A perfect base for exploring North Wales
The Isle of Anglesey lies off the North West Corner of Wales, a quick hop at the end of the A55. It’s perhaps most famously known as the home of the town with the longest name in the United Kingdom (Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch), or as the departure point to Dublin via Holyhead. But more than that, this is also a wonderful island offering beautiful scenery and rocky bays, clean, safe beaches with great water sports facilities, and superb 18-hole golf courses. It also sits at the foot of the Snowdonia National Park and makes a great base for exploring the mountains and the fascinating cultural heritage of the Welsh people.
In the middle of Anglesey, you’ll find Tre-Ysgawen Hall (pronounced “Tresgowen”) Country House Hotel and Spa. Built in 1882 as a country mansion house and home, this award-winning hotel provides a break that is guaranteed to leave you refreshed in a location set away from the everyday.
Although substantially renovated over the years and offering conference and function facilities and a luxurious spa, Tre-Ysgawen, is something of a time-capsule.
The huge public rooms, whilst comfortable and relaxing, manage to maintain sufficient formality to allow you to imagine that at any time the family might return from the hunt or their latest jaunt to join you for tea. There’s a definite Victorian house party feel – many of the staff have worked at the hotel for several years. And a general air of friendliness and welcome.
The bedrooms in the original house are elegantly and sensitively decorated. The mix of high Victorian romance paired with modern comfort (including jacuzzi baths) has made the hotel a favourite for wedding parties. From the front door, guests can step out and explore the extensive grounds: a range of walks through woodland, a ramble through the kitchen garden or spot the fun and fabulous sculptures set out on immaculate lawns.
We stayed in the Courtyard extension where the modern, well-furnished rooms sit right by the spa suite – ensuring we only had to walk across the corridor to enjoy the excellent spa facilities. Our twin-bedded room was spacious with a big bathroom complete with Jack and Jill sinks and a well-stocked toiletries box. Patio doors led out onto a fair sized, sheltered terrace which would be a lovely place to sit on a warm day.
The spa is open to non-resident members and in effect operates as a club but use of the spa facilities (well-equipped gym, jacuzzi, sauna, good sized steam room and 16m swimming pool) is complimentary for guests. Following a refreshing swim and steam, we indulged ourselves for an hour with an Anglesey Salt Polish Relaxer treatment (£60). An enticing list of treatments start from £39 and we found the spa staff knowledgeable and very caring.
Tre-Ysgawen has an excellent reputation for the food on offer in Noëlle’s Restaurant and The Grill. The accent in Noëlle’s is on using the best of seasonal local and regional produce for a fine dining experience and with prices set at two courses for £38 and £45 for three, this is an affordable luxury to enjoy. The Grill offers a more informal atmosphere, but not to the detriment of the food. The selection of meats, fish and vegetarian options for both starter and main course was interesting and appealing. The pork belly and black pudding fritter I ordered was meaty and sweetly complemented by an apple chutney, and my friend’s cauliflower and spinach aioli with broad bean and crumbled feta was found to be “delicious”.
The Stone Bass main course was perfectly cooked, very moist and soft, and the Lamb Loin with Jerusalem artichoke came as ordered with a well-cooked crust and an excellent beer and bone marrow sauce.
The Grill offers starters and puddings under £10 and main courses mostly under £20. The pudding menu offers everyone’s favourites. My sticky toffee pudding with malt ice-cream and miso fudge sauce could not be resisted and I would like to have seen my friend’s light and creamy Bread and Butter pudding on the breakfast menu – it seemed a crime to only give it one outing a day!
The wine menu is extensive and makes happy reading in between courses. With a Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1er Cru Classe 1985 on the list for £1100, I was more than happy enjoying a Sicilian white, Il Meridione Grillo at £20. And how nice it was to have jugs of iced water in place on the table as we sat down.
After dinner, cosy Noelle’s bar is a pleasant spot to plan the rest of your break. But do not check out before sampling the Tre-Ysgawen cooked breakfast! With a choice of salmons and kippers and haddock, Welsh rarebit and Welsh laverbread you’ll have difficulty making your mind up – but don’t worry because everything is very good!
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Jenny was a guest of Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel and Spa where room rates range from £115 per room, bed and breakfast up to £350 (depending on season) .
Tre-Ysgawen is a member of Signpost, a marketing consortium of the UK’s top privately-owned hotels working together since 1935. All Signpost members are visited every year, to make sure top standards are maintained. Most are near areas of outstanding beauty with plenty to do or see in the area; many are hidden gems, all have award-winning cuisine. For more details and to receive news about great hotel offers visit the Signpost website.