Lake Country House

When the Hay Festival is on, there’s no chance of finding an available room in Hay-on-Wye. We took this opportunity to stay about 20 minutes away at the Lake Country House in Llangammarch Wells, a luxury boutique hotel in the countryside (thanks, Google search!).

This hotel nicely achieves old-fashioned country charm with modern touches. The building’s details reveal its 1840’s roots – half-timbered façade, many steep staircases and partial-staircases instead of lifts – but there is wifi, heated towel racks, comfortable beds and thick towels. This hunting lodge-turned-resort successfully retains its charm while catering to today’s travelers.

There is a spa, but appointments should be made well in advance. Someone in our party tried to book a massage, but there was almost no availability. I suspect the masseuse keeps very limited hours or only comes in when needed, given the hotel’s size and remote location.

The restaurant emphasizes a Celtic-style menu and uses fresh, local ingredients. We dined there one night (they serve during a 7-9 p.m. window, so we found it easier to dine in Hay-on-Wye) and enjoyed the delicious £39 fixed menu. There were appealing choices for everyone, including seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes.

Breakfast was included in the room rate and that, too, was good. In addition to standard pastries, cereals and fruit, it offered traditional English breakfast, omelettes, salmon and kippers. The kitchen was happy to entertain special requests.

A sparse selection of British newspapers is available. When I checked in, I was told I could receive delivery of any newspaper I wanted. “Okay,” I said, “how about the Herald-Tribune?” Oh. Except that one. That one is not available for weekend delivery. No problem. I happily settled for a more regional paper.

Like most hotels of this kind, there’s limited front desk hours. I left for a run at 6:45 a.m. and was the only one stirring. I had to unlock the front door to let myself out.

Overall, I considered this a great find. If you are looking for peaceful, comfortable accommodations, you will be very happy here.

Three nights ran us £585.

Lake Country House, Llangammarch Wells, Wales, spa, hotel

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