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Review of Penmaenuchaf Hall

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Penmaenuchaf Hall
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Penmaenpool
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 March 2012

spent a lot of time weighing how to write a constructive review and decided honesty is the best bet. The place is stunning and the decor absolutely beautifully done...the public rooms and the dining room are as good as it gets down to the perfect lighting and warm ambience from the fires. The family photos are odd. When opening our own establishment one of the first things we learned, even in the humblest BnB is...NO FAMILY PHOTOS!!! At Penmaenuchaf theIy are literally everywhere...to the point of being ridiculous...after all who care??? One of the odd things is that there is no obvious reception desk and we eventually found someone in a messy office who checked us in, but never introduced herself so we just presume she was the right person! We agree with another reviewer who wondered if the attachment to lots and lots of extra charges were a reflection on the hotel not doing well? The oddest thing was the expensive set dinner which had all these silly add ons so in fact you were charged for the dinner and only had one or two choices and had to oay a pound here and there for literally everything...it made everyone in the dining room fractious and took away from the really, really good food. The amounts were silly to the point of being petty and are the reason that everyone felt the would not return or recommend the hotel. all the many add ons ledt an unpleasant feeling for everyone in the dining room. Breakfast was quite wonderful. The room was good but not great for the price. The grounds and stunning public rooms are the reason to go there...and a good one. The staff was sparse and uninterested and not trained in the manner that the hotel represented they should be. This is SO close to being a five star hotel, but is more like three stars sadly.

Stayed: February 2012
5  Thank cowhorse1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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286 - 292 of 345 reviews

Reviewed 26 February 2012

Few people can be happy being stuck in a job they don't enjoy. The front of house staff at the Penmaenuchaf Hotel in Dolgellau are no exception. 

In some ways the hotel is surprisingly good. Excellent and accomplished food, great wine list, beautiful place settings, 
nicely thought out bedrooms with everything you could need, log fires always ablaze, blinds down and candles lit at dusk. I've stayed in some supposedly great hotels that don't manage to housekeep so efficiently and smoothly.

But the Penmaenuchaf, despite the plethora of gongs around the entranceway, was certainly not a great hotel during our 2 night stay.

Liberally scattered around every free surface in the Victorian gothic mansion are countless family photos, one assumes of the owners and their family. The aim seems to be to put one at ease, to create a laid back and welcoming atmosphere. You're one of the family, sharing their home.
And yet the front of house staff we encountered were, with the exception of one bravely smiling waitress, offhand if not downright snooty.

No word of welcome to the hotel, no interest in who we were or why we were visiting the area, no advice on what we might want to do or see during our stay. In short none of the basic smiling rapport that has thankfully become the norm in the majority of decent hotels these days.

Our party of 5 well travelled professionals were unanimous in feeling unwelcome during our stay, at times breathtakingly so.
On our last night we sat around the blazing fire in the seemingly laid back atmosphere of the main lounge area, drinking g&t's and playing charades. An older couple upon finishing dinner in the adjoining restaurant came and joined in with us from a polite distance.
The female owner of the hotel then came walking defiantly across the room and asked the couple in what was hardly even a stage whisper 'are these people bothering you?' 
The well mannered couple were as taken aback as we were.

We went to bed early feeling like naughty schoolchildren. 
Schoolchildren that were paying a handsome fee for the pleasure.

I for one can say very simply, I've stayed in my fair share of good hotels across the world and I have never been made to feel so unwelcome as I was in this 1970's throwback of an establishment in a small corner of North Wales.

And judging by the scarcity of other clientele I guess I'm not the only one.

The frustration with the Penmaenuchaf is that it's so close to being the kind of hotel I'd like to go back to again and again, and to sing the virtues of to anyone who'll listen.

But the attitude of the service is killing the place.

And you can only think that it comes from the top. 

Perhaps we should have seen it coming in the pre-arrival literature.
A £15 supplement for a cot? Thats just mean. 
A £10 supplement for a 9 month old to eat off of our plates at breakfast? Ditto...
And the biggest giveaway of the lot, a custom I'd thought had been banished to the history books some decades ago, "we dress for dinner".

Well the Penmauchaf needs a lot less of the Royal "We" if it wants "us" and 
our generation to patronise it.

A staff trip to Claridges would do wonders, a lesson in how luxury equates to attentive customer service, not to snobbery.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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16  Thank Jesse C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2012

We have just returned from a 2 night stay. We had a charming room ( Taylor ) which had lovely views of the garden and a very nice spacious bathroom. The grounds and all the lounges, dining rooms etc were beautifully laid out and furnished.
The staff were all very friendly and helpful.
The evening meal was excellent, as was the breakfast.
one small criticism - with the price of the evening meal , charging extra for a tea or coffee to finish the meal is a bit cheeky!
A really pleasant place for a special occasion.
shame about the Welsh weather .

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank magWestYorkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2012

We stayed here last July for my Fiance's birthday and we were not disappointed.

