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Behind the Scenes at Penally Abbey this Christmas

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Christmas 2018 has arrived at our little hotel by the sea...

This will be our fifth Christmas at Penally Abbey. Our fifth year of decorating this beautiful building and learning what works for both our guests and ourselves at this magical time of year. 

When we first took over the hotel I had very little understanding of what Christmas spent at a hotel entailed.

I was naïve and unaware that people spent their Christmas Days away from their homes and was even more surprised to find out that they went out for lunch! How comical that seems to us now. Times have changed and our whole family is not only acutely aware of Christmas hotel trends but spend Christmas Day ensuring that guests have the most memorable time. It is a huge privilege to be chosen by guests wanting to spend Christmas with us. This year we are utterly thrilled (and pleasantly surprised!) to be fully booked for all of our 11 rooms by mid-October. This is something we want to happen time and time again in the future and our aim is to make Christmas 2018 at Penally Abbey the most glorious celebration yet! The preparations have been well underway for the past few weeks, choosing the Christmas trees, tasting and fine-tuning the festive cocktails and organising festive events for the local community to enjoy. 

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The story of the seashore shell…

It can be difficult for businesses to portray what Christmas means to them but this year we have given it a go! This little film is to show our followers, guests and the rest of the world(!) what Christmas means to us here in Pembrokeshire. Whilst we decorated and sprinkled some festive magic over Penally Abbey, Jack filmed us whilst Lucas read part of our all-time favourite poems, 'A Childs Christmas in Wales' by Dylan Thomas. We saw a flash of the demanding diva side of his personality that has never been seen before. Oh, how the glamorous world of acting and films can impact even the humblest of men! 


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Ten things we have learnt 

 Over the years we have learnt a few ‘Christmas in a Hotel’ fundamentals and I’d like to share with you our top ten. 

They are things we have learnt to be incredibly important in making Christmas at Penally the most magical time of the year…

1) Always make sure the log fire is roaring.

2) To know the difference between an average glass of mulled wine and a delicious one.

3) Christmas is about your community. Give back in any way you can. 

4)  Give guests choices. Don’t make them book packages. Let them do the planning…and leave them alone to curl up on the sofa.

5) Think of your neighbours – wild, raucous Christmas parties don’t work for small hotels in the middle of a village.

6) Take a night off, shut the hotel and dance with the staff…in December. 

7) Festive cocktails go down a storm.

8) The bigger the real Christmas tree the better and more magical.

9) Spend time preparing and perfecting menus, organising carol concerts and agonising over decorations – try to avoid desperately chasing the numbers – it takes your eye off the magical details that guests enjoy at Christmas.  

10) Mince pies come in many different shapes and sizes, but the crowd-pleaser is hard to come by – Get. The. Recipe. Right. (See our hotel mince pie competition below…)Image title

 The 2018 mince pie competition took place this week and after a gruelling, intense blind tasting the winner was picked and the title was awarded…

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Merry Christmas everyone and remember, we are open every day up until Christmas, so come and stay. 


Saskia x


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