The secluded and luxurious Ynyshir Hall, once a retreat of Queen Victoria, proves its AA Hotel of the Year in Wales award is utterly deserved.
There are many things that make Ynyshir Hall, in Wales, stand out but its location is one of the biggest draws.
The long drive to get there through stark and dramatic Cambrian mountains and forests is impressive enough, but the hotel’s secluded spot literally two minutes from the RSPB Ynyshir Nature Reserve and within the Dyfi Valley UNESCO Biosphere is phenomenal.
You only have to follow the hotel’s garden path and cross a country lane to get to the reserve, where keen volunteers offer bird-watching advice and highlight key species to spot for the time of year. Borth beach is only a short drive away – with its vast expanse of golden sand, magnificent sand dunes and shards of sunlight shining through the clouds.
The hotel itself is remarkably peaceful – it was once owned by Queen Victoria, indeed much of the gardens as they are today were designed by her.
Waking up in one of the hotel’s plush suites (the Chagall and Miro in particular, as they are set apart from the rest of the hotel) the quiet is only interrupted by birdsong and wind rustling through the Eucalyptus tree, whose sap is used in the hotel’s innovative kitchen, along with foraged mushrooms, garlic, and elderflower.
This brings us to Ynyshir Hall’s other forte: its culinary offering. The award-winning restaurant recently added a Michelin star to its many accolades and head chef Gareth Ward’s tasting menus are exciting, fresh and light. Using the best of local ingredients, including Welsh lamb, Welsh Wagyu beef and organic pork, experimental recipes and techniques range from a delicious Cox apple with buttermilk and wood sorrel dessert to fantastic parsnip porridge or leeks presented in dry ice to create a complementary smokey aroma as you eat.
And to walk off one of Ynyshir Hall’s indulgent 11-course dinners, we’d recommend exploring the Dyfi estuary and the coast, ideally stopping off in the picturesque town of Aberdovey and perhaps taking the hotel’s resident Bernese mountain dog, Theo, with you.
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