Having never visited the west coast of Wales we were excited for our trip to see what the Pembrokeshire Coast had to offer. Following our delicious afternoon tea at Twr y Felin Hotel we headed to one of its sister hotels, Penrhiw Hotel for an overnight stay. The sun was shining as we headed through the tiny, yet extremely charming city of St Davids and up to the gated elegant former 19th century stone built priory property.
History of Penrhiw
Penrhiw priory was originally built in 1884 by the Church of Wales as a vicarage. Penrhiw is a fine example of high Victorian architecture, built in Tudorbethan style with pitch pine interior woodwork and two fireplaces with decorative tiles. During the 20th century, Penrhiw ceased to be a vicarage and had many other uses, including a guest house, a priory and a retreat before a renovation project started in 2009 and Penrhiw was opened as it is now in 2012. It offers eight en-suite bedrooms which are a haven of peace, serenity and comfort and in my opinion, perfect for relaxing and romantic countryside getaways.
First impression and check in
Our first impression of Penrhiw was wow, I know everything looks better when the sun is shining but I think this hotel would struggle to look not look amazing even on the darkest of days. With plenty of parking spaces, we pulled up and took our bags from the car. As we entered the lovely, yet modest front door we were greeted with the luxurious and very welcoming decor. Even though there isn’t a reception desk at Penrhiw we didn’t have to wait long before someone came to check us in. We were quickly made to feel at home and shown around the property including the spacious lounge where we could relax on one of the many sofas, the study where we could work in peace if we needed and the drawing room where breakfast would be served the next morning before being led up the stairs and to our room – Garden.
The Garden room was located on the first floor and offered amazing views over the very impressive gardens through a large bay window to the front and a smaller side window. Both windows let in a lot of light and made the room feel bright and airy. The room was extremely spacious with plenty of room and decorated to the same high and luxurious standard as the rest of the property. It also had the most fantastic and comfortable super king 4 poster bed, workstation and seating area together with complimentary bathrobes, slippers, Sky TV, iPod docking station, digital radio and tea and coffee-making facilities – basically everything we needed to make us feel at home for the duration of our stay. The room, of course, had an en-suite bathroom which was equally as modern and spacious as the bedroom itself, complete with complimentary towels and aromatherapy toiletries, which smelt divine.
The grounds and private gardens at Penrhiw are absolutely stunning, ever so peaceful and were in full bloom when we visited in May. We spent a good while wandering around and even though the hotel had other guests we did not see anyone, it really felt like we had the place to ourselves. With tables and chairs and even sun loungers available at the back of the property, it was the perfect place to chill out and relax in the late afternoon sun after trekking the woodland paths and neighbouring meadows.
Living in a town centre means the sound of traffic and passing people is always in the background. While you try to zone it out as white noise, it’s not until you are away from it that you actually realise how loud it is. Because of Penrhiw’s rural setting, the only noise we heard all night was the early morning birdsong which was an added relaxation factor. So after a great and peaceful night’s sleep, we headed down to the drawing-room which had been converted into the breakfast room. We grabbed a table and were offered tea/coffee/juice and toast straight away and invited to help ourselves to the buffet table which was bursting with cereals, pastries, yoghurt and fruits and to peruse the breakfast menu. As it was my birthday I opted for the decadent pancakes with fresh berries and clotted cream, whereas Mr ESLT chose the full cooked breakfast which included the Welsh seaweed delicacy, laverbread. Mr ESLT assured me it tasted nice but I still couldn’t bring myself to try it (sorry!). After a leisurely, delicious and filling breakfast we were certainly set up to head out and explore the local area.
It’s important to point out that Penrhiw is not a typical hotel, there isn’t a gym or spa or even bar or restaurant. It is simply a beautiful house where you are left to your own devices really. Of course, someone is at the end of the telephone if you need them but there isn’t any overnight staff at the property. With regards to the lack of restaurant, it’s not too much of a problem if you want a proper meal as Penrhiw offer free transfers to the award-winning Blas Restaurant at their sister hotel Twr y Felin Hotel and even though we didn’t eat there, we did stick our heads in and I can confirm it looked beautiful. Again no bar could be an issue for some people, but not for us, as there was an honesty bar stocked with wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks if we had wanted a drink or got peckish.
Things to do/see in the local area
With St Davids on the doorstep, we left the car at Penrhiw and walked into town which, only took 10 or so minutes, with lots of lovely little art galleries and shops it was a very pleasant place to spend a few hours. We spent most of our time, however, wandering around St Davids Bishops Palace, which is a ruined medieval palace dating back to the 6th century and the stunning St Davids Cathedral. It really was a great birthday especially as the sun was shining brightly, which in May, in Wales can be a rare thing.
We loved our stay at Penrhiw, it was so chilled out it was unreal. From the second we arrived to the second we left we felt at home, Mr ESLT even stated he wished it was our home. I loved that we were just left to do what we want and explore the property, grounds and area to our heart’s content yet knowing if we needed anything we could just ask. It was the also the perfect place to wake up on my birthday. I would highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for somewhere where you can get away from it all and really relax in beautiful surroundings.
- We were hosted by Penrhiw Hotel on B&B basis in exchange for review.