Deanna Thomas takes the family to Macdonald Plas Talgarth Resort on a VERY rainy weekend
A wet weekend in Wales might be a bit of a cliché. But when you choose to go there for a family trip over the wettest weekend Wales has had for forty years, it becomes reality. In early autumn, Storm Callum relentlessly battered its way through mid-Wales, resulting in torrential wind and rain. Rivers burst their banks and fields flooded, as landslides threatened to close the roads and sheep stoically did their best to stay upright.
One hit the jackpot when opening a door off one of the bathrooms to discover a full-size Finnish sauna
This sudden squall scuppered my plans to get a bit of fresh air and exercise into our device-dependent children, with a ‘light stroll’ 893 metres up Cadair Idris in Snowdonia. Instead, we thought it might be best to stay close to our ‘home’ for the weekend - the Macdonald Plas Talgarth Resort, perfectly located at the southern tip of Snowdonia National Park, and only fifteen minutes drive away from the pretty coastal village of Aberdyfi.
The lashing, relentless rain also prevented us from exploring the coastal path to miles of sandy beaches that line the area – although we did get out of the car at one point to inhale the ozone, watch the crashing waves and feel the wind blow the cobwebs from our souls – because everyone knows how much that improves the taste of a subsequent hot chocolate, or a nice cup of tea and a Welsh cake. In the end, we were ‘forced’ to cosy down for the weekend – but is there a better way to really test a resort’s facilities?
Although Plas Talgarth is owned and run by Macdonald Hotels, it is not actually a hotel, but a self-catering resort. Guests can choose from accommodation within the mansion, as well as lodges, villas and bungalows for between two and eight people, laid out around a range of onsite facilities; a restaurant, bar, and a spa with a gym, beauty salon and a 12m indoor pool with steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. Additional leisure facilities within the grounds include a children’s play area, an outside pool, giant outdoor chess board, an onsite pitch and putt, tennis courts and a basket ball court, plus two full size snooker tables, a dart board and table tennis. There are also a couple of decent pub restaurants not far from the bottom of the driveway. So as it turns out, you don’t have to hike up a mountain to stay reasonably active during your stay.
Plas Talgarth resort is situated just outside the historic market town of Machynllech – which also just happens to have its own Michelin starred restaurant, Ynyshir, if a gastronomic weekend is more your scene. Guests turn from the road into a sweeping driveway within the grounds of an 18th century mansion house. It’s only fair to point out that the self catering lodges weren’t necessarily built for beauty themselves, but rather to take advantage of the beauty they overlook, with stunning views over the Welsh mountains.
Each one, two, or three bed apartment has its own dedicated parking space, making it easy to traipse wet coats and muddy walking boots (or even a dog) between car and room. We were lucky enough to be offered an apartment which could have accommodated a party of eight. Inside, it was comfortably kitted out to the standard you’d expect from Macdonald Hotels with the advantage of a huge sitting room and an enormous television, leather sofas and a large dining table with white fluffy towels and Elemis products in each of the bathrooms.
Children often get ridiculously enthusiastic about exploring new guest accommodation; flinging doors open and exclaiming, ‘ooh, an ironing board’ and ‘look, a vacuum cleaner!’ at things they never give a second glance to at home. One hit the jackpot when opening a door off one of the bathrooms to discover a full-size Finnish sauna (except she was too young to experience the benefits).
The well-equipped kitchen was stocked with plenty of cutlery, crockery and glassware along with an oven, fridge freezer, microwave and dishwasher, making it a real home from home – better in our case as we still wash our pots by hand. A welcome pack of teabags, coffee sachets, and sugar are included, but it’s up to you to bring anything else you might need. There’s no onsite shop, but nearby Machynllech has a well stocked SPAR, for the basics.
So if you were looking for a mid-way meeting point for family and friends travelling from various parts of the UK, or a get-together in Mid-Wales, Plas Talgarth would be absolutely perfect. You have the relative freedom of a self-catering apartment with all the home comforts, and the added facilities you’d expect from a Macdonald Hotel, in gorgeous surroundings between coast and mountain. As it turned out, the weather didn’t make that much of a difference.
Macdonald Plas Talgarth resort, Pennal, Machynlleth, Snowdonia National Park, SY20 9JY. Tel: 0344 879 9100
Winter Warmer breaks with Macdonald Resorts are available from 02 November until 04 April from only £53 per apartment per night in the UK and Spain, find out more at: