Short break - Coes Faen Spa Lodge B&B, Abermaw, Gwynedd
- Credit: not Archant
Diane Cooke, who once said she didn’t care for spas, loved the luxurious pampering at Coes Faen
The last time I stayed in a hotel in North Wales I was surrounded by middle-aged Madonnas in boob tubes and net tutus at an 80s revival night.
But this time was a much classier affair. The Coes Faen Spa Lodge B&B, facing the Mawddach estuary, with its chic light and glass decor, was comparable, if not superior, to accommodation you would expect on the Italian Riviera.
The Victorian lodge was lovingly converted, with no expense spared, by Sara and Richard Parry-Jones, who live in the listed ClockHouse opposite the old coach house. Sara is a former editor of the local Cambrian News and Richard is well-known in the automotive industry as a design engineer. His attention to detail is very much in evidence at the spa which houses six guest rooms, all elegantly dressed with state-of-the-art bathrooms - ours had its own sauna.
Now, I’m not a fan of spas, but the sight of the hot tub on our private patio, put me in a very favourable frame of mind. The prosecco on ice was a game changer. Now that’s what I call relaxation.
Another plus was the visiting holistic therapist who brought her own table to our room for a fabulous reflexology session. There was no hanging around in bathrobes. The lovely Carol Griffiths, pinpointed all my problem areas - stomach, back of the neck, lymphatic system - and left me to sleep in my own bed. Bliss!
But Coes Faen isn’t just about people. You can bring your pets along too. Dogs are welcomed in a ground floor room with outside access. Horses – Sara’s a keen rider and owns four - are very much part of the experience and there are stables, paddocks, mountain pathways and, of course, miles of beach for riding.
Which brings me on to Harry Gallop, Coes Faen’s chef. At just 20, Harry is tipped for the top. His bosses sent him to Italy to hone his skills and it shows. His locally-caught tender baby squid and Carre di Agnello – roasted rack of spring lamb from Bala, served pink on a pea and leek puree with locally foraged wild garlic leaves – was superb. Front-of house, fine artist Helen Anslow deserves a mention for treating guests like royalty and for always smiling.
Coes Faen is a different experience altogether. From its stunning Victorian gardens and romantic mountain pathways to its in-room spa experiences, it’s a pamper retreat with a lot more besides.
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Coes Faen Spa Lodge B&B, Abermaw, Gwynedd,
LL42 1TE. Tel: 01341 281632. www.coesfaen.co.uk