A Mid Wales tourism business has received some welcome news this week despite having been in lockdown and unable to welcome guests to the area since March.
The Old Vicarage, a four-star Bed and Breakfast business in Llangurig, near Llanidloes, has been awarded a Recognition of Excellence by HotelsCombined, owned by Kayak and Booking.com, for its consistently high guest reviews.
The award ranks The Old Vicarage among the best hotels and B&Bs in the UK.
HotelsCombined surveys data using a strict set of criteria, such as the quality and consistency of reviews, popularity of the property and the overall resulting score, to identify those businesses which continually produce a high satisfaction level amongst guests and travel industry experts.
“We are thrilled to be working with the best hotels and B&Bs in the United Kingdom,” said Melinda Balazs, HotelsCombined’s hotel awards programme manager. “The Old Vicarage in Llangurig has proven its place among them with this award and its commitment to providing high quality services to its guests.”
Diane and Michael Dean bought The Old Vicarage last summer and opened for business in September, having previously owned a guest house in Llandudno for six years.
“We are really happy to have achieved this award from one of our travel trade partners,” said Michael. “We are particularly grateful to all our guests who have left such positive reviews of their stays with us.”
The Deans were attracted to Llangurig by their yearning to return to the countryside and were looking for a slightly smaller property in a good, rural location with a garden. The Old Vicarage ticked a lot of the boxes.
Set in spacious grounds, The Old Vicarage has four guest rooms, a large guests’ lounge and breakfast room. The Victorian property, which is tucked away within the village, also has many prominent, original features and a wealth of artwork and antiques.
Michael and Diane work closely with local and regional suppliers to offer Welsh produce on their breakfast menu and in guest bedrooms. Michael is also using the UK and international travel trade contacts that he made whilst living in Llandudno to put The Old Vicarage on map to domestic and international visitors.
Despite the current lockdown, the couple is working hard preparing to welcome visitors again once restrictions are eased. The local area is popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
“Business was picking up quickly before lockdown,” said Michael. “We are still taking bookings for later in the year and people who have had to cancel their stays during lockdown have either asked to come later or have booked for next year.
“Once the lockdown ends, provided tourism businesses have the appropriate hygiene measures in place, all the indications that I am seeing online suggest that domestic holidays are going to boom.
“There is a lot of pent up demand out there and people will be looking to escape to rural areas like Mid Wales where they can relax.”
He also believes that international travellers from China and Asia, who have already visited the traditional tourist hotspots, such as London and Edinburgh, are now keen to explore other parts of the UK.
“Wales is a big interest to them because of the culture, history and legends as well as the landscape,” he added. “As a destination, we are well placed to take advantage of this interest.”
Whilst living in Llandudno, Michael became a board member of North Wales Tourism and Llandudno Hospitality Association and did a lot of work with Visit Wales and Visit Britain. Diane is piano teacher who has become a member of a local choir.
The couple have two daughters and one grandchild who live in Canada.
The Old Vicarage is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing mote than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd.