St. Brides Hotel & Spa in Saudersfoot proves Wales is catching on with hospitality
Wales is self-admittedly not as developed as a global tourist destination compared to Scotland, Ireland and England. It’s a trade many towns and hotels are learning as they go. “Wales is what Scotland and Ireland were twenty years ago,” is a common saying used around here.
Tour operators tell me B&B’s in particular can be hit-and-miss: four and five-star joints are usually top-notch, while others offer little more than a room and tell you where the kitchen is. That’s a far cry from Ireland, where every other house on any road you drive down is a B&B, and most have sterling reputations for their warmth.
Saundersfoot is a small coastal town in the southwest that’s been a big draw to UK tourists for awhile now. But it’s the kind of town anyone in the world can find a soft spot for. The St. Brides Hotel is a trendy hotel/spa/art gallery and one of the finer places I’ve stayed in my worldly travels. It’s got the details nailed down, which is true with any exceptional property. Rooms have a giant balcony with a prime view overlooking the town and beach below. The restaurant and bar, offering similar views, is the kind of place you can catch yourself out all night in.
The spa puts this place over the top. It’s got one of those indoor/outdoor pools with power jets and a little makeshift waterfall you can stick your head under. You’ve also got your choice of a sauna or steam, or some places to simply chill out. If that’s not enough, they have some fine masseuses on staff who help refreshen aching back muscles after several days of walking 18 and 27 holes. They do this thing I haven’t seen anywhere else where they put a heat pad between you and the table, which adds to the comfort and helps prepare muscles (kind of like defrosting frozen chicken). I’m tempted to say it was the best rub down I’ve ever had, considering the success of my round the next day that culminated with an 18th-hole eagle.
One thing I hope Wales doesn’t resort to like Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe is the need for luxury hotels to charge outrageous fees for internet in their rooms. Why is it the more you pay for a hotel, the higher the charge for WiFi or broadband? I’ve paid up to $30 for 24 hours of service in a $250 room. Yet I’ve stayed in $50 B&B’s down the road where it’s free. It doesn’t make sense.
Not the case in Wales, I haven’t paid a dime extra to connect in Celtic Manor, St. Brides or any of the posh spots I’ve stayed. That’s good news because I can check Tim McDonald’s frequent PGA Championship updates.
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B-Tuck? Hello? We thought so.
Anyways, more to come on Wales in feature and review form, I got back last week.
My guys are driving me crazy. We're going, we're not, we're going, we're not. AAARRGGGHHH!! I'm suffering through links withdrawal.