Luxury hotels, five-star restaurants, a hot spa, something cold and fizzy – whatever Sir and Madam desire, we’ve got it. And wherever you go, the spectacular views are on the house.
The luxurious St Brides Spa Hotel is perfectly perched on a cliff overlooking Saundersfoot’s harbour and beach. When you’re relaxing in the outdoor infinity pool, which is heated to blood- temperature even on frosty days, you can’t help feeling just the tiniest bit smug.
You’re probably wondering where to park your helicopter. Luckily, dozens of Welsh hotels have their own pads or suitably spacious lawns. You’ll certainly have a happy landing at Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, a perfect 17th-century country house in Snowdonia which is the AA’s reigning Welsh Hotel of the Year.
We’re far too discreet to reveal which Hollywood stars were spotted holidaying on a canal boat on the Llangollen Canal. But there are plenty of stars (including one from Michelin) at the nearby Tyddyn Llan, a country house with a multi-awardwinning restaurant.
Antique Welsh quilts and blankets sell for a small fortune these days, but the tradition is still alive and kicking in West Wales. Melin Tregwynt near Haverfordwest is a superb example of a mill that’s combined centuries-old skills with chic modern designs, making not just traditional woollen blankets and throws but also clothing, bags and upholstery fabric.
The expression ‘millionaire’s golf’ describes that lovely feeling when you and your mates find yourself teeing off with nobody in front or behind, as if you’ve got the whole course to yourselves. Wales has some of the best links courses in the world, yet they’re nowhere near as busy (or pricey) as elsewhere. But is anywhere as stunning as the peninsular section of Nefyn, or the 7th at Pennard? We don’t think so.
One of the best ways to explore the Welsh coast, we find, is on our private yacht. There are 14 marinas in which to spend the night, including the smart 160-berther at Aberystwyth, which falls happily half-way along your journey.
The Welsh billionaire Sir Terry Matthews bought the hospital in which he was born, transformed it into a luxury hotel, built a whole new leisure complex behind it, added a conference centre, fine dining restaurants and three championship golf courses, brought The 2010 Ryder Cup to Wales, and… well, isn’t that enough? The Celtic Manor Resort is a simply extraordinary place to spend a long weekend.
The world’s first million-pound business deal was struck in the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay. These former coal docks have been reborn as a chic waterfront leisure destination, which you can admire from the terrace of the five-star St David’s Hotel & Spa. Up in the city centre, there’s a priceless collection of Impressionist art in the National Museum Cardiff.
The salmon and sewin (also known as sea trout) rivers of West Wales attract fishermen from all over the world. The beautiful Maesycrugiau Manor, in Carmarthenshire, is a five-star B&B within casting distance of the Teifi, Cothi and Tywi rivers, whose beats have been enjoyed by US presidents and Hollywood stars.
The training home of the Welsh rugby team might not sound like a place for luxury and pampering. But The Vale Resort is a four-star playground within 15 minutes reach of Cardiff, the Welsh capital, combining luxurious relaxation and sporting activity. It has Wales’s largest spa and two championship golf courses, situated in 600 splendid acres of grounds.
Most of Wales’s beaches are west-facing, so you can enjoy fabulous sunsets, completely free of charge. Priceless.