Stargazing: Britain's 20 best places to see the night skies
"On the quay in the pretty seaside village of Aberaeron, the Harbourmaster is a chic 13-room hotel that specialises in fabulous Welsh seafood and locally sourced meats. Fuel up in the cosy restaurant for night walks along nearby Penbryn beach, one of the best in Wales for stargazing. There's an added magic of possibly seeing seals, barn owls and even bottlenose dolphins."
Winter weekend breaks
"Prefer boutique to bleak? The exquisitely styled Harbourmaster in the pretty Welsh fishing port of Aberaeron, 16 miles south of Aberystwyth, is just far enough from the harbour mouth to ensure that your Jimmy Choos aren't splashed by winter waves, and just close enough to the quayside for you to watch the fishermen struggling through the wind and rain to unload the crabs and lobsters you intend to devour for dinner. If you absolutely must exercise, join the Wales Coast Path just outside the hotel and take the six-mile stroll to New Quay before getting the 50 bus home."
Good Hotel Guide 2014
"'Very lovely, very Welsh', this Grade II listed former harbourmaster's residence on the harbour of a Georgian town is today a 'buzzy' small hotel with 'delightful service'. Glyn and Menna Heulyn, the owners, are 'hard working and much in evidence': 'They ought to write a book for those who think it is a doddle to run a good hotel.' The bedrooms, 'comfortable, well equipped', are divided between the original building, a converted grain store next door, and a historic cottage two doors away. Each has bold colours, Welsh blankets and a cafetiere with proper coffee; two have a terrace facing Cardigan Bay. There is 'good gastropub food' in the restaurant and 'chic' bar, where chef Ludovic Dieumegard cooks modern Welsh dishes. Their menu might include potted duck, cognac and onion marmalade, walnut toast; loin of Brecon venison, artichoke mash, game croquette. 'Excellent lobster is usually available.' 'Super' breakfasts have fresh croissants, 'unusual' juices and smoked salmon from Rhydlewis. The Ceredigion Coastal path is nearby; bicycles are available to borrow. (FT, LW, PA)"
Pay a Visit
The striking hotel - one of the most celebrated in Wales - combines a Georgian harbourmaster's house, a converted flour warehouse and a cosy cottage to offer the best of Aberaeron's historic waterfront. The nautical rooms mix Welsh wools, indulgent bathrooms, original art and harbour views against a backdrop of vivid colours. There is a busy gastro-pub bar and classy restaurant-both majoring in local seafood and modern Welsh cooking. And you can self-cater in a two bedroom cottage.
"For something posher, the Harbourmaster Hotel in Aberaeron - about a 45-minute drive away - fits the bill. You will need a babysitter but the food and quayside location are stunning. The £30, three-course evening menu is hardly a king's ransom, especially if you go for the beautiful local lobster."
Britain's best seafood escape
"Nautical chic abounds in boutique hideaway the Harbourmaster Hotel on Cardigan Bay in Wales. Its restaurant is based on the ground floor of the original harbourmaster's home and features locally produced Welsh cuisine that has caught the attention of the Good Food Guide every year since 2002. Highlights include Cardigan Bay crab bahjis and panfried sewin (sea trout) with celeriac and white wine cream."
Mercedes Benz Magazine Summer 2013
Felicity Cloake's 10 of the best seaside eateries
"A WINDOW SEAT IS A MUST at this stylishly nautical harbour-side hotel restaurant - table two is the best in the house, although if you haven't booked, you might get lucky in the buzzy bar. This is classic gastro pub fare with a distinctly local slant: Cardigan Bay crab and chilli spaghetti, rack of Welsh lamb with dauphinoise and a great selection of puddings and Welsh cheeses. Real thought has gone into the bar menu too, with Welsh rarebit pizza and faggots and mash alongside the more usual burgers and fish and chips. There's an interesting wine list that's particularly strong on choices by the glass too. For anyone who's overindulged, the Harbourmaster is located on the Welsh coast path, handy for walking off that sticky toffee pudding before continuing your journey."
