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“loved the Craig-y-Nos farmhouse”

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Craig-Y-Nos Farmhouse
Reviewed June 29, 2009

Six family members spent 4 nights at the Craig-y-Nos farmhouse June 17-21,2009, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The property is beautiful with a “magical” path between two huge yew trees to the picturesque creek that charmed even my father. The house is very spacious, and particularly nice if you can take it on an exclusive basis. I’m not sure I would have liked sharing the property with strangers as the common living room, dining room and kitchen could lend themselves to unwanted noise and lack of privacy. For a private group, though, the property is excellent, and–in my opinion–even better than staying at the castle. The only “down side” that might be relevant to some is that only the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom. The other upstairs bedroom has a bathroom (with small shower only) in the upstairs hall. The downstairs bedroom must share this upstairs hall bathroom. (There is another bathroom with shower that is accessed from outside that is probably intended for the men who work on the property, but that could also be used by guests.) Also, those using that hall bathroom did comment that the toilet tank took a long time to fill. Otherwise, water was good, with plenty of hot water and water pressure. I stayed in the master bedroom with my sons (an extra mattress was brought in), and we had an enormous bathroom with a claw-footed tub and a spacious shower. (The others borrowed our bathroom on a couple of occasions to enjoy the tub and the roomier shower.) Also, the stairs are wooden, old, dark and a little creaky. They're fine, but they could be an issue for those with mobility problems, especially given the bathroom situation.

Prior to booking, I had some worries based on the reviewer who complained about the workmen at the farmhouse invading his privacy. I wrote inquiring about this and received several very nice emails from the owner, Martin, assuring me that the workmen would not be intrusive and were there for work and security purposes only. We found this to be absolutely the truth. We never saw anyone other than when we needed help with a little plumbing problem. (A valve stuck that drained the water tank and left us briefly without water. A call to the castle had workmen–Steve and Antony–there right away to solve the problem. They were friendly, helpful and gone as soon as they’d done their job. Steve, a saxaphonist, plays occasionally at a popular local pub, the Ancient Briton, where my cousin and I became 3-night “regulars.” Don’t miss it. We really enjoyed the night Steve dedicated “Delilah”–I didn’t know Tom Jones was Welsh–to us American visitors and we got to sing a rousing rendition with the whole pub. Thanks, Steve!) The water in the farmhouse is safe to drink. They use well water, supplemented by water brought in, if needed, to fill the storage tank.

I chose the farmhouse, in large part, to provide a place away from the city for my dad who’s not a fan of cities or travel after spending a lot of time doing both during his career. The Craig-y-Nos website states that fly fishing is available in the river Tawe on castle property, but Martin seemed to be a little surprised when I inquired about that and said he’d not seen anyone fishing on castle property. Dad checked it out, and did see some fish, but waders would be necessary for the part of the river he came across and he wasn’t sure he was on castle property any more, so he didn’t try to use the fly rods he’d brought. (National Parkland abuts the castle property on both sides.) The section of river just below the castle is definitely not fishing territory. The creek on the farmhouse property is far too small for fishing. There is, apparently, a reservoir 4 miles or so away where one could fish, but we did not check that out. Just FYI, for those interested.

All in all, we loved the farmhouse and all of us would have liked to have stayed longer. A few more cooking pots would have been nice, but we were well supplied with dishes, coffee/tea cups, water and wine glasses, and cutlery. There is a very nice gas stove, an electric oven, a small fridge and separate 3-drawer freezer. There’s a dishwasher and a clothes washer but no detergent for either when we were there. We were supplied with plenty of toilet paper and bath towels, but no kitchen towels or paper towels. Extra linens were in the chest of drawers in the downstairs bedroom. The living room is large and nice for gathering. Plenty of firewood and kindling was supplied for the working fireplace, but doesn’t draw well and left the house very smoky. Heat is via radiators as well as the fireplaces. No a/c, which we did not need anyway. There is a separate dining room as well with modern, generic seating and a fireplace, but we didn’t use that room much other than as a kind of office for the writer of our group. There’s a very affectionate cat named Felix whom the workmen feed on property. He’ll wander in the house if you let him. The property would be great for pets and we were wishing we could “beam” our dog there. However, there is no fenced-in yard, so a dog prone to roaming might be a problem.

