After spending our first night in Pembrokeshire in a stunning castle (post here), we figured our trip could only get better from there on in. The reason for our visit to the area was actually to celebrate the launch of the new Twr Y Felin Hotel in St Davids, which has the same ownership as Roch Castle, so from the offset we had very high expectations.
We threw all of our belongings into a case and drove along the coast to reach our new home for the night.
And what a beautiful home it was.
Like something out of a Disney fairytale, with gargantuan gates and a grey and white exterior, the first sighting of this gorgeous place honestly took my breath away. It was obvious without too much investigation on Google, that this place offers the very best of five star luxury.
Check in, similar to that at Roch Castle, was swift and friendly. As we were soon to discover, everyone at this hotel had our best interests at heart and would do their utmost to ensure we had the most relaxing, enjoyable stay. A memorable reminder of this was when we asked where the nearest local shop was and what time it closed. A quick Google search could have answered my question, however the wonderful front of house took my hand and whispered ‘don’t worry, that’s our job’ before encouraging me to relax and enjoy the cocktail which had just been placed under my nose. Every tiny thing had been thought of before we even had to lift a finger.
Maintaining a small and exclusive feel, the hotel offers 19 bedrooms and a further 2 suites – however as they often say, the best things come in small packages. What the hotel lacks in room quantity however, it more than makes up for in quality and size – as we were shown to the most gorgeous suite.
Decked out with muted grey and black interior, it had a very cosy feel from the outset – with a separate dressing area and set of stairs, which led down to the most incredible bathroom. David is buying a house in the next few months (it’s currently being built) so we were definitely making note of some of the interior ideas, as everything worked together so well – creating a homely, but luxurious aesthetic.
But as much as we wanted to indulge in our new surroundings – and take full advantage of the HD TV (with Sky – which is such a luxury for me), we had to quickly unpack and get changed, ready for a local adventure. Alongside several other journalists, artists and bloggers – we were swiftly driven to be picked up by our boat for the afternoon, which was set to take us around the coast of Ramsey Island.
Now, I’ll admit here. I’m not usually one for boats. Especially ones that seat a mere 10 people. But I actually had the best time. The crew were so friendly and made you feel very safe on board, while also giving us a detailed history of the island – and taking us to the best seal spotting points. I’ve never been up so close to seals before, but they came right up to the boat – which was an amazing experience. The water surrounding Ramsey Island (and the coast of Pembrokeshire for that matter) was definitely the blue-est I’ve ever seen it in the UK. If it wasn’t for the 3 layers of coats, you might have even suspected we were in Thailand or somewhere exotic. Well, maybe.
After spending the hour at sea, we then headed back to the hotel for shot of sailor’s rum – and a little nap. All that sea air caught up with us!
We had a dinner reservation at 6pm, so we got all dressed up and strolled down a little early – eager to capture some of the hotels amazing artwork while it was still light outside. I won’t profess to be an art buff, because I’m totally not (although I do love Monet) but with so many artists in residence at the same time as us (we’d been to a formal dinner with them all the night before), we thought we’d take the opportunity to learn as much as we could. One particular set of pieces that stood out to me were by Charles Uzzell Edwards – or Pure Evil, if we’re talking monikers. Son of Welsh painter John Uzzell Edwards and friend of the infamous Banksy, his graffiti style work really makes a statement. We had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with him, his family (who were also visiting for the launch) and his wonderful wife Lisa, who we later found out – lives with her husband just around the corner from me in Hertfordshire!
Having worked up a real appetite from our busy day exploring, we couldn’t wait to get stuck into the amazing food (which we’d sampled, but forgot to photograph – the night before). When I say amazing, I’m not just using it as a filler superlative. I mean amazing. With a simplistic feel (there’s only a couple of options per course), they’ve clearly worked hard to put together a menu worth talking about. Plus, when it comes to us dairy-free eaters, or those with an intolerance – this is probably the best place I’ve ever visited in terms of catering for individual requirements. Eager not to leave me out of enjoying anything, they brought over dairy free sunflower butter to spread over my warm bread roll – which was such a treat, as normally I have them plain or dipped in oil, simultaneously while looking enviously at everyone else enjoying their salted melted butter.
However, here – I was able to enjoy everything in store. Even the spiced parsnip soup to start. And the Bucks Fizz. And the smoked salmon.
When it came to the main course, I was able to choose from the menu – which catered for dairy-free eaters, however I wanted something a bit plainer, as my stomach was suffering that day for some reason – and I didn’t want to upset it any further by fuelling it with rich food. The hotel staff were more than happy to oblige and whipped up some grilled chicken, with a jus and roasted red peppers. Although it might not seem amazing to the outsider, for me – it was exactly what I was craving – and full of flavour. David opted for the beef and potato dauphinoise, which disappeared before we could take a picture. Pudding wise, this creamy dark chocolate tart with candied pistachios and mandarin cream, certainly satisfied any sweet cravings.
After making the most of our beautiful surroundings – and sipping a couple more cocktails (we recommend the White Russian and Bucks Fizz), we headed up to bed, ready for another long journey home.
It was sad to be leaving, as we’d felt quite at home for the weekend in Pembrokeshire. As far West as you could possibly go in the UK, St Davids is apparently bustling with tourists during the summer season and I can certainly see why. If you’re looking for a break, miles away from anything, to rejuvenate and refresh you – then I’d recommend a little look in here. The hotels are certainly up to the 5 star luxury standard in London (if not better) and you won’t be disappointed with the incredible scenery either. The nearby village (walking distance from the hotel) is full of history, a homemade chocolate shop (even offering dairy-free chocolate), a supermarket and a number of adorable restaurants, ice cream parlours and independent boutiques. So there really is something for everyone!
Photo credits: David Mitchell