Ann Abel - Forbes.com
"DREAMY SUITES - My 10 Best Hotel room discoveries of 2012"
Aeron Queen, Harbourmaster Hotel
Wales lives up to its reputation for quirk in the lavender bathroom of this seaside suite. The harbour views from the living room and Juliette balcony are pretty sweet too".
Cheap(ish) Eats - Top 130 restaurants under £50
"The old Harbourmaster's residence with commanding views across Cardigan Bay. Monthly wine tastings are popular, offering seven glasses for £10... A heavenly location adds lustre to this relaxed restaurant-with-rooms."
The Good Hotel Guide 2013
"'Friendly and relaxed owners, Glyn and Menna Heulyn, and their staff make this handsome small hotel 'a happy, buzzy place', say fans this year. The'comfortable and well-equipped' bedrooms, in three historic buildings on the harbour, are singled out for praise. 'Our favourite, Gwalia, has muted sea colours spiced with scarlet Welsh blankets. No cushions!No knick-knacks!No frills! Why can't more hotels be like this?' It is 'good to watch the candy colours of Aberaeron in the fading light'. Fresh local produce-Welsh cheese, locally landed fish, bread baked on the premises-predomiante in chef Kelly Thomas's cooking in the restaurant and 'chic' bar. 'The food is delicious in the straightforward British way of superb ingredients cooked just so, with the right imaginative touches: a tamarind chutney with crab cakes, a tarragon Bearnaise with Welsh beef on the bone. It's the kind of food you yearn for.' 'Super' breakfasts have fresh croissants and unusual juices: apple and cherry, pear and raspberry. 'There's little to fault about this lovely, and very Welsh hotel.' (Lynn Wildgoose, Frances Thomas, Peter Adam)
Straight Off The Vine
"My inspiration for this week's column comes from the wonderful Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival in Aberaeron last Sunday. The great and the good from the Welsh culinary world, including chefs Hywel Jones, Dudley Newbery, Roger Jones and Stephen Terry, cooked their little pans off for the crowd with the odd sip of muscadet and albarino courtesy of Fine Wines Direct. The marauding hordes were then fed and watered at Glyn and Menna Heulyn's iconic Harbourmaster before disappearing into the Ceredigion mist."
"By rights, there should be one of these in every British harbour town: a handsome 19th-century house given a modern makeover and run with precision and flair. It's in Aberaeron, almost with its feet in the water, facing a flotilla of bobbing boats. You'll spend as much time outside as in during your stay, soaking up the nautical atmosphere. The bedrooms are crisp and brightly-coloured; both bar and restaurant offer menus piled high with fish and seafood."
The Times Weekend
Great Pubs For Summer
"The harbourmaster's old residence has become a chic restaurant and bar. Step in to find a space that's cosy but cool with soft shades and blocked-oak tables. Daily menus in the celebrated bistro are studded with the best local produce. If you're staying, wind up the staircase to super little bedrooms. There are even bikes to borrow."
Luxury Getaways in Wales
"Waking up to the sound of sea-spray is a luxury afforded only to few, but with the colourful Harbourmaster on Aberaeron's seafront, there's no better place to wake up to the call of the sea than the stunning Cardigan Bay. A boutique hotel with only 13 rooms..the Harbourmaster maintains an intimate and friendly feel in its sleepy fishing village setting...As with the entire hotel, the Harbourmaster restaurant is smart, bright, contemporary and colourful. The menu makes use of the local produce brought to shore each morning, and at £30 for three courses, it won't break the bank either. Each of the hotel rooms are spacious, comfortable and luxurious with care and attention paid to the indulgent details."
WOMAN AND HOME
"Chic-on-sea in West Wales"
"The Harbourmaster is a city-cool hotel on the most charming stretch of Ceredigion's unspoilt coastline."