Cleaning services are every other day. A continental breakfast was boxed for us at the castle and was very generous in portions. For 6 people we received: 2 huge loaves of bread, a large wedge of cheese, 6 yogurts, 6 cereals, a ½ gallon of milk, 3 juices, pastries, jams, butter and Marmite. Two mornings we also received a package of chorizo. The castle was great about exchanging flavors of juices, brown bread for white, etc. One morning 2 of our party went to the castle for breakfast instead and raved about the cooked breakfast, including shrimp and salmon.

The farmhouse is in a very isolated spot, which we really enjoyed and in which we felt very secure. It’s delightfully quiet with only the sound of the brook and the nearby sheep and, in the morning, songbirds. Driving is a bit of a thrill, with two-way traffic on a one-lane road bordered by plant-covered walls leading to the farmhouse. Take it slow and be prepared to back up and/or pull into a drive if you meet another car. The waterfall mentioned by previous reviewers is 2-3 miles away. It is the tallest in South Wales, lovely, and definitely worth a visit. To walk or drive: turn right out of the farmhouse driveway entrance, take a left at the intersection where the road T’s, follow that road uphill and around to the right. You’ll come to the parking area for the waterfall on your right. There are steep, but stepped, paths down to the waterfall basin.

Although we didn’t stay there, we explored the castle (which is really more of a mansion or “folly”). It is definitely a work in progress, but charming nonetheless. Free wifi is available in the bar. We were always treated like privileged guests when at the castle and found the staff to be uniformly friendly and welcoming. For those contemplating staying at the castle, be aware that it does sit right on the road. Parking is limited within the walls, although there is parallel parking on the road just outside the castle walls. Also, guest rooms are apparently primarily in a ground-floor annex to the right through the porte-cochere as you look at the main castle door. There are also a couple of rooms or so on the castle’s ground floor to the left as you head towards the patio. The upper floor is not open, which surprised me a bit.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with family
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Thank tcut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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27 - 33 of 35 reviews

Reviewed June 5, 2009

We booked the farmhouse exclusively for the weekend recently to celebrate my wife's birthday. The farmhouse is beautiful and of a very high standard with acres of outstanding grounds on all sides.
All rooms are large and comfortable and the master bedroom with it's huge ensuite and roll-top bath is particularly impressive.
The staff at Craig Y Nos are very courteous and led us to the house from the castle. They ensured we were well equipped and provided a fridge full of goodies for breakfast.

Our dogs stayed with us and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and long walks that are literally on the doorstep.
There are excellent pubs and restaurants in close vicinity and the castle with it's relaxing atmosphere and excellent restaurant is just up the road.

I would recommend staying here to anyone considering it and my only regret is that we didn't book it out for a week! - We will next time!

Simon & Sarah, Swansea

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with family
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Thank sddavies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2009

secluded, clean, great delivered breakfast, sheep around, small brook, quiet valley, pitch black night sky, roaring fire, chill out, fab 4 poster bed and the ensuite bathroom is huge and very very nice. don't hesitate - we are going again

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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Thank khesh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2008

