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“" the house with a view to die for "”

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Hill House Retreats
Reviewed 19 July 2014 via mobile

We found this place by chance, but it must have been fate! We were greated by the repair man due to lance being away and were treated royaly from the word go
Llansteffan is a wonderful sleepy unspoilt little village with friendly locals and hill house with the repair man whose name escapes me and it's residents are no different
The view from our room was outstanding and the accommodation was comfortable and had all amenities that you could wish for
If it's a quiet place to stay your after in easy reach of tenby then we can't recommend it highly enough and especially for the price it's unbeatable
Can't wait to go again next year
An absolute hidden Welsh gem

Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Martin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (17)
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9 - 15 of 17 reviews

Reviewed 4 November 2013

I first came across Hill House in February 2012, when it was the Heartspring retreat centre. I was looking for a place to be in sort of retreat with my daughter, as in an un’guided’ retreat, somewhere calm and beautiful and close to nature, not too isolated, offering company if sought and privacy for reflection when needed.

An internet search yielded Hill House, I booked last minute for half term and my daughter and I spent a quiet and happy week in the Bay Studio, enjoying the peace of the place, the spectacular view from the room, the simplicity of the room, roaming the beaches taking in the quiet wildness of the estuary, making trips up to the easily accessible and unspoilt castle and collecting driftwood and shells to take back to the house and paint in the welcoming shared space at the front of Hill House.

We felt so at peace there that we returned in summer 2012 and spent the 6 weeks of the school summer holiday in the basement flat, painting shells, cooking, walking and also going to local places of interest such as Dylan Thomas boat house in Laugharne a little further round the coast. The village of Llansteffan proved to be a cosy quiet place to be based with a very local and animated summer festival and a friendly post office with tea shop at its heart and the weeks passed happily in spite of poor weather that summer.

At this time Hill House was clearly a place awaiting transition, up for sale and without an indication of its future, a wonderful environment becoming slightly ramshackle as it awaited its next incarnation – maybe a care home (but the drive was too steep), a family home (but what a shame to split it back down into rooms when small flatlets have been made), maybe continuing as a retreat centre….I was delighted therefore to see that the new owners Lance and Megan, had bought Hill House with an explicit intention to continue its life as a retreat centre, offering a range of therapies and themed weekends from the resident 'caretakers' and local practitioners, and also the continued possibility to undertake self guided retreats.

I returned this autumn for an experimental visit with a small group of independent individuals with a shared love of painting, tranquillity and beautiful scenery. The venue proved equally perfect for this kind of visit. We were able to paint the most lovely places within easy striking distance of the house, with soft muted colours, huge skies, and oft changing light - only the cries of gulls and the shifting tide to disturb the profound experience of painting landscape that draws you in deeper on each consecutive day. In the evenings we had loosely organised ourselves to come together for meals to be cooked in the shared kitchen and enjoyed in the dining area with its feeling of deep calm and conviviality while comparing our various artistic outputs of the day.

In short it was a perfect week. The new owners are sensitively injecting new life into the place - by the end of winter 2013 a quiet transformation is planned to have taken place - undertaking extensive repairs and maintenance and developing new ideas while maintaining its calm and simplicity. The façade is undergoing a discreet face lift, maintaining the pink and cream theme though with a freshening pink and white and Frederick a local craftsman is repairing the cornicing to its original condition. The lovely ‘Rose Room’ is no longer there but the summerhouse has been transformed into a new space for therapies and there are plans afoot to site a new multifunctional studio in the space left by the Rose Room, taking in the view across the church and village to the castle and bay – depending on how it turns out it could be fabulous for a small art or yoga group – the only restriction we found for the art group was space to splash paint around in without worrying about the furniture! The ‘Tudor’ room now has a four poster bed offering a choice of atmosphere while the flatlets retain their original simplicity, the fabulous views and light from outside being the dominant feature. One of the thing I particularly appreciate as a single parent is the maintenance of the same rates year round irrespective of school holidays and other peak times which makes it feasible to come to Hill House without huge spikes in higher prices just at the times I would like to be there.

