Flick the switch to off and disconnect from the office, the responsibilities, the rituals, the congestion and the howling sirens of everyday life. Embrace the true you on the mid-Wales border, where the red kites hang high above, the night stars glitter like Christmas and every day ends with a glass of Prosecco and a dip in the pipingly pleasant hot tub.
At Mandarin Lodge, sleeping eight in the grounds of Godolphin Hall, you can do as much or as little as you like. Shoot some clay, fly wild birds, play a Test match in the gardens, take to the trails. Or just settle back on the Indian flagstones, get the barbie going, top up your glass and chill among the Breidden Hills above the Meifod Valley.
Book the tennis court, catch some Netflix on the smart TV, load up the log burner, watch the river rumble past. Eat together around the dining table with the light flooding in through the patio doors, or al-fresco in the crisp sunshine. You’ve been running on empty. Refill and refuel your life with the things that really matter.
Here in Welsh border country, among the Breidden Hills, the garden goes on for ever. The rugged hills stretch skywards and time dawdles long enough for you to enjoy the piping hot tub as the sun dips over the Meifod Valley.
Life is short but, when it rumbles past at the pace of the Tanat River, it seems longer. Go ahead: fly-fish the time away. Walk the five acres of parkland among 2500 semi-mature and specimen trees. Play a little tennis, break out the boules, wander the woodlands, sear your steaks on the terrace, set up a test match on the lawn.
Do as much as you want, but it’s the simple pleasures you’ll remember most. The clean air, the rushing river and the setting sun. This is time’s very own garden.
Inside Mandarin Lodge, the tranquillity washes over you like a rock cascade. Just add a little wonton to the Eastern artefacts and you’re there. Stare out of the window and the view doesn’t spoil anything: the Breidden Hills may not be massive but they concede nothing in beauty.
There’s plenty of cosy wellbeing here, too. Walk the woodlands, then come home to the blazing wood burner, stare into the flames, spark a little conversation and call up a few tunes on the surround-sound Bluetooth. Or make it a movie night with Netflix or Freeview on the 50” smart TV.
This is open-plan living at its finest. Glide from the leather living-room chairs to the kitchen island breakfast bar, to the huge American fridge, to the dining table, and from there to the outside terrace and the great, wild outdoors. Life here flows as smoothly as Bordeaux from the bottle and butter across fresh bread.
You’ll get eight easily around the dining table with its picture window, but you might prefer to eat al fresco in the clean border air beneath the red kites and the big, clear skies. Wherever you eat, it’ll be all the better for the double oven, four-ring induction hob and American fridge/freezer.
Stock up on local honey and jam, Welsh brisket and lamb, and all manner of seasonal fare from Llynclys Hall Farm Shop. Get stuck in yourself or call on Beth. She’ll raid her own smallholding for free-range pork and eggs and in-season veg, to magic up relaxed evening suppers, big buffets, and celebration cakes and puddings.
Pop out to Powys pubs that include The Station Grill and The Sun Hotel, or try The Bradford Arms for steak, fish, pizza, pasta and seasonal veg. If it’s fine dining you’re after, AA-rated Sebastian’s offers duck breast or Celtic Pride beef fillet.
Want to take it easy? There’s a chef who can make your special occasion one to remember in the comfort of your home away from home, so settle back around the dining table and let the chef work their magic. Or ditch the dickie bow and dial up a takeaway from Simla Tandoori and wash it all down with craft beer or a Burgundy from Momentum Wines.
You won’t have known sleep like this. It comes with an irresistible combination of rural silence and bedrooms that echo the serene oasis of Mandarin Lodge. Pick from Flamingo, Wisteria, Kingfisher or the ancient history of the Pagoda. Bedrooms here are islands of tranquillity in a crazy world.
Mandarin Lodge sleeps eight in four en-suite superking or twin bedrooms. There’s an easy flow to the outside through double-glazed sliding doors that sit at the foot of your handmade bed. You’ll find contemporary elegance here goes hand in hand with five-star indulgence.
Wrap yourself in fluffy bathrobes, pamper yourself with Aromatherapy Associates goodies, take a power shower, then feel 400-count Egyptian cotton bed linen next to your skin. Sleep the kind of cloudlike slumber that results from hypoallergenic hollow-fibre duvets and pillows, and pocket-sprung mattresses.