We have been fortunate to have stayed at Palé Hall Hotel twice in the past month. I recently did a review of the restaurant (click here), and promised a hotel review to follow.
Palé Hall Hotel is situated on the edge of Snowdonia National Park 4 miles from Bala in the upper Dee Valley. It’s in a beautiful rural location.
The nearest mainline railway station is in Chester about an hour away and its also about a hour from the main motorway network if arriving by car.
The location is ideal for exploring the North Wales Coast and Snowdonia. Near to the hotel is Bala Lake the largest in Wales. For the more active visitor there are plenty of water based activities such as sailing, windsurfing and white water rafting.
Palé Hall is a spectacular Victorian mansion set in a 50 acre estate.
The Hotel is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, one of only 28 in the UK and the only member in Wales. It is also the only hotel in the UK outside of London that has 5 AA Red Stars.
The mansion was originally one of the Duke of Westminster’s homes, used primarily for shooting and fishing. It had had many famous visitors over the years including Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria, both of whom have rooms named after them. You can’t fail to be impressed by the handsome facade of the mansion as you approach down the drive way.
On arrival we were greeted at the car and escorted into the hotel by smart friendly staff. Our car was whisked away and our luggage taken to our room.
Lounges and Reception Rooms
The grandeur of the building carries on inside. The Grand Hall with its beautiful wood panelling is at the heart of the hotel with the various lounges and dining rooms leading off. The beautiful decor in the lounges, the elegant furniture, stunning artwork and Lalique glassware makes it feel like a very grand private country house rather than a hotel.
We were shown into the Drawing Room a beautiful room with large windows offering delightful views of the gardens with its huge population of rabbits, brown, grey and black!
We were served a nice glass of fizz before being escorted to our room.
The Churchill Suite
On our first visit we were upgraded to one of the hotels premier suites, The Churcill Suite, where the great man stayed on his visits.
To be honest we were initially slightly overawed by the size, grandeur and luxury of the room. It had a vaulted polished wood ceiling inlaid with intricate stained glass.
A huge 4 poster bed was centre stage with a grand marble fireplace, plush wing back chairs for relaxing and a beautiful dining table with complimentary fruit and Madeira wine. So as not to spoil the character of the room the TV was disguised as a gilt framed mirror above the fireplace.
We were puzzled as to where the bathroom was situated. The door was hidden in the wood panelling in the room and when opened revealed a stunning mezzanine bathroom with a huge copper bath tub! To add to the luxury the toiletries were by Lalique, in keeping with the Lalique glass collection throughout the hotel.
It was like no other room we had ever stayed in! At a rate of £675 per night its unlikely we will be able to afford to stay in it again!
The Carmarthen Suite
On our second visit we stayed in one of the hotels Master Rooms, the Carmarthen.
Maybe not as spectacular as the Churchill Suite but a beautifully appointed suite with stunning views of the hotel grounds and surrounding countryside.
The room was full of natural light. The bed was huge and so high up off the floor you had steps to get in to it!
We were so enamoured by the room that we had to make a huge effort to actually leave it for dinner!
This room definitely had more of country house feel to it, it was luxurious but homely. It would definitely be our choice for any future visits.
In total the hotel has 18 rooms. We saw one of the Classic Rooms on our first visit, which are the least expensive at £295. This was still a stunning room, in keeping with the 5 Red Star rating.
Things to do
Palé Hall is a place you come to relax.
The sweeping lawns and terraces dotted with statues and outdoor seating for warmer days blend into the stunning scenery. A great place to sit with a good book and a cold drink of course.
We were fortunate on both occasions that the weather was good allowing us to explore the grounds and gardens.
If you want to get out and about the hotel can arrange fly fishing on the River Dee or coarse fishing on Bala Lake. Another option is the specialist Gin Venture which as well as gourmet meals and gin tastings, has guests take part in a foraging expedition in Snowdonia and a visit to a local gin distillery. (for further details click here)
If you want to explore further afield, you can be in the heart of Snowdonia or on the beautiful North Wales Coast within an hour.
We did a trip on our second day, details of which will be on the Guestbooks very soon.
Food and Drink
After our first visit I did a full review of the restaurant and the Tasting Menu (click here).
On the second visit we opted for the Classics Menu, a short a la carte alternative. Again we were not disappointed. I started off with a larger portion of the Beetroot Salad which I enjoyed so much as part of the tasting menu on our first visit. Jane went for the Prawn Cocktail, a bit different to your average prawn cocktail with the sauce made with intense lobster bisque, giving it a very rich flavour.
For main course I stayed with the vegetarian theme and had the Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto, another delicious dish. Jane stayed with the fish and had the whole Roasted Plaice with Brown Shrimps.
The star of the meal though had to be my dessert. A warm banana soufflé served with bitter chocolate sorbet, a dish I will remember for a very long time!
To accompany our food we had a light and fruity Fleurie. We enjoyed it so much we ended up having a second bottle!
There was plenty of choice for breakfast including Smoked Haddock, Eggs Benedict and Kippers. We went for the full Welsh breakfast which was excellent, it even included lava bread!
One improvement I feel could be made is the self service cold selection at breakfast. Maybe more fresh fruit is needed and a wider range of cereals?
Definitely an outstanding hotel experience. On our first visit I did raise some minor issues with the hotel manager which I felt needed attention. These were all addressed on our return visit.
Palé Hall is expensive. However for the level of luxury and service you receive I believe it still offers value for money. For a special occasion or treat I would not hesitate to recommend this wonderful hotel.
For more information on Palé Hall visit their website here.
The Guestbooks Comment: “Ring the hotel when booking. You may be able to get a reduced rate for prepayment and a complimentary upgrade.”