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Review: Y Capel Guesthouse in Conwy, Wales

Review: Y Capel Guesthouse in Conwy, Wales

Wales was a very last minute decision so when it came to selecting accommodation there were limited options left, especially in the small and traditional market town of Conwy. Originally I had booked a hotel in Llandudno, the much larger town next door to Conwy, but then the Y Capel Guest House in Conwy had a cancellation and I immediately snapped it up on Booking.com.

Why was I so keen on this accommodation? Firstly because Conwy itself is a very pretty and historical town that’s a touch more convenient for car travel.

And secondly look at it.

Beautiful

Y Capel is a newly refurbished chapel that had been operating for less than a year; in fact the oldest review I could find for the place was 29th December 2019. The exterior of it looks just like a cream wedding cake. 

I had definitely been suckered by the looks of the chapel and my stay was ultimately a positive experience, although there are definitely things to keep in mind if you wish to stay here.

Night view

But lets begin with first impressions.

Arrival and Check in

When we arrived parking was a small issue as the limited free parking near the chapel wasn’t advertised, nor had it space for us. However it was easy enough to find a space in the large Vicarage Gardens car park a few minutes walk away (£1.20 – 1hr/ £2.50 – 2 hours/ £5 – 4 hrs/ 60p – 6pm to 8am). We were able to park in the Y Capel’s car park for around 90% of our stay, although it was more of a free for all rather than reserved spacing for the guests.

Vicarage Gardens car park

I would have appreciated more information about this on the official website instead of trailing through reviews for parking information. In addition I wished that the car park was truly private since free parking is limited in Conwy and knowing that I have a space to park at night would have been more convenient.

To check in you do so in the sister guesthouse and pub The Erskine Arms opposite the chapel. This is also the eating area since breakfast was included in our stay.

Erskine Arms

The check in process was fast in the busy pub but due to the Covid 19 pandemic the friendly staff member couldn’t take us to our rooms. Instead he handed us our key and additional information in a white envelope. It’d been a while since I’d used physical keys instead of a key card and it was strangely satisfying to hear the metal jangle, although another key would have been appreciated.

The Room

Y Capel Guesthouse was prepared for Covid and had already installed hand sanitisers next to every door. Unfortunately they also had to close off the common area, which looked more like a showroom with its shiny new sofas and solid wooden furniture.

The interior of the building is very much to my taste; full of light, fresh cream paint, warm carpets, tasteful decor and soaring wooden beams. It is a clean, modern and warm environment that I appreciate.

There was also a glass section overlooking the car park.

Our room was located on the upper floor and named Winifred.

The inside was very in keeping with the rest of the interior with high ceilings, a mixture of wooden tones and cute details such as the curtain buttons and patterned wool blankets. 

The standard free tea, coffee and biscuits were available. The free glass bottles of water were unusual and were probably a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic, but mighty inconvenient for when we wanted to take them up a mountain.

I liked all the modern amenities as well such as the sockets and switches next to both beds and the reading lights. 

Our beds were hard enough to my satisfaction which is one of my top priorities in a stay.

The other is the quality of the shower and it was also satisfying. The bathroom had a walk-in rainfall shower with good hot water provided at a medium to strong pressure. The sink was also generously large and the whole space was squeaky clean and compact.

As for toiletries and the like the towels provided were amazingly large and the bath lotions appear of good quality.

This was a very nice room, but there were a few nitpicks. For example for any small toiletries such as toothbrushes and toothpaste it wasn’t clear that you could pop over to the sister pub to request for one. Other minor inconveniences included:

1. The sink taps could be a little uncontrollable pressure wise

2. The blinds for the skylights were stiff from being so new and opening and closing them with the provided stick was a little difficult and noisy (hope I didn’t wake people up in the morning)

3. A luggage holder would have been helpful

4. No mini-fridge – although this may have been a Covid issue

5. Y Capel provided a “pick up and go” breakfast service form which is a great idea if you have an early start with lots of planned hikes – however they didn’t provide a pen to fill in the form

6. The most minor point is that the bathroom door looked a little cheap – as if they didn’t even varnish the wood and this stood out in a room full of wooden furnishings

So all in all I was very happy with the room. However if you are to stay in Y Capel there is a definite deal breaker deserving of its own section.

Those bell chimes

There’s a reason why complimentary earplugs were next to our beds when we arrived and I was warned by reviews beforehand.

Y Capel has a noise issue with its bells.

Located next door to St Marys Church, it’s the town’s tradition to have the clock chime every 15 minutes throughout the whole day, including the hours between 1am to 6am with no exceptions. 

St Marys next door

How loud these bells are depends on the individual and the particular room, and I’ve read subjective opinions ranging from these bells being as quiet as a baby’s whisper to a full ear assault.

A loud baby – Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Our room isn’t the closest to the church but it definitely affected us differently. My partner slept through the whole thing whilst I found myself struggling to nod off even with the earplugs.

