It is always a pleasure to stay in Wales and our home for two nights was to be the renowned Llangoed Hall Hotel, nestling at the foot of the Black Mountains and just a short walk from the beautiful River Wye.
Llangoed Hall was believed to have been the legendary White Palace, home of the first Welsh parliament. A mansion existed from 1632. It was also in the possession of the MacNamara family having been won in a card game and it stayed with them for two generations until 1847. In 1912 Clough Williams Ellis re-designed the mansion as a country house. Llangoed was his first major commission and predates Portmeirion, his renowned Italianate village in North Wales, by over a decade. Sir Bernard Ashley (of Laura Ashley fame), bought Llangoed Hall in 1987 and opened it as a hotel in 1990. This was a triumph of patronage over corporatism as this is no ordinary hotel.
It is surrounded by 17 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens. The hotel’s grounds are the perfect backdrop for any special celebration and the working kitchen garden is the supplier of some wonderful ingredients for the dining table.
Within the walls at Llangoed Hall are some outstanding paintings, drawings and works of art. They form part of Sir Bernard Ashley’s personal collection of sketches by artists such as James McNeil Whistler, Herman Dudley Murphy and Augustus John. Many of the works of art are in demand from museum curators but guests at Llangoed Hall get to enjoy them as part of a wonderful country house experience.
In all there are 23 bedrooms all decorated in an individual style and filled with intriguing antiques and original works of art. A complimentary decanter of sherry is there in your room on arrival as if to welcome you into your new world. There is also a selection of fresh fruit, bottled waters and wireless broadband. Your relaxing country surroundings might tempt you not to use it, but it is useful when planning any activities. There are no tea and coffee making facilities as the staff at Llangoed Hall will bring you your early morning beverage along with your newspaper to usher you gently into the new day. This could equally apply to any other refreshment at another time of day as the superb members of staff are intent on creating a home from home experience.
The rooms are available in four different categories and the tariffs are priced in terms of the size of the room and the view. All represent value for money and I know of many hotel rooms more expensive than the Master Suite that do not bear comparison.
Dining at Llangoed Hall is also a wonderful experience. Head Chef Nick Brodie has been very clear in his aim for the restaurant, ’to make Llangoed Hall a destination for truly outstanding cuisine’. He and his team ensure that organic produce taken from the kitchen garden is fresh and truly seasonal. To this he has added his own smokehouse and the chefs all spend time tending the garden, a time they all enjoy. It is this devotion to the quality of their ingredients and our own dining experience that suggests it will not be long before some international culinary recommendation will be forthcoming!
In 2012 Llangoed Hall hotel came under new ownership and has continued to thrive. Calum C Milne, Managing Director, has worked with Sir Bernard Ashley, the initial owner, and is delighted to have overseen the transformation of the hotel. As Calum puts it ‘over the many years I have known Llangoed Hall it has become a second home. Llangoed Hall has a great past, present and future and the story is yet to be completed’.
Calum is assisted by Karen Hurley, the Events Manager. She has a wealth of experience and runs Llangoed Hall’s very busy events office. She will ensure that your wedding, conference, group function or any special occasion will be both a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Brian Irving, the seemingly omnipresent Operations Manager ensures that that your Llangoed Hall stay will be an effortlessly (at least on your part!) enjoyable experience. The hotel has won many awards including the Sunday Times Country House Hotel of the Year 2014-2015. It is also a wonderful base from which to explore the delights of the Wye Valley and the Brecon Beacons National Park. As you arrive back after a day of exploring there will be a member of staff at the hotel entrance waiting to welcome you home, how ‘Downtonesque’.
Llyswen, Brecon, Powys LD3 0YP