It's rare to find an excellent, unfussy hotel where the immense effort that goes into getting things absolutely right is so well disguised in comfort and simplicity. I stayed here years ago when it opened but what a fool I've been not to return more frequently. The Grade II listed building has been inventively restored and fitted out with well choreographed interiors. Beds, showers, furnishings are just right - not too fussy, not too cool, just enough of the best of Wales' designers, arts and craftspeople to capture the imagination. The bar and restaurant are regularly packed to the rafters - hardly surprising given the good, simple, menu and preparation that give local produce a great platform. Arriving frazzled after a long day and equally long drive, there is no nonsense about filling in forms and checking credit cards- it's all done. Would you like a newspaper? Hold on we'll take that bag. Of course we can rustle some simple fish, come down when you've settled a bit. There's no pointless piece of cardboard with a swipe card - instead a great chunk of wood made by a local artist capturing the character of each room, many of which are named after ships or boats connected to the history of Aberaeron and the harbourmasters house itself. A breakfast of eggy bread and bacon with maple syrup alongside fresh fruit is almost perfect...except my beloved morning coffee is transparent. Oh no! I don't have the heart to spoil it. Then again it's coffee and coffee has to be very very good. Reluctantly I ask the waitress about the 'see-through' cafetiere coffee. In seconds an oil slick slurp of Americano arrives and peace is restored. This is a very minor issue in an overall excellent stay. There are visitors uncomfortable with a bit of noise but mostly I heard the sound of people sharing a great time. Convivial burble isn't such a problem. Simplicity is a greatly undervalued quality in hotels and it takes huge care and attention to detail to achieve the right atmosphere and quality of food and service that make a break restorative, however short the stay. The Harbourmaster gets it absolutely right. The Madona suite, under the roof and named after a locally built brigantine, was the original harbour master's room, with advantageous views over the whole tidal harbour and coastline. Useful for a seafarer and master of the harbour. Essential to guests. You may ask what is there to do in and around Aberaeron? A great deal as it happens and it's all in the guest info in your room. Thing is, it's difficult to better a morning spent gazing out over that coastline. Pretend you're a harbourmaster if you wish. Alternatively just look and relax and maybe look a bit more.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Harbourmaster on the quayside in Aberaeron offers you comfort in the most idyllic of locations. This listed landmark building reopened in June 2002 after extensive renovations. We have 13 individually-designed rooms in three historic buildings - all with harbour views. In 2008 the warehouse was opened, providing a further 4 rooms. A harbour facing suite with panoramic views, two west facing sea view terrace rooms and a town view room suitable for disabled use. (lift access to these new rooms) The Restaurant and new warehouse bar specialises in fresh local produce. Come and stay for a relaxing time and watch the tides wash in and out and the sun set over the bay! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Harbourmaster Hotel Aberaeron, Wales