By Charmaine Hibbert
St Brides hotel was once a traditional seaside hotel that has been transformed into a luxurious hotel and is the perfect getaway. The hotel is situated on the Pembrokeshire National Park Coast Path and boasts stunning elevated views of Saundersfoot and Carmarthen Bay.
As they say first impressions count and as we enter the hotel it has a warm intimate feel and we receive the warmest of welcomes. I fill out the necessary paperwork and have a friendly chat with the ladies at the reception desk. Whilst my partner is filling out his car registration I take a peak at the Gallery Bar, it has a nice cosy vibe to it and I can't wait to come down and have a drink later on in the evening.
We are lead to our room by one of the reception staff, she has a very bubbly friendly personality and she makes us feel at home. The room has a gorgeous contemporary bathroom that stops me in my tracks I can't wait to jump under the shower and just wash off the day’s journey. The lady informs us we have an iron and ironing board much to my partner’s relief. She also explains we need to fill out a health questionnaire before heading to the Marine Spa – we are booked in for spa treatments the next day - she shows us our robes and slippers which we need to change into before going to the spa.
Time to check out the view and I head out onto the balcony and take in the spectacular views. I know at this point it will definitely be a fantastic weekend. Out comes my phone and I snap away, capturing these memories and feeling content in the moment as the sun gently vacates the sky for the stars to shine.
Our room is aesthetically pleasing and beautifully decorated. I notice the local artwork on the walls which is a really nice touch. It has a home away from home kind of feel to it, and there is just something about being in Wales, taking in that gorgeous scenery and watching the boats bobbing up and down on the water from our balcony that makes me wonder why I had chosen a hectic city life in London over this - it's just breathtakingly beautiful here.
The Cliff Restaurant
Walking through the Gallery Bar we are welcomed by the staff and shown to our table. We are seated and given our menu's and a member of staff gives me a run down of what is suitable for me to consume as I have a nut allergy. It turns out the only thing that is of concern is the bread but that's only due to the preparation of the bread and not because it contains nuts.
I choose scallops for my starter and Kes opts for crab. I am glad of his choice because I have been toying over which to have crab or scallops for the last ten minutes so to be able to taste the crab will be great. The food is excellent here, the kitchen team have used locally sourced produce and both dishes are exquisite.
Kes' has chosen fillet of halibut and talk about a glorious sight to see – it's true we really do eat with our eyes – it's beautifully presented. I am electing to go with the Gressingham duck breast, the sweet onion puree and fennel and marsala jus gives it that extra punch.
Dessert is always my favour part of a meal, or if you listened to the other half he would just tell you I just love to eat. But who doesn't enjoy eating good cuisine? Whilst he is devouring his panna cotta with pistachio ice cream, I am tucking into mine - it's heaven on a plate - I'm not usually a big fan of sticky toffee pudding because they can be stodgy and far too sweet, but this, this right here is a real treat. It slides down easily with my vanilla ice cream, on the menu it does come with clotted cream but the staff were wonderful enough to make a substitute.
After waking up to that stunning view and standing under the wonderfully invigorating shower we are heading into the Cliff Restaurant for breakfast we are excited to see the view we missed at dinner last night, with floor to ceiling glass windows we are surrounded by picturesque views, I'm not sure if there is a better way to start the day. We both decide on a full English breakfast, we haven't had one of those in a while.
As we step outside a light breeze hits us, it's nice and cool against this heat. We are walking down to the beach and I am wishing we had longer here. I kick off my sandals once we are on the sand and it is warm beneath my feet. Kes suggests we walk to Wiseman's Bridge and as we walk towards it he is feeling very nostalgic, it brings back memories from his childhood. The smile that spreads across his face and the stories he relays makes me realise he had such a happy time here all those years ago. He is super excited once we approach the tunnels and I can't help but break into a smile.
We all know a spa is the perfect way to relax and indulge and I have been looking forward to this for weeks. There are lots of treatments to choose from but as I am pregnant I have been advised the best option for me is the 'expectant mothers massage'. I would advise you to book treatments in advance to avoid disappointment, treatments will all depend on availability and from what I can see the Marine Spa is a popular choice so please heed my warning.
