It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged, successful ones for the hotel and tough-ish ones for me.
I had an operation, it was bigger than we thought, and my expected couple of weeks recovery turned into eight. All is well now, but it’s why I haven’t been around so much of late. It’s left me with all the usual resolutions: lose weight, drink less, move more; how terribly boring! I may add discover 27 new gins to spice things up a bit.
For Palé, it’s been an exceptional few weeks with some notable highlights.
On the 21st of November we had a very special evening where Michael, Sir Bryn Terfel and Hannah Stone joined us at Palé to raise money for the NSPCC. £35,000 was raised that evening, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, gift givers, guests, the hard work of our staff and the NSPCC’s organisation. Taking full advantage of the stunning acoustics in the Great Hall, Sir Bryn raised his voice in song and Hannah played. Those few words don’t do justice to waves of soaring, all-encompassing beauty that resonated around Palé that evening, leaving all present bewitched and emotional. When you add the culinary expertise of Michael and Gareth into the mix it was an event that seared itself into the memory of those present. Heartfelt thank-yous to all involved, it was a true example of altruism on behalf of an exceptional cause and Palé was very proud to do its bit.
The early December snow, whilst delightful, was a very mixed blessing. Palé looked beautiful beyond belief. For the few intrepid guests who decided to let nothing deter them, it was a magical experience. In general, it was a disaster for bookings as understandably many guests decided not to risk it. However, credit must go to the local highways agencies who kept the roads very clear and for the main passable with care. On the plus side this year’s seasonal promotions will have some spectacular imagery.
Christmas and New Year celebrations showed how far we have come. Last year we had very few residents for Christmas, this year we were full, the staff working tirelessly to give our guests a true country house Christmas. There were many highlights, carol singing round the piano on Christmas Eve, a guest in a very fetching Santa onesie on Christmas morning, but perhaps it was Christmas evening when the true spirit of Palé shone through: buffet laid out, fires ablaze, carols playing softly, our guests appeared after a post-prandial nap, often in jammies, to put their feet up, play board games, watch old films and make new friends. Perfect. New Year was our busiest night ever with seventy guests, a gala dinner, a jazz band, blow your mind fireworks, all rounded up with bacon butties as staff and guests alike danced together to herald 2018.
Looking forward, we have an incredible lunch and afternoon tea offer available during January and February, a fantastic accommodation offer, available on Voyage Privé going live on the 8th January. There is to be a Valentine’s package, an Easter Package a beer-pairing evening and Michael is here with one of his very special evenings in February. So do keep an eye on the website as we add details.
We also have some very big staff announcements to make. Head Chef Gareth is a happy man as chef Owen Vaughan returns to the team, and our new role of head pastry is filled by chef Adam Cleal who also returns to us from Lympstone Manor. Welcome back guys, we are delighted. We are also delighted to announce we have appointed a Sommelier, Michal Dumny, he joins us from the Grove at Narberth, bringing a wealth of experience thus strengthening and adding breadth to the restaurant team. We are looking forward to enhancing our wine list, re-vamping our drinks offerings and adding some cocktails to the list.
I hope Alan and I are good at saying thank you to our staff. Once again, publicly, we wish to thank them for all they do. Time and time again they are mentioned in reviews for their outstanding work. Our most recent Trip Advisor review underlines this beautifully:
‘Hotels are made by the staff and this is where Palé truly stands out. The owners were both on hand, were chatty and made it really seem like a home and not a hotel (which I know is their goal, well done you have achieved that). Considering the other staff have only been working together for a couple of years they work together seamlessly, true customer service ninjas who are adept at their trade. Both me and my wife remarked at how when the new year was rang in they all gathered together and looked truly happy to be a part of something that gives so much joy to others. Gold star goes to Harry, a lovely gentleman where nothing was too much all weekend. Additionally their GM Pim was a consummate professional, he even let me keep the umbrellas we borrowed as a parting gift!’
No matter how beautiful Palé is, and she really is beautiful, she is nothing without the staff. For their warmth, their care, their work ethic, their willingness to go the extra mile and the pride they have in their work, we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
Happy New Year to you all, thank you for your continued support and here’s to a stellar 2018.