The New Inn is regularly used as a Buddhist retreat but non-Buddhists shouldn't let that put them off as it's equally welcoming to non-Buddhist tourists.
The property is a lovely old ramshackle collection of buildings located on the side of a hill with stunning views across to the Black Mountains. It's run by the friendly Daphne who does everything to make you feel welcome but at the same time, does not intrude on your privacy.
We stayed for three nights in the separate apartment – basically a small cottage attached to the main house with its own access. There are three bedrooms so parties of up to six people can be accommodated, with a cosy kitchen/living room for cooking and eating in. The two upstairs rooms have limited headroom and are equipped with futons, rather than beds, which some people may find a little hard – personally I loved sleeping on them. Six adults might find it a little cramped eating all together in the kitchen but there is a small covered outdoor area just outside the front door for alfresco dining.
Accommodation in the apartment is self-catering with an oil-fired range, while utensils, cutlery, bedding etc. are all provided. And if you've never cooked on a range then you're in for a treat.
The bathroom has a hip bath with lots of very hot water available, as well as an electric shower.
The cottage (and the house) is over 300 years old so don't expect a Travel Inn level of amenities – there's no TV which means we actually got to talk to our kids for a change! Daphne can also do you breakfast (with free range eggs from her chickens!) for an additional charge if you don't feel like cooking.
The extensive garden, which ranges down the hill, is well worth exploring, being home to a Buddhist stupa surrounded by flapping Tibetan prayer flags, as well as a meditation building and a large yurt, which can also be rented. The atmosphere is peaceful and quiet, with only the occasional car passing on its way to or from the little village a couple of miles up the hill. Despite this, the guest house is situated only a minute's drive off the main A438, being about 10 minutes' drive from the delightful Hay-on-Wye and an ideal base to explore the nearby Brecon Beacons.
Incidentally, if you're heading to Hay, the most direct route is via a historic toll bridge – cost is 80p but if you note down the 3-digit code displayed on the ticket machine you can come back and forth at will for the rest of the day once you've paid.
B&B rooms are also available in the main house although we did not see these.
Parking is on the verge (if you get there first) or on the side of the lane – it seemed pretty safe and we were happy to leave our car there.
All in all, the New Inn makes a refreshing change to the conventional hotels we usually stay in and we really enjoyed our three nights there. Plus, renting the apartment works out to be very good value – especially if you have a party of six staying.
Highly recommended if you're looking for somewhere just that little bit different to stay. We'll certainly stay again the next time we're in the area.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "New Inn Brilley" Karma Dechen Choling is situated in a tiny village called Brilley on the hillside slopes of the Welsh borders. With stunning views on to the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. A former rural Inn, the main house is adjoined by a self contained Suite sleeping 4. .... We have four options of glamping, a Wagon for 2, a Loggers Cabin for 2, a Chapel for up to 5, a Cob dwelling up to 6, and 2 60's and 70s sweet caravans, with their own small camping hobs for tea coffee. All with splendid views over the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- New Inn At Brilley Whitney-On-Wye, England