Penally Abbey exudes bonhomie. Many hotels claim it, but few can truly pull it off: you instantly relax and feel at home. New owners Lucas and Melanie Boissevain have brought the lovely late 18th-century Strawberry Gothic House, with characteristic ogee head doors and windows, stunningly back to life; now you enter a spacious hallway with wood-burning stove; there follows a bar that opens on to a pretty conservatory, an elegant yet homely sitting room and a glamorous candlelit dining room set with white-clothed tables. Melanie’s look – she is an interior designer – mixes an appropriately traditional feel with judicious stylish touches, and the 11 bedrooms are equally charming: restful and comfortable spaces, most with sea views, in which it’s a pleasure to while away time. Each one includes a delightful hand-illustrated guide to things to do and see in the area. It sums up the charms of this exceptional hotel where, by the way, the food is very good too. Doubles from £145.
Do: Head across the sand dunes to Tenby South beach, just a ten-minute stroll from the hotel. Pop over for high tide when it’s the best time for a swim.
Eat: Dinner at Penally Abbey is taken seriously, with impressive presentation, clever flavour pairings and a seasonal menu, you will dine well during your stay.
Buy: The hotel sells some lovely local produce from the Coedcanlas farm round the corner. Make sure you don’t leave without picking up some of their delicious maple syrup or honey.
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