Where to stay in Wales
Accommodation in Wales ranges from shiny chain hotels in Cardiff to boutique boltholes in the countryside. Five star hotels in Cardiff are thin on the ground but there are plenty of moderate properties worthy of a stay in the city; the same is true of Swansea. For those looking for something a little different, a selection of Wales' finest hotels can be found at Welsh Rarebits (rarebits.co.uk). Standards vary, with price not always an indicator of quality but star gradings can give some idea of the level of facilities. In the most rural outposts, it's not always possible to find a hotel, but alternatives such as B&Bs or guesthouses are usually available.
Grading: VisitWales, VisitScotland, VisitBritain, the AA and RAC have now agreed common standards for quality assessment. Hotels and guest houses are classified by from 1 to 5 stars.
Bed and breakfast
Bed and breakfasts and guesthouses are available throughout Wales. Usually a cheaper option than a staying in a hotel, B&Bs may be the more appropriate option for those visiting rural areas, or on a budget. Properties can range from not much more than a few rooms in a private house or rustic farmhouses, to a grand townhouse on a par with the best hotels. A list of B&Bs can be found at Visit Wales (www.visitwales.com).
Camping is very popular in Wales, despite the tendency for rain! It's a great way to see the Welsh countryside up close, with hundreds of campsites and caravan parks in the country. Standards differ, but all sites referred to by Visit Wales (www.visitwales.com) will meet certain minimum requirements.
There is a wide variety of self-catering accommodation, ranging from holiday villages in or near popular coastal resorts to remote cottages in the mountains of Snowdonia. In terms of unusual accommodation, Wales is well-served. The Landmark Trust (www.landmarktrust.org.uk) offers several unique properties where guests can stay such as castles, and charming cottages, whilst elsewhere it's possible to hire lighthouses. In addition, with the current trend for glamping beginning to take off, it's possible to spend the weekend in a yurt or a Romany caravan, rather than a standard tent. Hostels are also very popular, particularly within hiking areas, and standards run the gamut from high end hostels to basic bunkbeds. Find a list of recommended hostels at YHA (www.yha.org.uk). It pays to book in advance during the summer.