“Stylish rooms with restaurant and art gallery in Ruthin, gateway to North Wales and a centre for contemporary arts”
The 8 rooms, known as Oriels (Welsh for gallery), are designed to showcase a different local artist. Chris and Gavin are hot on detail and the guest service manual is encyclopedic, even explaining how to wind up the alarm clock! There are comfy kingsize beds, goose down bedding and Egyptian cotton linen, plus flat screen TVs with CD/DVD players and free WiFi. Look out for some design classics, such as a Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair in the Junior Suite.
Bathrooms are full of mod cons, from power showers and fast fill baths to slow-close loo seats and demisting pads on the mirrors. We loved the generous supplies of gorgeous 'We live like this' Macadamia and Ginseng toiletries.
We enjoyed Oriel 4, a pink and green colourfest with an oversized purple chair, which provides the perfect backdrop to artist Ann Bridges' colourful work, such as the ‘Princess and the Pea’. The biggest room is Oriel 5, a Junior Suite displaying the moody work of landscape artist Ian Williams. It has an ensuite wet room and a roll-top bath in the bedroom.
Classical piano music greets you at ‘The Breakfast Table’, which offers fresh fruits, bio yoghurt drinks, juices, Dorset cereals and homemade jams. Or tuck into a choice of full Welsh breakfast, eggs benedict, bagels, organic porridge oats or the lighter natural yoghurt/berries/honey combo. Caffeine hits can come in the guise of lattes, cappuccinos or espressos, or for a gentler awakening there is an impressive selection of teas.
The restaurant has a great reputation and chef Gavin Porter makes modern dishes with as many local ingredients as possible. Start with grilled Bury black pudding or venison terrine and move on to salt marsh lamb from St Asaph, Welsh black beef, or sherry and wine braised rabbit. If you have room, puddings are hearty - for instance, roast apple cobbler, hot fruit compote or dark Belgian chocolate torte. The cheese platter is well worth a try, offering tasty nibbles such as Red Devil (Red Leicester with chili) or Black Bomber (a mature Welsh Cheddar), all supplied by the Snowdonia Cheese Company.
You can prebook half-board or decide on arrival, but either way dinner is very reasonable (see Rates); and the wine list is varied, with a wide choice by the glass and a cheaper house selection.
During our stay the cinnamon dining room walls were adorned with a ‘Symphony of Sunflowers’, a series of bright and beautiful floral paintings.
Only children over the age of 12 are accepted. Oriels 7 and 8 can be set up with an extra bed for a small charge and teenagers may stay alone in Oriel 7 (a twin) as long as their parents are occupying the adjacent Oriel 8. The library is stocked with DVDs and a Wii to keep them amused.
Teens (over 12)
Extra Beds Available