Places to Stay

Hurst House on the Marsh

East Marsh, Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA33 4RS, | United Kingdom   star star star

From £175 per room per night

Hurst House on the Marsh - Bed
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The windswept marshes of Carmarthen Bay aren’t necessarily the first place you’d expect to find a boutique hotel – let only one as extravagantly styled at Hurst House on the Marsh. But contained within a Grade II-listed former dairy farm is a beautiful hotel which, like its owner/manager (media mogul Matt Roberts), is quirky and more than just a touch theatrical. 

There are 17 rooms at Hurst House on the Marsh – four in the main farmhouse building and the remainder in the adjoining stable blocks and outhouses. Lavish boho chic is the feel, whether in the sultry, boudoir-like Penthouse Suite up in the eaves of the house, the sleek Mezzanine Suites or the very femme-friendly bright fuschia-hued Room 107. Style aside, though, they’re also packed with lots of techno touches as well as roll-top baths and Ren toiletries in the bathrooms, and are perfect for holing up in on wintry weekends away.

In addition to the lovely rooms, there’s an excellent restaurant, a couple of sitting areas where leather sofas huddle round chess boards and a wood burning stove and a small, but perfectly ample, spa. But perhaps the strongest suit of all at Hurst House is the surrounding landscape. Laugharne is Dylan Thomas country, and the coastline that stretches away from it is one of the most beautiful in the UK. After an afternoon’s walking along the sands and being buffeted by the wind, the prospect of returning to a drink in front of the fire or a treatment in the spa is almost too cosily inviting for words.

What’s hot?

- The chic interiors

- The charming owner/manager, Matt

- The vegetables grown in the walled kitchen garden

- Cocktails out on the terrace in summer

- The surrounding countryside

What’s not?

- It’s a little on the remote side, and can be hard to find (negatives which also have their obvious positive flipsides...)

- The theatrical interiors may be a little OTT for some

Need to Know: Hurst House on the Marsh

Number of rooms: 17 

Check-in/check-out times: 3pm and 11am 

Room service: Yes 

Swimming pool: Yes. There’s a small pool and a hot tub 

Spa: Yes. Small but a nice, indulgent bonus all the same

Dogs welcome: Yes. Dogs are allowed in the Long Barn suites – though at a charge 

Eating & drinking: The restaurant is housed within a light-filled conservatory. Expect lots of locally sourced produce – from local beef to garden-grown veg. There are plenty of comfy armchairs to settle in with a decent glass of wine or a cocktail. 

Near to? Lots of gorgeous coastline and sleepy villages – and not a great deal else. Hurst House on the Marsh is situated between Laugharne and Pendine, on the Carmarthenshire coast. The Dylan Thomas Boathouse is about a two-hour (there and back) walk, while there’s any number of other lovely routes to be had, such as the five-mile route to/from Amroth to Pendine. 

Getting there: A car is advised, as the hotel is around 30 minutes’ drive from Carmarthen train station; Swansea is about an hour, Cardiff an hour and a half, and London a four and a half hour drive away.

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The ELLE Edit

Best room: The Cottage – separate from the main house and with its own wood-burning stove, it’s perfect for a romantic weekend away 

Best dish: Either the Welsh beef or the salt marsh lamb 

Fashion/design credentials: Hurst House on the Marsh was designed by Juliet de Valero Wills (wife of Billy Bragg). The look is pure 'baroque and roll' - a blend of original features like heavy wooden beams and exposed stonework with plenty of quirky touches like cow hide-clad furniture, Louis XV-style chests of drawers and Perspex chandeliers and giant Anglepoise lamps. 

Who stays here? The hotel has had a chequered, and celebrity-studded, history. It was once part-owned by Neil Morrissey, but after a brief brush with the administrators at the end of 2010, they parted company. The Fun Lovin’ Criminals have staged a gig here, and Patti Smith and Will Self have also both performed at one time or another.


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