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Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel, Newcastle Emlyn

(June 01, 2013)

Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel

Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel is a completely refurbished, 300 year-old coaching inn, in the centre of the lovely small market town of Newcastle Emlyn (Castellnewydd Emlyn), Carmarthenshire. The hotel is about 50m from the Teifi, a picturesque river that snakes around the town, defining its boundaries, and that between Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel

The hotel's reception desk carries a small sign saying, "Dechreuwch bob sgwrs yn Gymraeg", an excellent initiative, inviting guests to begin conversations in Welsh. Most of the staff were Welsh speakers and seemed happy to use the language. Being shown to our room by the helpful and very friendly receptionist gave a lovely first impression, which, all in all, made us feel very welcome.

We stayed in a 'basic' double room*, which had a large double bed (made up of two singles), with en-suite bathroom/shower. But to describe it as basic rather does it a disservice, as the quality of the fixtures, fittings and decoration of the room was excellent, and gave good value for money (larger family rooms and suites are also available at the hotel). The whole room was spotlessly clean and included lovely toiletries. Locally-made woollen blankets, to dress the bed, was a nice touch, as were a number of other local artisans' works (such as poetry and art work) being shown/used in the hotel's various reception areas.

Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel

Parking at the hotel is spacious and secure. You drive through the arch alongside the hotel to their secure compound, where you can either park in the open, or under cover. The town's shops begin just a few steps away, so you won't need to use your car during your stay, unless you want to visit some of the beautiful countryside, which is all around. This is the heart of rural Wales, between Cardigan (Aberteifi) (10 miles away) and Lampeter (Llanbedr Pont Steffan) (20 miles), and less than 20 miles from Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin).

Before dinner, we made use of the hotel's spa pool and sauna facilities, which was great fun. We were also shown the small, but perfectly appointed (and equipped), gym; in a building next to the main hotel.

On our first evening we dined at Bwyty'r Bont, the hotel's lovely little restaurant, which is listed as a recommended restaurant in the 2013 Michelin Guide. Bwyty'r Bont is accessed down some steps from the main part of the hotel. Modern and tastefully decorated, the décor and atmosphere were pleasant (another four couples were dining the same evening, leaving perhaps three empty tables) and all the glassware and crockery very clean (as befits its five-star hygiene rating).

Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel
Bwyty'r Bont
, Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel; set for breakfast

To start, my partner had Moules marinières. I had pork belly (as per menu: slow roasted belly pork and noodles with oriental vegetables and crackling). Both were excellent and very generous, my partner commenting that the marinières sauce was probably the best he had in Britain - even surpassing The Plantagenent, Tenby (his all-time favourite moules eatery - influenced, no doubt, by their double-cooked chips). For mains, my partner had vegetable stir-fry (as per menu: Mediterranean vegetable stir-fry in hoisin sauce served with egg noodles) which was acceptable (this was because he had expected it to be served differently rather than a reflection on the quality of the food itself) and he felt that the hoisin sauce was rather over-powering), and I had spring lamb (as per menu: slow roast shoulder of new season lamb with a two rib rack and a redcurrant and mint sauce) which was quite possibly one of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten (and certainly one of the largest)! For desert, we had Joe's chocolate ice cream and rhubarb crème brûlée (the creamy custard was speckled with vanilla seeds - a sign of true quality) with lovely homemade shortbread biscuits, both of which were delicious. Service was attentive and discrete. All this with water and two glasses of wine came to £67.00 (without service which is discretionary), which we agreed, represented excellent value for money.

Breakfast was excellent, with a good selection of cereals, fresh fruit and (very delicious) Llaeth y Llan yoghurts and then an excellent selection of cooked breakfasts, followed by brown or white toast with preserves. Princess Nest comes highly recommended: creamy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on toasted muffins. And my partner highly recommends the veggie breakfast: eggs, mushroom, baked beans, laverbread and cockles.

The following evening, we dined in the lounge bar having enjoyed a hearty lunch at Ludo's, also in Newcastle Emlyn. I had the 6 oz Teifi beef burger and chips (and small side salad) and my partner had haddock goujons. Portions were befitting of a bar menu/light-bites and came piping hot and evidently freshly cooked. Again, service was pleasant and competent and Ben, the barman made an excellent impression. One of the main draws for us in staying at the hotel to dine/drink that evening had been the 'cocktail hour' between 6 pm and 8 pm (on every Saturday night), which is excellent value for money, with cocktails being 2 for £6.50. Especially recommended are the espresso martini and the Rum Alexander.

Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel
Haddock goujons, one of the bar meal options at Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel

Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel


Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel


* Room tariff is £115 per night for a 'basic' double room, bed and breakfast. We stayed on a three night deal: Friday and Saturday night, with Sunday night free – a total cost of £230 for three nights

Claire Meredith, 1 June 2013






Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel
Bridge Street
Newcastle Emlyn
SA38 9DU

01239 710317









Also by Claire Meredith:
Y Talbot, Tregaron; September 2015

Manorhaus, Llangollen; June 2015

Ty Croeso, Crickhowell; December 2014

Ruthin Castle Hotel, Rhuthun; September 2014

The Manor Town House, Fishguard; June 2014
Llandeilo; December 2013
Tenby / Dinbych-y-pysgod; September 2013
The Old Chemist Inn, Saundersfoot
; September 2013

The Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd
; September 2013

Photographic study of Newcastle Emlyn
; June 2013
     Lake Vyrnwy Hotel; December 2012

     The Drawing Room, nr Builth Wells; December 2012
     3 Pen Cei Guest House, Aberaeron; June 2012
     Escape 5* B&B, Llandudno; June 2012
     The Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd; June 2012
     Photographic study of Myddfai; February 2011
     The Crown at Whitebrook; February 2011
     The New White Lion, Llandovery; February 2011
     Ty Mawr Mansion Country House, Cilcennin, Lampeter; December 2009
     George Thomas Hospice 'Style In the City' event; May 2009


All images: © Claire Meredith

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