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Hotel Highlights

  • Awesome scenery on the edge of the dramatic Brecon Beacons national park
  • Affordable boutique chic in an unexpected location
  • Homely family-stay atmosphere and sophisticated interiors

Overview

Kathryn and David, owners of The New White Lion hotel in Llandovery are determined to introduce guests to the local rural splendour they adore so passionately, creating a luxurious base from which country-lovers can explore Carmarthenshire and the Brecon Beacons national park.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The New White Lion with us:

A bottle of Patagonian wine or a selection of handmade chocolates on departure

Facilities

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The New White Lion - Brecon Beacons - United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

Six, named after local characters and legends.

Check–out

12 noon (but flexible, subject to availability); earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $170.38 (£100), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include full Welsh breakfast.

Also

The hotel hosts monthly evening events in the ‘salon’ vein, featuring traditional folk singers, storytellers, local musicians and Welsh cuisine.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, private parking. In rooms, flatscreen TV, Egyptian cotton sheets, Clarins toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Physicians of Myddfai (Room 1) is the largest, with an ornately carved headboard, feathered lamps and a big corner bath. All the other individually decorated rooms are stylishly furnished, with ensuite power showers, but we particularly like elegant Lady of the Lake (Room 2), with its pale and interesting decor.

Packing tips

Sensible shoes for yomping up mountains and biking along mountain tracks. Or a good book, if you're not the outdoorsy sort.

Children

The New White Lion is more of an adults' escape – children over 12 are welcome in their own rooms; extra beds are not available.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

The smartly styled Dining Room is open for breakfast and dinner – expect a resolutely seasonal, local, organic menu, including dishes such as chateubriand, pan-fried langoustines or asparagus risotto.

Hotel Bar

The Brianne Bar in the lounge is open from midday till the last guest heads to bed; help yourselves to the honesty bar and pull up an armchair in front of the stone fireplace.

Last orders

Dinner is served 7pm–9.30pm.

Room service

None, but with a little warning they can rustle up something for you.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Thrown-together favourites, with shiny embellishments for dinner.

Top table

One of the back-wall tables on either side of the fireplace.

Local Guide

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The New White Lion - Brecon Beacons - United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

On yer hired bike – there’s beautiful countryside to explore from here. Pedal Power, next to Llandovery train station, will deliver and collect mountain bikes (with all the extras, including helmets, route maps and puncture‑repair kits) to the hotel or to somewhere on your intended route (01550 721420; www.mbike.co.uk). There’s calf-pumping mountain biking to suit all levels in the Brecon Beacons, including the 55-mile Taff Trail all the way to Cardiff (www.tafftrail.org.uk). If you prefer a gentle amble, you're minutes away from some of the country's most spectacular walking routes; ask the hotel for details or just jump in your car and you'll soon find a path to follow. Just a short walk from the New White Lion, at Et Voilà on the High Street in Llandovery (+44 (0)1550 721946), you’ll find a range of seductive furnishings that will let you take a touch of glamour home with you.

Local restaurants

If you’re out and about, the terrace of The Gardeners’ Café in the grounds of Aberglasney House (+44 (0)1558 668131) is a lovely setting for a luncheon. The menu features local delicacies such as Carmarthenshire ham, Welsh brie and farm‑fresh vegetables. And, on your way through Brecon, don’t be deterred by the slightly bland exterior of The Felin Fach Griffin Inn (+44 (0)1874 620111): it’s also an excellent place for lunch. Just north of Llandovery in the tiny village of Cilycwm, the Neuadd Fawr Arms is the perfect pub for a Sunday roast, with  ploughman’s lunches in the bar and a restaurant serving Modern British fare and Welsh specialities (+44 (0)1550 721644).

Local cafés

On the High Street in Llandovery, somewhere to head for coffee and a slice of cake or panini is the Victorian tearoom of Penygawse (+44 (0)1550 721727).

+ Enlarge
Little town of Llandovery

The New White Lion

43 Stone Street, Llandovery, Brecon Beacons, Carmarthenshire SA20 0BZ, United Kingdom

Planes

Fly in to Cardiff airport – the drive from here to the hotel shouldn't take more than an hour and a half.

Trains

Llandovery station is a two-minute drive from the hotel. Arriva (www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk) operates services across Wales. It'll take just under three hours from Cardiff.

Automobiles

From Cardiff, use the A470 and then the A40 west to Llandovery. From London, you’ll need the M4 and A449 before you can pick up the A40.

