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Wales : In their own words : Basel Cottage Holidays

As part of my blog series Wales : In their own words I will be introducing you to the people behind the business, thank you to Sue of Basel Cottage Holidays who kindly gave up her time to answer a few questions.

Name Sue MacGill

What does your business do? Award-winning 5* Dog Friendly Holiday Cottage, sleeping up to 4 people.

What prompted you to start your business? After nearly 30 years as an Army wife and accompanying my husband travelling all around the world and with our only son starting University, I felt it was the right time for me to actually finally settle down. We were fortunate to already own a property in Wales although we had never been able to actually live in it due to our work commitments with the Military. Huge amounts of renovation were required to be undertaken to transform Little Hall into a family home and Basel Cottage into a holiday rental so I made the decision to come back ‘home’ in 2012 to start the work whilst my husband Jonah had to remain overseas working for the Armed Forces. After a lot of sweat and tears, Basel Cottage Holidays finally opened for business in July 2013.

What is your most popular product? Our very dog friendly 17 acres of land that includes enclosed garden, fields, private woodland and access to the River Bran.

What is your personal favourite? The decked terrace overlooking the River Bran and our new addition for 2019 of a further stone and slate terrace complete with fire-pit.

Where are you based? 2 miles from the lovely Market Town of Llandovery, Carmarthenshire in the Cambrian Mountains and on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

How long have you been in business? 7 years.

What are your hours? We are open and available to visitors 365 days of the year.

What is your favourite part of the day? Definitely the evening, when I can finally relax and enjoy the peace and quiet that is ‘home’.

Where is your hidden gem? The wooden cabin that my husband Jonah is building in our private woodland. The whole cabin has been built from the wood from trees from our own woodland that have either fallen naturally or have been felled for safety reasons. The windows have been reclaimed and lots of recycled materials have been used both inside and out. When complete, it will be used as a wood store and an observation site for animal activity in the woods.

What is the easiest/most fun part of your business? Welcoming guests for the first-time, building relationships with them and then finally welcoming them back year after year as ‘friends’.

What is the hardest part of your business? Changeover Day!

Where do you live? Next door to Basel Cottage.

How do you relax? Spending time with my two dogs and walking in the woods. I enjoy doing craft activities too such as mosaics but sadly have very little free time to pursue these.

If you weren’t doing this what would you do? Well, as well as running Basel Cottage, I already work part-time for the NHS as an Occupational Therapy Technician in the local Community Mental Health Team supporting people suffering with serious mental health issues.

Is this the career you thought you would have? I first started my career in hospitality and I really enjoyed it, so it has not surprised me that I have returned to it. During my time accompanying my husband I worked for several years for the Army Families Federation supporting the Armed Forces families so my current job with the NHS is a natural progression. My holiday cottage business and my work for the NHS offer different challenges which may surprise some of you, but which can actually complement each other.

What have you learnt most since starting your business? You only succeed through hard work and going that ‘extra mile’ for your guests. This is our first business and I am really proud at what we have achieved in a few short years. We have a large number of repeat bookers, some of whom, have visited us every year since we first opened for business in 2013. We have also been recognised by winning some Travel Awards including the National Tourism Awards For Wales Regional Winner 2018, Carmarthenshire Tourism Gold Award Winner 2018/2019 and Welsh Enterprise Awards 2019 Best for Dog Friendly Holiday Cottages, South Wales.

Where did you train/learn? On-the-job training mostly!

Where did you grow up? Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Where else have you lived? Are you ready for this? Solihull, Stratford-upon-Avon, Pershore, Crickhowell, Torremolinos, Lisburn, Northern Ireland, Heidelberg, Sennelager & Rheindahlen, all in Germany, Sydney, Upavon, Lille, and Shrewsbury.

What is your favourite meal? Cheese and Broccoli Bake with Baked Potato.

Are you a Welsh speaker? No.

Would you ever leave Wales? Unlikely.

What makes Wales so special? I love the scenery in Wales and the peace and quiet. Locals are welcoming and the community works hard together to promote our town and its sustainability. Woodland, beaches, castles, Wales has it all!

How have you adapted your business during this pandemic? I am trying to stay connected with our followers on Social Media so that they are kept updated as to when we will be able to open for business again. Guests have been really supportive and today I received this message from one of our regulars ‘hopefully we will get through this and at that time a visit to Basel Cottage will be a high priority’.

What are you most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over? Welcoming back our guests to Basel Cottage so that they can enjoy our little piece of paradise for themselves! I am also keen to travel to the Isle of Man where my mum and dad and the rest of the family all live – I miss them so much!

Could you recommend a website? of course! However, if anyone is interested in ‘motorbikes’, raising road safety awareness and supporting the Wales Air Ambulance and Blood Bikes Wales, please visit where you will find details of an annual event I organise with my husband Jonah on the first weekend of July – sadly this year’s show has been cancelled due to the pandemic but we WILL BE BACK IN 2021!

Who inspires you? My parents, who have worked hard all their lives and who are the true epitome of the saying ‘Hard work is the real key to success’.

What is your favourite telly programme? Building the Dream - I think I have achieved this!!!!

Anything else you would like to say? I would like to say a Big Thank You to all our past and future guests for choosing to spend their holidays at Basel Cottage and to let you know that we are thinking of you and sending you all our very best wishes and we look forward to welcoming you back as soon as it is safe again to travel. Finally, thanks to Nellie for inviting me to participate in this Blog and for all the hard work and effort that she puts into promoting WALES and all that it has to offer!

Sue is a Brecon Beacons Ambassador and has completed the Dark Skies, Geopark and Wildlife Ambassador Courses too.  She is also a Carmarthenshire Ambassador.

Thank you Sue, not just for being part of my blog series but also for your support of Wales Week / Berkshire. Can't wait to see you before too long, until then stay safe and keep well.


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