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Palé Hall’s Rural Charm

Courtyard 0833 hr edit (1) min.

Hand-crafted, luxury experiences curated by our team—speak to our concierge to learn more

By Olivia Bennett on 8th April 2024

Winding along the rural roads on the fringes of Snowdonia National Park, four miles from the quaint village of Bala, you can’t quite imagine that Palé Hall is in your vicinity.

Part of the esteemed Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel group, Palé Hall’s remote location, immersed in the rolling hills and crashing waterfalls of North Wales, is all part of its charm. The front of house teams gracious attention to detail is seamless; from being greeted with valet parking to being ushered in to enjoy a glass of Lanson Champagne as you unwind from your journey by the roaring fireplace. Guests are instantly enveloped into the warm Welsh hospitality that will dominate your stay.

The History

This 150-year-old mansion, complete with spiralling turrets exudes traditional elegance. Originally designed in the ornate Jacobean style for railway engineer Henry Robertson in 1871, the period features have been lovingly preserved, with a high-ceilinged grand hall, sweeping ornately carved wooden staircases, and intricate cornices. Side note: you’ll spend a lot of time looking up to admire the beautiful ceilings. Used by the Duke of Westminster as his private shooting lodge in the 1950s, the now hotel remained largely untouched until 2015 when current owners Angela and Alan Harper stumbled across the property and instantly fell in love with it. Painstakingly restored under their vision, Palé Hall is a historic home brimming with period charm, coupled with slick 5* service.

The Rooms

The hotel was visited by the likes of Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill (both of whom have grand suites named after them). Each of the 18 rooms is individually decorated, to appeal to a range of interior tastes.  The preserved period features are authentically complemented by Angela’s acute eye for antique furniture, objets, and pretty Zoffany furnishings and William Morris wallpapers. I stayed in the beautiful Caernarfon room, with a generously-deep chrome freestanding bath, chintzy floral details, and expansive windows for unspoiled views over the undulating lawn below. Careful to enhance the home away from home, discreet considerations have been made: there’s no mini bar, instead a chic leather basket with all you need for your morning tea or coffee, TVs are cleverly disguised as antique mirrors to compliment the period aesthetic. Proud of celebrating local produce, bathrooms are complemented with fragrant Noble Isle products and guests are welcomed with a bottle of local Mead.  

The Dining

Decadent dining is the order of the day when at Palé Hall. It was indeed the first hotel in Wales to attain a green Michelin star, an accolade it still proudly holds onto. With a variety of rooms in which to take breakfast, the hotel never feels too full, even at full occupancy.  Kickstart a day of exploring the grounds with a hearty full Welsh breakfast, freshly baked pastries, and creme pog (their own cultured pancakes accompanied by a tart berry compote).

Quintessentially British Afternoon Tea is a refined affair: take your time selecting your chosen brew from an array of teas before savouring an assortment of delicate finger sandwiches, plump scones and exquisite cakes. Tea is taken in the beautiful regal setting of the Henry Robertson room: a wedding cake of a room with gilded mirrors, an ornate original ceiling and filigree chandeliers.

Dinner is where the hotel truly excels, decadent tasting menus centred around sustainable, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients executed under award-winning Head Chef Sam Griffiths. Our feast began with fluffy-yet-smokey potato sourdough served with Palé’s cultured butter. We sampled wild sea bass served with seaweed butter, succulent partridge generously laden with shaved truffle and Jerusalem artichoke, a selection of the creamiest local cheeses followed by zingy British blackberries with peppery iced celery, before an almost-too-pretty-to eat savarin topped with ginger chantilly cream and gold leaf brought the meal to a close. 

The Extras

Take a stroll through the beautiful 50 acres of surrounding gardens, dotted with bouncing rabbits. There are also great cycling and running routes the front of house team can point out. Further afield the team can coordinate fishing experiences, and not far the hotel lies the kaleidoscopic town of Portmeirion.

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