I became intimately sensitive to the bell’s patterns.

One bong for quarter past…

Two for half past…

Three for quarter to…

Four for every hour along with a deeper sounding bongs signalling the hour of the day…

I found myself dreading every full hour which taunted me with the exact amount of time stole from me. As a result I didn’t get a very good sleep during my time at Y Capel and wished that they warned us/provided noise cancelling headphones/not rung those bells when people are sleeping.

Apparently the pastor of the church himself requested that the bells be stopped between the early hours but this was heavily shut down by the residents of Conwy who wanted to keep this tradition because it’s historical.

Did you know that in China foot binding was a tradition for thousands of years and people did it mainly because it made women look delicate as they totter around struggling to walk on baby sized feet? The idea is that it instils a protective instinct in men and they would want to marry these stumbling women.

The ideal sized feet – Photo by Megan Menegay on Unsplash

They mostly stopped it now because it…erm…permanently disabled women and people mostly frown on that now. Some people in remote areas still do it though because it was a heavily ingrained tradition i.e. it can be seen as severely impacting a girl’s marriage prospects if not done.

So some traditions are better off gone in my opinion.

Yes my example is pretty extreme and probably came from a very angry and sleep deprived part of my brain, but the point stands that arguing that a tradition should carry on mainly because it’s been happening for a long time is not a valid argument to me.

I was only there for a few days so it’s ultimately not my place to say what Conwy should do with its own bells save for sharing my grumpy experience.

So the bells are the main reason why I can’t completely recommend Y Capel to everyone; because otherwise it is by far one of the most charming places I’ve stayed in at a very affordable price.

And that’s before describing the delicious breakfast.

The breakfast

Breakfast was at the Erskine Arms next door and we were provided with a full menu with a selection of choices.

I tried the Full Welsh which included black pudding, eggs, sausage, tomato and mushroom. There were a few items which I requested removed from the meal since I wasn’t a fan.

The Erskine Arms is famous for their black pudding and deserve its reputation because this was the first black pudding I’d tried that I genuinely like and didn’t get stomach issues from. It was more crispy than dense and had a nice toasted taste to it. The eggs were bland but this went well with the salty bacon and juicy sausage. This all paired nicely with the perfectly warm tomato and bouncy mushroom.

I had my meal with warming Lemongrass and Ginger tea in the pub’s handsome and traditional interior.

I had lighter meals on the other days and they were also delicious and highly recommended; including the grab and go breakfast for the day we hiked Mt Snowdon. There was a bit of wait for the bag since the staff didn’t see our completed questionnaire but they rushed through our order in record time.

Grab and go breakfast

Conclusion

I really enjoyed my stay at Y Capel and wish it wasn’t blighted by sleep issues. Ultimately I’m glad I chose this place and will say that the quality of the accommodation just about nudged out the noise issues. I don’t know how a longer stay will impact my thoughts on the matter though, perhaps my review would’ve been less glowing?

If you were to ask me to stay there again in the future I probably wouldn’t unless I have a very good pair of noise cancelling headphones.

I stayed for three nights at a cost of £360 including breakfast and this broke down to £60 per night per person which is perfectly reasonable.

Details

Y Capel Guest House

Website: https://ycapel.co.uk/

Address: Y Capel, Church Street, Conwy, LL32 8AF

Check-in: 15:00 – 22:00

Check-out: 11:00

9 thoughts on “Review: Y Capel Guesthouse in Conwy, Wales

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      Charming place to stay, but I agree with you, those bells would be a deal breaker for me. I’m a light sleeper. On another note, the food looked delicious!

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      This seems like such a cool and unique accommodation but constant bell chimes would definitely keep me up, too!

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      I am building my list of things to see and do in Wales. Will definitely need to add Conwy to the list. I would never have thought to look for accommodations in a former chapel. But they had done a great job at creating an open and airy spot. But the bells might be an issue for this light sleeper!

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      This place looks charming but I must admit the bells would be a deal breaker for me. I wouldn’t mind all day but I’d be visiting wales to explore the fells, rivers and beaches. I wouldn’t want to be drained the next day. Maybe they can invest in some soundproofing in future to help.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      What an absolutely amazing place! I haven’t been to Wales yet – but I’m very curious what it is all about and would like to visit as soon as possible. And this place will definitely be my home for a couple of nights 😉

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      Great Capel Gesthouse review. The place seems very nice and cozy, situated in the picturesque scenery. I would love to stay there when visiting Wales.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      This place looks so cute! I love the details, all together they make this space seem so cozy, I’d love to get stuck inside on a rainy day here, reading a book. The food looks awesome too.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      Like you, it would be easy for my husband to sleep through those bells…but I won’t. It’s too bad…I would have loved to stay in a chapel! But Wales beckons.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      Y Chapel Guesthouse looks so cosy. Would love to stay there someday. Wales is on my bucket list !

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