As someone who loves food so much that I’ll happily plan a trip somewhere around eating at a specific restaurant, the concept of restaurants with rooms really appeals to me. If you’ve gone somewhere just to eat in the restaurant, what better than to be only a short stagger/waddle (depending on whether you’ve over indulged in wine/food) to bed after your meal?
We thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to the Hardwick for Sunday lunch, but as we love wine almost as much as food, having to drive home afterwards cramped our style a little, so when I saw that they were offering a dinner, bed and breakfast deal that included Fridays as well as the usual Monday to Thursday that many places seem to restrict their deals to, I jumped at the chance to take advantage of dinner, bed and breakfast for two for £230. The rooms are normally around £155 per night, and with starters on the menu costing up to £13, mains up to £30 and desserts around £9, this seemed like excellent value to me. Booking over the phone was simple, with a very friendly and helpful lady at the end of the phone. One minor gripe was that I was told there would be an email confirmation, but I never received this, which made me uneasy so I phoned back a couple of weeks later to confirm the booking. I was told that they did indeed have my booking and would ensure that the email was sent – but it still never materialised!
When I booked, I was asked which room I’d like, but having not been there, I wasn’t sure! The lady I spoke to recommended one to me which was a bit larger than the others, due to having a sofa bed to accommodate an extra guest or two, so I decided to opt for that one. It had a lovely view across the farmland behind the Hardwick and was exceptionally comfortable.
The décor had a feeling of luxury without being over the top. Personally, I don’t like to have to remove a million pillows and cushions and several layers of throws and bedspreads from a bed before getting into it, and thankfully I didn’t have to here – but the bed was extremely comfortable, with good quality linen. Despite being only minutes from Abergavenny, The Hardwick feels as if it’s in the middle of nowhere – and this was certainly borne out by the silence overnight, which combined with the comfy bed to result in a fantastic night’s sleep!
The furnishings were fairly minimalistic but had a couple of lovely pieces, most notably the spherical bedside tables fashioned from whole pieces of wood. There were lots of nice little touches in the room – a drawer filled with different teas and coffees and jar of homemade biscotti, and a minibar featuring half bottles of some of the wines from the wine list, at prices no higher than you’d pay in the bar – a refreshing change (in more ways than one!)
Many of the rooms had showers instead of baths, and ours had a large walk in shower, which I could happily have spent hours in. There were some lovely toiletries too (I was particularly thrilled to see separate shampoo and hair conditioner!), all of which were also available to buy, and a couple of lovely warm bathrobes.
The main menu at the Hardwick has already been the subject of a previous blog post, and this visit’s dinner earned my first ever Dish of the Month award, so I won’t go into detail about the restaurant itself, but as I’m writing about the overnight experience, the breakfast does deserve a special mention!
We started with homemade toasted bread with jam and marmalade. There was a choice of juices. I chose local apple juice, and Mr W had freshly squeezed orange. Both came in a generously sized carafe, and both were very tasty. To follow, I chose smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, which comprised a generous portion of delicious, high quality salmon and an equal serving of wonderful buttery scrambled eggs.
Mr W chose a full Welsh breakfast, which included bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried bread, egg cooked to order, tomato, mushroom and Heinz baked beans (in a separate pot so they didn’t flood the plate!) I commented at the time that it’s the first time in ages I’ve seen a ‘full’ breakfast that really did include every single breakfast item I could think of! Mr W thoroughly enjoyed it, and didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day!
We returned from our night away at the Hardwick relaxed, refreshed and replete. It’s an easy distance from Cardiff to have a single night away as a treat, or just to try the restaurant without the pressure of having to drive home afterwards. The dinner, bed and breakfast deal was excellent value, and I’d definitely go back.