Off the Beaten Path

Wales watching

We love Wales' grand country-house hotels—especially Bodsygallen and Ynyshir Halls—but we're always happy to get a dose of modernism among those 17th-century manses. That's why we were particularly happy to check into Morgans hotel, in Swansea on the South Wales coast. Inside the stately old brick-and-stone building is a brilliant design scheme based on the square, as in square-rigger: leather cube chairs, square bed cushions and headboards, square transom windows that help illuminate the twenty sleek guestrooms. But the design hasn't destroyed the building's Edwardian charm. A stained-glass cupola above the main staircase honors the compass-point winds. French-polished teak doors still stand. A fine barrel-vault ceiling arcs over the chic crowd in Morgans Restaurant. Book the Zeta, one of our favorite rooms, which happens to share its name with a Ms. Jones, a Swansea native and sometime Morgans guest. Just ask the cheery staff for the full story; they'll happily explain. $ Rates, $185-460. On Somerset Place; 44-17-92-484-848;

Hotel prices show high-season rates from the least expensive double to the most expensive suite.

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.