The end of October may not be the time of year that springs to mind when booking a trip to the seaside in Wales, but my brother-in-law was taking part in the Barmouth Beach Race so the family headed over for the weekend
I had booked us a room at Coes Faen on the edge of the Mawddach estuary, and just around the corner from Barmouth itself. We arrived at about 10:00am on Saturday morning and as advised, had called ahead so that the hotel could make sure the access gates were open for us. After a quick chat with a couple of the lovely ladies that worked at the hotel, we had planned on walking down to the seafront but as there aren’t any pavements on the windy road by the hotel, we decided it would be safer to drive down there!
After a lovely few hours at the beach, we drove back to the hotel (which looks deceptively small from the outside!) Having been extensively renovated some years ago, the Victorian lodge has been sympathetically brought back to life by its current owners Richard & Sara Parry-Jones, using both traditional & ultra-modern materials and design. Sustainability is also important, and the use of renewable energy, heat optimisation, rain water capture for toilet flushing, the sourcing of local produce and an emphasis on re-cycling really show the efforts that are being made in favour of the environment
We arrived to the smell of the chef preparing dinner and I can tell you it smelt amazing! We didn’t eat there in the evening as we had a reservation down in Barmouth, but non-residents can book to dine there on a Friday & Saturday night and by the smells coming out of the kitchen, I’d definitely give it a try!
We headed straight to the ‘Cwtch’ (‘hug’ in Welsh) for a G&T, with it’s relaxed seating, honesty bar and log burning stove (which wasn’t lit when we were there, but was instead filled with candles which was lovely)
Upon recommendation from one of the chefs, I tried the award winning Pollination gin which is made at the Dyfi distillery, just a 30 minute drive from Coes Faen – a very lovely gin, full of botanicals
After I’d prized the husband out of his reclining chair in the Cwtch, and keen to check out our room, we finished our drinks and headed upstairs via the impressive light-filled stone lobby and glass staircase – a perfect example of the mix of architectural styles found at Coes Faen
With just 6 individually decorated rooms to choose from, it was ‘Hafan’ that drew me in with the promise of its super king bed and freestanding handcrafted ash bath in the bedroom…
…I mean just look at it! Such a wow-factor when you walk in, the stunning bath resting on its illuminated platform really does feel very special indeed!
The bed was huge but didn’t overpower the spacious room, and the Egyptian cotton sheets were just begging to be climbed into…
There are a lot of techy features built into the rooms, including an integrated sound system, underfloor heating & multi-setting lighting, which could perhaps do with an idiots guide as we found some of it hard to fathom! Thankfully help was on hand and we were soon guided through how everything worked
Luxury textiles throughout the room like the gorgeous thick wool blankets added to the plush feeling of our surroundings, and would be perfect for snuggling up with a good book after a long walk
There’s even a yoga mat should you feel inclined to do some stretching!
In the large shower room behind a glass screen (complete with a privacy switch which turns the glass opaque at the touch of a button) you’ll find a pair of beautiful ash sinks which match the bath, piles of fluffy towels and a selection of toiletries courtesy of Temple Spa – a brand I’d never used before but was I happy to see a really good array of products to give you a proper taste of the brand
A large shower enclosure with rainfall head has been built into the alcove, and a natural slate wall gives the feeling of bringing the outside in
After having a look around the room and giving some appreciative nods, the husband headed back down to the beach for a while which gave me the perfect excuse to run a deep bubble bath (in peace & quiet!)
There’s a TV with waterproof remote right next to the bath so you can watch whilst having a soak – again not the simplest to use but fab once you’ve worked it out!
A perfectly timed knock at the door signalled the arrival of a glass of prosecco that I’d asked the husband to order on his way down – a great advantage of the hotel being small and having only 6 rooms is that nothing takes long to arrive, although the lack of seperate reception can sometimes be a bit awkward if you need to find a member of staff so you’re best to call from your room
At precisely 5pm I got another knock at the door letting me know it was time for my massage. Coes Faen offers spa treatments but as they don’t have a central spa area, all treatments are carried out in-room and need to be booked in advance. One of the other bedrooms was free that day so my treatment had been set up there instead of ours. I padded down to ‘Talerddig’ on the ground floor where my therapist was waiting for me
The massage table was set up in the spacious bedroom, and after a quick consultation and deciding on my choice of Neals Yard massage oil, I embarked on what was the best back, neck, shoulder & head massage of my life! I had booked a Swedish full body massage but having such tickly legs, I requested they be missed out and more time spent getting rid of the knots in my shoulders. I like to feel that a massage has actually done something, and my therapist expertly worked away the tension in my shoulders leaving me feeling brand new!
Blissfully relaxed, I could have happily gone straight to sleep from there (seriously, I think that bed was actually talking to me!) but our dinner reservation was calling so a quick spruce later, I was out the door and jumping in the taxi that the hotel had arranged for me (but not before setting the room lights to night mode & spritzing our pillows with Temple Spa’s dreamy Quietude aromatherapy mist!)
I woke up the next morning just in time to catch a beautiful sunrise across the Mawddach estuary before the cloud came over again. The hotel is linked via an underground tunnel to the hall you can see in the photo below, as it was originallly the service building for the staff of the hall
I then hopped back into the giant cloud of a bed with a cuppa!
The only bad thing was that match of the day managed to follow us there…😂
Breakfast is included in your room rate, and we popped down to the restaurant at about 9am
You can choose from an array of items from the buffet table – their sticky homemade granola is divine and I wish I’d been cheeky enough to ask for some to take home! Fresh berries, jams, nuts, seeds & yoghurt went down a treat with the granola
You are also free to choose a hot dish cooked to order – we both had the full Welsh mountain breakfast which was nice but didn’t quite seem to match the standard of the rest of the hotel – I’d have preferred to see some less-traditional options, but it did set us up for the day
It’s not that unusual to see hotels that accept dogs (they are welcome to stay here in the ground level Talerddig room or in the back stable), but there’s not many places you can take your horse! Coes Faen is able to accomodate your equine friend should you have one (I wish!)
A tunnel runs through the rock to the side of the lobby leading you to the hotel grounds, although we didn’t have time to explore them any further on this trip
After a short wander we (reluctantly!) checked out and made the most of a warm October day by the sea
Coincidentally inbetween making our reservation in September and actually staying at the hotel at the end of October, Coes Faen was awarded an Editor’s Choice Discovery Award by The Good Hotel Guide which I think is well deserved!
We were only staying for one night but I’d love to have had some more time there so that we could really make full use of the amazing room and facilities, and also the surrounding area. They also have some fantastic room & food packages for New Year (Italian feasts anyone?!) which are seriously tempting us!
The staff couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful, which really made our stay that much more special – we wouldn’t hesitate to return, or to recommend a stay at Coes Faen to anyone that’ll listen!
Have you ever visited Barmouth?