Flanked by the more popular areas of Pembrokeshire and Swansea, you might be forgiven for overlooking Laugharne. But to do so would be to miss one of Wales's most appealing and most historic villages, and one of its finest new hotels. Browns' story goes way back to the mid-1950s – the days of Wales' most infamous alcoholic literature export, Dylan Thomas. Allegedly Browns' pub was one of his favourite watering holes, although how many of them he had we don't know. Still, having such a famous endorsement did not save the hotel from closing its doors in 1959. The Browns pub annexe managed to stay open for another 47 years, but it also closed in 2008. If you speak to the locals of Laugharne, they'll tell you that the hotel (and pub) was the centre of the entire village. So it's a good thing that local businessman Nigek Short came along and restored it to its former glory. Once past the traditional exterior of the hotel, there's a lot of well-thought-out detail to admire. The combination of rustic original beams and stonework embedded in new concrete is ruggedly stylish, the black and white pinstriped carpet adds a touch of new glamour, whilst the Dylan Thomas-inspired murals add a touch of history and symbolism to the place. Every room is decorated with post-war memorabilia, and whether you opt for the luxury suite or just a standard cosy double, all the rooms are dripping with character and luxuries – roll top baths, flat screen TVs, and instead of the Bible you'll find a volume of Dylan Thomas's poetry in the bedside table. But the best thing about the hotel is the location. Laugharne is a mesmerising village and easily explored on foot. Cool things to see include Dylan Thomas's boathouse and writing shed, Laugharne castle and the stunning surrounding estuary which inspired so much of Thomas's finest work.
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