By Jade Braham
The Welsh words ‘Twr y Felin’ literally translate to ‘mill tower’ – and as the name suggests, the hotel’s unique design is because of its former function as a windmill.
These days its part hotel, part art gallery, displaying modern designs and over 150 pieces of specially-commissioned artworks representing Pembrokeshire and the St Davids Peninsula.
Having opened in 2015 as Wales’ first art hotel, Twr y Felin is still one-of-a-kind. Set within private grounds, the bedroom views are enviable with coastal or town vistas. While the hotel’s Blas Restaurant is a feast for the senses, serving local produce carefully sourced from the Pembrokeshire coast and surrounding areas.
Twr y Felin Hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the award-winning Caerfai Bay and Britain’s smallest city, St Davids.
Here’s what happened when we checked in for an art-inspired stay that didn’t disappoint.
At any establishment it’s the staff that makes or breaks your experience – and at Twr y Felin Hotel, they really go the extra mile.
We arrived way before check-in time, but the receptionist greeted us with a welcome smile and kind words. Within seconds she took our luggage, offered us refreshments and promised to call us when the room was available.
True to her word, the phone rang in less than 30 minutes and we were escorted to our room. We found our bags had helpfully already been delivered.
A few minutes later, a knock on our door revealed another staff member with a Coke can to replace the one that had exploded while our luggage was in their care. This was entirely unnecessary, but the kind gesture made us feel right at home and cared for.
STYLE AND INTERIORS
The first thing you’ll see is the lobby where, instead of an intimidating reception desk, there are two small writing desks surrounded by huge paintings. Twr y Felin is an art hotel after all.
This simple design creates an unpretentious atmosphere with an emphasis on guests’ comfort and visual pleasure. Some of the artwork is naturalistic but most are abstract, forcing the viewer to guess at what they are looking at.
The vaulted Oriel Lounge on the way to the bedrooms has a Baby Grand Piano and a distinct gallery-like appearance with a slick grey-and-black palette interspersed with vibrant paintings. Another spot for drinks, aside from the main restaurant, is the Cornel Bar.
The 41 bedrooms continue the gallery-like theme and range from Spacious to Indulgent Suites and Unique Rooms. For something a bit different book the Tyddewi Windmill Tower Suite which has 360-degree views of the St Davids peninsula from its own private observatory. Fully accessible rooms are available on the ground floor.
We stayed on the first floor in the largest of the Unique Rooms, and the layout immediately made us feel as if we were staying in an apartment.
An oversized door led to an entranceway with cupboards and tea and coffee making facilities. Next to this was a spacious bathroom made of limestone, featuring a bathtub, separate shower and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries. The sliding wooden doors allowed the bathroom to feel a part of the bedroom, and yet completely separate if you wanted. This made the entire area even more spacious.
The bedroom itself had a minimalistic but comfy vibe with black and grey headboards, suede sofas, inviting armchairs and coffee tables. The Smart TV is cleverly built into the wall and doubled as an internet hotspot. While the balcony windows opened with a push of a button. It all felt very high-tech.
Some of the rooms at Twr y Felin come with outdoor terraces which you can request when you book, subject to availability.
FOOD AND DRINK
‘Blas’ means ‘taste’ in Welsh, so it’s fitting it’s the name given to the Three AA Rosette winning restaurant at Twr y Felin Hotel.
The upmarket food is creative here and although big on taste, it’s meant to look like ‘art on a plate’. Expect more art on the walls with paintings of local landscapes alongside portraits of Welsh legends like Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Burton.
As the emphasis is on Welsh and local produce, starters include Solva Crab (£14) with radish, sea lettuce and dill. Star main dishes are the Braised Beef Cheek (£27) with turnip, onion and wild garlic – and, of course, Welsh Lamb (£28) with beetroot, goats’ cheese and wild garlic. For dessert, we opted for the Chocolate with salted caramel, peanut and goat milk ice cream (£12). Turophiles should order the Five Welsh Cheeses (£14).
The kitchen is more than happy to try and cater for allergies where possible. They even have a separate vegan menu.
An art-inspired Afternoon Tea or Welsh Cream Tea is available from 3pm to 5pm daily, starting from just £15pp.
Breakfast is also served in the Blas Restaurant and was just as delicious as the evening meal. There was a Continental buffet of granola, fruit salad, mixed berry compote and freshly-baked pastries. After devouring these, we opted for the toasted bloomer bread with poached eggs and grilled tomatoes. You can also order a full Welsh breakfast or vegetarian breakfast.
The hotel offers complimentary art tours for guests wanting to know more about the unique interiors. This is a nice addition to book alongside an afternoon tea.
Although there is no spa at the hotel, treatments can be arranged at the hotel’s sister property, Penrhiw Priory, which is close by.
Choose from therapeutic or aromatherapy massages. The hotels also offers yoga, reiki or Qi Gong experiences should guests wish to book them. The latter is designed to balance the yin and the yang of the body.
With its artistic design, award-winning restaurant, exceptional staff and prime location on the Pembrokeshire coast, Twr y Felin Hotel is the perfect choice for travellers looking to be immersed in the Welsh countryside and culture.
Rooms start from £250 a night
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