February 07 2012
Simon de Burton
Had it not been for the vision and lion-heartedness of Ralph Sanders and his partner Roland Powell, Ffin y Parc might well be in a state of rack and ruin by now. Instead, this imposing Victorian pile, bought five years ago as a derelict nursing home, is enjoying a new lease of life as a truly magical place to stay amid the breathtaking surroundings of Wales’s Conwy Valley (second picture).
I discovered Ffin y Parc last year when it was chosen as a lunch stop during the press launch of the Range Rover Evoque. Sanders was charmingly apologetic about the unfinished state of the place, describing it as a ‘work in progress’ – but the rustic floorboards, mismatched furniture and interesting art (the place – first picture – serves as a commercial gallery and coffee shop serving light lunches and afternoon teas) are the stuff of many a decorator’s dreams.
Accommodation currently comprises of two coach houses that have been converted into luxurious cottages (third picture) amid Ffin y Parc’s 14 acres of gardens and woodland, but by this summer there will be one more, plus seven large guest rooms in the house – by which time I suspect the place will have become rather popular.
Go there now, while it’s still relatively unknown. It might be a work in progress, but it’s certainly a labour of love.