Bodysgallen Hall was once a grand country manor owned by Richard Mostyn, the High Sheriff of Carnarvonshire, during the reign of Elizabeth I. Since 2008 the house has been owned by the National Trust and functions as a hotel, spa and fine dining restaurant.
Set across 200 acres of its own parkland, the house and grounds are something of an architectural jumble, with several old follies, a walled rose garden and a 13th century central watch tower intended to assist in the defence of the nearby Conwy Castle.
The house itself provides a window into bygone times with its traditional furnishings, grand fireplaces and aristocratic portraits. There are plenty of winding staircases and interesting nooks and crannies to explore. The rooms have all the mod cons you’d expect, but the house has maintained a historic charm that is often lost when country manors are converted into hotels.
Bodysgallen Hall is old fashioned (in a good way) and tends to attract a more mature clientele, who appreciate the calm atmosphere and beautiful gardens. It is also a lovely spot for couples wanting to escape to the country for a little luxury.
There are 15 rooms within the house, four of which are principal suites with views of the gardens and a separate sitting room. If you prefer a more private experience, there are also 16 cottages situated within the grounds that provide self-contained accommodation.
We stayed in one of the 11 main house bedrooms, which are uniquely decorated with patterned wallpaper, original pained windows and paintings of the local landscape. Our twin room was cosy and very comfortable, with welcome touches including a selection of classic books and a tin of crumbly shortbread biscuits. The rooms certainly aren’t “chic”, but they are very fitting for a country house.
All rooms have an en-suite bathroom with lovely Floris products, a large bathtub and powerful shower. Standard amenities include a flat screen satellite TV, radio alarm clock and trouser press. There are no kettles in the room and in the true spirit of a manor house, you can ring down to reception, order your hot brew of choice, and a member of staff will bring it to your door.
The house has a large entrance hall with oak panels and a huge stone fireplace where guests often relax here for a drink and chat. There are also plenty of comfy spots to hide away, including the library. You can order a drink from the bar and while away the hours in complete relaxation without the constraints of technology – guests are asked to refrain from using mobile phones and laptops here.
Outside, the gardens are something of a marvel and a total joy to get lost in. We were lucky enough to enjoy the blooms of early summer, and the garden was alive with the chitter chatter of birds. There’s a rare 17th century parterre (formal garden) of boxed hedges filled with herbs, and a pretty rockery with a cascade. The garden is set on several levels, and provides some truly lovely views of the surrounding landscape. On a clear day you can see both Conwy Castle and Snowdonia National Park.
Bodysgallen Hall also has a luxurious spa that is just a few minutes’ walk from the main building. Facilities include a 50ft swimming pool, steam room, hot tub and sauna. There’s also a small gymnasium with weights and cardio-vascular equipment. There are six spa treatment rooms and an extensive list of treatments on offer, from facials to hot stone massages. I tried the Ultimate Aromatherapy full body massage, which was a godsend after a day of trekking and scrambling.
Food and drink
There is one restaurant at Bodysgallen Hall: the Dining Room, which holds 3AA rosettes. The first floor drawing room also serves afternoon tea every day. For £25 per person, guests can enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, sweet treats and a choice of freshly brewed teas.
The restaurant is an impressive room with large bay windows, a huge stone fireplace and a pair of glittering chandeliers. Head Chef, John Williams, serves up a seasonal menu with a surprisingly modern flair.
We were particularly taken with the duck egg containing a molten yellow core, served with Jersey Royals British asparagus and estate wild garlic cream. My fillet of Welsh lamb was perfectly pink and came with a wonderful smoked onion cream and thyme sauce. Where possible, the chef incorporates fruits and vegetables grown in the garden.
We very much enjoyed our meal, and returned to our rooms full and satisfied. My only niggle was the slightly stuffy atmosphere in the restaurant, with my fellow guests looking rather too dour given the delicious food on offer.
Is WiFi available
Yes, WiFi is available free of charge and it is password protected.
Prices start from £170 per night for a Main Hall Bedroom, £470 per night for a Principal Suite and £175 per night for a Cottage Suite (all including breakfast and early morning tea).
If possible, it is best to bring a car to Bodysgallen Hall (there is ample parking space) as many of the local activities are beyond walking distance. For those seeking cultural enlightenment, there are numerous National Trust properties nearby including Penrhyn Castle, the gardens at Bodnant and Plas Newydd on Anglesey.
For those who are more actively inclined, Snowdonia National Park is a 40-minute drive from Bodsygallen Hall, offering a huge range of trekking, scrambling and rock climbing opportunities. Adrenaline seekers might also like to visit Zip World, which contains the world’s fastest zip line and “Caverns”, an underground caving experience with zip lines, rope bridges, ladders and tunnels.
READ OUR REVIEW: Zip World, Snowdonia National Park, Wales
It takes around five hours to drive from London to Bodysgallen Hall, and just over an hour drive from Liverpool. If you’re getting the train, Llandudno Junction is a just a five-minute taxi to the hotel – it’s best to book your cab in advance as taxis are scarce in this part of Wales.