A weekend at Nanteos Mansion, Aberystwyth

The double bed in the Nightingale Suite at Nanteos Mansion

AD – This stay was gifted in return for a review.

The exterior of Nanteos Mansion near Aberystwyth
Slate sign reading 'Nightingsale Suite' on the door of the room at Nanteos Mansion

Wales has a lot of fond memories for me. We used to go to North Wales on holiday a lot when I was younger, visiting pretty coastal towns like Aberdyfi, Barmouth and Twywn and staying in little cottages. The Welsh countryside really is like nothing else and it’s very easy to fall in love. When I was invited to stay at Nanteos Mansion, just outside of Aberystwyth, I couldn’t wait to get a weekend in Wales in the diary. Dan hadn’t really visited Wales before, so it meant I got to share my love for it with him. Neither of us had visited Aberystwyth before and so I was looking forward to seizing the opportunity to explore somewhere new.

We had a really lovely weekend. Nanteos turned out to be the perfect location for a countryside escape and a great base for exploring Aberystwyth. The weather remained fairly Welsh for the whole weekend – wet, windy and grey, but we didn’t let that dampen our time at all. Here’s my thoughts on our stay at Nanteos Mansion.

The driveway leading up to Nanteos Mansion surrounded by fields

History of Nanteos

Nanteos Mansion is situated about 10 minutes outside Aberystwyth. It is surrounded by hills and beautiful Ceredigion countryside. It really is tucked away! It is steeped in history, which will make your stay here a little more magical. It sits on the site of an earlier manor house called Neuadd Llawdden which still remains in the cellars below the house, with the flooring dating all the way back to the 11th Century. Thomas Powell, an MP for Cardiganshire (now known as Ceredigion) began building Nanteos in 1739 funded by the wealth of his wife. He died before the work was complete, so the estate was left to his brother to complete the work in 1752.

Nanteos Mansion was a family home for the next 180 years until the last surviving Powell, Edward Powell, died in 1930. Margaret, his wife, remained in residence until her death in 1951. Over the next 60 years, the mansion began to fall into disrepair due to lack of investment, but the current owners turned this Grade 1 listed mansion along with its 30 acres of grounds were restored and the Country House Hotel opened in 2012.

The double bed in the Nightingale Suite at Nanteos Mansion
Sophie standing at the window with a cup of coffee overlooking the Welsh hills at Nanteos Mansion

The Nightingale Suite

Now you’ve had a little history lesson, let me show you around our room! We were lucky enough to stay in the King Suite – the Nightingale Suite – at Nanteos. Nanteos means ‘Stream of the Nightingale’, named after the birds which flew around the surrounding valleys. This is the only King Suite at the hotel and it’s a special room indeed. Overlooking the hills and with plenty of room for two, it’s the perfect place to spend a romantic weekend.

Two chairs and a table in the Nightingale suite at Nanteos Mansion
Wooden key tag that says 'Nightingale' on a mirrored dressing table

There is no doubt about it: the Nightingale Suite is very grand. The decor is very decadent and reminiscent of its time with a slightly modern twist. I’ve never been in a hotel room with so many chairs or mirrors! There was also a beautiful glass chandelier that hung from the ceiling. Everything from the duck egg blue throw to the mirrored bedside drawers and dressing table definitely suited the room. It probably wouldn’t be to everyone’s tastes – it was on the verge of mine and Dan’s, but it was very decadent. The room had everything we needed for our stay such as a kettle tea, coffee, bottled water and milk in the fridge. I wished we had a bigger caffetierre though, as both me and Dan enjoy a morning coffee and it was only big enough for one cup!

The huge bathtub in the bathroom of the Nightingale Suite
Temple Spa products in the bathroom at Nanteos Mansion

The bathroom was probably a highlight for me, even though I did find the mint green paint a little clinical and garish. The bath was the main feature of the room, and it also a rain shower. We had a bath on our first night, though the water was a little tepid, but our bath on the last morning was much nicer as it seems we used the water before anyone else! There was a selection of Templespa products to keep you fresh during your stay. Bathrobes were also provided which was a very cosy touch.

