Colin and Patty Ford bought the run-down house, Maes-yr-Haf more than three years ago. Previously it had had been a shop and guest house when Parkmill was the main stop for the buses that brought day-trippers and holidaymakers to the Gower.
After a three-year development period, it has been refurbished and extended at a cost of some £500,000 to create a restaurant catering for up to 40 covers and offering five luxury bedrooms. The project has involved stripping the existing building to a shell and then undertaking major structural work as well as reconstruction of the interior layout and its fitting out to an extremely high standard. In addition, car parking for 15 vehicles has been created. This work has had to be carried out with considerable care to conform with the rigorous standards required in a Conservation Area within an AONB.
Mr and Mrs Ford had detected a shortage of high quality restaurants outside the Swansea and Mumbles area and spotted the opportunity to extend the range whilst benefiting from the scenically stunning countryside that draws walkers, riders and a host of other amateurs of the outdoor life.
A report of the Swansea Strategic Growth Area endorses the Fords’ view that there is a need in the area for quality facilities of the kind envisaged, pointing out that, “Although capacity is reasonable, there is a lack of good quality guest houses and small hotels capable of meeting market expectations in the priority segment of empty nesters on short breaks and additional holidays.”
The village lies on the main route across the peninsula, the A4118, and provides access by footpath to Three Cliffs Bay. It is also is home to the Parc-le-Breos riding centre and the Mill Heritage Centre and is centrally located for the burgeoning holiday accommodation businesses that are springing up all over Gower as farms diversify. All this means that a sound market already exists for Maes-yr-Haf and that it should make a substantial contribution to the local tourism economy by providing 11 full-time-equivalent jobs and drawing on local services and other resources.
Colin Ford, who also runs a highly successful international consultancy business and travels globally throughout the year, said: “Although we will continue to concentrate on our main business, we have a very experienced management team with more than 10 years in the hospitality industry, both locally and internationally, and who are highly motivated to succeed.
Experience of high class food and accommodation gained in 30 years of travelling the world make Colin acutely aware of how important attention to detail can be. He says: “Beautifully prepared and presented food using high quality fresh produce will be supplemented by that special quality of friendly but faultless service as we are determined to ensure that our guests’ time with us will be truly memorable for all the right reasons.”
Mr Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Welsh Assembly Government Tourism Minister,
said: “Quality is the keystone of competitiveness in the increasingly competitive global tourism market. Mr and Mrs Ford have spotted a gap in the local market and invested heavily - with the aid of a grant secured through Visit Wales - in a quality restaurant with rooms.
“If, as expected, Maes-yr-Haf gains the five-star rating it seeks, then we shall have an amenity responding to a known demand for quality in an area that is highly prized by discerning visitors from the UK and overseas - a venture that should make a significant contribution to the local economy.”
October 2, 2007