Cae (Welsh for field) Court boutique hotel is set beside the River Ogwr and directly in the shadow of St. Mary's Nolton Church in the small market town of Bridgend. Located in the heart of coastal South Wales and roughly equidistant from Cardiff and Swansea it has excellent transportation links to the M4, the 125 Inter City train line and is 45 minutes from Cardiff Airport. It is therefore easy to reach from most parts of the UK.
Bridgend (or Pen-Y-Bont-Ar-Ogwr as it is known in Welsh) has its origins in the 14th century and could be found on the east bank of the Ogwr River. It started out as a market town serving the county and its agricultural hinterland. As such it did not suffer the impact of industrialisation in the way that other places of a roughly comparable size such as Penarth and Neath did. Being located in the Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg) meant that the principal industry has always been agriculture. Even by 1871 its population was a mere 4000, by contrast Swansea's was 51,000 and Cardiff's 60,000. Bridgend's best export was a green-coloured building stone called Quarella. This fine sandstone can be seen in public buildings all over the region. It was the arrival of the railways in the 1850s that enabled Quarella to be carried all over Wales. The great Victorian engineer Isombard Kingdom Brunel built Bridgend's railway station in 1850 and the west-bound platform is to his original design.
Modern Bridgend has grown. From a population of a mere 13,500 in 1951 to 139,200 it is now the principal town of a county borough that also contains the settlements of Maesteg and the seaside town of Porthcawl. The arrival of the Ford carworks in the 1970s and other industries has meant this former market town has evolved and broadened its employment base while developing a more rounded economy. Access to the Bridgend Industrial Estate is a 4-minute drive away from Cae Court.
Staying at Cae Court gives guests the option of visiting the Vale of Glamorgan which contains such picturesque market towns as Cowbridge (Y Bontfaen in Welsh) which is 20 minutes away, Llantwit Major (Llanilltud Fawr) only 15 minutes away and Ogmore-by Sea (Aberogwr) a mere 10 minutes by car. Bridgend is minutes from 21.7 km of Heritage Coast, indeed only Cornwall and Devon has the same amount of Heritage Coastline as South Wales. So if you like surfing, beachcombing or just walking in unspoilt countryside where the land meets the sea then Cae Court is your ideal base. On the other hand if you like shopping then the McArthur Glenn Shopping Mall is a short car ride away and Cardiff is 15 minutes away by train or 25 by car. One of Bridgend's big plusses is that you don't really need a car to negotiate it - because you can literally walk all over it. The town centre has an amazing 37 listed building dating from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods. A combination of sensitively-executed regeneration projects and a Townscape Heritage Initiative dating from the late 2000s by the local council has seen a pretty and colourful town centre emerge focused around the former medieval market in Dunraven Place. Walk it and see. The area around Market Street, Wyndham Street, Derwen Road, Station Hill and Elder Street is worth a perambulation. Of the 37 listed buildings all but one of them are listed Grade II. There is also a charming riverside walk which can be gained from Cae Court and which culminates at the old river bridge which links Brewery Lane to Quarella Road. This bridge has its origins in the late-Medieval period but was largely reconstructed after 1775. The rock it is made from contains many small fossils and the structure is a scheduled ancient monument.
Like Bridgend, Cae Court is deceptively bigger than it seems. Contained within its sensitively modernised late Victorian Gothic shell are 8 air-conditioned bedrooms, all with heated floors and en-suite bathrooms. The latter have 100% Egyptian cotton bed linen, Robert Langford Monarch mattresses, feather and microfiber pillows. All the bedrooms are decorated to contemporary standards of interior design and there are two deluxe suites right at the top of the building which give a view of St. Mary's Nolton ("Old Village") Church. The latter was also designed by the celebrated church architect John Prichard (1817-86) in 1885 although he died before the spire was complete.
Cae Court has its origins in the past but its eyes on the future. It wants to be the stand-out boutique hotel in the region and to this end offers an exceptional service delivered by a hand-picked team picked with excellence in mind.
The great success story of Cae Court is the way old has been fused to new. The sensitive way this Gothic Revival structure of the 1870s has been regenerated for the 21st century is a story in itself. Almost certainly designed by John Prichard too, its asymmetrical external elevation has a geometric tautness that is a feature of his domestic work. Inside, Cae Court's domestic scale has not been compromised by the addition of a beautiful Yorkstone staircase and a lift that transports guests up through the building. The distinctive pierced bargeboards where the roof meets the walls all serve to make Cae Court one of the most eye-catching buildings to be seen in Bridgend. One room has been made DDA compliant for friendly access.
It would have been very easy to spoil Cae Court with insensitive additions that would have destroyed all its character. Instead this delightful relic of the Gothic Revival now nearly a century and a half old has been given a new lease of life and has people wanting to use it again.
The Eaves Restaurant can be found in a sensitively-designed modern extension to this most picturesque of 19th century buildings. It boasts a fully glazed dining room with views across to the nearby River Ogwr in one direction and the Grade II listed St. Illtyd's Church, atop steep Newcastle Hill in the other. This church is dramatically lit at night. Thus guests and visitors can enjoy a fine dining experience with fascinating views. Prior to eating, an aperitif can be enjoyed in the cocktail lounge with its Danish Petersen brick fireplace. There is a unique wine selection from London merchants Genesis wines which is exclusive to Cae Court as well as carefully selected craft beers and ales, as befits a market town. The Chef sources all ingredients from local suppliers and from Cae Court's own herb garden. After the meal guests or visitors can take to the cigar terrace to smoke without disturbing other diners.
Cae court is available for morning coffee, afternoon teas, lunch / dinner, cocktails and private dining.