"CHECK IN. Step behind the distinctive blue facade on Aberaeron's Georgian harbour to discover bedrooms that mix vibrant Welsh blankets with Frette linens. Top for a tryst: the Aeron Queen warehouse suite with sea-view Juliet balcony.
EASY PLEASURES. Sip morning coffees while watching fishing boats from a sheltered harbour seat. Take a dolphin-spotting trip out into Cardigan Bay.
TRIPS FOR TWO. Free bike hire comes with your room - it's a cinch of a ride to the National Trust's Llanarchaeron villa. Or drive to idyllic beaches such as Penbryn's dunes, which are hidden by woodland.
LOVE BITES. The Harbourmaster's new open kitchen and smart crowd mean you don't need to stray. Rich local dishes such as Cardigan Crab cakes with tamarind ketchup, and Welsh beef with Bearnaise, are total treats."
"The Harbourmaster on Aberaeron's waterfront has a sophisticated feel. After seafood or pizza, dive into a local Welsh cheeseboard featuring organic Hafod cheddar and Perl Las with toasted bara brith. The blue-fronted Harbourmaster has the smartest rooms around - and free bike hire."
VISIT WALESDecember 2011
Voted one of Wales' Top 20 Romantic Breaks
The 50 Best Breakfast Spots
"Open to non-guests as well as overnighters, this waterside hotel and restaurant does some of the best breakfasts in west Wales. Options include porridge with local honey, Rhydlewis smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and the full Welsh monty. Just the thing to fuel up before a hearty coastal walk."
Best Seaside Places to Stay
HARBOURMASTER, ABERAERON, WALES
This cool, contemporary hotel is houses within a purple Grade II building, right on the pretty harbour of Aberaeron.
Top 10 Seaside Hotels
"Idyllically located right on the harbour in the pretty fishing village of Aberaeron, this hotel's 13 rooms are split between three different buildings on the quayside - the Grade II listed Harbourmaster's House, a cottage and a large warehouse. Each room is named after ships that were built in Aberaeron. Some have exposed brickwork and others have antique furniture - but all have a cosy, unpretentious feel. The hotel also has its own restaurant and a bar that specialises in hearty, traditional dishes made using locally sourced produce."
LONELY PLANET MAGAZINE
"We stayed in the Martha Jane, with its own terrace overlooking Cardigan Bay...the room was modern and brightly decorated but in keeping with the hotel's nautical theme"
"We ate in the restaurant...which was wonderful. Our table overlooked the harbour and the menu had a wide selection of locally sourced dishes"
THE OBSERVER FOOD MONTHLY
Best Sunday Lunch
"Looks out over the harbour and serves local produce - lobsters, Welsh Black burgers, cheeses - and on Sundays does a three course set menu for just £21"
SPORTS BOAT AND RIB
Top Boating Retreats
.."the Harbourmaster hotel and restaurant that looks out over the harbour of Aberaeron is a venue that should be at the top of any boater's list.."
ALEX POLIZZI'S LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF HOTELS
52 Secret Destinations in Great Britain
"Standing at the mouth of the picturesque harbour in Aberaeron and flanked by an array of pastel-coloured Georgian houses, the Harbourmaster offers wonderful fresh seafood and sensuous, vividly coloured rooms."
January 30, 2010
30 Great British Weekends
"The Harbourmaster is a neat mix of contemporary cool in a Georgian building"...
"Aberaerons's pastel-coloured harbour is one of the few bases from which visitors are (almost) guaranteed to see dolphins in the wild. For landlubbers there are coastal walks in the wonderful Welsh countryside"
December 19, 2009
50 Favourite Festive Pubs
Malcolm Gluck, wine critic..."It takes dedication to get here, I recently returned from a weekend stay - it is also a hotel....Its secret? Owners Glyn and Menna Heulyn see it as an extension of their family. Indeed the place - and its chattering, pretention-loathing locals - are family. The beers (numerous) are local, the food is local, the staff are local and the weather local."... "Over my weekend I enjoyed a Gavi di Gavi, An Alsace gewurtztraminer, an Argentinian malbec, an albarino and a bottle of Chateau Batailley Grand Cru Pauillac 2004 (for a bargain £45)."
