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Q&A with Westbrook Court

Published: 26th November 2014

We love Westbrook Court B&B in Hay-on-Wye. This rural retreat offers a choice of 5 stylish suites in a custom built timber clad building- this place has it all. So how did it come about? I spoke to Kari Morgan, the owner, to get the lowdown.

What inspired you to buy Westbrook Court?

After 20 years working and living in London, snatching quick UK weekends away from time to time - we were looking for a change of lifestyle. We wanted a property with land with absolute potential that could far exceed our generous semi overlooking a park in leafy South London.

On a quick break to Hay on Wye three years ago, we were captivated by the chance sighting of the For Sale board and the potential of the ramshackle 17th Century Westbrook Court and outbuildings set in 5 acres, and the potential to build a chic retreat for people like us, that are interested in huge, well designed holiday lofty type spaces.

We loved Hay on Wye on first sight, with the boutiques and art galleries - the Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains and River Wye are our type of landscape in any season. But it was a total leap of faith, as we didn't know a soul here, and had never built from scratch before. The experience I gained in transforming the houses and flats we owned in London stood me in good stead to totally renovate the 3000 sq ft historic house, open my own interior design business, Westbrook Interiors and build our own dream holiday suites. We now also graze sheep, have a clutch of free range chickens and are soon to welcome baby Gloucester Old Spots!

Westbrook isn't you average B& B is it? What inspired the design?

My husband and business partner Chris and I are well travelled, and have enjoyed many a trip away worldwide and in the UK. Chris is in business travel, and I came from the uber design mecca of Clerkenwell/Wapping so between us, we know a thing or three about what discerning guests desire in their home away from home.

My original design inspiration was taken from lots of sources - being Australian, this type of separate guest suite is common in country Victoria, and indeed many other countries, like New Zealand and South Africa. Also, having seen stunning lofts and warehouses in The City and East London, there were plenty of ideas I had to create a great space.

The exterior black profiled metal roof and black timber cladding inspiration was taken from Stealth Barn in Norfolk, with a few add ons to make the building work for our guests. The railway sleeper fence was an idea I had from the beachside suburb where my family live in Melbourne, and I used reclaimed beams from the old site.
The CourtyardThe Courtyard

Gorgeous roooms! So whats for breakfast?

After research and feedback from early guests, we found that weekday guests wanted something quick and easy before getting out the door to explore so we have come up with our luxury weekday breakfast hampers that are delivered straight to the door. These include a selection of pattisseries, home baked breads and jams, hard boiled eggs with platters of smoked salmon, organic yogurt pots, jars of granola/museli, a selection of fruits or berries, breakfast/museli bars and so on.
The Breakfast RoomThe Breakfast Room
On weekends we can offer a full cooked breakfast from our historic farmhouse dining room - set around a huge communal table so guests can swap notes on places to visit. We offer locally sourced sausages and bacon, free range eggs, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs anyway they like, with home baked toast or we can do creamy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon with toasted bagel. We also offer special treats for allergy sufferers, gluten free or lactose free smoothies/baked goodies. We also serve A Roast Aroma coffee and Trumpers tea - both are locally ground/hand blended in Herefordshire.
Freerange Eggs are on HandFreerange eggs are on hand for breakfast.

If we can't drag ourselves away from the room?

We offer in room spa treatments like hot stones or Swedish massages, facials and pedi/manis as well as a range of extras like chilled bubbles on arrival, Belgian chocolates, hand tied flowers and so on.

If we are feeling adventurous?

We have loved learning and experiencing the local outdoor pursuits - you can hire a vespa and zoom through the beacons, go canoeing along the Wye River, take a foraging or animal husbandry course, cider tasting/cheese making days, there are also waterfall walks, hiking in the hills, gliding, caving/potholing and wild swimming are all favourites anytime of year! And of course there is the world famous Hay-on-Wye Festival literary festival too at the end of May.

After a day enjoying the area, each suite has a lounge or private terrace where you can sit and sip a chilled glass of something lovely. However, there are a wealth of local restaurants that are a cut above the normal pub grub. St Johns in Hay is excellent, as is Tomatitos tapas bar. River Cafe in Brecon is great riverside dining. The Stagg Inn Titley and The Griffin Brecon are exceptional and just a short drive away.

Westbrook Court B&B is near Hay-on-Wye, in Hereford, England.
Rooms are priced from 95 / night.
To read more and contact the owner to book, click the button below.


Take me there!

Posted By:
Claire Wills
Claire is the International Editor for CoolStays. It's her mission to scout the globe for new amazing places to show you. You can follow her on Twitter, @clairelewills

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