A ‘Downton Abbey’ style former mansion house in Flintshire has been named as one of the UK’s top 10 hotels because of its stylish interior.
Soughton Hall Hotel, a popular wedding venue in Northop, near the border with Chester, was the only North Wales finalist in the Best Hotel Interiors category at the Laterooms.com Simply The Guest Awards 2017.
The annual accolades, now in its fifth year and run by the leading online accommodation website, is the UK’s only hotel awards based entirely on guest reviews. It uses guest reviews and ratings published on Laterooms.com to recognise and reward the highest standards in the industry.
Soughton Hall Hotel is a 14-bedroom mansion house which was built in 1714 by Edward Conway and remodelled by the famous Sir Charles Barry whose iconic work includes the Houses of Parliament and Highclere Castle – home to the aristocratic Crawley family in the smash hit ITV series Downton Abbey. Sir Charles was good friends with William John Bankes whose family took over the Grade II* listed Hall in 1815 and lived in the home until it was sold and turned into a hotel in the 1980s.
Sarah Ramsbottom is joint Managing Director with her husband James of Castlefield-based Elle R Leisure which is well-known for its successful Dukes 92 and Albert’s Restaurants in Manchester. They also own a luxury Leeds boutique historic hotel specialising in weddings called Woodlands.
The family-run leisure firm took over Soughton Hall Hotel just over a year ago and has since invested more than £150,000 into transforming the interior of the former stately home. Sarah, who leads the in-house interior design team at Elle R Leisure, said: “The house is so stunning from the outside and as it comes into view from the long driveway, you cannot help but be wowed. There is absolutely nothing you need to do to improve it.
“When we took it over last year, we knew we had to create an interior to match but one that didn’t lose the homely and familiar attraction of the house which is an architectural jewel in the crown for the area.
“It was once a very grand home for a family and we didn’t want to lose sight of that and it is an atmosphere we wanted to create for the people who come here to get married or enjoy a stay in spectacular surroundings.
“Our aim and the theme of our interior design was to create a luxurious home from home feel so that our guests, especially the brides and grooms, could come here and feel like Lord and Lady of the Manor for their special day.
“We have an in-house interior design team which created the look and we used a lot of fabrics from GP & J Baker who are holders of the Royal Warrant since 1982 and supply the Queen’s household. The look is a mix of the new with the old and we have bought and displayed a lot of antique pieces which have come from auctions and flea markets.
“Ironically, we have managed to pick up a few pieces which once belonged to the Hall which we found in a local auction including a big burr walnut chest which now takes pride of place on the first floor landing of the hall.
“It is one of my particular favourites and looks great because it fits in perfectly, like it has always been there and I suspect contained all sorts of treasures at one stage!”
Sarah added: “To have this finalist award, based on the experience of people who have stayed with us is a real feather in our cap. It’s great reassurance that the interior transformation we are continuing to undergo at Soughton Hall is bringing a lot of enjoyment to people’s stay with us and we are very proud to receive this finalist status with Laterooms.com
“Today’s customers, both bridal parties and those who enjoy a leisure break with us, are very discerning. People are much more design savvy and expect when they come and stay at a great house like Soughton Hall that it should have an interior to match.
“That’s always been our goal right from day one and it is terrific news to have this wonderful feedback that we are achieving this.”