Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic weekend away at one of these top spots, says Luke Rix-Standing
The Grove of Narberth
An intimate establishment with a three AA rosette restaurant, The Grove showcases the gentler side of the Welsh countryside, boasting its very own walled garden, surrounded by meadows and banks of flowers. A luxury establishment overlooking Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Hills, the hotel’s gardens are matched only by its kitchens. Music isn’t the food of love, food is, and from fine dining in the Fernery to afternoon tea on the terrace, The Grove understands deliciously well.
For more information visit thegrove-narberth.co.uk.
Voco St. David’s
Determined not to be outdone by all these rural retreats, voco St. David’s represents the urban contingent from the shores of Cardiff Bay. A stone’s throw from the city’s central shopping arcades at Mermaid’s Quay, this glitzy glass goliath of a hotel towers over the waterfront, and comes stacked with entertainment for couples of every kind. Kick back at a comedy night, sample the culinary creations of The Admiral, or take a load off at the marine spa.
For more information visit stdavids.vocohotels.com.
Ensconced in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains, this cosy B&B is a haven for couples keen to embrace the great outdoors. A whitewashed former farmhouse with benches carved from tree trunks, a gently rippling koi pond, and a hammock at the bottom of the garden, this is natural beauty at its most serene. Wander the bluebell woods, hike the Ceredigion Coast Path, or explore the neighbouring valleys, before snugging up beside the crackling log fire as though you’ve spent hours struggling through sleet and snow. There’s getting out of the city, and then there’s getting so far out of it that it seems a distant memory.
For more information visit brynarth.co.uk.
Where contemporary comfort meets old-world charm, Cawdor is the perfect destination for couples that don’t want to choose between a modern boutique and a traditional country house. An unmissable landmark in the market town of Llandelio thanks to its bright red exterior, each bedroom is individually adorned with its own patterns and colour palette, and fitted with soft, smooth Egyptian cotton bedding. The kitchen serves a famous pulled Welsh lamb shank shepherd’s pie, while the bar hosts a wide array of local pints.
For more information visit thecawdor.com.
A classic countryside manor house coated in a thick layer of ivy, Llangoed Hall strains every sinew to make you feel like the aristocrats of times gone by. An historic venue that’s existed in some form for over a millennium, and once changed hands in a game of cards, the modern Hall houses an extensive fine art collection sporting everything from Whistler to Augustus John. The 23 rooms offer decadent décor and several four poster beds. They even come with a complimentary decanter of Madeira. If you need further proof of romance – Llangoed is a popular location for weddings.
For more information visit llangoedhall.co.uk.
A castle in the true sense of the word – battlements, flagpole, crumbling 12th century brickwork – this widely awarded hotel is as luxurious inside as it is rugged outside. A short drive from St. David’s, the tower offers panoramic views over St. Bride’s Bay, and arch-romance beneath the night sky. The six double rooms are all en suite, and come complete with lavish breakfast menu, including homemade jams, local Goodwood honey, and traditional seaweed Laverbread.
For more information visit rochcastle.com.
Tranquility reigns at Slebech Park, a verdant estate crosscut with patches of woodland in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Sporting stunning river views, tasteful décor, and a kitchen brimming with local produce, the Georgian manor-turned hotel is the perfect place to get away from it all. Close by Norman castles and blue flag beaches, and regularly attended by ospreys, otters, badgers and bats, Slebech Park is straight from the rural top drawer.
For more information visit slebech.co.uk.
The Vale Resort
Vale of Glamorgan
The Vale Resort spreads its four stars across 650 acres, 143 bedrooms, two pro-level golf courses, and enormous spa, so even the pickiest pairs will find something tailored to their tastes. Guests can expect a state-of-the-art gym, squash courts, tennis courts, a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and whirlpool bath. For couples seeking the ultimate romance, the whole lot can be rented out for weddings.
For more information visit valeresort.com.
An oasis of splendour in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, Gliffaes is the sort of hidden-away place you have to know is there – which makes it extra special for the people in the know. Surrounded by undulating woodland, the hotel’s iconic clock tower overlooks 23 individually decorated rooms of varying opulence and size. Famed for its fly fishing on the banks of the River Usk, Gliffaes was awarded Fishing Hotel of the Year 2019 by the Good Hotels Guide, and is particularly popular with beginners.
For more information visit gliffaeshotel.com.
A positively palatial country house dripping with high Victorian splendour, Pale Hall was luxurious in the nineteenth century, and it still is today. On the outskirts of the Snowdonia National Park, natural beauty abounds – but only if you can tear yourself away from the culinary stylings of head chef Gareth Stevenson. Perhaps best of all, dogs are actively encouraged, and the hotel has designated dog rooms and dog care facilities.
For more information visit palehall.co.uk.
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Rural to the bone, but a mere 20 minutes from Cardiff, Llechwen was tailormade for busy couples looking to swap the smog for scenic serenity. The rooms are classically comfy – puffy throw cushions, patterned wallpaper, well-finished writing desks – while top-grade options come with wall-mounted widescreens and intricately-carved four posters. The hilltop setting offers panoramic views over the Cynon Valley, whether from a footpath or your window.
For more information visit llechwen.co.uk.
Built around an Italianate piazza by influential British architect Clough William-Ellis, the private peninsula of Portmeirion brings a touch of Mediterranean romance to North Wales. Less resort, more heritage destination, Portmeirion houses two hotels, a smattering of historic cottages, a spa, several restaurants, exotic gardens and an ice cream parlour. Inspired by Genoese fishing village Portofino, the site has hosted and beguiled the likes of HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and Paul McCartney.
For more information visit portmeirion.wales.