The last stop on our Pembrokeshire Coast road trip was the phenomenal Roch Castle which is the sister hotel to Twr y Felin Hotel and Penrhiw Hotel. They are all very different hotels, yet all beautiful. However, Roch Castle was certainly my favourite because of its grandeur and the fact it is an ACTUAL castle. Having spent the day exploring St Davids we then headed to Haverfordwest only a few miles down the road, stopping en route at Newgale Beach. As the sun was shining brightly in the sky it only seemed right to indulge in an ice cream. We then jumped back in the car as I was super excited to spend my birthday evening being the queen of the Roch Castle.
History of Roch Castle
Roch (pronounced Roache) castle was built in the late twelfth century. At the time of its construction, Roch Castle served as one of a group of border strongholds that fortified Anglicised Wales from the independent Welsh to the north, guarding the Flemish settlers who inhabited the surrounding ‘hundred of Rhoos’, and it also served as a lookout for the bay of St Brides to ward of invasions from the sea. Over the years, the castle passed hands numerous times including parliament, gentry and even descendants of the British royal family that was until 2008 when he Griffiths Roch Foundation bought it and undertook a substantial restoration and refurbishment project. The castle was then reopened in 2013 as the luxury 6 bedroom hotel it is today.
First impressions and check in
When driving through a housing estate the last thing you expect to see is a 12th century castle pop into view, yet in Haverfordwest that’s exactly what you get. Roch Castle just appeared before us, we both looked at it and then looked at each other gobsmacked. We couldn’t believe that we were going to spend the evening there, it was like a National Trust property you would visit for the day to have a wander around, not actually get the opportunity to stay in. We drove through the gates and parked up before grabbing our bags and heading up the stairs to the castle’s main entrance. As we walked in we were greeted by the familiar style and decor we had equally loved at Twr y Felin Hotel and Penrhiw Hotel. No suits of armour, creaking floorboards or draughty rooms to be found, instead every inch of this castle has been restored to an amazing luxurious standard proving contemporary and traditional do mix well. Even though Roch Castle is a 5 star property and looks like something from an old British fairytale, it still has a very laid-back vibe to it and although I do not and probably never will live in a castle, makes us feel at home instantly. There isn’t a reception desk at Roch Castle, however we weren’t waiting long before we were checked in, given a quick tour and lead up the staircase to our room – Ap Gruffydd.
The decor of our room matched the decor of the rest of the hotel perfectly – plush furnishings everywhere which made it very inviting indeed. Ap Gruffydd is the most spacious of the six bedrooms in the castle and offers fantastic views over St Brides Bay. With an amazing super king bed, work station and seating area together with complimentary slippers, Sky TV, iPod docking station, digital radio and tea and coffee-making facilities we had everything we needed for a luxurious evening’s stay. The ensuite bathroom had both a shower and a bath meaning I could indulge in a lovely long bubble bath using the complimentary aromatherapy hypoallergenic and natural toiletries, something I rarely get the opportunity to do at home, instead it’s just usually a quick shower in between a million and one other things. With lovely fluffy towels and bathrobes it made the experience all that more relaxing and special.
Public rooms, ramparts and views
Even though our bedroom was amazing and there really was no reason to leave it, we did in order to explore what other areas the castle had to offer. On the first floor of the castle we found the lounge area which was huge, with a massive TV and loads of sofas to relax on. Leading on from the lounge was another room which had floor to ceiling windows all the way around it, which let the beautiful May afternoon sun flood in. Heading through the doors we found ourselves on the castle ramparts, which was the perfect place to hang out on such a glorious day and the panoramic views were beyond picturesque over St Brides Bay and the Preseli Hills. We loved it so much up there we spent ages just standing and staring out over the beautiful scenery trying to take it all in. With so many nooks and crannies to be found around the castle we really took our time walking round finding a little study and plenty of areas which would have been great to have curled up with a good book in along the way. Even though we weren’t the only guests staying in the castle we didn’t see another person which meant it was extremely peaceful.
After a great night’s sleep, we woke quite hungry and eager to try breakfast at Roch Castle. We headed down to the breakfast room and grabbed a table. We were offered tea/coffee and toast straight away and whilst we waited for it to come I went and grabbed a couple of glasses of juice off the breakfast buffet table which included cereals, pastries, yoghurt and fruits. However, we resisted in favour of the cooked breakfast menu. I opted for poached eggs on English muffins which were cooked to perfection I also asked for a sausage on the side. Mr ESLT is way more adventurous than me when it comes to food and opted for the cockles, bacon and laverbread (a Welsh seaweed delicacy) which he absolutely loved. It set us up perfectly for our long journey home.
Other amenities and facilities
It is important to point out that Roch Castle does not have a restaurant on site and there isn’t anywhere nearby you could just nip to for dinner. However Roch Castle offer free transfers to the award-winning Blas Restaurant at their sister hotel Twr y Felin Hotel where we had afternoon tea. Whilst we were there we popped our heads around the door and can confirm it looked very inviting if you were looking for a proper evening meal and not just a bed picnic like we had (don’t judge, it was my birthday – my choice). There also isn’t a manned bar, however there is an honesty bar which was well stocked with wine, beer, soft drinks and nibbles should we have wished to grab something.
We loved our evening at Roch Castle, it truly was an amazing and unique place to spend my birthday. In fact I think it is the perfect place to spend any special occasion including getting married, or if you want a romantic night away with your partner. The castle is beautiful and unlike anywhere I have ever stayed before, it really had that something special. If you are looking for somewhere that offers luxury, comfort, a homely feel and with that added je ne sais quoi then look no further than Roch Castle.
- We were hosted by Roch Castle on B&B basis in exchange for review.