Shut the gate and you might never leave. Even though the rugged beauty of North Wales unfolds within a winding bend or two and the bright lights of Chester glint on the near horizon. This is luxury on another level – three levels, in fact, of boutique beauty, unexpected excellence and sun terraces by the river.
The Watermill’s cogs may have stopped turning, but they’re still visible. They’re a unique reference point in a unique building geared for making family memories or happy hen weekends. Inside, the mill’s all underfloor heating, roaring logs, preserved beams, and rainwater showers. But the luxury continues outside.
Inside, Waterwheel House is a fantastical creation in architectural glasswork and contemporary beauty. Take the spiral staircase down to the cinema room, alive with Apple TV, Netflix and Amazon. Let rip on the jukebox and karaoke machines. Sleep in giant suites, embedded in hotel-grade cotton and lulled by the ripple of the river.
In a quietly whirling maelstrom of main events, the outside space here could be the one that steals the scene. Among the zen-garden tranquillity, you can throw open the bi-folds and extend the kitchen to sear your barbie meat on the sun terrace.
Or maybe you’ll relax on the pond-side deck sofa, where the damselflies hover over the lilies on the pond. Light the firepit at night and watch the flames crackle beneath the stars. Or chill on the riverside deck, to watch the dippers fish and the brown trout leap, as the water babbles over the weir.
A bridge built for Pooh sticks arches over the river, home of darting fish and serene ducks. Cross the bridge to find the riverside picnic meadow for sandwiches and squash with a view over the mill gardens.
Pick from seven outrageous living spaces to get together with the people who matter most, or drift apart to savour the zen-like sounds of nature. Waterwheel House retains its cogs from a bygone age, but everything else is repurposed, revamped and realigned with Century 21. It’s a masterpiece of boutique interiors and architectural glasswork.
On the middle floor, chillax in the log-burner lounge, with your toes wiggling in their socks and the flames licking the glass sides of the burner. Hug your coffee and nab the window seat, to watch the dippers fish and the trout leap. Or get a similar view from the reading room through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Tying it all together with its three-storey galleried staircase is the grand hallway. Here you can sit over the waterwheels in the window seat to watch out for arriving guests, or get the party started with champers and canapés. Everywhere you look, materials hewn from the natural world induce a soothing serenity.
Up for some fun? Head down the spiral staircase to the cinema room. Get the house together for a box set on the big sofa and summon up Netflix or Prime on the Apple TV. Then get the jukebox jumping or make your own music on the karaoke machine. Amp up the competition with pinball or table football in the games room.
A rose could bloom in the desert and, if you’re a cordon-bleu chef, you’ll succeed anywhere. But surrounded by your NEFF double oven, hob, American fridge-freezer and coffee machine, and amid a panoply of high-gloss units, brick tiles and granite worktops, you’re sure to shine.
If you’d rather put us in the spotlight, though, while you watch the riverwater wash gently past the windows, call up our chef for some candlelit cuisine. We’ll even do the dishes afterwards. On hot nights, slide back the glass and extend the kitchen into the garden for fabulous barbies above the garden, river and pond.
Usain Bolt could reach the nearest gastropub in 9.58 seconds. But you can feel free to amble. The Holly Bush is worth the wait, with an extensive menu and buzzing atmosphere. Or head out a little further to the Pant-yr-Ochain for the open fires, lakeside garden and occasional model railway.
At The Corn Mill in Llangollen, the only thing better than the jumble of beams inside and wide decks over the river outside is the menu. Watch the steam trains come and go as you sample the Appleby Cheshire cheese and potato pie, butternut squash and sage tortellini, or home farm pork and leek sausages.
Waterwheel House sleeps ten in five bedrooms, including two suites, and one with direct garden access. Bury yourself in hotel-quality sheets, snuggle down in front of smart TVs, and wrap yourself in fluffy white towels as you drift off to the soothing sounds of the running river. Bring your own cots for little ones.
Suite One comes dripping in luxury and yawning with space. Pull back the sliding door to the waterwheel-adorned rain shower en-suite with slipper bath and walk-in wardrobe. Drift directly out to the garden from the terrace doors. Or bag the loft-style suite on the first floor with king bed, rain shower en-suite and walk-in wardrobe.
There’s a lofty feel to the riverside triple as well, equipped with a double and single bed. Savour the riverside views and pop out for easy access to the spa bathroom. Or take the king bedroom for exposed beams and Velux window, begging to be opened for relaxing river sounds.
Finally, bedroom five is a super-cosy single with Velux window and easy access to the shared spa bathroom, which comes with invigorating rain shower and the whisper of the water outside the window.