Looking for a mini-break at a luxurious country house hotel within easy reach, Andrew Penman found the perfect venue at Llechwen Hall Hotel near Pontypridd.

Finding ourselves with a week off work in late summer but lacking the motivation to tackle a long drive, my wife and I were lucky enough to find an ideal spot for a supremely comfortable night away from home with a first-class meal thrown in.

Situated just 20 minutes off junction 32 of the M4, north up the A470, Llechwen Hall Hotel boasts a stunning hilltop location with panoramic views over the Cynon Valley.

First built in the 17th century as a family residence, Llechwen Hall has had quite a history – serving as a school, a jail and a pub before becoming a hotel in 1990.

Since it came under new ownership in 2008, the traditional Welsh long house has been transformed into a top-notch modern hotel with a three-star rating from the AA and Visit Wales.

And a recent £1.9m expansion, comprising of a sympathetically-designed new wing, has more than doubled its capacity to 44 rooms – all ensuite with shower and bath facilities and each offering views across the splendid Welsh countryside.

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As part of the overhaul, a spa, treatment rooms, and gym will open to guests in early 2020, making it an ideal base for exploring the valleys, visiting the nearby Brecon Beacons or the Dan-yr-Ogof Caves.

Or for the handily-placed Treforest Industrial Estate, Tesco Extra or Trade Centre Wales – the choice is yours.

We checked in late in the afternoon and were happy to sink into a comfortable bed to recover from our arduous journey before nipping downstairs to sample the superb seasonal fare on offer at the AA Rosette-awarded a la carte restaurant.

Guided to our table in the romantic setting of a candle-lit oak-beamed orangery by our attentive waiter, we knew we were in for a treat.

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As vegetarians we were extremely well catered-for, which is not always a given, but committed carnivores will certainly not go to bed hungry with signature steaks, Welsh lamb and spice crusted hake all on offer.

And make sure you leave room for the imaginative and delicious desserts.

While we were eating, a newly-married couple were being photographed outside and this beautiful little corner of Wales certainly provides a sublime backdrop for your special day.

With a dedicated wedding team and function suites for up to 300 guests you will certainly be a happy couple.

And a hearty breakfast followed by a brisk walk in the fresh hilltop air will blow the cobwebs away the morning after the night before.