It’s fair to say that the beautiful Allt-y-Bela has undergone a transformation or two since it was first built in the middle of the 15th century. A farmhouse surrounded by gorgeous Monmouthshire countryside, these took the form of a series of attempts to outdo all the other properties in the area and make a real statement. It worked. Spectacularly. Particularly in the form of the dramatic three-storey Renaissance tower which takes pride of place at the top of the building.
The interiors, a mixture of exposed wooden beams, leaded casement windows, richly polished floorboards upstairs, cool flagstone floors downstairs and original features throughout, prove to be just as beautiful. Each of the three bedrooms has been decorated with painstaking care and attention and offers plenty of comfort, lots of space and an assortment of well chosen antique pieces – from well-worn mahogany dressers to deep roll-top baths. Roaring open fires in all of the main rooms set the tone for cosy (and wonderfully romantic) evenings of unwinding.
However, if you’ve arrived at Allt-y-Bela, you’ve probably done so with a bit of fresh country air in mind. You’ll be spoilt for choice with wintry walks right on the doorstep, or if you don’t want to venture too far, there’s always the private wooded valley to dawdle in. That’s unless the fireside chairs get the better of you, and you've decided to hole up with your beau with a hot toddy instead...
- The historical premises - a genuine one-off
- The beautiful rural setting
- The huge claw-foot roll-top baths
- The warm welcome
- For die-hard urbanites it may all seem just a little too quiet
Need to Know: Allt-y-Bela
Number of rooms: 3
Check-in/check-out times: With so few rooms, the check-in and check-out times are really flexible
Room service: No
Swimming pool: No
Dogs welcome: Yes
Eating and drinking: There’s no restaurant or bar in Allt-y-Bela itself, although there are plenty of excellent restaurants in the local area. Dinner and other meals - prepared by a personal chef and served at the long wooden dining table - can be arranged with advance notice.
Near to? You’ll probably not want to do a great deal more than spend morning exploring the local countryside before tucking into a pub lunch. That said, adventure-seekers can be catered for in the form of horse riding or gliding in nearby Usk.
Getting there: It’s a 15-minute train ride from Newport station, 30 minutes from Cardiff and Bristol airports and a two and a half hour drive from London.