The Reens have been at Ynyshir Hall for some 25 years now and their experience shines through everything they do, especially the personal yet non-intrusive welcome from Joan and her tight-knit team. Since regaining ownership two years ago, the Reens have completely refurbished the house, inside and out. Both are ex-teachers, Joan of geography, Rob of design and art and his paintings now decorate the walls of the whole house. Given Rob’s background, you might expect the decoration of the hotel to be rather special, too and you would be right. The colour schemes are adventurous, the patterns bold, the use of fabrics opulent, the attention to detail striking. The bedrooms are named after famous artists, which is paralleled in the colour schemes. There are two new suites, Miro and Chagall, which are more than comfortable, with superb bathrooms. Both have uninterrupted views across the gardens to the Cambrian Mountains.
     The white-painted house dates from the 16th century, but is predominantly Georgian and Victorian. It stands in 12 glorious acres of magically peaceful, landscaped gardens surrounded by high hills and next to the Dovey estuary. The famous Ynys-hir nature reserve is only a 10-minute walk away. The food is adventurous – modern British – and based on fresh local ingredients, especially fish, game, shellfish and Welsh lamb. Gareth Ward, the head chef, already has a Michelin star to his name and is not yet 30.