The Baird-Murray family launch The Timeline

Luxury hotel and spa, the four-star Metropole in Llandrindod Wells, has launched a fascinating exhibition into the hotel’s history to celebrate five generations of family ownership.The hotel has been in the same family since 1897 and is now run by the great, great grandchildren of Elizabeth Miles, the original owner.Siblings, Justin Baird-Murray and Sarah Hill are now The Metropole’s managing director and finance director, respectively.

The discovery of a cache of fascinating black and white photographs charting the hotel’s past led to the launch of The Timeline.

“In the 141 years since great, great granny bought The Metropole, so many things have changed, but there is one constant, the hotel itself,” says Justin. “My mother, Norma Baird-Murray, unearthed a fantastic collection of historic black and white images, and we felt they deserved a wider audience, hence the launch of The Timeline.”

The fact that The Metropole has been in the same family for so long is a key selling point.

“One of the trends we have noticed in recent years is how much our guests enjoy the fact that we are an independent, privately owned hotel,” explains Justin. “In these days of corporate chain hotels I think people are really beginning to appreciate the individual attention you get at an independent hotel.”

Picture shows: Timeline launch -  Sarah Hill and Justin Baird-Murray of The Metropole, with their mother Norma Baird-Murray, and (foreground) family friend, Maisie Powell, 99, who was at the opening of The Metropole’s original swimming pool in 1935.
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Testimonial | MGA Register | 2013

I am writing to thank you and all the staff of the Metropole Hotel for the very enjoyable time had by almost 120 of our members during our stay for the 2013 MGA Register Spring Weekend. David Morgan was especially concerned that everything was to our satisfaction.

As you know, this was our second consecutive year at the Metropole and we found our stay to be first class in every respect. I did not receive one single negative comment about any aspect of our experience and the great majority of our members told us how satisfied they were. The rooms were excellent and well appointed and all of your staff were friendly and efficient.

The organization of our Gala Dinner on the evening of Saturday 1st June was exceptional; to serve 120 guests with a three-course meal with the minimum of waiting time is no mean feat and something I know many other hotels would struggle to match. We were also pleased with the reserved parking arrangements for our cars.

The icing on the cake was the marvellous weather we enjoyed for the whole of our three day stay and all of our members went away expressing great satisfaction with the whole event. Llandrindod Wells is the perfect location for a touring holiday for individuals and groups of all sizes. We look forward to another stay with you in the not too distant future.

The MG Car Club is made up of some 15,000 members spread across a number of MG model Registers, most of which organize an annual event such as ours and I will have no hesitation in recommending the Metropole to the organizers of those Registers.

Once again, very many thanks

Yours sincerely

Stuart Mumby
Chairman, MGA Register of the MG Car Club Ltd.

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Summer indulgence at The Rock Spa

The Rock Spa, at The Metropole – as seen in The Independent, The Times and Sunday Times – has a host of special treatments to offer guests. For example, our delectable Zingy Lime and Lemongrass salt exfoliation body scrub provides a welcome scent of summer, and ensures that your skin feels fresh, invigorated and revitalised.

Another perfect indulgence for summer is the stress-relieving Luxurious Luminous Rice Wrap, a comforting and silky wrap valuable for its nutritious ingredients including rice oil which is rich in antioxidants, rice water to aid in the renewing of skin cells and silky rice seeds. This is a soothing wrap which helps create a radiant skin, soft to the touch and gently scented with vanilla and white flowe

Heading for the beach? Then our Tanning treatment sets you up for a great time. Full body exfoliation followed by manual application of natural tanning mousse to give a no streak, natural look followed by tan saving moisturiser. The Natural Spa Factory product are unscented and contains organic aloe vera and powerful anti-oxidant extracts to protect and slow the signs of ageing.

If you feel like a whole day of indulgence, then book one of our spa days, bring a friend, and relax over lunch and a glass of wine in our stylish contemporary brasserie.

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Luxurious spa extension to broaden tourism horizons

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Sciences and Transport, opened The Metropole Hotel’s new spa extension on May 3, 2013.

The four-star Metropole Hotel, located in Llandrindod Wells, secured a six-figure sum to expand its spa facilities, supported by Barclays.

The new development will include high-end treatment suites, nail bar, spray tan facility, and a comfortable relaxation and reception area.

The facility will create five new full-time posts, and will enhance the current facilities which include an 18m heated swimming pool and whirlpool spa, gym, sauna and steam room.

The Metropole is a family-run business, and MD, Justin Baird-Murray, and his sister, finance director, Sarah Hill, have overseen a £5m refurbishment of the prestigious Welsh hotel, resulting in an upgrade to its current four-star status.

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

“From a tourism point of view, our bespoke spa packages, which feature high-end treatments and spa beauty products, will bring in a greater range of guests. Over a three-year period we expect to generate an additional income of £175,000 per annum.”

Minister for the Economy, Edwina Hart, said: “The tourism sector is one of our key growth markets and is worth £5 billion to the Welsh economy and employs more than 8% of the workforce. Our tourism industry will only remain competitive if we continue to invest in upgrading the products that we offer. I’d like to congratulate the family team at the Metropole for their continued investment and effort which makes the hotel such an asset to Wales.

