“A B&B haven of culture and comfort in the heart of a bustling Welsh mountain town”
Rooms are not called rooms, but oriels (Welsh for gallery), because each showcases local photography whilst also providing top-notch décor and comfort. With their headboards in contemporary black and white Welsh wool fabrics woven at Melin Tregwynt mill, and bathrooms boxed inside black-painted timber, they follow the monochrome theme that runs throughout the hotel.
Splashes of colour are provided by the daffodil-yellow metro tiles in the bathrooms and some of the artwork, which is all for sale. All rooms have goosedown duvets, Egyptian cotton bedlinen, swanky coffee-making machines, 32” flat-screen TVs, iPod dock clocks, and gorgeous local eco-friendly toiletries made by Bathing Beauty in Ruthin (we loved the coriander and lime shower gel).
As the hotel is literally built into the mountainside, rooms vary in size. There’s a cosy, quiet Standard Double at the back; a Superior at the back with a private decked terrace and in-bedroom bath (and just a hop from the hot tub); and 4 Suites at the front, each with their own lounge, in-room roll-top bath and dreamy views of the town and surrounding hills. We stayed in Oriel 2, with animal and human photographic portraits by Welsh photographer Llinos Lanini. But for us the best picture of all was the ruined castle atop Dinas Bran.
Served in the stunning slate-and-cream dining room, breakfast is a highlight here. manorhaus' Full Welsh offering was one of the best we’ve tasted (and we’re fussy), with its local pork and herb sausages and succulent grilled bacon. Cereals were mass-produced though, and whilst the orange juice was freshly squeezed, the cranberry and apple juices were from cartons.
For evening drinks, there's a contemporary bar serving a range of local ales, ciders and Welsh whisky. Its bright modern artworks and orange fabrics stand out against the black paintwork throughout. Floors are covered in the original local tiles, with stairway walls painted in a blue cleverly picked out from the tiles
No other meals are served on site, but being in Llangollen means you’re still spoiled for choice. For gastropub food in a fabulous setting, it’s hard to beat the Corn Mill right on the river Dee in the centre of town. You can watch herons and rapids as you dine on its riverside decking. For quality, Mediterranean-style fare and excellent wines in a bistro-style setting, head for Gales Wine Bar, where you sit on old church pews and choose from a blackboard menu.