When I conjure up what I what from a hotel in my mind, the first thing I always look for is history. An old building with a story to tell, surrounded by endless gardens and an army of staff who want nothing but to please their guests. Thankfully, this style of hotel is becoming frequently more popular than they have been in recent years and country houses across the UK are being renovated back to their former glory and opening up as hotels. One of those hotels is Palé Hall. A magnificent country house in North Wales on the edge of Snowdonia under the Small Luxury Hotels collection.
After around three hours of driving from London, you hit the edge of Snowdonia and make your way through part it on approach to the hotel. Driving, we were so high at one point in the mountains that the sky turned black and the car was wrapped in thick fluffy clouds. It’s rather magnificent and a reason why I love Wales so much. You then come back down to ground level, swerving around the windy roads until you reach the entrance gate of Palé Hall Hotel.
Drive your car around to the entrance and drop your bags off with concierge before heading to the parking area to the side of the property. Approach the large wooden arched doorway, press the bell and enter…
Inside, Palé Hall offers everything I want from a hotel. History, charm, sophistication and grandeur. Not to mention an unforgettable gastronomic experience. As soon as you walk into the property you’re immediately taken back by the reception and lobby area. Wood panelling, a grand staircase, cosy seating and my favourite – the red ceiling. A magnificent piece of architecture and art focused around stunning stained glass windows. It’s something you really need to see with the naked eye. I also loved seeing the paintings of sheep by the talented Rob Reen again, a man I got to meet while him and his late wife Joan Reen owned and ran nearby Ynyshir Hall.
If all the grandeur on arrival wasn’t enough, while your bags are being taken to your room you’re left in the lounge to sip on a glass of chilled bubbles, while you’re given a brief tour of the hotel and its many communal rooms.
Entering a room at Palé Hall is like entering a dream. More sophistication, lots of room and classical design. With the interiors and furniture feeling as though they had been sat in their place for years, it’s easy to forget this is a newly refurbished hotel and a lot of it is new. Though just as much of it has been rediscovered underneath old carpets and wallpapers. Our bed was like sleeping on a fluffy cloud, the linen felt excellent and the attention to detail on the bed and furniture was exquisite.
In the bathroom you’ll also find luxurious L’Occitaine spa products and in the room a generously filled carafe of complimentary Madeira to sip on. I’ve always noticed that about Wales in particular, there’s always something warming and alcoholic waiting in a crystal decanter in your room. I absolutely love that thoughtful touch.
After a quick change and refresh after a long drive, we took ourselves down to the Library for a game of billiards. It’s one of my favourite sports to play in a hotel. There’s also a selection of board games, reading books and playing cards for those wishing to pass the time – though not too quickly hopefully.
Palé Hall isn’t the biggest country house hotel I’ve visited, but it packs a lot into a relatively small package and with its recent revamp – no expense has been spared. One of my favourite rooms to spend time in was the Drawing Room. It oozes glamour and luxury to the max. Magnificent chandeliers, mirrors so big they were meant for giants and furniture I only wished was in my own living room. Especially those Japanese vases by the fireplace.
Next door you’ll find the Seasons Room. A gold and cream accented room which looks out across the hotel grounds and into the lobby lounge. One of its most spectacular highlights is the gilded ceiling. It’s bright, vivid, intricate and absolutely stunning. It’s just another part of Palé Hall which needs to be seen by the naked eye.
While it may be spectacular inside, it’s just as interesting outside. Situated in the tranquil Dee Valley, you can expect an endless walking trails, green gardens and mountain climbing. There’s also a serene river close by and local pub for looking out over it. Both within walking distance. I loved the male statue in the garden, definitely the most sassiest I’ve come across. If the hotel was looking to capitalise even more so on the grounds, I’d love to see some light garden furniture on the lawn in the Summer months to enjoy a glass of Champagne or even afternoon tea.
Technically not a petting zoo, but these pony’s which have a lovely home on the grounds are more than happy to come visit you at the fence for a stroke. They’ve very fluffy and very friendly.
Dinner was spent in the hotels restaurant which is looked after by the talented head chef, Gareth Stevenson and has legendary Michael Caines backing as a culinary mentor. I was lucky enough to eat some of the finest deer I’ve ever encountered and decadent desserts. Read all about my restaurant experience at Palé Hall.
After dinner we seat-hopped across the many rooms and made our way through the honesty bar. With a price list on hand you can free-pour your drinks and tick them off as you sip through the night. Perfect for people like us who love staying up late with a gin & tonic and a few games of chess.
Breakfast the next morning was of course perfect, if not a little slow with service. It’s all about quality and local produce. With a hot selection to choose from on the menu, there’s also a continental buffet selection of pastries, hams and cereals from the counter.
After a swift checkout and a few farewells, we really didn’t want to leave this heavenly hotel. If you’re looking for a home from home with added luxury then look no further than Palé Hall. The return journey back to London through Snowdonia again was a lovely end to our stay. The question is – would we come back? The answer is yes – we’ve already book a return this August 2017.
Palé Hall Hotel & Restaurant
Tel: 01678 530 285