Overall I highly recommend Hill House to anyone who is looking for a lovely straight forward venue - it is not luxurious, feels safe and welcoming, an easy place to be whether you are seeking deep retreat or something lighter, it has its idiosyncrasies as an older building that has been used in appreciation of its atmosphere rather than 'hotel like' qualities, so a wonderful place for those who are big on atmosphere and environment with cleanliness and a good basic level of comfort.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank usha_alma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2013

We arrived at Llansteffan on the busiest tourist day of the year..August Bank Holiday yet even the extra people could not change the innate peaceful nature of the place.
We were greeted by Rob and Bel at hill House.. who have the Knack of being friendly without being over friendly..of being there when needed and out of sight when All you want is to be left alone. We did not avail ourselves of the therapies on offer..but it clear from talking to Rob that they know what they are about without feeling the need to push themselves on you.
The house itself is clean and comfortable and the view from our bedroom window took in almost the whole of the Tawi Estuary. We slept well in comfortable beds.
I can also recommend The Castle pub for it's friendliness and value for money, quality food.
If you are searching for tranquility then this is the place. You can walk on the beach at Llansteffan for miles or follow one of the several meandering foot path up into the surrounding hills. Or if you prefer just sit in the house or garden and meditate.
Llansteffan Castle is a short walk away and is one of three castles built to fortify that area of coast line. It remains the only one of the three that you don't have to pay to get in to. Further afield the towns of Carmarthen and Tenby are steeped in history..the medieval walls of Tenby are still almost entirely intact. Walking on Pendidne sands is an experience in itself..although watch the tide!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Ianfr2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2013

Hill House has changed ownership recently. We visited before when it had a different name and although we enjoyed it then, we're pleased to report that there have been visible improvements. There's a great new room suite, the atmosphere is, if anything, even more relaxed, and there's a definite sense that the building is enjoying some much-needed TLC while retaining all its unique Victorian character. The Sanctuary in the garden is gone, with plans to put an improved one in place. That said, the changes are discreet; Bel and Robert remain in situ offering wonderful therapies and a friendly but non-intrusive presence, and Sian's massage is a delight. Took some brilliant skills back for everyday life too, thanks to Bel's chi touch sessions. And of course there are the beautiful views of Llansteffan, a coastal village with a hint of magic, nice pubs and the post offic,e which offers lovely breakfasts with a smile. As for the beach... fantastic and peaceful. Enjoyed the visit immensely and will be back... again.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank EscapeFromEssex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2013

It was our first time visiting Llansteffan - it's quite an easy drive from Berkshire (pretty much just straight up the M4). We arrived at night so we had no idea of the views afforded during daylight. But upon waking up, though, a sun-aided picturesque view of the church tower, castle ruins and the beach/estuary instantly made that 3-hour journey the night before worth it. The internal and external architecture of the house is characterful - simple, functional, accommodating and above all, tranquil. We were looking for self-catering accommodation and the rooms we were in had this. We spoke to the owners and they had a road map of wonderful ideas to upgrade the place whilst maintaining it distinct character. We also met Robert and Bel who were welcoming and very friendly (we did not avail of their therapies yet though). There's lots to see and do locally within a couple of hundred yards radius: beach, castle ruins, pub, restaurant, tennis courts, playing fields. But if you've come to the Hill House for some downtime and simple relaxation then the house will lend you its unique sense of serenity. We look forward to our next visit.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank mmb7733
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2013

Very sadly this did not live up to my expectations. Having been regularly over 9 years, I know that the village and also the house are special places, Llansteffan castle is a wonderful, peaceful place, the beach as close to nature as possible, but sadly the people now running Hill House are not as sensitive, welcoming, or helpful as the previous people.

No lock on my bedroom (had to keep things with me all day), breakfast - even a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee - £6 extra, no offer of therapies, simply not welcoming - I do know it is easier to stay in a guest house than to run one! Perhaps the very high standards set by the previous Heartspring people are difficult to live up to, but sadly, while I will certainly visit the area again, probably not Hill House.

