New Years resolution #1 in the Norris household was to get away more. Not necessarily somewhere fancy or exotic, but to spend more quality time together. This week Pete is 30 and we have several different things planned to celebrate, but I wanted us to go away together too. In our lives there is no greater gift than time together, but because of the plethora of other things organised, it couldn’t be a luxury trip. After what has become a customary first stop on the Mr and Mrs Smith website, I found The Drawing Room, a restaurant with rooms which looked perfect for some serious relaxation.
After a frantic exit from work on Friday we headed off from Manchester at 5pm burning up the tarmac towards Builth Wells and the Brecon Beacons in mid Wales. After a very slight misnavigation due to the new road that has been built relieving what was previously the main road outside The Drawing Room, we pulled into the car park desperate for a drink and some Friday night R&R. As soon as we got out of the car, the comforting smell of a wood fire drew us towards the stylishly inviting front door.
Our hosts could not have been more welcoming, and they appeared wearing chefs’ whites to instal us in our room where we were left to get ready for dinner.
I had opted for the largest room, and the most expensive, Oliver, which is £120 a night. Completely decked out in Laura Ashley with dark wood furniture an iron bed and a cranberry coloured feature wall, the decor felt warm and welcoming but very smart. The highlight was the bathroom, my reason for choosing this room, decked out in fired earth ceramics with a roll top bath. Although small in stature, it was again very cosy with its heated floor and flooded with light.
All in all the perfect place to unwind.
Guests are asked to come down to dinner half an hour before their booking time, when you are served canapés and olives with your pre dinner drinks. We shared a gorgeous Viognier that evening and really enjoyed sinking into the sofa in front of the fire before being called to our table.
The Drawing Room has only 4 rooms and 4 tables in the restaurant but it is set up in such a way that you don’t feel overly aware of the other tables present and certainly don’t feel self conscious. The kitchen is open adding another dimension to dinner as you can see the owners beavering away, the picture of calm efficiency. The menu is £35 for 3 courses (3 choices for each course, including fish) and preceded by the chef’s velouté. We eventually made our way to bed stuffed, a little tipsy and slept like the dead until 9 the next morning.
I always judge a hotel by its breakfasts and The Drawing Room rose to the challenge admirably. Alongside the usual egg dishes, there was poached haddock and homemade muesli or porridge with honey. A big fan of both, I enjoyed the porridge the first day after asking for fresh fruits with it instead of honey, but was blown away by the muesli the next day. Pete of course did the manly thing and had the full English (or should I say Welsh?) breakfast with very impressive French toast.
After exploring the local area (more to come on this in another post) we spent another couple of hours warming up in front of the fire with a tea tray and leafing through the extensive selection of magazines and coffee table books before making full use of the double ended bathtub and splashing out on some bubbles to start the birthday celebrations. Dinner was fabulous again and we managed to drag ourselves upstairs, no doubt several pounds heavier, to watch a film.
Overall, it was the perfect cosy choice for a low key weekend that involved a lot of doing nothing, no schedule and some serious down time accompanied by fantastic food on site. I’d wholeheartedly recommend The Drawing Room if you’re looking to escape for an occasion, fancy exploring mid Wales or enjoy a foodie break. Every aspect of the rooms, service and food was excellent.
Have you been to or heard of The Drawing Room or does it sound like the kind of place you’d like to visit?