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Five Years at Penally Abbey

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Five years spent building our dream hotel...sounds fun right!? 


Rewind back to the start, where it all began, to a time when our family would spend hours discussing all the things, we'd love Penally Abbey to be.


We talked in detail about what we wanted the rooms to be like, what bedlinen we'd use, what we'd fill the rooms with and how we wanted people to feel when they stayed. There was also a lot of chat about the restaurant and the type of menus and style of crockery and glassware we'd have. What we’d do in the garden, what flowers we’d plant and how we could have a cutting garden. How we could do picnics, organised walking holidays, romantic escapes and yoga retreats.

 In our mind it was a very romantic business idea, one we thought we could create pretty instantly. 

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As you've probably guessed, it turns out we had been fairly naive and only now, five years on are the things we originally spent so much time talking about coming fully into fruition...and there is still a way to go.


Despite coming into this with no experience in the hospitality industry, Lucas and Melanie have three things which made me think they should buy Penally Abbey half a decade ago; lots of vision, work ethic and they are natural hosts. Now their skills include having food hygiene and bar licenses and having extensive knowledge in stock rotation, coffee, wine, local suppliers and commercial dishwasher chemicals, who knew!?



So, here we are five years on.

Five years of creating our original vision.

Five years of meeting and hiring fantastic people.

Five years of working as a family…and taking on all that it brings. 

Five years of refurbishments. 

Five years of long days, late nights and early mornings.

Five years of welcoming the loveliest guests.

Five years of hilarious stories.

Five years of encouraging people to beautiful Pembrokeshire.

Five years of running a little hotel by the sea. 



Thank you to everyone who has been part of Penally Abbey's first 5 years and supported us along the way. Whether you’ve come to stay, for dinner, lunch, coffee, cocktails or afternoon tea. Whether you’ve followed us or liked one of our posts on social media, read our blogs, signed up to our newsletter or recommended us to your friends. Thank you to our suppliers for delivering and working with us to get the very best produce Pembrokeshire has to offer. Thank you to our loyal, hard-working, dedicated, funny, fabulous team. We couldn’t do any of it without you. 

And thank you, to you, our customers, many of whom we are lucky to call friends. 


I think I’ll let the photos I’ve taken over the past five years do the talking...

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There are so many lovely memories from the past five years and a lot of those we didn't catch on camera.

 However, these are the ones we did...

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OUR FABULOUS TEAM - without all of the people who have worked alongside us for the past 5 years, we would simply be an empty shell by the sea. Thank you to everyone who has worked hard and shown huge amounts of dedication and commitment towards our dream. 

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THE BUILD - The last five Januarys have been a blur of dust, skips, diggers, scaffolding and millions of Patsy's sandwiches. 

Bringing this magical building back to life has been a huge job and one that is a true labour of love. During the biggest refurbishment we had up to 30 tradesmen on site and seeing the hotel as it stands now, five years on, gives us such a huge sense of satisfaction. Special thanks has to go to Eoin and his fantastic, skilled and fun team at Eliteline, to the Nigels: builder Nigel Merrony, decorator Nigel Davies and all the brilliant Pembrokeshire boys; head housekeeper Kelly and the fabulous housekeeping ladies for their consistent, positive, can-do attitude towards the big hurdles that constant building work on this very special Grade 2 listed historic building has thrown at us. 

You've all been a joy to work with in turning this building into our original vision. 

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In the courtyard we filled in the original swimming pool, put in a stone floor with underfloor heating, took down the ceiling, replaced the roof, removed the stairs and second floor laundry room to restore the space and its original chapel like features.

We excavated into the hill to create more bathrooms and opened everything up by knocking through several walls to create a space that flowed through from the main dining space to the bar and outside courtyard. 


The Courtyard is pretty special and during the past two years has become increasingly popular for all types of celebrations. You can book a dinner party, event or celebration in our beautiful courtyard here.


Four major refurbishments have seen a complete overhaul of every inch of the hotel, from the bedrooms to the kitchen.

Room 7
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The Garden 

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The Courtyard

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Room 1

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The Restaurant

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Thank you for following our adventure.

We cannot wait to see what the next five years holds and cannot wait to meet even more fantastic people.


Pembrokeshire is full of innovative, creative and ambitious people, and I have to say that one of the loveliest things about running a business here, has been getting to know them. It's a small, rural part of the country, where community and support is vital to keep everyone going.

Hats off to everyone in Pembrokeshire who is boosting our local economy and bringing life and people to the area. We are honoured to be part of it and to promote our fantastic coastline. Our ultimate goal has always been to provide year round employment to local people and encourage more visitors to the county. As long as we continue to do that, we'll be happy. 

Here's to next five years- apparently the first five are the hardest- we're looking forward to a slightly easier ride!!

Until next time... 

Saskia and all the family xxx

p.s. we'd love to hear from guests, old and new, and hear your memories so please do get in touch x

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