Bodysgallen Hall: Manor house idyll on the edge of Snowdonia
Set in 200 acres of parkland, this 17th-century hall has been sympathetically restored to provide every comfort
Many stately homes are hastily converted into hotels with little regard for their original character but Historic House Hotels has done the opposite. Run by the National Trust, the company has turned three historic country houses into magnificent hotels without sacrificing any of their original splendour.
Guests can sip an expertly blended cocktail in the hall's oak-paneled drawing room, leaf through a book in the library or simply explore. You may be in a National Trust property, but for the duration of your stay you can make yourself totally at home.
One of three estates that make up the Historic House Hotels group, along with Hartwell House in Aylesbury and Middlethorpe Hall in York, Bodysgallen Hall boasts an exceptional position.
Perched on the edge of Snowdonia National Park amid 200 acres of award-winning gardens and sheep pastures, the 17th century manor is an ideal retreat for nature lovers.
Each of the 15 bedrooms in the main house (there are also 16 cottages on the grounds) has been sympathetically restored. The rooms have retained much of their original character with low ceilings, antique furnishings and stained glass window panels.
One addition that would have been mystifying to the hall's 17th century occupants is the fitness centre and spa. This includes a decent-sized swimming pool as well as a sauna, steam pool and Jacuzzi. A range of treatments is available to guests.
The hotel's restaurant offers stunning uninterrupted views of the mountains to the south-west. The hills look wonderfully inviting over breakfast on a sunny morning, but take on a more atmospheric, rugged tone at dinner time.
Unsurprisingly, Welsh lamb is a staple of the restaurant's evening menu, which is updated daily. Other offerings include rabbit ravioli and a delicate fillet of sea bass. Our meal ended on a high thanks to a truly exceptional rum and banana dessert and a generous selection of cheeses.
Bodysgallen Hall sits between the medieval fortress town of Conwy and Llandudno, one of Britain's quintessential seaside towns.
From the hotel, Conwy is a few miles away by car. There, visitors can stroll along the town's historic walls and explore its 13th century castle, a Unesco world heritage site considered to be one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe.
Wales is home to the highest concentration of castles in Europe. The castles of Beaumaris and Harlech, which are also Unesco world heritage sites, are within easy driving distance.
A five-minute drive in the other direction takes you to Llandudno with its Victorian promenade, sandy beach and spectacular natural headland, the Great Orme. A funicular tram and cable car from the town will take you to the peak. From there a short walk brings you to the ancient St Tudno's church, a site for Christian worship since the 6th century.
Further afield, a half-hour's drive along the river Conwy will bring you to the picturesque Snowdonia village of Betws y Coed – and all the adventures of the mountains, valleys and lakes beyond.