This hotel has some unique aspects which make it worthwhile visiting, despite some issues which I will detail below.
We booked on a Groupon voucher for 11-12 February as there were meant to be music nights on Monday and Tuesday but unfortunately on Monday there wasn't as nobody else turned up. Tuesday was a great blues night however, and we had a great night chatting with other residents and some excellent music in quite a nice traditional bar (much warmer on Tuesday than Monday).
We were travelling with our dog, and consequently were placed in the converted mews stables. Our little stable was cute, and spotlessly clean, with a living room with tiny kitchen with microwave and shower/wc off, and a bedroom upstairs. However......... it was VERY cold. There was an electric fire on, but it didn't give off a lot of heat, and there were plug in wall heaters which were unplugged when we arrived. So it took quite a while to heat the place up. However, by the morning, it was okay, but I feel that the cottage would benefit from a heavy door curtain and thick curtains to make it cosier, as there were only vertical blinds upstairs and down. There is no heating whatsoever in the shower room/WC, which was bleak when we arrived but warmed up somewhat as the rest of the place heated up.
The other issue we had with the accommodation is that the double bed upstairs is pushed against the wall into a corner, so if you are in a couple, you have to wriggle out of bed in an awkward manner and on the other side of the bed, you are positioned very close to the staircase and I could well imagine falling out of bed and tumbling down the stairs. This is compounded by the fact that I am no Slim Jim. (I wonder if Rob & Karen have tried sleeping in the beds?) The upstairs is quite awkwardly shaped, as it has a sloping ceiling and is quite narrow, so ideally the bed should be built in - or maybe two single beds would better fit the shape of the room upstairs. In any case, I found it a struggle to get in and out of bed while squished against the wall and did resort to sleeping part of the time on the sofa downstairs - not ideal. Lucky I had some blankets! For a single person, it'd be fine, although the furniture still is awkwardly placed.
By the morning, the little cottage was quite cosy, so we left on our first full day after breakfast and turned off the electric fire, but not the wall heaters. When we returned (we weren't locked out until 4pm as the cottages have their own access) all the heating was off. It was once more freezing - and the weather was threatening snow.
I really feel that this is a false economy. I presume the heating is not turned off in the hotel? Or perhaps it is during the day as guests are not allowed in their rooms from 10-4pm according to other reviews.
We didn't bother to complain, as we were going the next day, but we did resolve, if we were to return again, that it would only be during the late spring or early summer.
Now for the food - the breakfasts are excellent. My husband requested fried bread instead of hash browns on our first morning, and they were provided - and appreciated. Hash browns are okay, but a bit too American, I feel. The second day's breakfasts the hotel was fuller, so hash browns were the only game in town, and as we were the last to sit down, we only got half a glass of orange juice each. I am sure we could have asked for more, though. But it would have been nice to be asked.
We ate one evening meal there as part of our GroupOn voucher, and it was a bit variable. We both had wild mushroom soup as a starter, which was fine, and then chose a chicken curry from the menu as we didn't fancy the special and OH hates chunky chips. I decided to have half and half rice and chips, which meant I lost out on my naan bread, but as naan breads outside of Indian restaurants are usually rubbish, I wasn't too worried. Now the actual chicken curry was tasty and spicy and plentiful but ......... the rice! It was seriously overcooked. We both hardly touched our rice and I am very glad I decided to have half chips - I prefer them thin, too, but they were at least nice and golden and crispy, and not soggy like the rice. There was plenty of food - so nobody would starve for sure, but good rice with a curry is essential - which is why I have a rice cooker at home, after it was recommended to me by a Chinese friend!
We both enjoyed our desserts and were certainly full. However, OH is very picky and after the rice experience we decided we wouldn't bother to eat there the following evening. Thank goodness for the microwave in our little kitchen!
I do feel Karen is a good cook and there were other things we could have eaten - we probably made the wrong choice for our main course, that's all.
Rob is a talented musician (and teaches guitar so must be great if you want a break with guitar lessons), but he does have just a touch of the Basil Fawlty in his manner - and there is a slight air of the guests being a bit of nuisance stopping him running his hotel - which is unexpected as most of the musicians I have met are pretty laid-back (though most aren't running a family hotel). And I mean this very kindly as we would consider coming again in the warmer months (with a camp bed). The music festival sounds tempting (and so did Karen's turkey and ham pie with leek and cheese sauce).
So ideal for single person (in mews) and especially if they love music and have warm clothing. And love chunky chips and hate rice.
Oh yes - nice part of the world - we love Mid Wales. Not the most exciting or picturesque village you've ever seen, but handy for both Oswestry and Welshpool.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Golden Lion Hotel: GRADE 2 LISTED 18th century coaching inn, with many period features. Modern features include free WI-FI and BRAND NEW CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEM INSTALLED MARCH 2013.The family run hotel, in a quiet countryside location away from the main roads, is situated on the Offa's Dyke path and is the ideal base to explore The Marches and surrounding Welsh hills. Weddings / Parties / Corporate Bookings catered for. 2 Car Parks. Vegetarian, Vegan and Celiac dishes prepared (please book in advance). THINGS TO DO: The immediate area is rich in activities: Walking, Cycling, Fishing, Climbing, Exploring, Caving, Touring by car, Geology / Fossil Hunting. Circular Canal Walk behind the Hotel: ½ hour walk; regular wildlife includes herons, swan families, rabbits, otters, buzzards, peregrine falcons, etc. Vyrnwy Aqueduct, 20 minutes walk away Canal locks and lock-keeper’s cottage, ¾ hour walk. The magnificent River Vyrnwy runs alongside the canal; Fly fishing on the River Severn – salmon, trout, grayling. Rich industrial heritage; Rare intact Victorian Lime Kiln and chimney nearby; Meadow walks. Rodney’s Pillar: two-hour energetic walk / climb, 5 minutes drive away from the Hotel. Beautiful Lake Vyrnwy and its many waterfalls: ½ hour drive away. The famous race track, Loton Park Hill Climb is nearby; Bulldog International Rally of North Wales: Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championships. Several good golf courses, clay shooting, horse riding. After a long day out relax with our live music evenings (Rob Cook Williams - Musician / Owner of Hotel. Great food prepared by top local chef Karen Williams.We are a Real Ale bar, and where possible we stock local beers alongside the regular ales. We also stock a good range of spirits and whiskies including the very popular Welsh Penderyn single malt and Brecon Gin. ... more less
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