Great British Boltholes: The Corran Resort & Spa, Carmarthenshire

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  • Eirwen Oxley Green discovers a glamorous getaway in the wild south-west of Wales

    Eirwen Oxley Green discovers a glamorous getaway in the wild south-west of Wales

    Why go? For peace, stunning scenery, fine food and a famous literary link.

    Best for: A feeling that you’ve really got away from it all. The Corran lies just outside the historic town of Laugharne (which rhymes with the word ‘yarn’, in case you’re wondering), where the poet Dylan Thomas lived and wrote some of his most celebrated works. 2014 is the centenary of his birth, so be prepared for scholarly sightseers and the odd school trip. And more than a few sheep….

    Warm Welsh welcome: relax by the fire at The Corran

    The look: It’s all about unobtrusive, rustic glamour here. Think high-backed velvet armchairs, exposed beams, twinkling chandeliers and – after the sun’s gone down – countless flickering candles. The Corran’s 21 individually-decorated bedrooms are large, sumptuous and thoughtfully furnished in a mix of contemporary-meets-Celtic by way of historic Welsh prints and a sprinkling of antique furniture. If you like a soft place to rest your weary head test your mattress, as they can be a tad hard. Away from the main house, and positioned around a pretty lawned courtyard, there’s also The Byre, which consists of four separate suites, while The Great Barn has another six – a good choice for families or hen parties. Meanwhile The Cottage comes with a fireplace and a huge bathroom…

    Just grand: a bedroom at The Corran

    I’m hungry… The Corran’s restaurant is a gorgeous space, with a menu focused on local, seasonal ingredients that are not phaffed about with. For breakfast you can start the day with a trio of pancakes served with warmed local honey, or some eggs Benedict with a melting Hollandaise sauce. As evening falls, the vaulted dining room becomes the hub of the hotel, with magical lighting, smiling staff and a West End pianist/singer just the right side of cabaret. At the end of my evening here, everyone joins in with a rendition of ‘Delilah’, and we’re all the better for it. A bottle of house wine starts at £15.95, while the rack of Welsh lamb (£23.50) is perfectly pink and tender.

    Away from the hotel, the Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire coastline is dotted with pretty little towns, many of which offer excellent fresh fish and chips. Head for the Marina Fish Bar ( in Saundersfoot, where you can choose your own fish before it’s battered then cooked to order.

    Beach bliss: breathe in some fine Welsh air on Pendine Sands ©

    While you’re there… This part of Wales is all about enjoying the magnificent coastline, so make the short drive to Pendine Sands, which is so flat, huge and unspoilt many of the early land speed driving records were clocked up here. A few miles inland, you can enjoy woodland walks, a wildflower meadow and a colourful walled garden at Colby Woodland Garden ( For Dylan Thomas aficionados, The Boathouse ( in Laugharne – where the writer lived – is a must.

    Dress code: Cool casual, though a bit of sparkle at dinner won’t go amiss. Take layers and comfy shoes for windy coastline strolls, and don’t forget your cossie – the hotel also has a spa and pool.

    What we saw: Sister Sledge. Safe to say this wasn’t your usual Saturday night at the sumptuous Corran (sartorial choices aside), but it was perhaps one of the most memorable in a while, as the trio from Philly shook their booties and pumped out hit after indelible hit to the breathless delight of the crowd.

    Live@ The Corran is a recent venture for the boutique hotel, and aims to bring big-name, crowd-pulling acts to this intimate setting in Wales’s idyllic Taf Estuary.

    And so far, so good – evidently – with the announcement that construction will soon start on a dedicated concert pavilion that will accommodate 1,200 – ideal for gala dinners, weddings and, of course, any superstar disco divas that happen to be passing through.

    While Sister Sledge may have been the headline act of the night, the divine Mica Paris had already thrown her all into an impressive set that showcased her soulful vocals and decade-spanning back-catalogue.

    And let’s not forget The Real Thing, who amped things up another notch (minus the spandex this time) with many of their dance classics from the past 25 years, including Can You feel the Force and Can’t Get By Without You. And truth be told, You To Me Are Everything, as the sun set over the surrounding marshland, was a goosebumps-on-arms experience that gave everybody a loving glow – not just the couples in the audience.

    While ‘intimate’ is a much-bandied term in the context of hotels – and, it has to be said, music venues – The Corran has managed to pull off something of a master stroke with its Live@ venture. There was a genuine harmony, if you’ll pardon the pun, between the glorious setting and the sheer class acts on stage, and the fact that there was a notable absence of heavy-handed security and sight-blocking barriers just added to the simple feeling that, if you’re going to experience great live music, this is a pretty fabulous way to do it. And you know what? I think it’s safe to say we all got lost in music.

    Book now: The Corran Resort & Spa, East Marsh, Laugharne, Carmarthenshire SA33 4RS (01994 427417; Double rooms cost from £150 including breakfast. A taxi from Carmarthen rail station takes 20 minutes and costs around £30.

    Info: The town of Llareggub (read that backwards) in Thomas’s famous radio play Under Milk Wood was based on Laugharne, so it’s only appropriate that you read it while you’re here (£5.99, Phoenix). Pembroke & Gower Footprint Focus Guide (£5.99, Footprint) is a regional guide; for more things to do see


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