Roch Castle is an early Norman era castle turned luxury B&B hotel with a lovely hilltop setting overlooking St. Brides Bay and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales.
The impressive exteriors testify to the castle’s 12th century origins but, though they display suitably demure colour schemes, the interiors are contemporary chic.
This modern style not be to the liking of some but as the layout is very much that of a castle it still feels somewhat medieval, with lots of oddly aligned walls and ceilings, archways and embrasures on display.
Roch is very much a boutique hotel with just six bedrooms to choose from. They are divided in simple terms as King Rooms and Super King rooms, with the Super King having a little extra space and super king size beds as opposed to plain ol’ king size. They are then sub divided between those having only a shower and those having a shower and bath with the latter having a slight premium. Check your options on the booking page here.
All rooms are minimalist and slick, with light grey coloured walls and pale wood floors, and all luxury hotel mod-cons are offered; flat screen TV, iPod dock, WiFi, digital radio, tea/coffee makers etc., as well as some very plush bathrooms with Phillipe Starck fixtures, boutique toiletries and the requisite bath robes and slippers.
FACILITIES & THINGS TO DO:
The castle is relatively small with the Court Room, a large living room type area, being the centre piece. When they’re not admiring the views from the terrace sun room with its floor to ceiling glass walls, this is where guests usually hang out. It has stylish suede sofas, plump cushions and deep armchairs to sink into surrounded by some very nice art works, much of which were commissioned for the property.
There is a warm, make yourself at home, atmosphere at Roch Castle which is complimented by the self service honesty bar with beers, ales and spirits, snacks, soft drinks, teas and coffees as well as a selection of wines from one of London’s most famous wine merchants, Berry Bros. & Rudd. Breakfast is a great fresh feast with a range of local produce as well as croissants, fruit salads, various egg dishes and a whole lot more.
Lunch and dinner are not served at Roch but guests can avail of the free transfer service to their sister hotel, Twr y Felin, in St Davids around 15 to 20 minute’s away. There they can enjoy fine dining at Blas Restaurant or cocktails and more informal dining at the suave Lolfa Lounge.
They have a small treatment room at Roch Castle which offers a range of massages, aromatherapy, reflexology and various other health and beauty treatments.
Note: The accommodation can not accommodate pets, or children under the age of 12.
The castle sits on a small but strategically important hill overlooking the Irish Sea just outside the village of Roch. The nearest towns are the above mentioned St Davids, and Haverfordwest both less than 20 minutes’ away. The castle has of course lovely sea views and the nearest beach being the long sandy shore at Newgale around five minutes’ drive away. The journey from Swansea should take not much more than an hour by car.
A LITTLE HISTORY:
The castle was built in the late 12th century by Adam de Rupe, a Norman knight with the name Roch coming from the French word; roche, for rock.
The de Rupe family lived at the castle for generations until, after their line had died out, it was taken over by the Walter family in the 17th century. Lucy Walter was one of the first of the family to be born at Roche and she would later become a courtesan to Charles II, eventually bearing him a son, James 1st Duke of Monmouth.
The Walters sided with King Charles I during the English Civil War when the castle changed hands twice, before being finally taken by the Parliamentary forces who then, in 1644, burned in down. The Walters fled the area and in 1685 the Duke of Monmouth would lead a return to the territory before being captured at the Battle of Sedgemoor and later beheaded.
The castle lay in ruins right up to 1900 when it was bought by John Philipps, the 1st Viscount St Davids. He restored the structure with steel and concrete supports and more works were carried out over the following couple of decades. It served as a private dwelling for many years and in that time saw many important visitors, including regular stays by the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.
Its life as a hotel though is much more recent. In 2008 it was bought by the Griffiths-Roch Foundation, founded by local architect Keith Griffiths, and after a few long years of further restoration and renovation it first opened its doors to paying guests in 2013.
WHAT OTHER GUESTS SAY:
“Fantastic Grand Design Experience: Amazing place to stay with the most helpful and attentive members of staff. All the ladies were fantastic. The castle is a very different experience and I felt I had entered the world of grand designs. Loved it and now recommending to all my friends…”
“Wow, where do I start… this place is amazing! From the moment we arrived everything was a pleasure from the staff, to the rooms, the lounge area with the stunning honesty bar. Even breakfast was wonderful, you could have literally anything you wanted if they had it! I asked for a chocolate milkshake and out it came! The castle has been decorated in such a lovely, modern style that made it feel like a brand new 5* hotel but in a 800 year old castle!..”
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- Roch Castle, Church Road