Blog-ty mawrIn our quest to find great, dog-friendly hotels this is one we return to again and again, because it is great in so many ways.

Nestled comfortably in the tiny village of Brechfa, in the secluded Cothi valley, Ty Mawr dates to the 15th century and still has many original features – stone walls, open fires, ancient wooden beams and tiled floors. It’s been very comfortably and carefully restored and has all mod cons.

The river Marlais runs past the side of the large and well-kept acre of garden, which is mostly laid to lawn – there are also outside tables for those odd Welsh days when the rain lets up.

The hotel is very unusual in that it is dog-friendly but doesn’t take young children, so it’s a very peaceful spot to stay. Annabel and Steve are great hosts, and Annabel makes you welcome with a pot of tea or coffee and a slice of cake on arrival in the cosy sitting room. Service is great, and unobtrusive.

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We tend to ask for room six, because that has its own front door onto the car park (great for those late night and early morning trips out with the dog). Room five is tucked just inside the hotel entrance and the other rooms are upstairs.

It’s not a huge hotel – just those six rooms – so the service feels, and is, very individual. Dogs aren’t allowed into the dining room but Welsh weather being what it is we have never had a problem yet, the weather’s been cool enough that we’ve left ours (and now just Lexie of course) to doze in the car at the end of a happy day out and about.

Many people of course will be okay with leaving their dog in their room – we always plan that should the day be so hot that even at 7pm we don’t feel good leaving Lexie in the car we’ll sit outside on the patio. Annabel’s accommodating enough that I can’t imagine it will be a problem.

The room we use is very comfortably furnished, with a soft, king-size bed and a corner seating unit, tv and ensuite – a very nice range of toiletries and locally-made soap in various wonderful scents are provided.

The food is also absolutely excellent – there’s a varied menu heavily featuring local and organic produce, accompanied by a really good wine list with something for most pockets. You can find a sample menu on the Ty Mawr website, which features typical choices such as organic Fferm Tyllwyd Welsh Black fillet of beef and grilled, line-caught Cardigan Bay sea bass. There’s always a vegetarian option.

The breakfasts are also great – there’s a hearty “full Welsh” option, plus others including scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

The Ty Mawr is really handy for the local forest and other attractions– there are plenty of walks, and we often take Lexie on a really great trek through Dinefwr park on the edge of Llandeilo, which is about 20 minutes by car and features both an old castle and an 18th century great house, Newton Hall. The area is handy for both the south coast and Cardigan Bay, and for attractions such as Dylan Thomas’s boathouse at Laugharne, the picturesque towns of New Quay and Tenby, Cardigan itself and (in the other direction) the Brecon Beacons.

Downsides? Brechfa can be challenging to find, our sat-nav insists on trying to take us in a dead straight line over a tiny moorland road, which is quite an experience. A good tip if you’re coming from the north is to head for Lampeter before letting the sat-nav take over, from where it tends to take you through Llansawel along a small but reasonable rural road.

Coming from the south the easy way in is via the A40; the turn for Brechfa is in Nantgaredig. A car is really a must, though there are some spectacular walks once you’re in the area. It’s a great area for dog walking, and New Quay has an excellent dog-friendly beach (I believe Tenby does too, though they’ve hidden it quite well).

This isn’t the cheapest of hotels, so we tend to go for long weekends when we feel we deserve a bit of a break, rather than extended stays. It’s a tribute to how great it is that it’s the one we keep coming back to.

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