West Wales beckoned once again. Usually we stay inland – we like the countryside – but this time, we fancied something a little closer to the water. Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront couldn’t really be any closer and hugging the dock wall in Nelson Quay, Milford Haven, it really feels like it’s part of the hustle and bustle of the harbour.
Milford Haven is probably best known for its oil refinery but don’t let that put you off, it’s miles away in the distance and, at night, twinkles in the darkness – very Bladerunner-esque. The harbour is very pretty at night too, but let’s rewind a little and start at the beginning.
We were driving from Rhoose and despite the Welsh Government’s insistence on replacing the Welsh dragon with a snail, we made good time, tootling along at 50/55-ish on the motorway. We like to pop a podcast on and just get there when we get there. We’d left promptly on the Thursday due to a crack-of-dawn work meeting which was a great excuse to get an early start. Heading west along the M4 in the morning is much more enjoyable than driving east and once past Swansea, traffic quietens a lot.
We were at the hotel in no time and, having arrived extra early, thought we’d park up and go for a wander. Incidentally, there is a free car park just across the road from the rear of the hotel which is handy. The marina is full of boats of all shapes and sizes. If that’s your thing, you’ll be in boat heaven. If it isn’t, then there are several indie eateries, plus boutiques, galleries and shops along the quayside to browse in.
Just behind the hotel is the award-winning Milford Haven Museum. Not the biggest museum in the world but it packs a punch. On this particular day we were fortunate enough to be greeted by volunteers Christine and John. While Christine looked after reception, John kindly showed us around. His local knowledge is extensive, and he effortlessly recanted tales about life in the area over the decades. If you are remotely interested in history, you will love this place. It’s a real asset to the area and genuinely interesting and well curated.
We were booked in for a tasting dinner later at ‘dulse’, Tŷ Milford Waterfront’s in-house restaurant, but thought we had enough time to pop across to Dale, a lovely beach front village a mere twenty-plus minutes from Milford Haven. And we’re glad we did; it is quite lovely there. We had a drink in The Griffin and got chatting to some visitors from Chepstow. They had enjoyed lunch there and said it was superb. The Griffin is definitely somewhere we will return to as several people have recommended it for its fish menu. We shouldn’t be surprised really, back at the hotel, we watched several fishing boats come and go – you can even buy fresh fish and seafood on the dockside. I suppose Milford harbour is the equivalent of Newlyn in Cornwall – working harbours still supporting a local fishing industry. It would be desperately sad to see their demise.
With fresh fish on our minds, we were looking forward to the evening’s event and, after a quick freshen up, we were enjoying dinner with a lovely group of fellow publishers. Normally this wouldn’t be something we warmed to but the guests on our particular table were lovely and very good company indeed. It was refreshing to share thoughts, experiences and ideas about our various businesses. The food was exceptionally good, and we all agreed that when dulse launches its new menu to the public, it will be a huge success (by the time you read this, it will certainly be available).
After a great night’s sleep in our fourth-floor room (418) overlooking the harbour, we were keen to see what the day would bring. Breakfast at Tŷ Milford Waterfront is the usual buffet affair and it’s neatly laid out in a cool, curved annexe just to the right of the main dining area which runs the full length of the building ensuring guests are almost guaranteed a great waterside view. The décor is very stylish and colour blocks and bold patterns abound. It’s quite European looking and we liked that.
After breakfast we had planned to head for Carmarthen to see a movie (The Creator) at the Vue Cinema, via Tenby. Tenby has always been a favourite of ours and every time we visit, we see something different or find a new nook to explore. After a lovely hour mooching around the town and harbour while enjoying an ice cream, we set off for Carmarthen.
Carmarthen is across the border in Carmarthenshire (Milford Haven being in Pembrokeshire). What’s the difference you might ask. Well, in our humble opinion, Pembrokeshire is more like Cornwall and Carmarthenshire a little like Devon, but we love both counties. We thought we heard more Welsh language in Carmarthenshire – Jennifer is a Welsh speaker, so it was a good opportunity to brush up occasionally. She doesn’t get much chance in the Vale. We enjoyed a nice hour revisiting some old haunts and was surprised by how much the town had changed. There’s a large market and plenty of galleries and eateries. Carmarthen is well worth a visit if you are in the area or passing through.
Back to Milford Haven. We were so impressed with the taster menu the night before that we booked ourselves in for dinner. What followed was an exceptional three courses. If the owners’ hope is to position dulse, and Tŷ Milford Waterfront, as a food destination, they were certainly going about it the right way. I would say the images would sell it more than anything I can write but I honestly don’t think they do. The fish, as you’d hope, is especially good.
The movie, The Creator, sadly, was a little disappointing, unlike the area and our hotel. The room, the ambience, service, starters, mains, and desserts were, in a word, flawless. If you love food and want a great location from which to explore some of Wales’s most beautiful coastline and countryside, Tŷ Milford Waterfront could be hard to match. The pricing is very reasonable and everything about this hotel, and dulse, is incredibly good.
In Welsh, tŷ means house. I’d argue that the Tŷ Milford Waterfront team go above and beyond and, just for a few days anyway, turns this particular house into a lovely home from home.
Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront
Milford Haven SA73 3AA