"The large cobalt-blue house that sits at the end of Aberaeron's quay...is known for its wonderful views of Cardigan Bay, relaxing rooms and wonderful food...Favourites include Welsh black fillet steaks and locally landed lobster"
March 22, 2009
Runner up - Best Bar Award
Voted by Observer Readers:
FOOD AWARDS 2009
Harbourmaster "Unbeatable location and a brilliant selection of Welsh Ales."
January 23, 2009
"This sees the start of Farmhouse Breakfast Week - the perfect excuse for Tony Naylor to eat his way around Britain..
"On a crisp, sunny morning, there can be few better places to enjoy breakfast than the Harbourmaster's cafe bar on Aberaeron quay..."
20 Best Boutique Boozers
"...the former harbourmaster's house stands resplendent at the far end of Quay Parade. Original linen-fold panelling and sepia prints contrast well with the building's transformation into a chic seaside hotel. Bilingual menus celebrate the glorious Welsh countryside which abounds with quality seafood and farm produce, whether Cardigan Bay crab, New Quay lobster or lamb reared in the Ystwyth valley. Cooking is simple and unfusssy, allowing the flavours of the quality ingredients to shine through."
"Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron. A cobalt-blue boutique hotel overlooking Cardigan Bay. Don;t miss the fabulous food, wonderful views and relaxing rooms, some of which are now housed in the renovated old grain warehouse next door."
June 15, 2008
Matthew Rhys on filming The Edge of Love in the area: "One weekend we took a short ride up the coast to have lunch at the now famous Harbourmaster, a beautiful restaurant right on the quay in Aberaeron. It has the most amazing seafood."
May 24, 2008
Britain's Best Beach Hotels
"This spectacularly restored Georgian building is celebrating its seventh year under its current owners....A riot of colour and portholes inside. Chef Stephen Evans does a wicked crab risotto. The Harbourmaster manages to combine being a buzzy pub, cosy restaurant and comfortable hotel all at the same time".
3 September 2007
"Why Cymru is the new cool" "Sienna, Kylie, Keira - this summer, all the beautiful people have been flocking to Wales..."
"Grazia finds out why..."
"Another film crew haunt, the Harbourmaster in Aberaeron, was one of the first hip hotels in the area when it opened in 2002, and has been winning awards ever since"
BRITISH AIRWAYS HIGHLIFE
"The fishing village of Aberaeron is a sleepy place on Cardigan Bay in Ceredigion that's perfect for unwinding, especially if you've snagged one of the nine rooms at the lovely Harbourmaster Hotel". "Its cosy privacy is as much a perfect ingredient for a romantic weekend".
"By early next year, the transformation of the old grain warehouse next door will add four new rooms, a bar and restaurant to the hotel's considerable charms".
21 July 2007
"A bright-blue former Harbourmaster's house in Dylan Thomas country with a bar and dining room offering terrific "gastropub" food. Welsh Black at £12 the sirloin, £18 the fillet, came rare, densely flavoured, ferrous, sweet and just daintily blackened. Oysters came from Carlingford and fillets of bass from the Gower Peninsular were bright, intense, hefty and perfectly grilled on crunchy, glistening veg. Lots of wine by the glass too."
July 14, 2007
Britain's Top 30 Seaside Restaurants
"Once a whaler's inn, this Grade II listed building morphed into a smart hotel when Glyn and Menna Heulyn bought it, Although transformed from spit-and-sawdust beginnings, it remains unpretentious and happily free of nautical paraphernalia. Painted an unmistakable cobalt blue outside, its rooms are finished in colours of the sea, sky and sunsets, and are cosy but cool and uncluttered. Prepare to be wowed by the spiral staircase and look out for dolphins in the bay. The food is distinctly local."
