Maes-y-Neuadd – Harlech, North Wales, Wales
Within the Embrace of Snowdonia
This handsome granite and slate manor—whose name means “mansion in the meadow”—dates back to the 14th century, with more “recent” 16th- and 18th-century additions. It’s the perfect jumping-off point for exploring Snowdonia’s timeless grandeur, which is visible without leaving the hotel’s beautiful landscaped grounds. It is also a first-class gastronomic destination and imaginative “Steam and Cuisine” joint venture with the nearby Ffestiniog Railway: a chance to dine royally while enjoying the narrow-gauge steam railway that travels an extremely scenic 14- mile route to and from the coast at Porthmadog up into the Snowdonia Mountains to the former mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Replacing a horse-drawn tramway that carried slate during the area’s mid-19th-century heyday, it is one of many steam-powered “toy trains” still operating in Wales. Keeping alive the country’s legacy of mining and a priority for train buffs, it connects towns with names like Dduallt, Tanygrisiau, and Tan-y-Bwlch that are still not accessible by automobile. Meanwhile, the closest castle is never far away, and Maes-y-Neuadd is only 3 miles from 13th-century Harlech, one of the country’s most important military bastions, known for its unique vistas over coastal sand dunes and its history as the last Welsh stronghold to fall to the English in the 17th-century civil war.