We’ve known about Gliffaes for many years and hesitated to put it in the guide despite its fine reputation because it seemed a little large (23 bedrooms), a little imposing, but above all not especially relaxed or personal. Then one day we dropped in by chance and changed our minds.
It’s a superb example of a family-run (now third generation) country house hotel: a stunning location; caring, hands-on management; unpretentious yet with high standards. There’s a friendly buzz, and the young family team of Brabners and Suters really do seem to be good with people. You will probably take away memories of the lovely views from the terrace, grounds falling steeply to the rushing Usk; and of the large grounds with exotic plantings. You might also catch a fish: the hotel a mile and a half of highly regarded salmon and trout fishing on the Usk, with fly fishing courses for beginners.
The decoration is traditional yet stylish. Most of the homely-smart bedrooms are spacious, and one has a four-poster bed. Dinner is a smartish occasion – guests change, but into ‘country casual’ clothes, not black tie. The food is good, much of it from local suppliers, strong on lamb, beef and game. The dinner menu changes daily. Tea (extra charge) is ‘amazing’ according to one reporter – the most lavish spread of cakes, scones and cucumber sandwiches you are likely to see for a while.