As many of you will know, Gliffaes has been closed for the month of January so that we can give it a fresh lick of paint and get our South Wales hotel looking tip top and ready for 2017. We had a little chat with James to find out exactly what’s been going on…
The first thing you will notice is when you come down the drive is that we have really tidied up the long row of rhododendrons by cutting out dead wood, stripping out years of ivy growth and generally cutting back to let in more light and make things manageable.
As you come into reception you will see we have repainted that and the main stairs in fresher colours, quite a big job with ceilings over 20-foot-high in places.
We have also repainted our large sitting room and the dining room, same colours but it’s amazing what a coat or two of paint will do to freshen up a room and these rooms do get a lot of use.
The dining room has also benefited from some beautiful new curtains. This is a massive job requiring over 100 meters of fabric and they are all hand sewn.
Room 12 is undergoing a makeover with new wall paper, curtains and carpet. Along with several bathrooms having new flooring installed.
Several chairs in the bar will be re-upholstered and covered in lovely new Welsh wool fabrics to match several done last year.
We have also done a lot of painting and sprucing up ‘back of house’ in the kitchens. In fact, we will have had a team of five painters working flat out for 3 weeks by the time we re-open.
Is this something you do regularly?
Yes, every year we do something to make the most of the hotel being shut and usually include a couple of bedrooms. Don’t forget that along with all the fun bits like decorating there is a raft of annual cleaning and maintenance tasks that have to be performed on every bit of equipment.
How have you gone about sourcing the materials?
For paints we go for either the Dulux Heritage Range or Farrow and Ball, both of whom have lovely colours inspired by the British countryside and classic Victorian interiors, both of which suit Gliffaes to a tee. Reception has been re-painted in ‘pearl barley’ and ‘piano white’.
The new dining room curtains have been made from 100% linen supplied by Lewis & Wood of Gloucestershire. They have supplied much of the wallpaper and curtain fabric throughout Gliffaes because their designs are so inspired and draw from Elizabethan and Victorian ideas. The dining room fabric is called ‘Bacchus’.
Upholstery fabric comes from Pembrokeshire and the lovely woollen mill at Melin Tregwynt, it’s hard wearing, has a great ‘tweedy’ look and has the added benefit of being Welsh.
Is there a theme for the new décor?
Not so much a theme but we have to bear in mind that we are a traditional country house and we can’t jump on every passing interior fashion band wagon. We try to keep things feeling classic and classy hopefully without being staid and flouncy.
Is it just the hotel that’s getting a spruce up, or are the gardens getting a little refresh too?
We planted a fair number of trees in December and did the work on the drive as mentioned above. We have cleared a lot of undergrowth and thinned out trees from the ‘Millennium Plantation’ as well, it is looking good now and will look even finer come Springtime. We are currently laying a concrete slab for a new greenhouse as well.
Do you enjoy the design and decoration element of running the hotel?
Hmmm, seeing tradesmen all over the hotel, furniture covered in dust sheets, ladders, pots of paint, wood shavings and wires everywhere makes me feel nervous that we will not be ready to welcome guests when we re-open, but somehow we always seem to get there.
It is lovely when people notice what you have done and take time to compliment us but when someone says, “I haven’t been here for 20 years and nothing’s changed.” You are not sure whether to take it as a compliment or an insult.
When can we see the new look Gliffaes?
We re-open on Wednesday 25th January, fingers crossed everything will be ready.