Pupils taste hospitality industry first-hand

Mid Wales pupils enjoyed a taste of running an hotel when they visited the family-run, four-star Metropole hotel and spa in  Llandrindod Wells.

Twelve year 11 and sixth form pupils from Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells high schools, who are studying hospitality, enjoyed a first-hand experience of the complexities of running a large establishment with two restaurants, function and conference suites, a spa,  a busy bar and 110 bedrooms.

Builth Wells High School Hospitality Visit

Justin Baird-Murray, MD of the Metropole, says.

“The pupils enjoyed their visit as it gave them an insight into running a large hotel.  In a place like the Metropole we have numerous elements to maintain simultaneously – we  could  have a wedding taking place at the hotel, and have a bar full of people enjoying food and drink.  This  means that everything has to be co–ordinated meticulously, and all the staff have to learn to cater for the disparate  needs of a wide range of guests who are visiting at the same time.”

“It’s important for those viewing a career in the hospitality industry to have a flavour of what this kind of work will entail.  It is demanding, of course, but it is also varied and rewarding.”

Pupils and teachers alike found the visit beneficial.

“Learning about the history of The Metropole and the way it works was very interesting. It has given me a positive insight into the hospitality industry, and I most definitely hope to go back soon, whether it be educational or personal,”  says Amy Jo Titley, who is a sixth form student at Builth Wells High School.

Her views were echoed by  Penny Hourahane, BTEC Hospitality and Catering teacher at Builth Wells High School.

“If you are teaching hospitality and catering or just interested in the hospitality industry I recommend a tour of the Metropole with Justin Baird-Murray. He puts you at your ease and confidently explains the history, development and running of the hotel. Justin covers everything in an interesting and informative way, keeping students engaged throughout and answering questions honestly. Justin’s presentation shows a passion for the hotel that can only come from someone running the family business,”  she says.

The visit was  a joint co-ooperation between The Metropole and CareersWales, and was the third school visit to be organised at the hotel.

Picture shows Justin Baird-Murray, MD of The Metropole, with hospitality students from Llandridnod Wells and Builth Wells high school at their recent visit to the hotel.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce


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Love is in the air

Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday in 2015, so it’s perfect for a romantic overnight getaway at The Metropole.  Our fabulous February 14 package includes a special candlelit dinner and dance.

Head chef, Nic Edwards, has conjured up a delicious Valentines Day menu, including roasted fillet of beef, goat cheese brûlée and dark chocolate torte.

And if you want to treat a loved one to a luxurious spa break, then the Rock Spa is the perfect place for a spot of pampering.

We also have Metropole gift vouchers that make a perfect present, and can be used as part or full payment for all kinds of treats including a delicious afternoon tea, a manicure or a chilled out session of hot stone therapy.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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Metropole speeds off to classic car show

The Metropole is a mecca for classic cars groups thanks to the fabulous  traffic-free roads on our doorstep.

2014 drew in Maserati, Rolls Royce and Bentley, and so far in 2015 we will host Morgan, Audi TT and the Vintage Sports Club.

We are off to the London Classic Car Show from January 8-11 – so come and see us on Stand G6 if you are in the area.

Our aim is to alert yet more specialist car owners to the joys of the open roads in mid Wales, and, of course, the pleasures of relaxing at The Metropole with good food and wine after a day behind the wheel.

There’s plenty to see at the show.  Adrian Newey, Britain’s greatest motor sport designer will be at the show on January 8, and there will be an exhibition of some of his spectacular F1 designs.

Look out for the stunning motor car cat walk too, where the shining stars of the motor world will be fired up and driven.

See also an exhibition of the top cars James May believes shaped the motor car as we know it today, as well as a host of mouthwatering classics such as Jaguar and Aston Martin.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce


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Join the festive ‘Dam Busters Walk’

Meet at the Elan Valley visitor centre on December 28 for a fascinating 4-mile guided hike looking at the history and biodiversity of the area, including the remains of Nant y Gro Dam which was used for tests before the WWII Dam Busters raids.

The so-called “Dam  Busters” were given the job of attacking the dams of the industrial Ruhr Valley in Germany.  The method employed to breach the dams was the ingenious ‘bouncing bomb’ developed by Dr Barnes Wallis, the acclaimed aeronautical engineer.  The aim of destroying the dams was to cause havoc in Germany’s industrial heartland, and irrevocably disrupt the nation’s war efforts.

Films such as The Dam Busters in 1955 have permanently etched the exploits of Bomber Command on the nation’s consciousness, commemorating acts of heroism, and also the tragic fact that many did not return from these missions.

Meet at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre at 10am to learn more about this important period in our history, as well as finding out more about the natural history of the area.  The walk will finish around 1pm.  Please call 01597 810880 to find out more.

