There’s nothing that makes you feel like a princess more than your very own castle. So when the opportunity arose to stay in the luxurious Roch Castle last weekend, I eagerly started digging out my ball gown. Well, ignore the last part. But as you can imagine, I was very excited about it. It’s not every day you get to spend the night in a castle.
So we finalised our booking and stocked up on snacks for the long journey that awaited us. Situated in rural Roch (near St Davids, in Pembrokeshire) it was going to take us just over four hours to reach our castle, however as the saying goes – good things come to those who wait. And how applicable this was…
Although I’d sneaked a peek at the website (and the TripAdvisor reviews – which were ALL positive, what a rarity), I was slightly worried that a castle might be a bit spooky – since they do have a long medieval history after all. Although romantically associated with royal connotations, castles are a tad dark, stony and scary. Might this be the case for ours?
However, as soon as we spotted the castle on the horizon and drove up the beautiful winding gated driveway that led to the magnificent building itself, all fears melted away. There were no crumbling walls, scary turrets or tiny barred windows – it was just breath-taking – a theme that continued as soon as we stepped inside.
An amazing array of modern and historic themes have been weaved and intertwined to create the most luxurious, beautiful place I’ve ever seen. White wash spiral staircases are juxtaposed with the cascading grey rock in the foyer (part of the original building), while modern sculptures are teamed with arched windows. It’s everything a 2016 princess could wish for in her castle. Complete with free wifi.
There’s no ‘reception’ per say, so you’re greeted by a member of staff in the lobby (if you inform them of your estimated time of arrival) – completely bypassing the often long-drawn out process of checking into your room. We had the most lovely lady check us in, making sure everything was okay with our room and helping with our bags, before booking us a complimentary transfer to nearby sister hotel Twr Y Felin for dinner (more on this in another post).
Although the room wasn’t the largest I’ve ever stayed in, it had a very warm, cosy feel – which meant we settled in almost immediately. It wasn’t dark or dingy in the slightest and contained all the necessary amenities, as well as a few special extras – such as the Wickedly Welsh chocolate box and the gorgeous Aromatherapy Associate Toiletries, which made the bathroom feel like my own little spa.
Every tiny detail had been meticulously thought out, guaranteeing each guest a memorable stay. The bed was ridiculously comfortable (well, I suppose a princess would expect nothing less but still – brownie points) and the bathroom was totally #Instagrammable. So from a blogger’s perspective, it was an incredible place to spend the night.
After a wonderfully restful night’s sleep, we rose early and headed down to the lobby for breakfast. With just 6 bedrooms (we were in the St Brides Room), the building feels as though it belongs to you and a handful of other guests for the duration of your stay – even when sharing the dining room and mutually being in awe about what’s around us. We sat down and had a lovely chat with those around us about how incredible it was. Recommendations flew in about the top floor sun-room which we hadn’t visited yet, so we ordered breakfast and made plans to climb the winding staircases once finished.
Usually I find hotel breakfasts a bit boring and a touch limited, especially with a dairy and egg intolerance, however I was pleasantly surprised to see so many delicious options available to me. I had a large bowl of fruit salad with honey, a slice of toast and strawberry jam and a great big bowl of porridge, with berries. Well, they say you should eat breakfast like a king. And we were in a castle…
David opted for the Full Welsh Breakfast, complete with laverbread, a local tradition which we’d heard lots about. It’s a bit of an odd concoction (we’re not entirely sure what’s in it, but it smells like seaweed) but apparently delicious with cockles. We weren’t brave enough to give it a go however – and made do with photographing it from every angle.
With our stomachs full, I headed off to make use of the gorgeous bathroom to get ready and David climbed to the top of the castle to take a look at the incredible communal areas. Like something out of Harry Potter, with huge crests on the walls and crushed velvet corner sofas, the top floor features an array of spaces to completely absorb yourself in the sprawling landscape and relax. There’s even an honesty bar (where you write what snacks/drinks you’ve taken back to your room) and a tiny treatment room if you fancy something extra.
We rounded off our stay with plans to return again soon. It was well worth the four hour journey – and if you’re looking to treat someone to a special occasion, there’s no better place than a castle.
What do you think? Is staying in a castle overnight on your bucket list?
Our stay was complimentary however all views and princess centric expectations are my own.