Time of year: Late May, 2017.
Purpose of trip: This was the second part of a two night ‘mystery road trip’ organised by Nigel. I had no idea where we were heading–and about 30 minutes to pack before Nigel started the car. The only advice was to ‘bring a swimming costume…’ !
Why we chose this place: Nigel had planned for us to spend the first part of our trip in Cardiff–a place he lived during his university days. That involved a fair amount of walking, along with the hustle and bustle you expect from a bright and busy city. River Mansion Spa was designed to be the complete opposite: a luxurious countryside retreat with sauna, steam room and hot tub, around 15 minutes’ drive from the coast.
How long we stayed: One night.
Our accommodation: We stayed in Drivers Cottage (Bwthyn y Gyrrwrr), the larger of two holiday cottages on site. This has a living/dining room warmed by a wood burning stove (which was a welcoming treat on a cool May day). The mini kitchen section of the room does not have a cooker, but is fitted with a fridge, sink and draining board and cupboards with a plentiful supply of food, drinks, crockery, glassware and cutlery. There is a door from the living room out to a covered, private barbecue/seating area. Also downstairs, just off the entrance hall, is a luxuriously appointed shower-room with fluffy towels and complimentary toiletries. There’s a narrow, carpeted staircase up to a prettily decorated, beamed attic bedroom whose bed, quilt and pillows were gloriously comfy. A Velux style rooflight window and the sound of the dawn chorus almost gives you a sense of being up in the trees. The room has a hanging stand for clothes and a small shelf, mirror, stool and hairdryer, and a lovely chaise longue.
Guests here have access to a well equipped and sparklingly clean sauna/steam room. Next door to this, all in a cleverly converted former stable block, is a treatment room: pristine and professional but comfortable. Guests can pre-book a range of treatments: from massages to manicures. A few steps away in a beautiful garden is an attractive, covered decked area with comfortable outdoor seating and throws for chillier evenings, and a great hot tub for relaxing. We had this to ourselves on the night we stayed, but it’s a facility that guests here can share.
Service: Debbie was a generous and attentive host. Her tour of the cottage and the spa facilities on arrival was warm and welcoming, and she and Colin had provided everything guests could wish for, in a beautifully peaceful setting.
Location: Llandysul, Camarthen, West Wales.
Food: Although there are no cooking facilities in the cottages, our hosts had left us a generous supply of cold drinks, fresh fruit, yoghurts and cereals for our breakfast–along with an offer to provide us with a cooked breakfast, if we’d preferred. There was also a great range of locally produced Bara Brith,Welsh cakes and waffle biscuits. (And a lovely welcome bottle of Prosecco, too.) There are several pubs for lunch and dinner within a few miles of River Mansion spa, and a well stocked supermarket a couple of miles down the road, too.
What we paid: £85 for one night.
Activities close by: River Mansion Spa is in the small community of Llandysul, in the valley of the River Teifi with its fishing and canoeing. It’s popular with walkers, too, and close to Newcastle Emlyn, with its castle ruins. The coast is about 15 minutes’ drive away. It’s quiet, and perfect for a relaxing break.
What empty nesters might really like about this place: The hosts have focused on making their guests as comfortable as possible, and the spa facilities are a lovely, pampering extra feature. Debbie and Colin’s home is just steps away, and they are on hand to answer any questions about the property itself or things to do locally–if you can drag yourself away. River Mansion Spa is a perfect place to relax and recharge your batteries.
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: Some traditional ‘self-catering’ cottages provide cooking facilities as standard, so you might miss the opportunity to rustle up a hot meal inside the cottage if this is what you are used to. But there is a private barbecue in your own little patio area outside if you want to stay close to home–and we found the food provided for breakfast and snacks delicious and generous.