“The extended spa facility will help the hotel increase its appeal to a wider audience, and capitalise on the fact that people are taking fewer overseas holidays, but still need to recharge their batteries with weekend breaks. I’d like to wish the team a successful summer season and hope they reap the rewards of this latest investment.”

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Rambling in Wales | Walking Club

Please accept my sincere thanks and also those of all our members, for your part in making our weekend at the ‘Metropole’ such a success. Since our return there has been a constant stream of notes and emails stating what a super time was enjoyed by everyone.
What a friendly and cheerful lot the staff all are! It really is a great place to stay. In the event, even the weather proved quite pleasant and certainly did not prevent us from enjoying the countryside, the walks… and the Spa!
It was a pleasure to work with Adele, who received my initial enquiry and continued as chief contact, responding to my fairly constant steam of email enquiries to amend this and that or to find yet another extra room.
Reception, all equally obliging and helpful, nothing seemed too much trouble.
Must mention the seating arrangements for dinner. As a sociable crowd, exactly as we would wish, tables for ten or so gives everyone the opportunity to swap and share a meal with other friends. Restaurant service and food too, excellent!
A venue like the ‘Metropole’ makes any organiser’s life so much easier and, to quote our Hon. Sec. ‘I don’t know what the autumn venue will be like, but this will be a hard act to follow’.
I am sure we shall return to Llandrindod Wells and there can only be one hotel to stay at!
Best Wishes for the future.
You really do have a great team and a venue such as ‘The Metropole’ certainly makes the job far easier for any organiser. Sincere thanks from all who attended, to all who provided, such a memorable weekend.

J S Jones. Chairman, Somerset Walking Club.

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Last minute festive shopping ideas in Mid Wales

Shopping local can mean so much more than supporting your local business. Especially at Christmas some unique and special local products are available which will keep your family and friends guessing where you found them and how much effort you made to find that special gift. Some unique and quality ideas are below…

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Testimonial | Jowett Annual Rally | 2012

Jowett Annual Rally 2012

On behalf of all the attending members of the Jowett Car Club Limited, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Management and Staff of The Metropole Hotel for the care and professional attention which we received during our stay while celebrating our annual rally.

As a club we would certainly have no hesitation in recommending The Metropole to other organisations and will certainly consider our return to the hotel.

We would be delighted if you could pass on our praises to all the staff involved.

Yours sincerely

D L P Black

Treasurer / Director

Jowett Car Club Limited

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Testimonial | Bristol Owners’ Club | 2011

Bristol Owners’ Club Wessex Section 2011

As the organiser of the Bristol Owners’ Club motoring tour in Wales, based at The Metropole Hotel, I write to thank you and your team for looking after us. Having accepted the recommendation of other car clubs who had stayed with you previously, your hotel came well recommended. Following our stay I would now be more than happy to endorse those recommendations fully.

The staff were outstanding, always helpful, efficient and friendly. The food was superb and how you managed to maintain that standard with so many dining at once remains a mystery to me. The rooms were clean, comfortable and well furnished. The other hotel facilities were all well up to standard. I had nothing but praise from my group who would all be pleased to return.

Yours sincerely

P Campbell OBE

Secretary

Bristol Owner’s Club Wessex Section

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Group Holiday in Mid Wales

Testimonial report on 5 day break to Llandrindod Wells | May 2012

46 members left Sandy Car Park on Monday 30 April 2012 with local coach company Saffords Coaches of Great Gransden. En route to Llandrindod Wells we stopped at a service station for a comfort and refreshment break and then on to Worcester for a spot of lunch and sightseeing.

Our hotel in LLandrindod Wells was The Metropole Hotel. A 4 star privately owned hotel that included a superb health Spa. Porters took all of our cases to the rooms direct from the coach. The car park was sufficiently large to allow the coach to park there.

At The Metropole we were on bed, breakfast and evening meal. The buffet breakfast was superb with freshly cooked food and a wide variety of other items. The evening meal was a choice of three starters, main courses and deserts that were ordered at the table. The service from the smiling staff was very efficient.

It was noticeable during our stay that in all areas—bars, restaurants, reception and cleaning staff—that there were sufficient on hand to ensure prompt service.

On Tuesday morning the rain prevented some from going for a walk but a few ventured a few yards to The National Cycling Museum to view some interesting displays. Of those that stayed in the hotel some made use of the excellent swimming pool.

At lunch time we set off for the short journey to The Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir and were met by the owner Paul Humpherston, who gave some brief outline details of this 52 roomed house. We had been warned that we would need to take shoes off for the tour of the house and some of our members were well prepared by bringing slippers. Our party was then split into 2 groups and were taken on a conducted tour by Paul and another guide, Val. As we went from room to room they gave detailed descriptions of the interior furnishings and the contents of each room, giving numerous humorous anecdotes on the way. It was pleasing on the tour that we were allowed to sit down where we liked and could touch any objects—unlike a lot of houses that we visited. The weather prevented us going outside in the garden but everyone looked out of the windows and was impressed by how well they had been kept.

