Indulgence, luxury and a little slice of Switzerland, is The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny the ultimate festive getaway in Wales? Let’s find out…
I’ve actually spent my birthday here in the past because I’m really fond of their Afternoon Tea. In fact, The Angel Hotel are very proud of their Tea Guild Award that they won in 2011, think of it like the ‘Oscar’ of the tea world.
I was invited back on a group trip to The Angel Hotel to see what makes this place so special at Christmas, along with my friend and fellow travel blogger Kacie from The Rare Welsh Bit. Firstly, the twinkling tree and live music in the lobby set the tone wonderfully, and just as I settled in to room 29 a knock on the door presented me with mulled wine and mince pies.
The Angel Hotel Rooms
The Angel Hotel rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with a neutral colour scheme. The tea and coffee facility was well stocked and there’s a large flat-screen TV, bedside radio and stack of local guide books on hand too. The bed was very comfortable and extra pillows and bath robes were provided in the wardrobe.
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The Festive Afternoon Tea at The Angel Hotel
We had our Festive Afternoon Tea in the wine cellar, a private room that’s available to hire for parties and functions. I’ve no qualms in saying this is a masterclass in how to interpret and elevate this marvellous tradition. In short, it begins with a tier of savoury bites, sandwiches and patisseries followed by scones and a trifle, all accompanied by their beautiful blends of tea.
For our experience we tried three teas, including the Sri Lankan Rainforest Lumbini and a Darjeeling First Flush from the Himalayas.
The fact it’s all freshly prepared and handmade on site makes it worth the £30 per person, the quality is something you’d expect from a top hotel in central London, not the oh-so modest market town in the Brecon Beacons. That said, the food and drink scene in Abergavenny is rather exciting, each September the largest food festival in Wales takes place here, and just across the road is the Victorian Market chock-full of local produce and crafts.
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The Angel Hotel’s Après Ski Bar
Another festive getaway highlight at The Angel is their Après Ski Bar that transports you to Swiss Alps. The inside bar serves anything from wheat beer to vin brulee, an excellent winter warmer after a day of exploring.
If you’ve ever been to Zurich you’ll probably know cheese fondue is a local speciality, and I love The Angel’s interpretation for “Fondue Thursday’s” with the Angel Bakery’s sourdough bread and baby potatoes.
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Abergavenny Walking Tour with Drover Holidays
After breakfast we went on a walk through the local countryside with Drover Holidays, a company based in Hay-on-Wye who also offer cycle hire and excursions. Our route passed Abergavenny’s Castle, crossed the river Usk and up to the Brecon and Monmouth Canal.
This was our stopping point for a quick snack before we worked off yesterday’s calories with a partial ascent up Blorenge, one of three peaks that dominate the stunning Welsh landscape. Based in the Brecon Beacons the options and routes you can take are almost endless, including river trails past waterfalls that’ve caught the attention of Hollywood, and the well trodden path up to Pen-Y-Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain.
The walking tour lasted two and a half hours, meaning I had the rest of the afternoon to window browse along Abergavenny’s High Street where you’ll find a good mix of independents and cosy tea rooms.
Need further proof this is one of the best places to spend Christmas in Wales? It was named the AA Hotel of the Year for Wales 2016/17. For further information and bookings visit The Angel Hotel website.
Disclosure: My stay at The Angel Hotel was complimentary for the purpose of this article. As ever all opinions are my own.