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We love a proper bolt hole. A path less trodden is always nearby in unspoilt Mid Wales, and especially in the tranquil Elan Valley. Seventy-two square miles of protected valleys and lakes, dark starry skies, teaming with wildlife, whilst, happily, not teaming with tourists. If you must visit the undeniably rugged Pembrokeshire coast, it is within easy reach, but it’s hard to drag yourself away and leave the calming embrace of this undiscovered and beautiful heart of Wales.

The Elan Valley Hotel personifies that hard-to-find mix of stylish comfort without stuffiness, one of the new breed of cool Welsh hotels. It rings with laughter and warmth, not surprising when you meet your effervescent hosts, Lyn and Rachel Morgan. The careful restoration of their nine-bedroom boutique hotel blends a relocation of their designer hand-made furnishings showroom from South Wales, with breathing new life into a grand old house. As a result, you are guaranteed that there will always be a choice of comfortable sofas to flop into close by.

The interior is contemporary, soft, uncluttered and on-trend with a clear eye for design detail. The rooms are generous, with more of those comfortable armchairs, and some have indulgent super-king beds. Claerwen, on the ground floor, with its own private entrance and a full kitchen, offers a little additional self-catering privacy.
Elan Valley Hotel is an adult only retreat, so the jolly resident’s bar is a bustling place. Rachel’s breakfast is the stuff of legends, but a comforting home-cooked supper is what is needed after a breath-taking day.

The valley is a designated International Dark Sky Park, with any light pollution carefully controlled. We loved stepping out after dark on a clear night, and just looking up. Space, and outer space, in equal measure. Cyclists and anglers are well catered for here. The series of dams form four fly-fishing bucket list lakes, and National Cycle Route 81 winds its way through the Cambrian Mountains and even over the rushing water topping the dams.

You won’t regret taking the road less travelled. Trust us.

Great Little Rarebits

Great Little Places enjoys a reputation in Britain and worldwide as the collection of small and friendly places to stay in Wales. Small is beautiful – but such places, unlike the best hotels (which are listed in almost every guidebook), are much more difficult to find. Locating small establishments that really stand out from the huge choice is much more of a challenge – but that's what we're all about.
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