We stayed at Craig Y Nos farmhouse this September and were so disatisfied with the accommodation and the general experience of staying there (more on that later) that we actually left four days early, having paid £900 for the entire week in advance.
When booking this accommodation our main reason for doing so was that we were looking for a quiet and peaceful location with room for our 4 dogs to roam. Obviously on seeing this farmhouse with a '2 acre garden' and 'set in 21 acres' we thought it would be ideal. We emailed the reception desk at Craig Y Nos hotel who own the farmhouse to check that the garden was safe, private and secure, an inportant factor for dog owners and were assured it was.
Our first clue that the accommodation was not going to be quite as described came with the booking confirmation email, which stated that 'occasionally and for security reasons' members of staff would be on the site of the farmhouse but 'living in seperate quarters'. We were concerned by this and wanted again to make sure it was private, so we contacted reception and were assured out privacy would not be disturbed, and that staff were only on site 'occasionally' anyway, so chances were we would not see them at all.
So in September we arrived at the farmhouse, only to discover that there were several workmen living in the fourth bedroom of the farmhouse which is located via an internal door in the living room. Since they were seperated only by a thin internal door, we were able to hear their conversations word for word, listen to them watch TV, listen to their loud music as it reverberated through the farmhouse, and even listen to them smashing crockery about as they prepared their dinner, a fact that was also aggravating for another reason as I will later explain.
Having booked the entire farmhouse as self catering accommodation, the first problem we discovered was that the downstairs bedroom which I myself had planned to stay in as I am disabled and have trouble with stairs, was unusable as it had no handle on the door, which opened out into the hallway, and the door could not be closed properly without it bouncing open continously throughout the night. The other problem with using this room, is that unfortunately despite there being a 2 acre garden, constantly throughout our stay the workmen on site would wander around the back garden of the farmhouse smoking, would sit at the patio table from 6am in the morning chatting and smoking and as this area was located directly outside the window of the downstairs bedroom meaning you could not sleep there without being disturbed.
The next thing we discovered was that as well as having the top bannister of the stairs missing, which was extremely dangerous to both people and dogs, the shower in the main bathroom did not empty properly meaning that to use it, you needed to accept the fact that the bathroom would be flooded as you showered.
Having booked the property as self catering accommodation we went out and bought a week's shopping from the local Tesco and were looking forward to cooking our own meals. However on the first night we discovered that the main oven did not work and would not even come on. We were left with no alternative but to use the second tiny oven, which as filthy as the main oven, had only one shelf remaining, and was too small to fit most of our food into. Meanwhile we sat in the living room listening to the workmen next door preparing and eating their food.
We then decided we would cook what we could and take the rest of our food home with us when we left on the following Sunday. However on the Wednesday morning we discovered that even this was not an option, because we arose to find the fridge had broken down and was now hot instead of cold and all the food within it stank and had to be thrown out.
The little time we spent at the farmhouse we spent having to listen to TV and loud music through the internal door, which was the only thing seperating us from several workmen. We were unable to use the garden because they constantly walked across it smoking, sat at the farmhouse patio table which was directly outside the back door, smoking and even sat in the garden with their chairs pointing towards the house directly outside the windows. Aside from the fact we were given no privacy whatsoever, this also meant we were unable to even leave the back door open and allow our dogs to play in the garden, for fear of strangers wandering around.
We were unable to allow our dogs to play there anyway because the garden was neither safe, nor secure and certainly not private. There was a large barn next to the farmhouse with no doors on either side, meaning our dogs could easily walk straight through and out onto the road leading to the farmhouse. We even returned home one day to find a large bonfire in the back garden of the farmhouse which meant we were completely unable to use the garden in any case.
We were also looking forward to having walks from our doorstep bearing in mind that the farmhouse is apparently set in 21 acres, but we were told on arrival by reception that although the land was there, we could not walk on it and it was all fenced off, contrary to everything we were told before we booked.
I can honestly say that I have never had cause to write a review like this before, despite staying in farmhouses and cottages for the past thirty years. The fact that I am bothering to write this, I hope, will give anyone considering booking this accommodation, reason to rethink their decision.
We were looking for self catering accommodation in a private location with a secure garden for our dogs. We expected very little, except to have a peaceful private location, some peace and quiet, a garden for the dogs to play in and for us to be able to sit in undisturbed, perhaps some country walks from our doorstep as we'd been led to believe, and a kitchen with such basics as a working oven and fridge.
Sadly we experienced none of these things, the total lack of privacy was bad enough but we persevered despite this, but when we then unable to do things like cook, shower or store food, things we could do at home for free, we were left with no alternative but to give up and go home. Essentially this property is a 'work in progress' and if they are going to rent it out as it is and with builders on site, they should at least warn customers of this in advance.
On leaving, I expressed my complaint to reception, whose exact words were 'Not again'. They wrote down my complaint and assured me someone would be in touch. Noone ever got in touch and when I contacted them again myself, their response was less than satisfactory, doubting that any of this had even taken place at all.
I leave you to make your own mind up - but I am not writing this for my health, it was bad enough that our holiday was completely ruined, but I would hate to think anyone else would have to suffer this especially with the costs involved.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with friends
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7  Thank CountryTraveller5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2008

My friend got married at the castle and had all the girls put up in The Farmhouse for the wedding festivities. We had a lovely time.

