What do a lighthouse in Newport, a luxury spa hotel in Cardiff and a thatched cottage in Cheshire have in common? They’re all featured in Laterooms 52Sleeps, a free brochure download showcasing luxury places to stay in the UK, one for every week of the year.
I was fortunate enough to try out a few of these unique hotels and B&Bs; here are 3 of my favourites.
West Usk Lighthouse, alongside the River Severn, is only a few minutes away from Newport in South Wales. Built in 1821, Frank Wood and his wife Danielle bought it as a wreck in 1987 and created a haven of peace with great attention to detail and comfort.
With nautically themed rooms, a water bed and four posters plus scrumptious breakfast a stay here is guaranteed comfort. But it’s the lighthouse’s round rooms, the water tub and TARDIS on the roof (a nod to the locations of TV series ‘Dr Who’ filmed in Cardiff) and the ever-changing views across the tidal river that make this a truly unique place to sleep.
After the proverbial ‘hearty breakfast’ Frank suggested I went for a walk along the riverside with his very friendly dog, Sparky. It was delight to amble together along the tussocky embankment watching seabirds wading and swooping across the tidal waters whilst Sparky zigzagged backwards and forwards sniffing out delicious doggy scents and wagging his plumed tail at every walker who passed by.
On the way back we got a good view of the Welsh hills and Newport industrial landscape, a reminder that this area has a rich working heritage. After reluctantly leaving this quirky treasure I drove about 15 minutes’ drive to Tredegar House, owned by the National Trust. It’s a 17th-century Charles II country house mansion and was described as, “The grandest and most exuberant country house” in Monmouthshire.
A total contrast to West Usk Lighthous is the luxurious 5 Star splendour of St David’s Spa Hotel, set on the edge of Cardiff Bay.
Dominating the skyline in white Art Deco-style splendour, it is one of Wales’ top hotels and has all the amenities you’d expect at this standard including an award-winning restaurant, swimming pool, spa plus great views across the harbour. I can highly recommend the Welsh Steak Burger from the bar beside Tempus at Tides Restaurant if you’re looking Nearby are plenty of trendy bars, busy restaurants and outdoor cafes. I enjoyed visiting the glorious Millenium Centre and the tiny, historic Norwegian Church.
A highlight was the boat trip to Cardiff city centre for a bit of retail therapy and wander round the Victorian architectural landscape. As well as the imposing white marble Town Hall, Museum and administrative buildings there’s Cardiff Castle which boasts 2000 years of history and has some wonderfully weird sculptures on the outside walls.
The Wizard’s Thatch, covered in foliage, with pointy eaves and a thatched roof is a fairy tale house in the popular village of Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
Owner Ian Lambert explained that the quirky cottage, his family home, got its name from a local legend about a wizard. Renowned children’s author, Alan Garner, set his books in this magical area. I stayed in the Wizardry Suite which was richly decorated suite with comfortable furnishings, modern technology and lots of unusual knick-knacks. Loved the big four-poster bed. As well as being dog-friendly and popular with families, Wizard’s Thatch is magnet for romantics; lots of marriage proposals and wedding anniversary celebrations.
From there I went for a leisurely walk to ‘The Edge’ which was shrouded in evocative mist and then drive on to Hare Hill which has a tranquil garden which has been beautifully restored with colourful herbaceous borders. There’s also a woodland walk with charming wooden sculptures of hares and a hide to watch the many birds and small animals that live in this secret gem.
For more details of these and other luxury places to stay around the UK click on the Laterooms 52Sleeps Book link at the top of the article. The book is also available free on Kindle and iBooks.