Good boots and warm clothing are recommended, as well as a waterproof in case of an untimely shower.   Also be warned there  is a steep climb of 40 metres up the steps to the top of the dam and then a very steep 140 metre climb onwards.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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Fabulous festive attraction

The Metropole has launched a special gourmet package that includes tickets to The Hall at Abbey-Cwm Hir, the stunning local stately home where each of the 52 rooms is lavishly decorated for Christmas.

The Hall has starred in numerous TV programmes including Coast and Country, Salvage Hunters and Secret Dealers as well as The Antiques Road trip.

Over the festive period The Hall looks particularly impressive, with an individual seasonal theme created for each room.

The Metropole’s gourmet package includes accommodation for two in a superior room, a first night dinner in the hotel’s award-winning restaurant with a six-course taster menu created by head chef, Nic Edwards, and a glass of champagne.

On the second night, guests enjoy a delicious three-course menu., and, of course, both mornings start with a full Welsh breakfast.  After plenty of scrumptious food, guests can use the gym and the spa facilities, including sauna and steam room.

Look up the Rock Spa to find the full list of revitalising treatments available.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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Shop until you drop in Llandrindod’s stunning Christmas markets

Then enjoy lunch and a glass of wine or coffee and a cake at The Metropole.

Llandrindod Wells is the place to be for a spot of Christmas shopping this year.

On November 29, the town will hold its special ‘Christmas Fayre’ at The Pavilion, from 10am-3.30pm.  Great gifts include jewellery, fabric and woollen crafts, handmade toiletries and handmade cards.  There’s also a chance to visit Santa in his grotto and to buy Christmas trimmings to deck out your home.  Charities represented at the event include Hope House Hospice, The Lion’s Club, The Bracken Trust and Cancer Research.

The following day, Sunday November 30, the town will be celebrating the festive season with a European Christmas Market – with stalls set up all along Middleton St from 12 noon until the evening. There will also be singing, music groups, an I-Spy treasure hunt for kids, and the switching on of the Christmas lights at 5.30pm.

The Royal Welsh Winter Fair is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014.  This two-day event running from November 30-December 1, has become a firm fixture in the agricultural calendar, drawing in stockmen and women from all over the UK to compete.  Away from the judging arena, a host of Welsh food producers will be showcasing their wares, and there will also be cookery demonstrations and a food hall, as well as Silver Jubilee themed celebrations and competitions.

Entry is free both days after 4pm, and there will be fabulous free firework display at 7pm on Monday evening.

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Gearing up for Wales Rally GB 2014

The Metropole will be welcoming the Wales Rally GB crews when the teams come tearing through mid Wales in November.

This year the rally sports a 160-car field, and the event will kick off with an opening ceremony on November 13 at Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay.

Top international entries include Volkswagen Motorsport’s reigning World Rally Champion and last year’s Wales Rally GB winner, Sébastien Ogier, plus the two leading home hopes: Elfyn Evans, (driving for the Cumbrian-based M-Sport World Rally team), and Kris Meeke, representing Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT.

Other notables targeting success in Wales are Rallye Germany winner Thierry Neuville, and former F1 star Robert Kubica.

British potential includes Matthew Wilson and Scottish Rally Champion, David Bogie, along with two up and coming Welsh drivers, Tom Cave and Osian Pryce.

There’s also a well-known rallying newcomer among the national ranks – former England cricketer Graeme Swann.

We wish them all luck, and are sure the event will be action packed and full of excitement.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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Barnes Memorial lecture a huge success

We’d like to give a big thanks to Dr Rhys Jones who presented the annual Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Barnes Memorial Lecture, held here at The Metropole.

He was a great speaker, and the audience was inspired by his work and amused by his many anecdotes.

Dr Jones, a herpetologist, or snake expert,  at Cardiff University, is well known for his TV appearances, and has featured alongside naturalist Iolo Williams, on Iolo’s Welsh Safari, and BBC1’s Chris Packham on Nature’s Calendar.

Look out for his next appearance on the small screen in his forthcoming series, Wildlife Patrol.

Dr Jones, who did a PhD in molecular evolution, specialising in herpetology and parasitology, is also an ambassador to Wildlife Trusts Wales.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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Top Gear to The Metropole

The Metropole was thrilled to welcome Top Gear to the hotel recently – the team stayed for several nights while filming for the new series on location in the spectacular Elan Valley.

Look out for the Claerwen reservoir, and other famous local landmarks when it’s screened.

Mid Wales is renowned for having some of the best roads for fun driving in the entire UK – quiet, winding, deserted and offering stunning views.

In fact, The Metropole is something of a mecca for car and bike groups, who often use the hotel as their base.

