THE first rays of sunlight illuminate the clouds of billowing steam around my head, turning it into a sepia-soaked fog.
Submerged up to my neck in warm water, I pat myself on the back for waking early enough to drink in the dawn with nothing but bubbles and the birds for company.
I’m slouched in an infinity hot tub, watching the peaceful Carmarthen Bay emerging from a blanket of morning mist.
It’s the final day of my midwinter break at the Dylan Coastal Resort, a luxury hotel and spa built with an emphasis on rest and relaxation, both of which I’ve experienced in generous quantities.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Laugharne, this 5H resort is every bit as relaxing as a tropical beachside complex — and you don’t need to fork out for a plane ticket to enjoy it.
We’re staying in the Milkwood Lodge, a three-bed holiday home with two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, generous living room, complete with Netflix subscription, and a patio with a table, chairs and the aforementioned six-person hot tub.
For two people, the lodge is very comfortable. But it’s big enough for a family, with beds and space for four people.
From our perch on the hillside, we enjoy uninterrupted views of the lush green hills, the silver waters of the Taf Estuary and the sublime Carmarthen Bay in the distance. It’s a charming and immensely peaceful corner of the country and the view from the tub is spectacular.
The resort takes its name from the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who drew inspiration for many of his famous works from Laugharne’s stone houses, quiet lanes and cosy pubs.
Down by the seaside, there are the ruins of a medieval castle which stand guard over the estuary’s mouth. A short walk further down the water’s edge is Thomas’s former home, now a museum to the man and his literary achievements.
Wandering about the streets in the middle of winter, it feels as if we have the place all to ourselves.
If you are more about pampering than exploring, you will certainly be kept happy at Dylan Coastal Resort’s on-site spa, Milk Wood House.
The complex is a £7.5million addition to the resort and houses a gym, heated indoor lap pool, outdoor infinity spa pool, a sauna and steam room, plus a wide selection of health treatments from the repertoire of luxury wellness brand Ishga.
Day of tranquillity
No matter where you are in the building, the view is centre stage. A giant two-storey window runs the full length of the indoor heated pool which fills the complex with golden sunlight.
After a quick workout in the small but well-equipped gym, I’m ushered into one of the massage rooms where, over half an hour, an excellent masseuse works the kinks out of my muscles, leaving me ready to sink into the hydrotherapy infinity hot tub, before struggling to get back out.
Use of the complex itself is included in the price of a stay in one of the resort’s lodges. However, appointments for any of the many health treatments are extra and must be booked in advance.
If you can tear yourself away from the spa, the entire top floor of the complex is taken over by the Milk Wood Bar and Kitchen.
And although the lodges are well kitted out for cooks, the restaurant is an absolute must for fish lovers, with a menu centred around local seafood and ingredients sourced from nearby farms.
We chose a starter of succulent calamari and fresh mussels, followed by steak and chips and all washed down with a locally brewed beer. It was the perfect ending to a day of tranquillity.
Whether it’s vegging out in front of the telly, drinking in the view or basking in the many heated pools, a trip to this sleepy side of South Wales is guaranteed to help lower the heart rate.
STAYING THERE: Two nights’ self-catering at the four-person Milkwood Lodge is from £365 in total.