Palé Hall Hotel
Time for a Treat
Anna and I decided it was time to treat ourselves with a trip to Palé Hall. We haven’t had the best of years thanks to a sudden and very unexpected heart attack. This has meant I haven’t quite been myself for a while. The various Coronavirus disruptions have meant that we haven’t really done anything, haven’t really been anywhere and haven’t been on holiday.
We had some savings and I guess a ‘near death’ experience puts things into perspective. You can’t take savings with you, so it was time to enjoy it. We don’t need much of an excuse for a treat but as excuses go these were as good as any.
Of course, Morgan didn’t want to go anywhere with us. He was no doubt secretly looking forward to a couple of days at home on his own. This meant that we didn’t want to go too far. We stubbled across a very luxurious looking hotel just outside of Bala.
Palé Hall Hotel
Palé Hall is a destination for quiet retreat, comfort and culinary indulgence. Situated in the tranquil Dee valley this grand, historic, high Victorian mansion has an idyllic woodland garden rolling down to the banks of the river.
The hotel features eighteen luxurious, individually styled bedrooms with sumptuous décor, each with a beautifully appointed bathroom.Pale Hall website
It looked like the perfect place enjoy exceptional standards of service in a friendly, informal and relaxing atmosphere. Just what we needed.
Fitting in at Palé Hall
Upon arrival we drove up the gravelled drive and managed to park in what was probably the staff car park. Perfect, as we were able to blend our little Peugeot 107 in with some other ‘normal’ cars. The actual visitors car park could be seen enclosed by high railings housing a Porsche, a couple of Lexus’s a Mercedes Benz and a Skoda. Even the Skoda was brand new and fairly high end!!
We were happy to leave our car where it was and arrive at the hotel doors on foot. We were greeted at the door and soon signed in where our bags were taken to our room for us. Meanwhile we were shown around a few of the comfortable sitting rooms and chose to sit in the light and airy ‘Seasons’ room. It had an immaculately decorated ceiling, loads of original features and furniture, ornate stonework, carved wooden fireplace and door along with fittings and artwork to suit.
A Warm Welcome
We were presented with a complimentary glass of champagne and could start to relax whilst soaking in the atmosphere.
Log fires flickered in the numerous fireplaces throughout the house. Original artwork adorned the walls. Some old, some much more modern. I particularly liked the modern paintings of sheep!
The windows framed nice views of the lawns and the surrounding gardens and woodland. Despite its age the house was warm and comfortable. Some rooms were darker and cosy but most were light and open. Modern conveniences such as wifi and electric sockets were available everywhere but it was all done in a way that was in keeping with the building itself.
The power for the building comes from its own hydro-electric plant. That eco-friendly self-sufficiency is carried throughout the ethos of the hotel and its restaurant. Home produced or local products are used as much as possible.
We were staying in one of the smaller rooms called ‘Chirk’. So, after a little tour of the three dining rooms and a little bit of history about the house we were shown our room. The staff were of course all very nice.
The room was plenty big enough with a window that overlooked a courtyard. The bathroom was impressive too. Complimentary tea and coffees were available along with some biscuits and bottles of water. The water they use is from their own spring too so the bottles proudly displayed the fact that it used zero food miles.
There was also a complimentary bottle of mead that we sampled. We chilled in the room for a while before heading down for dinner.
The dinner experience started in the main hall with a couple of delicious canapés and a discussion about wines. It wasn’t really a discussion as such as we are clueless when it comes to wine.
The wine list described their cellar in detail and had pages and pages of wines from their collection. It may as well have been written in Mandarin as far as we were concerned. So, I just kind of said that I’d start with a glass of whatever white wine they suggested. They of course confused matters by asking what sort of wine I liked! They did thankfully start giving me some options such as dry, smooth, fruity… Fruity, that sounds good, I’ll go with that!! Next, just out of earshot we could hear them discussing ‘fruity’ wines – had I picked the wrong one? I hope that wasn’t a problem. Oh well, we’d find out soon.
Anna (sensible as ever) took the easy option and just said can I have a glass of the house rosé please. That was it for her, no additional questions, no jeopardy, no wondering if she’d made the right choice. Some people are so smug!
We were soon taken into the Henry Robertson dining room where we sat in the bay window ready for our dinner.
The wine was sat there waiting for us so I took a sip. It was certainly quite fruity! It was nice though and to my untrained palate tasted grape-fruity.
A 5 Course Taster Menu at Palé Hall
This is what we were here for really, another dining experience courtesy of a 5 course taster menu.
I won’t list every course as by the time we include breads, soups, pre-desserts and dessert, there was definitely more than 5. Every one was delicious though and every one was immaculately presented. It was quite heavy on mushrooms but I guess that was fitting with the fact that it was autumn and they like to use seasonal, local produce. Here are a few photos from dinner, including one of Anna making a funny face that I couldn’t resist as she looks as though she’s just been caught eating someone elses dinner!
We could have gone for an 8 course taster menu as opposed to the 5, but 5 was plenty. The 8 course menu was completely different rather than being the same menu with a few extra courses which was good.
There were a few others dining too and they seemed to be having a wine journey along with the meal. So they were being presented with a new glass of wine for each course, along with a lengthy description of the wine, it’s nose, it’s flavours and great detail about the grapes and various fermentation processes. It would have been interesting for sure and probably something of an education for us, but it might also have been wasted on us too.
We had a quick look in the library after dinner but didn’t stay for a game of pool.
We were staying for two nights so had two breakfasts. The first was in the Huntsman dining room with its warm atmosphere and bar, the second was in the Venetian room with it huge original range. I think for breakfast we preferred the light, airy and slightly less decadent feel of the Venetian room.
The breakfast was of course top notch with a wide selection of offerings.
After a day out in nearby Llangollen we headed back to the hotel for a stroll around its grounds and for dinner number two.
The grounds were nice and bathed in sunshine. As well as formal gardens to the front of the house, there are extensive lawns to the rear, a pond a stream and plenty of woodland to explore. There are also a few shetland ponies and a donkey too.
We’d decided to go with the Bistro menu tonight to try it out. We weren’t disappointed and had another delicious 3 course meal. My sirloin steak was lovely and Anna’s cod looked nice too. The salted caramel parfait for dessert was good as well. This was all served in the Huntsman’s Dinning room and I plumped for a beer tonight to keep things simple.
All in all it was a lovely couple of nights away and quite a treat. The only negative was the fact that I had a flare up of my chest pains so it was touch and go for a while on Monday night as to whether or not we needed an ambulance. I suppose if we had then the hotel staff would have remembered us for that rather than for the inappropriate ’fruity’ wine that I had ordered – I’m not sure which I’d prefer!!
They do Christmas breaks at Palé Hall which I imagine would be nice. It’s the perfect location for it, and the perfect building, especially if it was cold, crisp, Christmassy weather outside. I’m sure the log fires, Christmas decorations and Christmas feasting would make for a pretty special Christmas.