The spa uses marine sourced products including seaweed that is designed to encompass the natural healing properties of the ocean. The spa has recently been developed to include the use of sustainably sourced sun-dried sea salt water which you will find in their hydrotherapy pool. What I am enjoying about touring this spa is the fact that it is also all floor to ceiling glass windows and if you do use the hydrotherapy pool you will be able to look out across the harbour and bay.
The hydrotherapy pool is heated to body temperature and includes a jacuzzi air bed and swan neck shower, these are both designed to create massaging sensations to relax the body. The hydro pool is off limits to me as is the thermal suite but I know Kes will enjoy every minute of those, especially the sensation shower with the options of tropical rain, cold mist and gush showers. The thermal suite includes a salt infusion room, aroma steam room, rock sauna and sensation shower and ice fountain. I would be lying if I did not admit I was jealous. But I will definitely be coming back here next year and taking full advantage of the spa.
I am called in first and leave Kes to enjoy himself in the relaxation area. My beauty therapist Hayley is really bubbly and friendly, she leads me to the treatment room and leaves me to get changed out of my robe and cover myself with a towel. I was a bit unsure how the expectant mothers massage would work, but I am able to sit on the chair comfortably and lean myself forward to rest my chest and arms across the bed. As soon as Hayley starts to massage my back I start to tell her how much I need this is, but she can tell as she informs me my back is full of knots.
She clearly has healing hands because it took her all of two minutes for my back to respond to her touch which is unusual for me, but I could feel my stress and anxieties just drift away. My body becomes really light and floppy and the back pain I was having has gone. I am so lost for words I can't immediately respond when she asks me how that felt. I don't think I have ever been so relaxed in my life. For the rest of the treatment I have to get on the bed and lay on my back, Hayley places rolled up towels under my hips so I’m elevated and not laying flat on my back which can be dangerous in pregnancy. I had a gentle massage on my face, legs, feet, shoulders and arms. It is bliss and baby clearly loves it too.
Salt Cellar Restaurant, Tenby
We enter the Salt Cellar and are immediately shown to our table. It is busy tonight but it still has a nice atmosphere, the staff are really friendly and attentive, they were aware of my nut allergy when we booked a table, but the attention to detail and my dietary needs - not just with my nut allergy but also with my pregnancy requirements - really impresses me.
I was a bit unsure what starter to choose, I want the potted prawns but cold prawns are off limits during pregnancy, as is the terrine and camembert, but a member of staff was right there going through the starter list with me and I felt reassured. We both opted to have the braised pigs head with sticky apple, parsnip and braising juices. The starter slipped down as easily as my first St Kitts mocktail. The dish was simply delicious. The saying 'compliments to the chef' rings true here.
The music is modern and the ambience is warm and inviting. I love the daily quotes on the wall and the weather update. The restaurant oozes charm and is unpretentious with the focus on the diner's experience, providing you with quality local produce and excellent execution of dishes and balanced flavours.
I am having the 21 day dry aged Pembrokeshire beef for my main course, the dish consists of a chargrilled rump and glazed cheek, smoked mash, savoy cabbage, onions and red wine sauce and I cannot wait to tuck in, it smells amazing. Kes is having the day boat cod loin, slow cooked oxtail, butter beans, red pepper and Trealy Farm chorizo. Both dishes are elegantly presented. The glazed cheek melts in the mouth and I am really enjoying this smoked mash, all the components work extremely well together. A dish I would highly recommend.
As we head back to the hotel we decide to have drinks and then call it a night so we ask if we can order drinks and take them up to our room - to our delight we can - Kes orders a mojito and I order a mocktail, one called pussyfoot. Mine is seriously tasty, the right blend of sour and sweet. It has been a long day but we are happy to just lay in bed and toast St Brides Hotel and its wonderful spa treatments and the beauty of Tenby, now that is a perfect mix.
St Brides Spa Hotel
T:+44 (0) 1834 812304