Royal Oak Hotel
The Royal Oak Hotel is in Betws-y-Coed, in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. On first view it looks like a castle of its own, with ivy and wisteria climbing the stone walls. Inside, the stairwells have original stained glass, there are views from the rooms over the Llugwy River (known for its majestic waterfalls), and the accommodations are very comfortable (and warm!) Unique to this hotel is the angelic sound of a resident harpist during the evening dining.
Snowdonia is a walker’s paradise, and there are trails and paths to take in every direction to special sites or just to while away the hours. The Royal Oak staff supply a packed lunch. You can take this into the Gwydyr Forest Park, which contains many remains of former metal mines. Below the surface of the forest lies a labyrinth of tunnels that run to scores of miles. Most metal mining occurred between 1850 and 1919, but there is also evidence to be seen of some shallow mining carried out by the Romans who were in the area almost two thousand years ago.
Caernarfon Castle is nearby to the north, a fortress built by Edward the 1st in the 13th century. Just south of the Royal Oak Hotel is Portmeirion Village and Gardens. This fascinating area was the setting used to film the cult series “The Prisoner,” with Patrick McGoohan, in the 1960s.
The Royal Oak Hotel also has a spa-like salon and indoor swimming pool that is lovely on rainy days.