Get boutique style without the London prices at Jolyon’s at No. 10 (from $98), a 21-room property (formerly an architect’s office) in the center of Cardiff, Wales’s newly revitalized capital. The cheapest “compact” rooms are tiny, even by European standards, but the Edwardian-mansion-meets-Soho-lounge décor is handsome: think gold-trimmed rococo chairs, plum-toned wallpaper contrasting with dark wood paneling, and color therapy Jacuzzis.
Have breakfast on your private balcony at the St. David’s Hotel & Spa (from $137), a seaside glass-and-steel tower that hosts celebrities like Lady Gaga and Catherine Zeta-Jones (who grew up in nearby Swansea) when they’re in town. All of the modern, light-filled rooms provide views of Cardiff Bay and the city’s rapidly rising skyline, and every booking includes a complimentary saltwater soak at the spa, best followed with a cup of one of the dozen loose-leaf options and house-made scones during afternoon high tea service ($29).
Leave city life behind for a night at Gliffaes Country House Hotel (from $167), a 23-bedroom Italianate 1888 mansion on a landscaped private estate within 330,000-acre Brecon Beacons National Park. The staff at the family-run property, less than an hour outside the capital, enthusiastically directs guests to an array of hiking and biking paths (bike rentals are $30 per day; arrange in advance) that wind through the surrounding hills and valleys, and also lead fly-fishing courses along the adjacent River Usk.