The Chandelier in the entrance hall at Nanteos Mansion

Drinks in The Library

Once we had settled in and explored each corner of our room, we headed down to the bar for a drink and a game of Scrabble. ‘The Library’ is a a cosy little room at the side of the house boasting a well-stocked bar, including several Welsh gins which got a big tick in my book. In case you’re wondering, Dan won the game of Scrabble with ‘Quack’ scoring on the double word…

Sophie holding a glass of red wine in the Nightingale Restaurant at Nanteos Mansion

Dinner at The Nightingale Restaurant

We had dinner booked in for Friday night at the Nightingale Restaurant, Nanteos’ grand dining room. It turned out we were the only people dining as the hotel had a quiet night, so we had the whole of the restaurant to ourselves!

To start, we shared Welsh Rarebit, which I am definitely going to have to try to recreate at home. Essentially, Rarebit is creamy, peppery cheese on toast which ticks all the boxes for me. It was served with an onion chutney which was delicious.

Steak and dauphinoise potateos with peppercorn sauce

Dan and I both chose a rib eye steak for our main courses. I had peppercorn sauce, dauphinoise potatoes and stem broccoli. Dan had truffle mash, tomatoes and mushrooms and diana sauce. The steaks were really tender and juicy, cooked medium-rare as we asked for them. I was disappointed that my dauphinoise potatoes weren’t more garlicky – they definitely needed more cream too.

For dessert, I had a chocolate brownie and Dan a sticky toffee pudding. They were tasty, but nothing particularly groundbreaking. I did feel let down by the food – on their website, it is described as ‘fine dining.’ I’ve done fine dining at hotels and various restaurants, and I don’t think I could class it as fine dining. It was probably above the standard of standard hotel restaurants, but I felt like we could have had a more enjoyable meal elsewhere for a similar price. If I came solely for the food, I do feel like I would have left disappointed.

Bowl of granola, honey and fruit

Breakfast in The Mansion Kitchen

Fortunately, breakfast definitely met my expectations. It was served in the Mansion Kitchen, which was the original location of the former kitchen. Complete with the old aga, slate flooring and copper pots and pans hanging on the wall, this definitely felt like you were stepping back in time!

A cold buffet was set out, featuring juices, cereals, fruit salad and pastries. The pain au raisins got a 10/10 from Dan and I!

Eggs royale with a poached egg cut open with a bright orange yolk

You could also order a cooked breakfast from the menu. Like our evening meal, the ingredients had been locally sourced. I had eggs royale on the first morning, which is my favourite breakfast! Runny poached eggs with rich golden yolks atop tick smoked salmon with zesty hollandaise sauce. Definitely a winner in my books and set me up for a walk around the grounds!

A bridge in the Nanteos grounds

Exploring the grounds

Nanteos sits amongst 30 acres of land, so you don’t have to go too far to find yourself in the wilderness. Just along from the hotel, is a small nature reserve called Coed Penglanowen. There’s a beautiful little brook with several bridges and tiny waterfalls. It felt so magical and we ended up staying out for a few hours just exploring. We also stumbled across a little patch of snowdrops that had emerged from the ground.

I think the grounds were probably one of my favourite parts of the hotel. As we were completely surrounded by peaceful countryside, it was so easy to switch off and get lost in the woods.

Exterior of Nanteos Mansion

We did have a truly wonderful weekend at Nanteos Mansion. It provided the perfect base for a countryside escape. It is only 10 minutes from Aberystwyth, where there is plenty to see and eat, and it is also only 20 minutes drive from Devil’s Bridge Falls, a sight well worth seeing if you are down that way.

I would recommend Nanteos if you are looking for a hotel in the Aberystwyth area, especially if you want something a little different and off the beaten track. It’s not to everyone’s taste and I feel that not everyone would view it as a luxury break, but there is no debating that it is in a beautiful location. Nanteos is also fully liscensed for weddings.

Rooms at Nanteos range in price, but there is one to suit every budget. The Nightingale Suite is priced from £300 per night. There are also six suites available from £165 per night, and luxury doubles from £85 per night.

Quote SOPHIEETC to get a complimentary cream tea when staying at Nanteos Mansion until end of March 2019. (Not available on 14th Feb)

To find out more about Nanteos Mansion and book a room, visit www.nanteos.com

DISCLAIMER: Our stay at Nanteos was partially gifted in return for a review. We used it as an excuse to escape our mad daily lives and have a long weekend in Wales, so thanks to Perception PR and Nanteos Mansion for allowing us to have a reduced rate for the second night of our stay. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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