Short break - Palé Hall Hotel & Resturant, Bala, Gwynedd
- Credit: Archant
With its glamorous transformation into a stunning five-star hotel Palé Hall is a jewel in the North Wales crown
Not many people have the audacity or, indeed, the resources to take on a country mansion beloved by everyone - including Queen Victoria - and transform it into one of the finest hotels in Wales.
But that is exactly what Alan and Angela Harper did when they bought beautiful Palé Hall in Bala back in 2015. Standing high above the Dee Valley with a spectacular backdrop of stunning Welsh hills, Palé Hall is testament to the couple’s own love of one of the most important mansions in Wales, as well as their impeccable good taste.
Over 11 months, the finest local craftsmen sympathetically restored the hall to its former glory, while adding all those contemporary touches a guest expects to find in a luxury retreat.
Around 40 workers spent ten months renovating the 1871 house – ‘open wallet surgery,’ as Alan calls it – and now the gorgeous mansion is not only a member of the Small Luxury Hotels group but has received the prestigious five-star rating from the AA, making it the only property in North Wales to achieve that much-sought-after accolade.
Alan and Angela were personally involved in every detail of the refurbishment and the result is an elegant mix of the old and new. There are 18 individually designed rooms, beautiful light-filled public areas that include an opulent drawing room and tranquil parlour overlooking the grounds and a very special highlight - the amazing wood panelled Churchill Suite, where the celebrated PM is alleged to have played snooker on his many visits to Palé
The hall is crammed with the Harpers’ antiques, artwork and glass and essentially decorated like a warm and welcoming country house that resonates with the history of a bygone era.
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Enter the stunning Palé Hall drawing room, where the gorgeous Biedermeier sofas were all sourced personally by Angela, and feast your eyes on the details. Palé has retained its original fireplaces, panelling and plasterwork while Zoffany wallpapers and James Hare silks round out the elegant aesthetics. Angela also re-stencilled the original library walls that were buried under countless layers of old wallpaper.
Sure to be in demand by those visiting the hotel is the Victoria Suite, which was a home away from home for the monarch herself on her ten-day stay in 1889. Legend has it the bed is the very same one she slept in on her sojourn.
One thing is certain, Queen Victoria would have been spoilt for choice had she been staying at Palé Hall today, as it has not one but three dining rooms catering for formal, romantic or private dining.
The Harpers have a team which includes chef Michael Caines MBE as an adviser and Palé’s Head Chef Gareth Stevenson, who ensures that fine-dining is at the heart of Palé Hall Hotel and is already gaining recognition with multiple AA Rosettes.
Palé Hall,is situated in an idyllic location just outside the Snowdonia National Park, with a backdrop of the dramatic 2,500-foot-high Berwyn mountains, once the stronghold of Owain Glynd?r.
Leisurely drives in either direction from the property take you on roads that weave from hamlet to hamlet along the Dee Valley, or if you fancy being a little more active the valley is rich in hiking and cycling opportunities, while the River Dee is a fly fishing haven.
The hall is an extremely dog friendly property too and not only has a dog area in back for washing but provides doggy robes, treats and bedding.
Palé Hall Hotel & Resturant, Llandderfel, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7PS, 01678 530 285, www.palehall.co.uk