Short break - Chateau Rhianfa, Menai Bridge
PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 April 2019
Who needs to travel across the channel when you can enjoy the Gallic charms of Menai Bridge's Chateau Rhinafa?
Looking out of my window at Chateau Rhianfa I peer out at the terrace, where on summery days you can bask in the sunshine and take lunch or afternoon tea. Can this really be Menai Bridge, because it could quite easily be France.
Well that was the idea all along! This former stately home was built in 1849 by Sir John William, 2nd Baronet of Bodelwyddan who wanted to bring a bit of the family's holidays in the Loire valley back to Anglesey.
We are so lucky they didn't think a bottle of wine or a snow dome was an adequate reminder of their French travels because Chateau Rhianfa is a stunner.
Sir John built it for his wife, Lady Sarah, as a dower house and much of the exquisite detail was down to her impeccable taste, however after it was sold and converted into apartments in the 1950s it began to fall into disrepair. Talk to the locals and they'll tell you it was a wreck until 2011 when work began to turn it into a hotel.
The result is impressive. Rooms are elegantly done out and the quirkiness of the layout and features preserved. The decor of our room, 'Snowdonia', is traditional and elegant with plenty of wardrobe space, a huge bathroom, (no bath but an excellent shower) and all the things you'd need to be comfortable. And the views over the Menai Strait and Snowdonia beyond are awe-inspiring.
One of the best things to do here is take a stroll in the grounds down to the water's edge and maybe watch oyster catchers dipping and diving or to simply watch the clouds drifting serenely in the sky.
The chateau is in a fantastic position, just a five minute drive from Menai Bridge and it is part of its fabulous foodie scene, which also includes the Michelin starred Sosban and the Old Butchers.
It's also three miles from pretty Beaumaris where you can wander around the shops and enjoy the delights of the seaside. We were there a bit out of season and I really fell a little in love with the place and its people but I suspect it gets busy with holidaymakers in the summer and that's where Chateau Rhianfa would become the perfect retreat. They've a hot tub, tennis court, falconry and more to keep you amused, not to mention the stunning views.
We enjoyed dinner in the elegant Le Dragon Rouge restaurant, dining on kale and wild garlic soup, home made bread and duck breast served with parsey, gnocci, and wild mushrooms.
There are brilliantly chosen wines plucked by the somelier from the wine cave to accompany the feast too.
Chateau Rhianfa, Beaumaris Road, Menai Bridge, LL59 5NS. 01248 880090, chateaurhianfa.com.