Twr y Felin Hotel, St Davids, Pembrokeshire
Twr y Felin has a colourful history: it began life as a windmill in 1806, and was repeatedly destroyed by the elements until being rebuilt using materials from a shipwreck in 1866. In 1907, 21-year old Evan Evans converted it into a hotel he named Twr y Felin, Welsh for ‘mill tower’. In 1940, evacuees from the London Blitz were put up there and it also served as a base for the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Today, Twr y Felin attracts creative types in its latest guise as Wales’ first art hotel, featuring 100 original artworks, luxury accommodation, fine dining and enviable proximity to some of Pembrokeshire’s best beaches. No wonder it was named AA Hotel of the Year for Wales 2017-2018 plus the Green Key award for sustainability in 2019.
The Reading Room, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire
A self-catering converted hayloft in a 19C barn - with an eclectic cosy bohemian style. This is a place to unwind, watch sunsets on the bijou balcony then stay up star-gazing under dark skies. Go walking and bird watching in the beautiful countryside right on the doorstep. Inside, the Reading Room has all you need for a retreat away from it all. Hand carved and antique furniture, a 1920s gramophone player, a surprisingly large quirky-tiled bathroom, open fire and unique features to inspire your inner artist.
Haven Pod at Neyland Yacht Haven, Pembrokeshire
As places to stay go, a floating pod in a marina is pretty unusual. These uber cute Haven Pods in Neyland are attached to the pontoons and have a decking area where you can watch the world float by. The two pods sleep two adults and two children. The sustainably build pods come with mod cons including USB ports and wifi. The loos and showers are a short walk away in the main marina building. The pods have a kitchenette but there are plenty of lovely places to eat out if you can't be asked to cook.
Apple Camping, Tenby, Pembrokeshire
You have a choice here - sleep under the stars in a geo-dome or yurt, or among the stars in a Jetstar plane or a UFO. Yes, you did read that right! The team at Apple Camping in Pembrokeshire have created the most amazing collection of wow-factor accommodation you could find. The site has yurts, cabins, bell tents and two planes you can sleep in, plus a UFO with a remote controlled door and escape hatch. The Jetstar even has a games console in the cabin so you can pretend to fly it. The yurts have wood burning stoves and a cosy vibe while the extra-terrestrial options are much more contemporary.
Treberfedd Farm Octagonal Eco-Cabins, nr Lampeter, Ceredigion
The names of Treberfedd Farm’s two eco-cabins, Saffir and Aerona, sound like something from folklore or fairy tales, and the diminutive homes look as though they’ve been lifted from a storybook’s pages, too. Set in green meadows, the eco-cabins comprise open-plan living spaces with cosy wood-burning fires, sheepskin rugs and fully equipped kitchens – ideal for a romantic retreat or family fun. The farm itself dates back to at least the 1400s, and restoration work on the farmhouse revealed murals dating back to around 1650.
Craig y Nos Castle, Brecon Beacons
Not many hotels house a theatre – Craig y Nos is an exception. The Adelina Patti Theatre was built in honour of one of the castle’s most famous inhabitants. Said to be the second most celebrated woman alive (after Queen Victoria) in 1900, she is little known today outside the opera world, as she lived before her voice could be preserved for posterity on sound recordings. The castle is also said to be Wales’ most haunted, and you can take a ghost tour before settling in to a relaxing night’s sleep. Dogs are also very welcome - there's plenty of space for everyone in the extensive gardens.
Wild Meadow Shepherd’s Hut, Presteigne, Powys
Go back to basics and let nature provide the entertainment at Wild Meadow’s beautiful Shepherd’s Hut. Find it parked among three and a half acres of lush meadows and orchards, inviting you to escape the hustle and bustle of normal life for something altogether more tranquil and romantic. There’s a full-sized double bed inside and maps, games and binoculars to facilitate exploration of the outside. Just pack a sense of adventure!
Ynyshir, near Machynlleth, Powys
Queen Victoria succumbed to the charms of Ynyshir – she loved the abundance of birds on the estate (immediately behind the house is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reserve) and kept Ynyshir as a hunting lodge. Parts of the property date back to the 15th century. Since its royal owner, further well-known people have stayed at Ynyshir, including the actor Richard Gere. Bring a large appetite for dinner; Ynyshir holds a Michelin star and chef Gareth Ward shows off fantastic fresh and local ingredients with every dish.
Llangoed Hall, Llyswen, Powys
A short distance north of Brecon is the splendid Llangoed Hall. Stories abound – it’s said this was the site of the first Welsh parliament in AD 560, the property has been lost and won in a card game and Sir Clough Williams-Ellis of Portmeirion fame redesigned the mansion in 1912 as a country house. Sir Bernard Ashley – husband of designer Laura Ashley – bought the property in 1987, after his wife’s death, and opened it as a hotel in 1990. Laura Ashley furnishings are in use throughout the classy house, and there’s an impressive art collection, including a room of works by Whistler.
Berwyn Station Masters House, near Llangollen, Denbighshire
Berwyn Station Masters House is a Grade II listed rural railway station building, converted into a unique self catering holiday let. The riverside station is on the heritage Llangollen Railway line running through the beautiful Dee Valley between Llangollen and Corwen. The first floor lounge has wonderful views over the River Dee and you'll be able to see and hear the powerful steam engines chuffing along regularly. Nearby villages host cosy rural pubs, the Llangollen Canal is just over the Chain Bridge, and there are countryside walks and watersports on the river. Free travel on most trains on the railway is included so it's ideal for families and rail enthusiasts.
Cliff camping, Anglesey
There aren't many places in the world you can have a brew or take a snooze while hanging off a cliff! While it's not for the faint-hearted, cliff camping off Rhoscolyn definitely counts as an unusual place to sleep. The Cliff Camping experience by Gaia Adventures includes abseiling practice prior to climbing down to a ‘portaledge’, which can support up to four people. Then enjoy a hot meal as the sun sets, followed by a night in the open air, with the waves lapping far beneath you.
Portmeirion Hotel is part of marvellous Portmeirion Village, the brainchild of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who spent fifty years lovingly creating his vision of an Italianate village in coastal North Wales. The hotel opened in 1931 and has hosted artists, royalty, politicians and tycoons, as well as noted authors and playwrights H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Noël Coward. The building gained Grade II listed status in 1971. Stay in the Peacock Suite, which the future King Edward VIII slept in in 1934.
Llanerch Vineyard, Vale of Glamorgan
The Romans brought vines to Wales 2,000 years ago, making the country’s appearance in the wine world a little tardy – it’s only in the last couple of decades that Welsh wine has gained prominence. This slow start gave way to the fast winning of awards and praise for Welsh whites, rosés and sparkling wines, with some red wine now reaching as high a standard as its counterparts. Llanerch planted its first vines in 1986 and produces highly-rated wine under its Cariad label. Have a taste of everything, then sleep it off in a beautiful farmhouse suite, studio room or apartment.