LAURA ASHLEY’S DREAM
The famous textile designer never lived here, but her prints are all over it
As the traffic picks up speed outside the village of Llyswen near the EnglishWelsh border, drivers catch a glimpse of an imposing country house set in sweeping parkland. It was a landscape seen regularly by fashion designer and entrepreneur Laura Ashley. At that time, Llangoed Hall was near derelict and the woman who sold romantic frocks and traditional furnishings around the globe longed to buy and restore the building.
HALL TO HOTEL
It didn’t happen in her lifetime but, after her death in 1985, the property came on the market.
Her husband, Bernard, bought and restored it in her memory, opening it as a hotel five years later. Sitting on a 7ha estate, it’s believed to be the location of the first Welsh Parliament, in AD560, and at one stage in its ensuing history, changed hands at a card table.
It’s easy to imagine you have arrived on the location of a BBC Jacobean period drama. The beautifully decorated house radiates that English country house-style of stuffed sofas, antique furniture, blue and white pots with overflowing flowers and red geraniums at mullioned windows. The polished wood hallways, sweeping staircase and public rooms are impressively large but with comfy chairs and tables in every corner, sizeable becomes snug.
MEMORY LIVES ON
The hotel is no longer owned by the Ashley family but guests could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Their vast art collection still lines the walls and family photographs sit on side tables. Laura Ashley’s distinctive fabric designs are everywhere and one of the first items she made, an apron, is framed on a wall.
AND SO TO BED
Each of the 23 bedrooms is where the Ashley influence is greatest. Whether it’s a four-poster bed or deluxe canopied room, guests find colour