The Welsh Wonder you’ll want to keep all to yourself
Sinking deeper into the bubbling hot tub, I sipped my champagne in the cold October air and gazed at the blanket of stars above. The rustle of autumn leaves and rippling waters of the Mawddach Estuary filled the night air as I topped up my glass and pondered, “how on Earth am I ever going to describe this place?”
You see, dear reader, it is not difficult to fill an article with technical stats. Sure, I could wax on about the state of the art in-room technology, the glass atrium roof that harvests solar energy, the feeling of space and luxury that immerses you the minute you set down your case. I could fill several paragraphs alone with details of the multiple awards Coes Faen has received, including the Cesar Award for Green Hotel of the Year. But it would be wrong for me to define Coes Faen by the countless luxury features, to urge you to visit based on facilities alone. The reason you should visit Coes Faen is beautifully simple: the focus here isn’t what you need, it’s what will make you feel comforted, cosy, cared for. Hygge, in all it’s glory, tucked away in the Welsh hills.
Coes Faen sits perched atop a hill overlooking the silken waters of the Mawddach Estuary and sweeping views of the hills and mountains beyond. Minutes away from the beach and a stones throw from Snowdonia, the property is both convenient enough for the attractions, but far enough to keep you from the noise and crowds of the main tourist traps. I’m telling you this to be informative and helpful but if I’m completely honest, once you arrive at Coes Faen, I doubt you will want to leave.
The Victorian lodge has been carved into 6 rooms, each one abundant with cutting edge technology. Mood lighting, curtains, heat, and music can be adjusted by panels positioned at every conceivably convenient point: at your bedside, next to the marshmallow soft snuggle chair in your lounge area, at the threshold of your private terrace. You can also download your in-room app to play music through the integrated speakers, should you be too blissed out to want to even move an inch.
Whilst unifed in decadence, space, and quality, each room carries its own unique features. Hafan, with western waterside views comes with a sleek wooden bathtub handmade by a boat builder. Talerddig is a dog friendly room with easy access to the Coes Faen stables (horses are just as welcome here as dogs). My room, Talgarreg, comes complete with a deliciously private terrace and bubbling hot tub, the ultimate escape from reality. The variation in feature and form means you could stay here six times and have six completely different experiences. Something which, if I’m quite honest, I will probably end up doing myself.
Down the rabbit hole
Should you be inclined to leave the warm cocoon of your room, you may find you won’t even bother to leave the grounds. Coes Faen is set in 30 acres of magical woodlands, autumnal golds in all their glory. Ancient trees cloak concealed viewing points across the wild estuary. Secret water features bubble amidst copper leaves and fallen foliage, just waiting to be found. Benches (and even a swing) have been thoughtfully placed in the best spots to just sit down, drink in the view, and inhale the clean, coastal air before returning to the solace of your warm, soft suite. As with the interior, great thought has gone into curating the grounds, into creating a space that is wild and free, yet retains that feeling of being cared for, cossetted. The emphasis being on peace and wellbeing rather than fast tourism and Instagram snapshots. A level of care that is rare in this day and age.
Breakfast with a view
Although restaurant service is currently limited due to the COVID pandemic, you can still enjoy a delicious Welsh breakfast in the light and airy eating area on the ground floor. Breakfast times are staggered to avoid cross contamination, and pre-ordering the night before means your stomach won’t be rumbling for too long. The food is hearty, the service impeccable, the quality of the produce evident. With views of the clock tower and estuary beyond, breakfast here is a peaceful joy. With no crowds or battles over a buffet, you can sit back and enjoy the feeling of contentment that is synonymous with a stay at Coes Faen.
A Welsh gem
As hotels go, this has been my most difficult review to date. Not just because the stay was faultless or because I experienced the best nights sleep of 2020. It’s because this hotel invokes a feeling, one of Christmas morning and seaside trips and sleepovers at your grandparents house when you were five years old. A feeling of being cared for, of everything you want or need being there before you even realise you want or need it. The soft blankets on the armchairs, the yoga mat should you crave savasana, the home made shortbread, everything is about making you feel good. Croatians have a term called fjaka, which loosely translates as “relaxing your body and mind and delighting in the feeling of doing nothing”. That’s the closest I can get to describing what you will experience in this exceptional, peaceful Barmouth hideaway. If, like many, you’re in need of a break from 2020, get the fjaka down to Coes Faen at your earliest convenience.
How to book:
Bookings can be made directly via the Coes Faen website. Further images of this beautiful property can also be found on Instagram at @coesfaen.