I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record now, but Wales really has captured a piece of my heart. I’m not sure I could live in this part of the UK quite yet (mainly because I don’t even drive), but it’s a place I want to retire too. Endless hours of driving in the sun through the winding roads, afternoon tea at historic castles, cream tea at old-fashioned tea houses and glasses of wine on historic hotel terraces. Not to mention staying a these hotels in-between too. Especially if it’s called Bodysgallen Hall & Spa Hotel.
The approach of the hotel is beyond impressive. Its website really doesn’t show off its full beauty if I’m honest and while my initial thinking was they needed to improve that, the surprise made for such an unexpected arrival. Lush greenery everywhere, a tall staircase from the car park, huge door knobs and a very impressive exterior which has so many different extensions. Each part of the hotel can’t all be individually dated, but its original tower alone dates back to the 13th century.
Walk through the main door, your bags are immediately taken from your hands (if not at the car) and while the check-in in process happens you’re left to wait in the reception lounge. The hotel has been sympathetically restored by Historic House Hotels group and while it may look like nothing has moved in years, it’ just shows how succesful the restoration was – back to its former glory. The entrance lounge is such a cosy place to arrive into and especially more so if enjoying a glass of bubbles or afternoon tea. Antique paintings, roaring fireplaces and fresh orchids scatter around the room. I loved the stained glass windows too, with the gardens providing a backdrop.
Even more impressive is an almost identical room located above on the first floor – also known as the drawing-room. The magnificent room is full to the brim with history and antique furniture. More fresh orchids, glossy panelled wooden walls and its biggest feature being the huge fireplace – one of the most interesting I’ve come across in a while. The room is also home to the 17th century coats of arms of the Mostyns, Wynns and Vaughans – the previous residents of Bodysgallen Hall & Spa Hotel.
We stayed in Snowdonia view room 18, which as its name suggests offers stunning views from the windows across Snowdonia and the endless manicured gardens. The room itself oozes more history and everything is fitting with the rest of the hotel. Little touches such as home-made biscuits and tea & coffee can be enjoyed endlessly in your room. The TV could have done with an upgrade, or removed all together. Because who really wants to watch TV in such a hotel? Water is also topped up daily and a bowl of fresh fruit for snacking.
The bathroom was classic and elegant, matching the room design perfectly. It wasn’t my favourite all time bathroom, but it had everything we needed, including luxury bath products from Floris – generously placed around the bathroom.
While the inside of this historic hotel has so much to offer, the outside does too – in abundance. The garden was transitioning rom Winter to Spring when we arrived, with the daffodils popping from the grounds – though not quite flowered. Head gardener, Robert Owen has been tending this grounds for over 30 years at Bodysgallen Hall and both him and his team have overseen the restoration to the award-winning version it is today. Hidden doors, pathways and benches await to be discovered amongst the foliage.
What I love about the gardens here most is that every turn you make reveals something new. Beautifully squared off hedges, shrubs lining pathways and finding things you’ve never seen before such as black grass – who knew! There’s even stone statues and vases tucked away in the corners. You feel as though you’ve just stepped onto a set of Downton Abbey. Did I mention there’s a maze? Well not quite but from above it certainly looks like one – for rabbits perhaps.
A herb and vegetable garden, prehistoric sized aloe vera plants, Winter robins on trees and an angel spouting water from a water feature. I can only start to imagine what this hotel looks like in the Summer – another reason for me to return. For those looking for a little less walking can head to the spa. A luxurious retreat with a bubbling jacuzzi, large swimming pool and treatment rooms.
That same evening we spent dinner in the hotels award-winning fine dining restaurant. Boasting 3 AA Rosettes, this dining experience is one not to be missed. The kitchen is looked after by head chef, John Williams and guests can expect wholesome, carefully prepared dishes full of flavour. Read all about my experience at Bodysgallen Hall Restaurant.
Enjoying breakfast in the bed the next morning, we really didn’t want to leave this sumptuous hotel and all it had to offer. Beautifully landscaped gardens, delicious food, history and refined service to match. Wales really has some lovely hotels around and I was so glad to have finally experienced Bodysgallen Hall & Spa Hotel. It’s such a special hotel and one you all need to experience.
Bodysgallen Hall & Spa Hotel
Tel: 01492 584466