Reviews

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The New White Lion - Brecon Beacons - United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Zoë Foster , Ground-covering gallerist

Llandovery was not somewhere we were convinced would best play host to a Smith hotel. Mind you, this place does look like a tea-shop fetishist’s dream. Once we’d arrived at the New White Lion itself though, the honesty bar of this grade II-listed ex-pub gave us the first clue as to how our weekend might progress. Owners Sylvia and Gerald Pritchard requested we make ourselves ‘com…
Read more

The New White Lion

Anonymous review by Zoë Foster, Ground-covering gallerist

Llandovery was not somewhere we were convinced would best play host to a Smith hotel. Mind you, this place does look like a tea-shop fetishist’s dream. Once we’d arrived at the New White Lion itself though, the honesty bar of this grade II-listed ex-pub gave us the first clue as to how our weekend might progress. Owners Sylvia and Gerald Pritchard requested we make ourselves ‘completely at home’. Rather than just politely nodding, we obey. I mean really obey. Falling into the deep sofa, we open a bottle of wine, contemplate a game of chess by the fire, and let our weekend unfold.

The passion and style infused into the renovation of the New White Lion has created a little piece of five-star sophistication in the heart of Carmarthenshire. Beautiful antique furniture and curious objects are offset by decor graced with a contemporary touch, thanks to the wits of an interior-design-minded daughter. The place is stuffed with rich pickings related to the heritage of the area; old books, miners’ boots and local maps blend into a domain where every modern comfort is catered for. Feeling very much at home, we retired to bed, glasses in hand. Each of the six rooms has a different theme, based on local Welsh characters and folklore. We are in the Physicians of Myddfai, a sleek monochromatic space named after the three sons of Llyn y Fan Fach – the lady of the lake. The lads were said to possess the power of healing, given to them by their mercurial mother, and their therapeutic skills still seem pretty evident as we collapse into the huge bed, feeling more relaxed than ever.

A traditional full Welsh breakfast cooked by Sylvia the next morning immerses us further in the local ways. We even road-test the laverbread cakes, a local dish of seaweed rolled in oats, then fried. Suitably fuelled up, and ready to explore the Welsh countryside, we set off to follow our hosts’ suggestions, scrawled handily on the back of a map.

Llandovery used to be an important stop-off point for drovers taking their cattle up to London’s Spitalfields Market. Back then, it boasted a beer-swilling abundance of 50 pubs for its population of 2,000 (one inn to every 40 residents must have been jolly), so obviously our hotel has its feet firmly in public-house history. But these days Llandovery is a much more sedate affair; just a handful of taverns and tea houses remain in this town flanked by stunningly gorgeous valleys and imposing peaks.

Within minutes of leaving, we were spoilt for spectacular views until a hailstorm pushed us into – what else? – a little pub. We waited out the deluge, with help from some Tippling Philosopher ale, until we were free to point our wellies in the direction of Gwenffrwd-Dinas RSPB Nature Reserve – a walk suitable for urbanites like ourselves. The landscape was far from pedestrian though, as we weaved our way between tracts of countless bluebells and caught sight of red kites. Later that afternoon, we navigated winding roads through breathtaking valleys towards the smallest town in Britain. Eddie Izzard once joked about having nightmares where he had to play Scrabble in Welsh, a feeling echoed when we pulled into tiny Llanwrtyd Wells. Here, Mr Smith contracted a virulent spell of hiccups in a friendly pub, which lasted well into the evening.

Back at the New White Lion, Sylvia pointed Mr Smith into the well-appointed library to consult a leather-bound volume containing the accumulated wisdom of one of the physicians of Myddfai. The Celtic medic’s text specified remedies for swelling and gout; and there, at the back, was ‘hiccoughs’. We were in the right spot. ‘Make a poultice of seaweed and pepperminthe leaves and apply under the tongue,’ advised the doctor of yore. Or, on the other hand, ‘Quickly drink down a pint of water. Holde thye breathe.’ Conservatively, Mr Smith just opted for the latter.

Supper, we decided, would be a lazy affair in the comfort of the hotel. Mr Smith’s face was a picture of ecstasy over beef braised in red wine, while the rhubarb crumble and ice cream had me at ‘Would you like the dessert menu?’ Taking our coffee through to the sitting room, we lolled on sofas for an evening, pretending that this was our real, though slightly more glamorous, home. 

