It all sounds too precious to be true: an Arts and Crafts mansion dating back to the Twenties, in a town called Penarth, in a place called the Vale of Glamorgan — if you don’t know your Welsh geography, you could get the impression it’s some kind of gingerbread house, in some kind of enchanted forest. But the Holm House, as it turns out, is no such thing.
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Penarth isn’t some kind of elfish enclave, but an upscale seaside town just to the southwest of Cardiff, overlooking the waters of Bristol Channel. And Holm House, on Penarth’s Marine Parade, flanked by any number of equally picturesque mansions, is no period piece — despite its historical good looks, inside lies a smart and contemporary boutique hotel.
The twelve rooms are all different, individually decorated in an eclectic, nouveau-bohemian style, with hardwood floors, bold prints, sumptuous bathrooms and the last word in high-tech amenities — plasma screens, entertainment centers, wireless internet, the whole nine yards. And there are plenty of low-tech comforts to go around as well, including Frette linens on the beds, Jo Malone products in the bathrooms, and fine local meats and produce served with a view of the channel in Neale’s Restaurant.