If you are long to stay in a traditional Country House hotel, in an area of extreme Natural beauty with good food, then look no further, Lake Vyrnwy ticks all the boxes! If you add on a love for the outdoors, for wildlife watching, for endless walks and exciting bike rides, you will be in heaven.
You can even bring your beloved pooch to holiday with you, well behaved dogs can join you in your room, other dogs can stay in the Hotel Kennels.
TIP – Don’t follow the Sat Nav word for word unless you are used to little country roads. I was born and bred on little roads with grass growing in the middle of them, my husband not so much. If the thought of meeting a fellow driver on a one track road fills you with dread, use the Sat Nav to get you close to the Hotel, then follow the Brown Lake Vyrnwy signs for the last 20 miles or so.
On arrival you will drive up a lovely sweeping drive below the hotel, at the top , there is a car park to the right, if you turn left you drive past the front of the hotel and onwards to more car parking near the Kennels. Take the time to admire the original part of Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. It really is so beautiful.
The history of the Hotel is entwined with the man made Lake it takes its name from. Back in 1877, Mr Deacon, the then City Engineer for Liverpool arrived in Llanwyddyn, (the local village). As many streams flowed into the then Vyrnwy Valley, he had an idea. He had found the perfect place to create a reservoir large enough to supply water to the growing city of Liverpool. Liverpool Corporation Waterworks act was presented to Parliament in London and Royal Assent was granted in August 1880.
Work began on the picturesque Dam in 1880 and finished in 1888, unfortunately the original village of Llanwyddan was flooded when the dam was filled, it was rebuilt to its current position. Sadly a 13th Century Stone church was flooded during this process, rumour has it , when the reservoir water levels are very low, you can seem the remains! I’ve visited many times and there has always been plenty of water, luckily for Liverpool!
In 1890, The Liverpool Corporation decided they wanted to build a hotel in order to have somewhere to entertain dignitaries, quite frankly they wanted somewhere to show off their beautiful scenic reservoir and their fantastic Engineering creation, the Dam. The hotel grew in popularity given its wonderful view over the Lake and has been extended numerous times since it was built. King George V stayed, when he officially opened the Dam in 1910, some twenty years after it was built.
Given this extensive history, do not head to this hotel expecting all the mod cons.This hotel is a country house retreat. You come here to relax, take in lots of glorious fresh air and to eat good wholesome food. It is not somewhere you should expect to surf the net or Netflix and chill. This is not going to happen. This is the charm of the place. Wifi is available, given the location the hotel is in, it is patchy and unpredictable, so don’t expect to be able to use it, other than to send the the odd scenic selfie to make your nearest and dearest most jealous!
I stayed back in August 2020 and Covid rules back then dictated safety of the check in process, everything felt incredibly safe and organised. Our temperature was checked prior to check in and you were given a pack containing some face coverings and an alcohol gel bottle and a list of the current rules in our post lockdown world. We felt incredibly safe. Throughout the Hotel there are automatic alcohol gel dispensers dotted around. Thoughtfully placed near things you might touch like a stair rail or a door. There are also people regularly cleaning around the hotel. We felt thoroughly safe! Rooms are traditionally lovely, they are clean, comfortable and tastefully decorated. We stayed in a luxury Lake view room, which included a Balcony with a fabulous view over the lake toward the beautiful Straining Tower.
Every morning, later afternoon and evening we made use of our balcony. I would recommend treating yourself to a Lake room. The view really never gets old. I have stayed here in all seasons, the lake looks fabulous all times of the year. Sunrises and Sunsets are particularly spectacular.
The main reason for a stay in the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel is a recharge of the batteries, doing activities like walking , fishing or cycling! I think a stay here would be wasted using it as a base to visit places nearby, due to it being so beautiful itself.
Try to book dinner bed and breakfast as there is nowhere else to eat nearby in the evenings. Usually the hotel does have a selection of eating venues, but due to covid these are currently reduced. You can eat a lunch menu or dinner menu in the Tower Restaurant with fabulous lake views.
On Thursdays to Sunday, you have the added option of having lunch up on the helipad. This patch of higher up land, with a fantastic view, has been used over the Summer as a fantastic lake view picnic / posh burger van / mobile bar venue. Definitely worth a visit, the burger was divine! I think perhaps the steep uphill climb from the Lake was made so much better knowing there was a gourmet burger van at the top. Despite being 100% Welsh, I’m not the biggest fan of walking up hills! The hotel also has a Spa, currently operating at a reduced capacity due to covid. There is a gym room with a fabulous view of the lake, which seems to be shut currently, but quite frankly why pound a treadmill admiring the view when you could be walking amongst it, unless of course, there is some traditional Welsh liquid sunshine…Lake Vrynwy is missing a pool… and with bathing not permitted in the Lake, it is sad to not get the chance to have a swim, however there is plenty more to keep you occupied!
Food at Lake Vyrnwy is delicious. Traditional meat with vegetables, including Gluten free, Vegan and Vegetarian options. The Menu slightly changed during our four night visit, over a 4 night visit you may be repeating choices, but as they are so delicious, we did not mind. Starters are generously sized and served soon after ordering. Food was always piping hot and served with what felt like a smile, behind their masks! Guests are expected, and quite frankly it is common curtesy to wear a face covering in public areas of the Hotel, then when you are in the restaurant you can remove your mask and the staff wear them instead. Do plan to walk or cycle, because the desserts are scrumptious!
Tip : Take your post dinner coffee in the Drawing room, relax on one of the comfortable couches and what the world go by, taking in the beautiful lake views.
There’s not much more to say other than this hotel really is a piece of traditional fabulousness in a spectacular place. I may well be bias originating from not too far from here, though my English husband loves the place too! If you fancy peace, quiet, good food and some fantastic walks, look no further than a stay at Lake Vyrnwy.
Tip : if you’re a nature / bird fan, take a seat at the first table in the restaurant at Breakfast time, your breakfast time is also the local small birds, squirrels, pigeons, ducks, pheasants etc breakfast time. A selection will feast on their bird seed whilst you feast on your breakfast. We spotted Wood pigeons, gold finches, blue tits, Robins, Squirrels and a female pheasant.