Room Tip: Bay Studio is to die for
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank gross221
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lance1953, Owner at Hill House Retreats, responded to this reviewResponded 5 August 2013

We are sad that you were disappointed, but perhaps the new low key soft sell approach is not what you expected. I believe you attended group therapies before, with prebooked therapies, and perhaps that would have suited you better? Bel did mention to you that they gave therapies, as shown on the website, but was not pushy about it. You were also offered the adjacent box room, with your own key, to store your valuables. The breakfasts you booked in advance had to be thrown away after you decided not to partake of them after all.
Heartspring group therapies are still available in the Cotswolds, and their approach would appear to be more suitable for your needs.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2013

HILL HOUSE REVISITED

As the new website points out, Hill House in Llansteffan, Wales UK is not a hardcore holistic institution for new age soul-searchers. Much better, it’s a unique Victorian guesthouse that offers fundamental circumstances, ideally suited for a contemporary *retreat. A perfect refuge for free spirits, the ones that prefer an individual approach, during their introspective journey. Having been there before - in February 2011 - I promised myself I’d be back one day, since that first retreat had been a miraculous and purifying experience.

Hill House has new owners and caretakers. The transition happened only recently, early 2013, so I was curious to know if this had an impact on the overall atmosphere. The Bay Studio hadn’t been altered, so I felt at home immediately. Lovely, those Morris chairs, new pure woollen stole and big towels, but what to think of the enormous wooden (would-be?) Buddha statue? This one had to earn my faith, I figured, and I changed its prominent position. At hindsight, regaining confidence turned out to be the keynote of my journey within, so I guess this Buddha did have the X-factor after all. I chose self-catering, so I can’t review food or beverages, but I do recommend taking the bus to the organic shops in Carmarthen. Cosy rides, amid happy elderly passengers - chatting cheerfully like a bunch of excited teenagers - and a broad selection of good foodstuffs. The only challenge is to haul your bags uphill and upstairs to your room without collapsing. Luckily some angels instantly sent me master Robert to lift the weight, unasked. A typical Hill House way of problem solving; synchronicity!

Initially I wondered if Hill House had lost not only the illustrious Rozary (garden shed used as therapy room) with the sale, but also some of its enchantment. Fortunately faith built up swift so I’m delighted to declare that the same old miraculous energy has been kept. Take that spectacular free rainbow show! I got one too. Seems to be part of the package. Although the poor building did show subtle signs of bewilderment, after being traded, history showed it has always been a good refuge, standing on strong ground. No doubt ‘Hilly’ will soon feel brand new again. The new owners and management appear to be under its spell as well, and have planned a mindful make-over. The rooms and facilities will gradually get a face-lift (consider a ski-lift too!) and a new garden workshop is ordered. But all that is just cosmetics. Above all things Hill House offers cosmic energy in abundance, which is intangible and priceless. Don’t expect lavish luxury to distract you from your rejuvenating quest. Just picture yourself in a beautiful, friendly environment, in a room with a stunning view. And imagine basic comfort, optional personal guidance, and therapeutic love and care, close at hand. Believe me, I’ve been there, twice, and it works wonders. Hill House revisited. Once again it has been a real treat.

You’re fully welcome to it too!

Marguerite
The Netherlands

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled solo
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Thank Text-Maggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Hill House Retreats

Address: Hill House Hill House Hill House, Llansteffan SA33 5JG, Wales
Region: United Kingdom > Wales > Carmarthenshire > Llansteffan
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Llansteffan
Price Range: £32 - £66 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A choice of 3 large rooms with en-suite bathrooms and kitchenettes, each with a stunning view overlooking the estuary. Grand Suite on the ground floor or the Bay Studio Apartment on the first floor. Alternatively, the Garden Apartment has its own private entrance via the garden. Each apartment is simply furnished with natural and comfortable wooden furniture. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hill House Retreats Llansteffan, Wales

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