March 10, 2007
The Complete Guide to Wales in Style
"A few miles further south along the Cardigan Bay, the colourful fishing village of Aberaeron contains a real treat. The Harbourmaster Hotel is a cool, contemporary boutique hotel in a fine 1811 building."
"The nine unfussy bedrooms (including two in a separate cottage) juxtapose bright colours with exposed Welsh stone. Downstairs, the much-applauded restaurant bakes its own bread daily, and serves local produce such as Aberaeron mackerel, Cardigan Bay crab and Welsh Black beef."
September 30, 2006
"Cosy but cool, this stylish old salt's residence sums up seaside chic. Modern, light wood furniture and paintings of beach scenes are unpretentious and the atmosphere is good and relaxed."
AA HOSPITALITY AWARDS FOR WALES 2005-2006
"This award represents our Inspector's personal choice; somewhere they would choose to stay themselves or would enthusiastically recommend to friends and family. Introduced in 1994, the award is the pinnacle of achievement for B&Bs in Wales"... "Guests at The Harbourmaster receive a genuine welcome which is backed up by the whole team"..."There is also a well regarded restaurant which serves delicious local produce".
October 2, 2005
"All aboard the good ship Harbourmaster, a small and stylish old salt's residence on Aberaeron Harbour"..."Breakfast fit for a hungry sailor includes freshly-baked bread, lashings of local dry-cured bacon and that Welsh salty staple laverbread. Evening meals make good use of the day's catch or you can order tapas in the bar".
One of the "10 Best Coastal Restaurants with rooms".
"Rhesi tai lliwgar, harbwr a hufen iâ. Dyna oedd Aberaeron i nifer o bobol. Ond ers dwy flynedd a hanner mae yna reswm arall dros ymweld â'r dref yng Ngheredigion…"
"My oysters were hardcore, ocean-reeky and silky smooth in the gullet!"
THE SUNDAY TIMES
September 5, 2004
"Glyn and Menna Heulyn have created a beacon of modernity... which earns its Cesar with inspired decor and great food"
July 24, 2004
One of the "Five Best British Seaside Hotels"... "The epitome of seaside chic".
April 17, 2004
"This little seven-roomer is perfectly symmetrical, and painted a rich felt-tip blue. It's seaside chic...very stylish". " The emphasis on local food isn't gimmicky either: the Aberaeron prawns were some of the best I've tasted and the Welsh Black beef delicious".
THE SUNDAY TIMES
November 23, 2003
"The place is lovely - all tasteful, light decor complemented by original features such as the listed spiral staircase and the Welsh slate masonry". "The excellent food is modern but substantial, with more than a few nods to national pride". "Splash out on Madona, the suite at the top of the house, with the best panoramic views and the best bathroom (freestanding roll-top bath and fantastically powerful shower".
April 30, 2003
"a cobalt blue boutique hotel that's modern yet perfectly in tune with this stylish little town". "Food in the restaurant is particularly strong, expect lots of local organic produce and an impressively international wine list".
March 1, 2003
"...a small hotel and restaurant modeled on contemporary designs, it's cosy as well as cool, homely as well as sophisticated".
THE SUNDAY TIMES
January 26, 2003
"as one of the best new properties in Britain and Ireland with a four star rating from the tourist board and glowing reviews, it's a secret they're unlikely to keep quiet for much longer".
January 22, 2003
"New breed of style conscious hotels"..."The Harbourmaster in prime position on the quayside stands out"... "The restaurant is relaxed but the menu is a serious effort to combine the best local ingredients with global influences"
September 17, 2002
"hip hotel where the food is seriously cool too!"
September 12, 2002
"best new places - and most affordable - new places to spend the night".