The Pritchards opened the New White Lion to introduce guests to the rural splendour they love so passionately, creating a luxurious base from which country-lovers can explore Carmarthenshire. And they’re definitely onto something: even bonny Prince Charles has bought a farmhouse down the road in Llwynywormwood. It’s an infectious attitude, and our stay in Llandovery leaves us enthused by the magnificent landscape. And, thanks to New White Lion’s hospitality, we return home thoroughly revitalised and – thankfully – hiccough-free.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The New White Lion's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The food and people were lovely.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The welcome we received was amazing: we were greeted at the door and was offered a glass of Pimm's. We stayed in the Lady of the Lake room which was very pretty and the bed was huge! My husband loved the homemade flapjacks in the room. We ate in the hotel on the Saturday evening and the food was delicious, David is an amazing chef. All in all, a perfect weekend break.

Don’t expect

The only downside was the lack of garden space to sit in the evening but we ended up going on several walks instead.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

By the time we left, it felt as if we'd been staying with friends rather than as paying guests. Great food, lovely decor, warm welcome.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Catharine and Dave are perfect, if modest, hosts! Their welcome was extremely warm and the extra special attention to detail made for a very relaxing stay. The well-stocked honesty bar is a wonderful touch! Dave is a very accomplished chef – both dinner and breakfast were delicious.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the fantastic service; it's a home from home.

Don’t expect

The WiFi could be better.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Kathryn and David were the perfect hosts, unfailingly polite, welcoming and unintrusive. The food was superb.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the fantastic friendly hosts, the welcoming pots of tea and the scones after a walk – at no charge!

Don’t expect

The only thing that could be better would be an open fire in lounge.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the friendly reception from the owners, quiet and well-equipped room, and the comfortable lounge with an honesty bar in which to relax in the evening after some vigorous mountain walking. Breakfasts were well above average for bed-and-breakfasts – I particularly liked the fresh fruit salad, and I had an excellent and well-presented evening meal. Llandovery is not a beauty spot: it's a Welsh market town that used to have 47 pubs and still has quite a number! But it has a pleasant atmosphere and is very well located for the Brecon Beacons and only an hour from Hay-on-Wye and the Black Mountains.

Don’t expect

Street directions with the booking would be useful.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The attention and service was great: really homely. Particularly liked the idea of the honesty bar; it was the first time we have come across one, and it's a really nice touch to make you feel relaxed and comfortable in the place without the hassle of having to wait to order, etc. There was a roaring fire and lots of magazines and papers to read. The bed was really comfy too.

Don’t expect

Nothing: all good.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Only stayed one night on our way to more western parts, having been to the Wales–England match in Cardiff. We arrived feeling a little jaded as we lost! Kathryn and David made us feel so welcome and at home the minute we arrived and we felt much better after having wonderful scones (home-made)with yummy jam and cream. After a rest and a good wet-room shower we had pre-dinner drinks in a very cosy sitting room. David is the chef and is very good indeed, using very local produce. Next morning we had a great breakfast, beautifully cooked, then we were on our way. David and Kathryn have not been in the business for long and we wish them well. We would certainly recommend the New White Lion to anyone travelling in this part of Wales.

Don’t expect

Don't think it could be any better – they seem to have the right idea of what people appreciate.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on Yes, one child of 3 years old.

We loved

What do you think of when you think B&B? Chintzy decor, a curfew, a greasy fry-up as a treat for the morning, saving because you've opted for a B&B over a hotel option? Get ready to change your mind on what a B&B experience can be because you haven't yet experienced a night or two - or a week - in the beautiful New White Lion. The beauty isn't just visual at this place, it's the warmth of your hosts, the entertainment and laughs and the company you'll have from your hosts and other guests alike. It's in the gourmet standard food that you can enjoy in the comfort of your home-from-home. It's in the peaceful and comfortable night's sleep you'll be having and the relaxation you'll treat yourself to, in beautiful ensuites. It's the comfort of knowing that your child can be free and be safe because you have guardian angels as your hosts Dave and Kath, they treat your child like the royalty they are. It's the bespoke service and the adaptability of the menu. It's being spoilt for choice, unrestricted and enjoying a glass from the honesty bar, while knowing your child is sound asleep in a secure homely environment. It's arriving back after a lengthy day out to be greeted by friendly faces who don't even have to ask what you'd like after a day or so, because they'll just know. It's the friendship you develop whilst being spoilt with five-star service, food and wine (if you're anything like us!) This is the New White Lion. You deserve to stay here. And most importantly, you'll always be a V.I.P.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Nice and quiet weekend. Hosts were excellent. Food not outstanding but quite acceptable.

Don’t expect

Waitress could do with a little 'silver service' training, but otherwise fine.

Rating: 8/10 stars