, Pen Cei, Aberaeron, Ceredigion.
With a name like this you will be expecting to be close to the water, and the Harbourmaster Hotel certainly doesn’t disappoint. In 2001 owners Glyn and Menna bought the former harbourmaster’s house in Aberaeron and turned it into a lovely little boutique hotel. It has grown a little since then and now occupies three historic harbour-side buildings. The iconic blue frontage of the original Harbourmaster building has become a famous landmark for the town and the harbour.
The restaurant is well-served with fish and shellfish from the larder of Cardigan Bay so expect the freshest of fresh for dinner. On top of that there is Welsh lamb and beef, Ceredigion cheeses and local organic vegetables. From the restaurant (and the bar) you can watch the sunset and bobbing boats in the harbour from your table. Breakfast can blend into brunch if you’re feeling lazy. Whatever time you decide to start your day, there’s a good choice culminating in a proper Welsh breakfast of Penlan bacon, pork sausages, black pudding, fried egg, tomatoes, laver bread, mushrooms and toast.
The bar at Harbourmaster serves real ales and craft beers from some of Wales’ best breweries. There are 20 wines by the glass from the extensive wine list. There are fabulous Welsh gins too, great cocktails and at the heart of the bar is the La Marzocco coffee machine with iconic Coaltown Coffee. The bar menu is available for lunch or dinner, using the same high quality ingredients as the restaurant, but with a lighter touch.
Accommodation starts with the seven original rooms in the former Harbourmaster’s residence, including the much loved attic ‘Madona’ Suite. All the original rooms have great harbour and sea views. Four more rooms are in the converted warehouse next door with stylish bathrooms, sofas, minibars and lift access. These include the Aeron Queen suite with panoramic views as featured in the Visit Wales TV campaign. The cottage just metres away from the main building has two more bedrooms with harbour-facing rooms, kitchen and lounge.
Aberaeron is a very spcial little place on the edge of Cardigan Bay, a small Georgian town of around 1500 inhabitants, with the tidal harbour as its focal point and some interesting independent shops. Summer in Aberaeron is bustling with some great events, such as the local Tug o’ War across the harbour, the Carnival, Feast street food or Welsh cobs Festival. Off season it becomes a sleepy little town for a break away from it all. And whatever time of year, it is also an ideal starting point for seeing the fabulous scenery of mid-Wales.