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Pleasant inns for weary travelers in Wales

By PATRICIA and ROBERT FOULKE

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 3, 2001


BALA, Wales -- "Croeso I Cymru," your innkeeper might say. You'll hear something like cry-saw ee goom-REE, which means, "Welcome to Wales." But no matter the language, the sentiment will be genuine.

During more than a half-dozen trips to Wales, we have stayed in a variety of inns, country houses, farmhouses, resorts, bed-and-breakfasts and hotels. We have found each of those listed below pleasant to come home to after a day of touring. Often the hosts were eager to suggest local sites we had not known about.

These choices represent a range in varieties and prices of accommodations. This selection is arranged by counties, beginning in the south, heading west and then north, in clockwise fashion. Each region of Wales has its own distinctive appeal, and you can move from one to the other easily because the driving distances are not long.

Powys

Nant Ddu Lodge Hotel is a great place to explore Brecon Beacons National Park. It was first a farm, then a country retreat. The grounds give a feeling of space in the midst of green forests and surrounding hills. Located on the A40 road; write to the hotel at near Merthyr Tydfil, Powys, Wales CF48 2HY; call 011-44-1685-379111; fax 011-44-1685-377088. Web site is www.nant-ddu-lodge.co.uk.

Cyfie Farm dates from the 17th century, and it is still a working sheep farm as well as a spacious B&B. The view from the terrace overlooks colorful gardens, stone walls enclosing meadows and the valley below. Walkers strike out right from the farm and come back invigorated. Address: Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, near Llanfyllin, Powys, Wales SY22 5JE; telephone/fax 011-44-1691-648451.

Pembrokeshire

Penally Abbey is a Gothic-style mansion with a ruined chapel on its grounds, adjacent to the church on Penally village green. It overlooks Carmarthen Bay and Caldey Island, and Pembrokeshire National Park and the attractive port town of Tenby are nearby. Address: Penally, near Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales SA70 7PY; phone 011-44-1834-843033; fax 011-44-1834-844714.

Heywood Lodge, a country lodge on the edge of Tenby, was built by a Victorian gentleman with good taste and the means to create a lovely home. The grounds have colorful flower beds with benches for relaxation, and meals are served in an attractive conservatory. Address: Heywood Lane, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, SA70 8BN Wales; phone 011-44-1834-842684; fax 011-44-1834-843976; e-mail kt@lodge95.freeserve.co.uk.

Montgomeryshire

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel is located in a 27,000-acre estate on a wooded hill overlooking a lake. When we were there, rose-colored rhododendrons framed our photograph up the lake. The lake was created by the Corporation of Liverpool as a reservoir in the 1860s. Address: Llanwddyn, Montgomeryshire, Wales SY10 0LY; phone 011-44-1691-870692; fax 011-44-1691-870259; e-mail res@lakevyrywy.com.

Gwynedd

Penmaenuchaf Hall is an 1860 gray stone manor house with a view of the Rhinog mountains and Mawddach Estuary. The large garden is colorful with blooms and handsome topiary birds. Serious hikers and climbers tackle Cader Idris, the second-highest mountain in Wales, while birders head for the estuary at Penmaenpool and fishermen ply the nearby rivers. Address: Penmaenpool, Dolgellau, Wales LL40 1YB; phone 011-44-1341-422129; fax 011-44-1341-422787; e-mail relax@penhall.co.uk.

Frongoch Farm, in the village, is a self-catering apartment with two bedrooms, a lounge, dishwasher, clothes washer and microwave in the kitchen. It is in the former railway station, which has been completely renovated. Address: Mrs. Carys Davie, Frongoch Farm, Brongoch, Bala, Gwynedd, Wales LL23 7NT; phone 011-44-1678-521457.

Ty'n Rhos is located between Snowdonia and the sea. Once a farmhouse with 72 acres, it is now a country house and has been completely renovated. Guests can play croquet in the garden or just enjoy the view. Address: Llanddeiniolen, Caernarfon, Wales LL55 3AE; phone 011-44-1248-670489; fax 011-44-1248-670079.

Maes-y-Neuadd was recently featured on TV for its "steam & cuisine" program with the old Ffestiniog Railway. The hotel stands on eight acres of landscaped gardens. Address: Talsarnau, Harlech, Wales LL47 6YA; phone 011-44-1766-780200; fax 011-44-1766-780211; e-mail maes@neuadd.com; Web site www.neuadd.com.

Bodysgallen Hall, a fine base for a visit to Conwy, is an elegant, 17th century manor house with a 13th century tower. The stone house is a melange of angles, chimneys and various levels. The gardens are a treat to stroll through. Address: Llandudno, LL30 1RS; phone 011-44-1492-584466; fax 011-44-1492-582519; e-mail info@bodysgallen.u-net.com.

Denbighshire

Tyddyn Llan Country House Hotel is in the peaceful countryside in the Vale of Edeyrnion. Paintings by the owner hang in the house, adding a personal atmosphere, and the cuisine is notable. Address: Llandrillo, Near Corwen, Wales LL21 0ST; phone 011-44-1490-440264; fax 011-44-1490-440414; e-mail tyddnllanhotel@compuserve.com.

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Freelance writers Patricia and Robert Foulke return to their home in Lake George, N.Y., after trips to Wales.

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