A 20th century mansion becomes a chic hideout for guests looking for sea views, incredible dining and spa.
Marine parade in Penarth is a Welsh millionaire’s row. Fishing magnates flocked to the area building tony mansions positioned to take in shimmering views of the Bristol Channel. In its latest incarnation, the 12-room Holm House embraces its original 1920s Arts and Crafts style while catering to a sophisticated crowd.
Reflected sunlight is a leitmotif of the décor. Bottles look like spotlights in the lounge, and sunrise beckons to the nearby pier. In the bright, monochromatic double mini suite, Middleholm, the afternoon sun’s rays are magnified to every corner. And, in the evening, amidst a group of laughing, toasting patrons, the eye-catching bar resembles a massive piece of sea glass, a dazzling find.
Greeted with Welsh cakes hidden under a glass cloche, each room has a distinct shape and style. My double sea view, Steepholm, named after a nearby island, boasts a soaking tub and overlooks the landscaped back garden, where water trickles from a narrow fountain.
Staying in for the day means utter relaxation at the grey-toned spa with its gym, hydrotherapy pool, and steam room. Perusing the list of treatments which reference Japanese and Ayurvedic techniques, I decide to take a deep tissue massage.
Dining begins with crab and lobster draped in a lemon sauce with pops of salmon roe and continues with smoked duck breast marrying the sweet textural touch of maple nut crumb with silky butter jus prepared by sous chef Thomas Martin. A standout rhubarb dessert from pastry chef Ieuan Griffiths, plays on colour, temperature and sweet-sour balance. Learning of my delight, both chefs come to my table for a wonderful chat where I mention enrolling in MasterChef the Professionals.
What makes this hotel special is the way it operates — small enough for personalized touches, and a warm staff but with a corporate mentality that favours efficiency and staff autonomy. A spa request results, not a curt telephone call but a personal letter delivered within hours and when the staff sees guests on the patio furniture with their Chihuahua, they quickly bring treats and water. This is a completely scintillating hotel.
This original hotel article first appeared in the Winter 2018/19 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.