Alastair Sawday’s top 10 places to stay in Wales

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel tips & opinions


Alastair Sawday has a knack for picking out stylish, well-run places – the sort the CD Traveller team would choose for a short break ourselves. To give you a flavour, we’ve picked five of our favourites from Sawday’s new book Special Places to Stay Wales.


Anglesey: The Seacroft
Big skies, sandy beaches, wheeling gulls, spectacular sunsets – that’s what you find at the top of the Anglesey. The Seacroft stands just inland, its whitewashed walls sparkling in the sun. It’s a very happy place, a pub to some, a restaurant to others. Outside is a decked terrace; inside, New England interiors give an airy seaside feel. Pretty bedrooms are warm and cosy. Two have decked balconies, all come with excellent bathrooms, crisp linen and smart wooden beds. Spin outside to explore and find the wide sands of Trearddur Bay, the coastal path, boats to hire, even a ferry across to Dublin.

Price £90
Rooms 6: 5 doubles, 1 twin
Meals Lunch&dinner £5-£30
Closed Rarely
Directions A55 north onto Anglesey for Holyhead. Exit at junction 2, B4545 into village. Ravenspoint Road signed right after Spar. On right.

Patrick Flynn
Ravenspoint Road, Trearddur Bay, LL65 2YU
+44 (0) 1407 860348


Cardiff: Jolyon’s Boutique Hotel
Down by the water, the captain’s house stands on the oldest residential street in Cardiff Bay. Bang opposite, is the regenerated quayside. At Jolyon’s, a boutique run in Mediterranean style, you get spotless, light flooded (though not huge) bedrooms with creamy walls and colourful fabrics. Find Moroccan lanterns, the odd armoire, Philippe Starck loos in airy bathrooms – in some you can watch TV while you soak in your Jacuzzi bath. Drop down to the bar for fresh wood-oven baked pizzas. The feel here is that of a Boston coffee shop, so order an espresso, a local beer or a fancy cocktail, then sink into a leather sofa. Live music and tasting evenings.

Price £50-£150
Rooms 8: 6 doubles, 2 twins
Meals Dishes from £2.50. Pizza from £5.50
Closed Never
Directions M4 junc. 29, then A48 (M) for Cardiff. Take exit marked ‘Docks and Bay’. Straight ahead, past Millennium Centre&1st left.

Jolyon Joseph
5 Bute Crescent, Cardiff CF10 5AN
+44 (0) 2920 488775

the towers

Conwy: The Towers
Marvellous to find a house by the beach that sleeps 25! Towers is an ex-harbour master’s house, sporting a gothic style tower with 360 degree views. There are bedrooms galore from four posters to bunks, one with a vivid Lady of Shallot mural, another with a Balinese hessian-clad ceiling. The sitting room, overlooking the car park, is turquoise with a domed ceiling painted with stars; and the kitchen, overlooking the garden (with putting green) guards a large range. There’s a library, a dining room with a vast table, even a private cinema. In short, a comfortable – and unusual – house for a mix of generations.

Price £1,643-£3,419 per week
Rooms House for 20 (25 with annexe): 2 four posters, 5 doubles, 2 twins, 1 bunk room for 2, 1 family room, sofa bed.
Meals Self-catering
Closed Never
Directions Given on booking

Alex Roberts
Llanfairfechon, LL33 ODA
+44 (0) 1766 780043

golden grove

Flintshire: Golden Grove
Huge, Elizabethan and intriguing – Golden Grove was built by Sir Edward Morgan in 1580. The Queen Anne staircase, oak panelling, faded fabrics and fine family pieces are enhanced by jewel-like colour schemes: rose-pink, indigo, aqua. In summer the magnificent dining room is in use; in the winter the sitting room fire counters the draughts. The two Anns are charming and amusing, dinners are delicious and the family foursome tend the garden – beautiful, productive and well-kept. They also find time for a nuttery and a sheep farm as well as their relaxed B&B. Many return to this exceptional place.

Price: £100. Singles £60
Rooms: 3: 2 doubles, 1 twin each with separate bath
Meals: Dinner £28. Pubs within 2 miles
Closed: November-February
Directions: Turn off A55 onto A5151 for Prestatyn. At Texaco before Trelawnyd, right. Branch left immed. Over 1st x-roads; right at T-junc. Gates 170 yds on left.

Ann & Meryn and Ann & Nigel Steele-Mortimer
Llansa, Holywell CH8 9NA
+44 (0) 1745 854452
ynys pandy

Gywnedd: Ynys Pandy
It’s beautifully secluded, here in the hills looking into the Snowdonia range. Kind Tomos and Brenda live in one part of the farmhouse, the rest is yours. Cosily furnished, spotlessly clean, you arrive to a warm log burner and fresh scones. In the sitting room are games and books, in the conservatory, comfy chairs and sunshine, in the kitchen, pretty wooden units and crockery – and a scullery with butler’s sink and room for willies. Bathrooms have fluffy towels, bedrooms are colourful with new pine. Children will love the bunks, the grassy garden, climbing frame and swings. Beaches and castles – and Portmerion, are close.

Price £419-£860 per week. Low season discounts
Rooms House for 8: 2 doubles, 1 twin/double, 1 bunk room for 2
Meals Self-catering
Closed Never
Directions Given on booking.

Tomos & Brenda Jenkins
Golan, Garndolbenmaen LL51 9YU
+44 (0)1766 530256

Log on to CD Traveller tomorrow for five more fabulous places to stay in Wales.

Alastair Sawday’s guide is available to buy online at

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