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Cynefin Retreats, Hereford: hotel review

With open fires, hot tubs and views over rolling green hills, Cynefin Retreats make for the ultimate countryside getaway

Cynefin Retreats: What's the draw?

There's really only one word to describe this clutch of cool cabins in the Wye Valley on the border between England and Wales: lovely. The four one-bed pods are utterly beautiful in both design and location, sitting within a dark sky reserve – one of only four in the entire world – and equipped with wood fires, hot tubs and some of the most sink-in-able beds we've come across. Each cabin faces a slightly different direction, giving you the feeling that you're the only person for miles around, while floor-to-ceiling windows provide optimum views over rolling hills – ideal for just taking a moment to sit and breathe. These cabins are the latest venture from the folks behind Castara Retreats on the Caribbean island of Tobago. The founders have swapped palms for pear trees and endless sunshine for, erm, somewhat unpredictable weather, but the ethos is the same: a focus on eco luxury that maximises the landscape it's set in.

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Cynefin Retreats: What to eat

The cabins are self-catered, although homemade marshmallows are provided for toasting over the open fire. But man cannot live on marshmallows alone, so thankfully the owners have provided an honesty box with a few locally sourced bits and bobs. Beyond that, either make sure you get some food in, or head to the nearby town of Hay-on-Wye, where you'll find cute restaurants and pubs aplenty. Hay Deli is a cornucopia of locally grown and made produce, so pop in to pick up sausage rolls, breakfast pastries, beers and more. If you're driving down from London, you may well pass through Hereford; stop for lunch or dinner at The Book Shop, a frankly excellent restaurant with a focus on locally reared meat, creative cooking and brilliant wines.

Cynefin Retreats: What to do

If there were ever a place to sit and soak up your surroundings, this is it. Read a book on the terrace, star gaze with a bottle of red wine at night, or watch the sun go down from your hot tub. But if you're craving a little more, Hay-on-Wye is just a ten-minute drive away. While we've mentioned it's got great food, it's better-known for its book shops and the annual Hay Festival. Richard Booth's Bookshop is the biggest and best, with both new and second-hand tomes – it's a warren you could easily spend hours in. Antiquing, too, is a major pastime here, so don't forget your credit card. And because you're right by the Brecon Beacons, you're in prime position for long walks through the verdant Wye Valley, too. Lush.

From £150pn. Whitney-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR3 5HU. cynefinretreats.com 

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