To finish our afternoon we were served with tea or coffee with a large piece of home-made cake (5 different types were available!!).

On the coach back to the hotel and in the evening everyone said it was one of the best houses they had ever visited and it would be virtually impossible to fully describe the house to their friends.

On Wednesday we returned just over the border to Leominster where we had a free morning looking round the shops and had lunch. Some found the Mousetrap Cheese Shop and any purchases were stored in the coach refrigerator until the end of the break.

In the afternoon we made the short journey to The Judges Lodging at Presteigne. The group, with the aid of audio guides made their way round the Judges Quarter, the Servants Rooms, the Kitchen, The Cells and then into the Magistrates Court, listening to a 20 minute tape of a trial. The tour concluded with tea and biscuits.

On Wednesday evening The Metropole Hotel mad available a room, complete with microphone, and a quiz run by our President was thoroughly enjoyed.

On Thursday we made our way to the coastal town of Aberystwyth. Here there was free time in the morning and some visited the Ceredigion Museum, some went on the Electric Railway and others went to the National Library.

After lunch we joined the Vale of Rheidol Railway, where we had seats reserved on the 12 mile steam train journey from Aberystwyth to Devils Bridge. The group enjoyed some spectacular views from the train. We were met at Devils Bridge by our coach for the return journey to the Hotel.

On the Friday we made our way home, stopping at Evesham for an enjoyable lunch.

The bedrooms at The Metropole were a very good size and spotlessly clean. All the staff at The Metropole were pleasant and extremely helpful. Our members felt this was the best hotel we had ever had on our Annual Break.

All of our members remarked how they had enjoyed such a sociable and friendly break. This was achieved with the service provided by The Metropole Hotel, our local coach company , Saffords Coaches, together with all the places we visited.

Nigel Westhorp, Social Secretary, Probus Club of Sandy and District

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Events in Mid Wales | May Bank Holiday Weekend

●5th May at 11am; Official opening of the Welsh Coastal Path at Aberystwyth; the World’s first continuous coastal path around a country and voted best in travel 2012 by Lonely Planet. Click to visit website.

●5/6th May; The International Antiques & Collectors Fair of Wales at Royal Welsh Showground; expect the BBC Bargain Hunt crew to be there too. Click to visit website.

●4/5/6th May; The Mach Comedy Festival at Machynlleth; in its 3rd year of growing popularity. Click to visit website.

●5th May; Brecon Toy and Train Sale at Brecon; many top dealers and 60 plus tables. Click to visit website.

●5/6/7th May Painting workshop at Erwood Craft Station 10am to 1pm for £20 including materials with Amanda Skipsey. Pre-booking required. Click to visit website.

●5/6th May; Elan Valley Outdoor Activities weekend; a range of adrenalin activiites near the Caban Coch reservoir. Pre-booking required. Click to visit website.

●5th May; Wildlife tracking and field skills with a countryside ranger at the Elan Valley visitor centre. Pre-booking required. Click to visit website.

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Tourism Award Winner 2011

Tourism Award 2011 Powys Business AwardsThe Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells was the winner of the ‘Mid Wales Tourism Award’ at the Powys Business awards which took place at Theatre Hafren in Newtown, Tuesday 27th September. The judges commended the Metropole for it’s continued investment in both the facilities of the hotel and staff training.
Managing director Justin Baird-Murray who accepted the award on behalf of the staff of the hotel was accompanied by sales and banqueting coordinator Adele Davies. Mr Baird-Murray said:
“Winning the award is a tremendous achievement for the staff and management of the hotel. In the current difficult economic environment I’m delighted that the Metropole continues to prosper and improve the product and services we are providing.”

The Metropole which has been owned by the Baird-Murray family for over 110 years employes 80 people in Llandrindod Wells and has invested over £5 million in the last 8 years. This award is the 2nd prestigious award won by the hotel on recent years having previously won the Wales conference hotel of the year.

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Small animal park | Wonderful local attraction

Grace | Reception TeamTaking a break from my duties on reception, my family and I recently went on a day trip to Small Breeds Animal Park and Owl Centre at Kington. We had a wonderful day. My five year old son really enjoyed feeding the goats, chickens, horses, donkeys, water fowl and many more animals, especially the alpaca’s who roam freely around the park. There are so many different species of owl at the park, and the information about them is quite fascinating. We were very lucky as the sun was shining, but I noticed that they provide umbrellas if it rains and there are plenty of indoor activities for the children to do such as board rubbing, colouring and quiz’s. There are also animals to see under cover including mice, chipmunks, domestic pet’s and my favourite, chicks and ducklings hatching.
The park is very clean and well maintained, it is easy to get to, parking is free, it is very reasonably priced and the café facilities are lovely. There is a little gift shop where I bought some homemade jam and chutney, and my son got an owl teddy. I would highly recommend visiting Kington Small Breeds Animal Park and Owl Centre Park to anyone, not just families, to all ages as there is something there to cater for everyone. Brilliant day out!

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