Two big events are on the calendar for this autumn:

The Historic Rally Car Register will celebrate its 30th birthday at The Metropole with an event called Autumn Leaves.  Members will buzz along a fabulous route which includes such classic roads as Epynt, Abergwesyn and the Elan Valley. For more info visit www.scenictoursuk.co/7/Autumnleaves

Hot on its heels comes CRA – Classic Rally Association and HERO – the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation.  These guys know a thing or two about long distance driving – one of their events is called Le Jog, the Land’s End-John o’ Groats jaunt that tests classic car drivers’ mettle to the limit.

In fact, Le Jog has become known as one of the biggest challenges a classic car rally driver can undertake.

Next month, CRA participants will be testing their skills on the fabled roads of mid Wales, and earning a well-earned pit stop at The Metropole! For more info visit www.craevents.eu/Events/rally_of_the_tests/rally_of_the_tests_2014/

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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Summer cider special at The Metropole

Quench your thirst this summer with The Metropole’s luscious range of delicious ciders.

Cider aficionados will love Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Cider from Herefordshire, an old fashioned crisp and dry number with a light sparkle.

For something sweeter, there’s Dunkertons Premium Organic Cider, made from ancient Herefordshire apple varieties like Sheep’s Nose, Brownsnout and Foxwhelp.

Jack Ratt Scrumpy comes from Devon and is made from freshly pressed west country cider apples.  It’s named after a famous Lyme Bay smuggler, Jack Rattenbury.

And for those who like their cider with a different twist then there’s no resisting Brothers Toffee Apple Premium Cider from Somerset, complete with a delicious dash of cream soda and smouldering toffee.

And that’s not all!  To have a taste of the complete range of ciders on offer this summer, pay us a visit and try something different.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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Tuck into Commonwealth tipples at The Metropole

Luxury hotel and spa, The Metropole in mid Wales, is marking the arrival of the Commonwealth baton in Llandrindod Wells on May 25, with a festival of Commonwealth wines.

Wines showcased include a sun-packed Chardonnay from Australia, a classic, peachy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a juicy, tannin rich Saam Mountain Pinotage from South Africa – the perfect partner to roast beef.

On Sunday 25 May, triple gold medallist, Kirsty Wade, 52, will carry the Commonwealth baton through Llandrindod Wells, her home town, and the place where her passion for running was born.

The former Llandrindod High student recalls that it was the cross-country element of her PE lessons, taking her through Rock Park, that made her realise that she loved running.

She went on to win the 800-metre gold at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, and two golds at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in the 800-metres and 1500-metres events.

In the build-up to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July this year, the Queen’s Baton Relay will visit 71 nations in seven months.

Justin Baird-Murray, MD at The Metropole, said:

“We felt that the arrival of the baton in our town, carried by our very own champion, was a cause for celebration. The Commonwealth baton will only spend seven days in Wales, so we are proud that it will finish the second leg of its journey here.

“We have chosen a selection of whites and reds to suit different tastes, and hope the crowds will turn out to cheer Kirsty on, and enjoy a glass of Commonwealth good cheer with us afterwards.”

Please call 01597 828509 for further information.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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The Metropole expands conference facilities

Luxury hotel and spa, The Metropole in mid Wales, has made a five-figure investment in upgrading its conference facilities.

State-of-the-art audio visual equipment has been installed in the hotel’s conference suites by Welsh company, PSVS, whose  previous commissions include projects at the London College of Arts and the Hilton hotel group.

The revamp of The Metropole’s conference facilities follows on from a £5m interior refurbishment programme that included full upgrade of the hotel’s bedrooms (including security systems, TV and Wi-fi), and a magnificent spa extension – The Rock Spa.

The Metropole is a family-run business, and MD, Justin Baird-Murray, and his sister, finance director, Sarah Hill, were responsible for implementing the extensive improvements programme – resulting in an upgrade to the hotel’s current four-star status.

“The spa extension widened our appeal, both to our local customer base, and to our overnight leisure visitors,” explains Justin Baird-Murray.

“The latest project adds value to our corporate clients when they hold a conference here,” he adds.  “We recognise that our location in mid Wales is strategically important, providing a halfway meeting point between the north and south of the country.  We also attract business clients from the Midlands, and border counties such as Herefordshire.”

The Metropole can host meetings for as many as 300 people and as few as six – 14 different function rooms allow space to be configured to suit any size or type of event.

There is also ample on-site, free parking.

Wayne Jarrold, MD of PSVS, who installed The Metropole’s upmarket AV system comments,

“Having installed high specification AV equipment for a diverse range of businesses throughout the UK, we are adept at providing a bespoke service to suit each individual location. The new system at The Metropole will increase the hotel’s desirability as a conference and function centre for a broad range of clients.”

The Metropole is a member of Welsh Rarebits and Historic Hotels of Europe.

source: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce

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