The good: The rustic cottage feel with luxurious additions made this the perfect location for a girls weekend. The big beds and cozy living room with overstuffed couches were great for gossip and girl talk as we all got ready for the wedding. The big bedrooms are more than spacious. The fluffy linens, wonderfully large master bathroom, huge eating room with a grand table and gorgeous kitchen was such a great addition to our trip!

The bad: When it's raining, the sidewalks are treacherous and not handicapped accessible. The road getting back there is pretty harrowing too. There were lots of spiders inside and slugs galore outside. But it's the country so that's to be expected!

Overall, this is the perfect honeymoon, romantic getaway, girls or boys retreat!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank romarosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2008

This is beautiful place with lots of space - it really is an isolated farmhouse - and great accommodation. Because it's also aimed at the S/C market, there is a proper kitchen with everything you need so that you don't have to go out for dinner, although the next village and pubs are accessible via public footpaths (round trip is about 1-2 hours, walking leisurely and making sure that dog hasn't run off). There is also a large living room with a TV which means that such things aren't in the actual bedrooms - but who needs the TV on holiday anyway. The farmhouse belongs to a Castle hotel three miles away which is currently being refurbished but already open for business. It looks much more romantic than it currently is but it's certainly worth having a look. Judging by the standard of accommodation at the farmhouse, the owners have great taste and once finished, the Castle will be amazing.
What brought us to the farmhouse is that it's dog friendly and it really was - plenty of space to run around. We paid £70 for a double including breakfast which seemed good value. The breakfast in the hotel was not up to standard but when contacted, the owners assured us that they are working on it. Surely, instant coffee is no longer acceptable past the 1980s. Not wishing to rubbish the beautiful Brecon Beacons, we did find that the standard of good country cooking in country pubs was rather disappointing. Plenty of places still work on 1980s principles, ie. non-local food, lots of deep fat frying, little attention to detail - though we didn't check this out in Craig Y Nos, so it might be different there. But go and find out for yourself!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Nils L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2008

My husband and I decided to stay here for our first wedding anniversary after a particular traumatic year when we've both been plagued by ill health and other problems. We are also in the middle of nasty legal proceedings and were desperate for some respite. We brought our Miniature Schnauzer dog Hugo with us and originally planned to spend 2 of the 3 nights at the main Craig y Nos Castle hotel. However, we were enchanted by the period Craig y Nos farmhouse and we decided that we preferred to remain there for the entirety of our stay. The fantastic and friendly hotel staff were brilliant and arranged for us to have the farmhouse to ourselves. Nothing was too much trouble for them. The weather was glorious and for 3 whole days we enjoyed the superb facilities at the farmhouse. The farmhouse is very tastefully decorated in keeping with the style of that era and we had absolutely everything on hand for maximum comfort. We were able to go for long walks every day in the surrounding countryside and to travel further afield , and then to return to the farmhouse every evening to cook in the fully-equipped kitchen and to enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner "a deux", followed by relaxing in the large lounge, with its beautiful open fireplace and beamed ceilings. Every morning the cheerful staff provided us with an excellent continental breakfast and discreetly tidied up the farmhouse, without intruding on our special time. We returned to London, and to our problems, feeling thoroughly refreshed, and with the definite aim of returning to this peaceful haven again. We can't recommend Craig y Nos highly enough to those who are seeking a combination of really good value for money and a sanctuary for a few days, "far from the madding crowd."

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank cynthiaspillman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Craig-Y-Nos Farmhouse

Address: Pen-y-Cae, Penycae, Brecon Beacons National Park SA9 1GL, Wales
Location: United Kingdom > Wales > Brecon Beacons National Park > Penycae
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Penycae
Price Range: $251 - $357 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Craig-y-Nos Farmhouse nestled in the Brecon Beacons National Park, with 21 acres of private land in which your family and Pets can explore days...The farmhouse has 3 double bedrooms, with the master having en-suite facilities and stunning four-poster beds. There is also a separate bathroom, and spacious living and dining areas. Kitchen is fully fitted and functioning with all amenities. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Craig-Y-Nos Farmhouse Wales/Penycae

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