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Calum excited to return to Wales as director of five star Palé Hall

Owners Anthony and Donna Cooper-Barney with director Calum Milne (left) outside the impressive Palé Hall

A HOSPITALITY professional who has managed award winning hotels across the UK has  returned to Wales to become director of one of the country’s leading country house hotels.

Calum Milne is running Palé Hall, at Llandderfel, near Bala, an AA Five Red Star, Relais & Chateaux destination luxury country house hotel, with an acclaimed AA three-rosette and Michelin Green Star fine dining restaurant.

He previously held a similar role at Llangoed Hall, a country house hotel established by the late Sir Bernard Ashley at Llyswen, near Brecon which he led to a series of notable hospitality industry awards. He was a tourism ambassador for the Prince of Wales, who is now King Charles III, during his previous 15 years working in Wales.

Calum, who has also managed award winning hotels in England and Scotland, has been recruited by entrepreneurs Anthony and Donna Cooper-Barney, new owners of Palé Hall.

The couple have exciting plans for the luxury hotel and its 50-acre estate, as well as supporting Bala and the local community.

Calum’s mission is to keep improving the five star standard to establish Palé Hall as a coveted destination in the beautiful heart of Wales by employing local people, enhancing skills and showcasing quality, Welsh artisan food and drink products and art and crafts.

Managing a workforce of 45, Calum has vacancies for a full-time events manager and six housekeeping and restaurant staff. He is willing to offer flexible hours for working mothers and keen to promote apprenticeship opportunities at the hotel to develop and enhance hospitality skills.

Stressing that the Palé Estate is committed to playing an active and supportive role in the local community, Calum revealed that the owners have a number of exciting investment plans in the pipeline.

Projects include developing a sculpture trail in the impressive gardens, which are being redesigned by noted New Zealand-born landscape designer Anthony Paul.

Exclusive chauffeur driven Rolls Royce guided tour packages will also be provided, reflecting the hotel owners’ passion for luxury cars.

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Palé Hall is a member of Relais & Chateaux, Pride of Britain Hotels and Celebrated Experiences.

When he walked into the hotel last week, it was a déjà vu moment for Calum, as he had visited a couple of times 12 years ago to consider when he passed up the chance to buy the property for a previous employer.

He is delighted that Mr and Mrs Cooper-Barney have given him a chance to return to the grand property to become director, having been impressed by their enthusiasm for the new project.

It’s his first major hospitality post since becoming deaf, following illness, five years ago. With the dedicated help of his parents back in Scotland, Calum has learned to lipread and a telephone app instantly converts verbal conversation into text.

He feels that his return to Wales and Palé Estate were preordained. Wealthy Scottish railway engineer and entrepreneur Henry Robertson bought the estate in 1868 and took three years to build Palé Hall.

“There are so many coincidences about me being here that it was obviously meant to be,” said Calum. “Palé Hall was built by a Scotsman in the style of a Scottish baronial castle, and now another Scotsman is back running it.

“Palé Hall and the surrounding area are stunningly beautiful and the new owners share my passion and enthusiasm for the hospitality industry.

“I have been fortunate to live in Wales for 15 years and I know how special the country is in terms of the fantastic scenery and places to visit.

“Here at Palé Hall, we are just 90 minutes from Manchester Airport which makes it a very attractive destination for visitors from American and other countries. I plan to tour of the United States with Celebrated Experiences and will be working closely with Visit Wales to promote the hotel and this part of Wales.

“I shall also be entering the hotel for awards to showcase our green credentials. We already produce 65% of our own energy through hydro power and are introducing new measure to save water.

“The owners have some very exciting plans in the pipeline to support the local community and attract more visitors to Bala, so watch this space. We are determined to be good neighbours and to support the community in any way possible.”

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