The Joys of the Valleys
For those looking for a complete and indulgent UK break, then Ffynnon hotel and the other charms of Dolgellau could be right up your street
Article by Tori Snowball
Tatler recently featured Wales as the new “go-to” destination to escape from London and set up your second home. However, if you aren’t quite ready to sell up, move out and escape to the country then Ffynnon in Dolgellau (pronounced Doll-Geff-Ly for those non-Welsh speakers, never Doll-Gell-oo) could be the perfect stepping stone to treat yourself to a healthy dose of the great outdoors.
An independent boutique hotel (also listed in the bible that is Mr & Mrs Smith), Ffynnon is a beautiful bolthole hidden up the hill in the town of Dolgellau, which oozes charm and history with its winding single track lanes and its traditional stone houses. Containing just six differently furnished bedrooms, be sure you choose the Sydney for its indulgent slipper bath in the corner of the room and the best bed you can possibly even dream of; there is even a pillow menu to choose from, just in case you fancy a change. In the evenings you can quietly curl up in the Library over a book or walking plans of the area whilst enjoying a tipple from the honesty bar (provided by the fabulous Dylanwad wine store which we will come to later) or indulgent hand-made local chocolate. Where Ffynnon excels itself is in its locally sourced breakfasts, definitely worth getting out of bed for and just the sort of fuel you need to explore the local area.
Dolgellau is just a slate-stones throw away from Snowdonia and the area is infamous for its walks from the gentle tumbling waterfalls of the Torrent Walk to the harsh climbs of the Cader ring for those made of sterner stuff. Early May signals a peculiar sight were runners race from the town centre up to the top of Cader and back again, a real endurance test the fastest times are about 3 ½ hours up to the icy top and back down again. However, you will soon find soothing solace back in FFynnon whether it’s a dip in their roll top baths, outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the village or their waterfall like showers stocked with luxuriously scented Welsh toiletries brand Myddfai.
Strolling through its streets in the evening you will find a series of welcoming pubs and restaurants but by far the jewel in Dolgellau’s crown is Dylanwad – a wine & tapas bar and cellar store stocking some of the finest wines and a selection of sprits from across the British Isles and the world. Try the sparkling wine from the award winning Ancre Hill Estate, a vineyard in Monmouthshire, or a delicate gin and tonic blended with Brecon Botanicals gin. Ask the proprietor Dylan to take you around the cellar and point out some of his rare finds and prized bottles. Should your Welsh be up to scratch you can even purchase their cook book, written and published in their home tongue. The familiar appearance of the Myddfai products sparks interest; marketed as luxury toiletries with a social conscience, the brand supports young adults with learning difficulties and provides careers in the local area. Each bottle is signed by its maker and as a social enterprise profits are returned back into the local area. A product that is anything but just sweet smelling.
Rambling walks, dramatic landscapes and villages full of surprises are all part of our stunning and varied landscapes; if you are planning a ‘staycation’ this year then take a ramble through Dolgellau.