Bishops Castle is a small market town on the Welsh Borders with great character. It is a bit of a time warp, and the kind of place you would expect to find Miss Marple.
The Castle Hotel is an imposing stone built building with a delightful garden at the top of the town overlooked by the ruins of the castle.
New owners took over in July 2010 and have decorated throughout and installed (much needed) central heating . They have been at pains to maintain the character of the hotel, to the relief of the locals.
The steep steps lead into a corridor with a small snug bar on the left with a larger bar beyond. There are up to 4 real ales (Hobson's Best Bitter and Big Nev's are usually available plus different local beers) all in good condition. There are open fires, a bar billiards table and pub games. On the right is the dining room with oak panelling, although most diners prefer to eat in the bar area.
The corridor leads to a small reception desk, which is used to sign in guests and to settle up before leaving. Opposite are the doors leading to the big, wide staircase taking you up to the bedrooms. There are large landings with comfy chairs and occasional tables with magazines scattered around. As in all old buildings the floor is uneven and creaks which adds to the character of the place.
We had a bedroom on the second floor with a sloping ceiling and wooden beams with a view overlooking the top of the town. The bathroom with shower, toilet and sink were off the bedroom. There was a large walk in hanging area with shelves. There was a flat screen TV and kettle with tea pot and plenty of tea bags, coffee and milk.
The bed was very comfortable – the kind you sink into and there were plenty of thick puffy pillows.
We ate in the bar. There was plenty of choice on the menu and food was freshly cooked. Starters and deserts were about £5. Mains between £10-15. The meal was excellent – more haute cuisine than bar food and helpings were generous. There is a reasonable wine menu but we stuck to the Hobson's best bitter.
Breakfast was good too.
If you are looking for fitness suites and swimming pools this is not the place. It offers old fashioned comfort and the attention to detail which makes all the difference.
Unfortunately the nature of the building makes it wheelchair unfriendly. There is level access from the back of the hotel to the ground floor.