Two Michelin star chef Michael Caines is to oversee the refurbishment and relaunch of Palé Hall hotel, a grade-II-listed property in North Wales.
Located within a 50-acre estate in Llandderfel, near Bala, Gwynedd, the Victorian hotel is currently closed after being acquired by telecoms entrepreneur Alan Harper and his wife Angela, a former headteacher. The property, which benefits from one of the oldest surviving hydro-electric generators in the UK, has been on the market during the course of the past four years, variously priced between £2.45m and £2.95m.
Caines, executive chef at Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon, has no investment in the hotel, but will be using his experience to advise the Harpers, who are new to the hospitality industry, on operational systems, accounts, marketing, and human resources, as well as the restaurant. He will play an integral part in appointing the general manager and executive chef.
Caines told The Caterer that he will launch Palé Hall alongside the development of his own personal luxury hotel project, 21-bedroom Courtland House with a 60-seat fine-dining restaurant in Lympstone, Devon.
"Palé Hall and Courtlands House will be two very similar businesses and will be able to share economics of purchasing and scale, as well as cross selling and marketing activities once they are open," he explained.
"Palé Hall is a beautiful building and the Harpers are a very astute couple who have the passion and desire to create a lovely hotel. It will be my role to bring my huge experience to the project."
The hotel is expected to open in around October next year, with Courtlands following in early 2017.
Angela Harper said that she and her husband will restore the property to its "full splendour" while ensuring "the utmost sensitivity" is shown to its period features.
"While we'll be making a significant investment in refreshing the facilities, everything we'll be doing will preserve and gracefully enhance the property," she explained. "The last thing we'd want is for this to be an over-designed, formulaic hotel; we want Palé Hall's unique, individual character to be central to our guests' experience."
Harper added that the hotel will play a significant role in the local community. Contact has already been made with Coleg Cambria regarding training staff and work experience opportunities.
With the announcement of his involvement in Palé Hall, Caines is taking steps to plan his future beyond Gidleigh Park, where he has headed the kitchens for 21 years. On 1 October he opened his first overseas restaurant, Pearls by Michael Caines within the 382-bedroom Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. He also operates two Michael Caines restaurants at Kentisbury Grange hotel, near Barnstable, Devon, and the Townhouse, Oswestry, Shropshire.