty'n Rhos, LLANDDEINIOLEN, Gwynedd

    'Most enjoyable.' Stephen and Hilary Murphy's 'relaxed and friendly' hotel is on a secluded farmstead in rolling countryside: sheep and cattle graze in the fields beyond the gardens, while families of

  • Ael y Bryn, EGLWYSWRW, Pembrokeshire

    In farmland near the Pembrokeshire coast, Robert Smith and Arwel Hughes have converted a former prisoner-of-war camp into an unusual B&B. They are 'kind and considerate hosts'. 'When we arrived,

  • Castle Hotel, CONWY

    In a World Heritage town, this centrally located old coaching inn is run by the Lavin family as a hotel and restaurant. It stands on the site of a Cistercian abbey; parts of the building, once two

  • Ellingham House, COLWYN BAY

    Peacefully located in a leafy conservation area, Ian Davies and Chris Jennings's traditionally furnished B&B is in a late Victorian villa, a short walk from the town and the sea. Spacious bedrooms

  • The Falcondale, LAMPETER, Ceredigion

    'Run with good traditional taste and without pretension', this Italianate hotel stands in landscaped gardens above the Teifi valley. It is owned by Chris and Lisa Hutton: 'The staff and proprietors

  • Dolffanog Fawr, TYWYN, Gwynedd

    The absence of house rules (except for meal times) and the 'near perfect' service appealed to the nominators (trusted correspondents) of this small guest house at the head of Lake Tal-y-llyn. It is

  • Bryn Mair House, DOLGELLAU, Gwynedd

    In walled gardens at the foot of Cadair Idris stands this Georgian townhouse. A Grade II listed former rectory, it has been furnished 'simply and elegantly' by Jan and Peter Ashley, the 'welcoming'

  • Canaston Oaks, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

    In lovely landscaped gardens, with walks down to ponds and the river beyond, David and Eleanor Lewis run their relaxed B&B in converted barns designed and built by Pembrokeshire craftsmen. Homely

  • Browns Hotel, LAUGHARNE, Carmarthenshire

    A favourite watering hole of Dylan Thomas, this renovated 18th-century inn helps keep the poet's memory alive with memorabilia and a library of Thomas-related reading material. Jon Tregenna is the

  • The Checkers, MONTGOMERY, Powys

    Overlooking the town square, this 'charming' restaurant-with-rooms is in an old coaching inn 'brought tastefully up to date' by sisters Kathryn and Sarah Francis, and Sarah's husband, Stéphane Borie.

  • The Old Rectory on the Lake, TAL-Y-LLYN, Gwynedd

    On the shore of Lake Tal-y-llyn beneath Cadair Idris in southern Snowdonia, this peaceful stone-built house has lake views from every window. 'Wonderful: our visit is an annual highlight,' says a

  • Manorhaus Llangollen, LLANGOLLEN, Denbighshire

    In a small town close to Offa's Dyke, this stylish restaurant-with-rooms occupies a smartly renovated Victorian town house. Christopher Frost and Gavin Harris are the owners. Modern bedrooms (some

  • Llwyn Helyg, LLANARTHNE, Carmarthenshire

    In countryside near the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Caron and Fiona Jones welcome B&B guests to their lavishly finished, newly built stone house. 'It has an unexpected wow factor,

  • St Brides Spa Hotel, SAUNDERSFOOT, Pembrokeshire

    On the Coastal Path overlooking Carmarthen Bay, with 'very good views' of the harbour and up the coast, Andrew and Lindsey Evans have created a relaxed, modern hotel with 'good' spa and a gallery of