We arrived in the afternoon and were taken straight upto our room which was greeted with a 'WOW' from myself! Two huge windows with seating and great views over the gardens and mountains. The bed was gigantic and very comfortable! For those who describe the decor as being old fashioned, this was the prime reason for us choosing this hotel because of its uniqueness grandure. It was indeed like staying in somebody's house!

We didn't eat at the hotel that evening but when we returned, the curtains had been drawn, soft music was playing and little chocolates were left on the turned down bed.

Breakfast was served in a lovely bright room and there was plenty to choose from. All hot food was cooked fresh to order which makes a change from the infamous buffet services you get in hotels these days!

We paid £250 for the night B&B and thought that this was a reasonable price for a hotel of this standard.

Our overall stay was exceptional and we would love to return in the near future.
(we would like to note that we are a couple in our 20's and did not feel out of place at all!)

  • Stayed: July 2011
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Thank RandRH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2012

We booked this hotel through Travel Zoo and were really looking forward to a night away. First impressions were very good, we were met by a friendly couple of staff who booked us in and took us up to our room. We stayed in the Griffiths room which was a lovely comfortable room with a balcony looking over the grounds.

The hotel itself is extremely relaxing and comfortable with big squashy sofas and roaring fires in three rooms. We had a very relaxing couple of hours following a long walk just chilling in front of the fire in the main lounge.

We were so impressed and were promising ourselves a return trip soon.

We then had dinner, which started off in a promising way with canapes whilst we decided what we would order. The menu had a lot of choice and after much deliberation we chose the scallops and fois gras for starters and the lamb and seabass for main. The fois gras itself was very nice but the sauce it came with was bitter and not good. The scallops were bland. The lamb was tasty especially the confit of shoulder but the sauce it came with appeared to be the same one that I had had with my fois gras and was so unpleasent I could not eat it. The seabass my husband had was very bland. For desert I had the chocolate delice, which was delicious and my husband had some interesting local cheeses.

We had a good night's sleep in a very comfortable bed.

Breakfast the following morning was good, the poached egg could have been more runny, but unfortunately the toast we ordered never turned up and the couple at the next table did not get their toast either. No staff were around to ask about the toast so both my husband and I and the couple at the next table decided we could not wait any longer for the toast.

We live an hour and a half away from this hotel and would definately have returned and also recommended it to our friends and relatives who also enjoy this sort of break, however because the hotel is so remote the only real option is to eat in the hotel if you are staying there and therefore because our experience of the food was so dissappointing we shall not be returning to this hotel unless we see that the chef has been replaced or reassured that the normal chef was on holiday and the local YTS scheme chef had replaced him for this weekend.

What a shame because other than the food it was a very pleasent hotel!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MrsMushie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2012

Having made a booking via email to this hotel in order that my wife and I might eat in their respected restaurant for her birthday, I thought I had covered all bases by asking for a sample menu to be sent to me.
On arrival at the very impressive and imposing building which resembled a stately home rather than a hotel we immediately felt out of place. This was only confirmed when ushered into the lounge whereby the handful of other patrons eyed us suspiciously. The fact that we were not wearing ballgowns and black tie certainly separated us from them.
Once we saw the menu it was obvious it was so vastly different to that of the sample sent to me previously that there was nothing that we would have ordered as the menu was mainly table d'hote rather than a la carte items.
When we asked for our coats and stated that we were sorry that we could not order any food we were greeted by the owners who made us feel incredibly uncomfortable by their patronising, aloof and superior attitude. Although the owners grilled us for what we would eat, it was too late after being treated in the way that we were.
The website and information contained within it makes this appear as an ideal location for that special meal. However, unless you believe you are socially located in the rarified upper echelons of the class system, I would avoid Penhall at all costs, as 99% of us do not thankfully fit into their world.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank nigel v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2012

On arrival at the hotel on New Year's Eve we were warmly greeted and offered a delightful afternoon tea ( included in package) The room was well decorated and had everything we needed .Canapes and drinks by the roaring fire made us feel relaxed and quite at home.The 6 course meal was excellent and even though one of us does not eat meat we were offered good alternatives to the venison.The champagne breakfast was a feast and a 3 hour walk in the rain prepared us for tea.This is definitely the place to go if you love good food and enjoy being spoilt.We felt completely relaxed and the lovely staff work hard to make sure all the guests are happy.We would visit this hotel again.

Room Tip: Ask for one with a view
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank weekenderrhosonsea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Penmaenuchaf Hall

Address: Penmaenpool | Dolgellau, Penmaenpool, Snowdonia National Park, Dolgellau LL40 1YB, Wales
Region: United Kingdom > Wales > North Wales > Snowdonia National Park > Dolgellau > Penmaenpool
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Penmaenpool
Price Range: £123 - £234 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Penmaenuchaf Hall 3*
Number of rooms: 14
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Also Known As:
Penmaenuchaf Hall Penmaenpool, Dolgellau, Wales
Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel Penmaenpool

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