Seren appoints Mourad Ben Tekfa as Director of Restaurants

The Seren Collection have announced that Mourad Ben Tekfa has been appointed as Director of Restaurants.

Mourad joins the team in South West Wales after 18 years at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons where he originally joined as Restaurant Manager before becoming Restaurant Director in 2010. With over 20 years’ experience working within Michelin starred establishments, he is also a proud holder of a Master of Culinary Arts Award.

In his new role, Mourad will support the business leaders to ensure the highest standards of service and guest experience are delivered across all four restaurants in the collection. These includes the fine dining Fernery and more casual Artisan Room Restaurant at the Grove of Narberth, the Michelin starred Beach House Restaurant on the Gower Peninsular, and the highly regarded Coast Restaurant in Saundersfoot.

In this role Mourad will also join the owners Neil & Zoe Kedward on the newly formed Executive Management Board for the collection.

Managing Director of The Seren Collection, Neil Kedward said:

“’We all need great people around us and so we are delighted to have Mourad by our side.

The loyalty he has shown to Le Manoir over so many years is rare to see, and he has delivered at the highest level for so long. His contribution to Raymond Blanc’s vision and the wider sector in terms of people development is enormous.

We feel blessed to be able to bring somebody of his obvious calibre into the Seren Collection to ensure our quality levels continue to progress in the years ahead. With so many exciting plans for the future, Mourad is the perfect restaurant professional to help us make them a reality.”

Restaurant Director, Mourad Ben Tekfa said:

“I am thrilled to have accepted the position Director of Restaurants for the Seren Collection. The vision and ambition that Neil shared with me, made it a straightforward and a very exciting decision to take.

The team has already achieved many accolades, and I have witnessed first-hand the excellence of service within the restaurants. I am looking forward to helping the collection build on this success in beautiful South West Wales.”

Thomas Agius Ferrante promoted to Director

Grove of Narberth General Manager Thomas Agius Ferrante has been promoted to Hotel Director at the 5-star hotel nestled in the Pembrokeshire countryside in South West Wales.

Following his appointment as General Manager in early 2019 and outstanding contribution since joining, Thomas has been offered a Directorship of the hotel owned by Neil & Zoe Kedward. In this role he will also have a position on the newly formed Executive Management Board for the wider group of businesses. The Grove of Narberth Hotel forms part of the Seren Collection which includes the one Michelin starred Beach House Restaurant on the Gower Peninsular, and the highly regarded Coast Restaurant in Saundersfoot.

Thomas arrived from The Phoenicia in Malta where he was Hotel Manager. This iconic 5-star historic hotel flanks the main gates of the capital Valletta and is a member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’ consortium.  Thomas started his career as a kitchen chef before moving into senior management roles first at One Aldwych and then at The Berkeley where he spent 7 years latterly as the Food & Beverage Operations Manager.

Neil Kedward, Managing Director of The Seren Collection said:

“Since Thomas joined us in South West Wales, he has taken real ownership of the business, tightened up our operations and significantly grown revenues whilst carefully maturing our service standards which is clear to see. He has become a key part of our future vision for the hotel and we know he has the ambition and natural capability to keep growing with us in the years ahead. His commitment to Grove and the wider business is unquestionable and he has quickly become a mentor for so many across the collection. We simply love working with this guy.”

Thomas Agius Ferrante, General Manager and Director of Grove of Narberth said:

“I am so happy to have accepted a Directorship here at Grove. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far and am excited by the challenge of taking the hotel forward along with our team here in Pembrokeshire. I look forward to implementing our exciting plans alongside Neil and Zoe as we continue to build on Grove’s achievements to date.”

Our Corner of Wales is Open

Our green hills and world famous coastline are now open to visitors once again.  After our little hibernation, my team and I are truly excited to share that we are making all the necessary preparations to open on 3rd August. 

The world is truly a different place and we have all seen our lives change.  It’s comforting to know that in Pembrokeshire and at Grove we have always had the luxury of space and beautiful countryside.  A place to relax in gentle seclusion away from the maddening crowds.

The welfare of our team and guests is of utmost importance.  We would like to assure you that all measures necessary are being taken without compromising any part of the Grove experience.  Click here to see our new commitment to our guests in what has been called the new normal.

Meanwhile at Grove, there has been lots of positive change with the refurbishment of rooms, restaurant and bar spaces inside and out, as well as lots of other surprises which we will share with you over the coming weeks.

I look forward to opening our doors and welcoming you to the Grove soon.

Thomas Agius Ferrante, General Manager

SSE Green Electricity

We are excited to share that we now have our SSE Green Electricity certificate meaning all our electricity is 100% renewable, clean electricity, generated by wind and hydro assets. It is renewably sourced and can be reported with zero carbon emissions under the GHG Protocol market-based method.

This wintertime we have also installed 3 phase electricity for the first time which has enabled us to move fully to induction cooking technology in the kitchens. This investment reduces our energy consumption whilst moving us from LPG to green energy for the first time. Our chefs are also happy working in a cleaner, safer and cooler kitchen working environment.

We are really proud of these new Green Energy Credentials which sit alongside our arrays of Solar Panels and Biomass Heating & Hot Water System which we invested in many years ago.

High Speed Broadband

We are thrilled to announce we now offer high speed broadband through the installation of a fibre cable this wintertime. The new fibre runs 2 miles from the telecoms exchange in the market town of Narberth. This investment has transformed our internet speeds from 4.66 Mbps to 300 Mbps, dramatically enhancing our guests experience.

It’s been a long time coming but even in this relatively remote rural location we are becoming bang up to date. We look forward to welcoming our guests back to Grove in the near future.

We now aim to work towards the installation of smart TV’s in every room so that guests can easily access their personal entertainment package. Our next project…

New Rooms

We are delighted to share we are completing the refurbishment of the original house bedrooms.

In January we started the project to refurbish the original house bedrooms with the help of our dear friends Martin Hulbert and Jay Grierson. These works included the complete remodelling of the spaces to introduce sound & fire proofed ceilings and floors, and enlarged bathroom spaces to accommodate double ended baths and separate monsoon showers. We are also excited about the addition of an exceptional new suite with double aspect views of our delightful gardens. Martin and Jay’s scheme gently focuses on the original details that make these spaces so special whilst bringing the rooms to a whole new quality level for our guests.

Our owners Zoe & Neil love a project, and with hindsight they would be the first to accept that we could not chosen a worse time to start this latest one. The emergence of the Coronavirus bringing the works swiftly to a halt just a few weeks prior to their planned launch at Easter. Since the lockdown started we have slowly tried to complete the works, so that only second fix electrics and plumbing remain to be done.

We are now looking forward to the day when we can safely welcome Martin, Jay and their team who will add their layers of handmade furniture, fabrics and crafts to bring their designs to life just prior to reopening.

Watch this space for more pictures of the refurbishment once we have completed the final fit out work.

New kitchen refurbishment

We are delighted to have reopened after a short break this January following a complete kitchen redesign led by Executive Chef Douglas Balish.

In a bid to support the team by creating innovative work spaces, the refurbishment includes new floors, work tops and the installation of a state of the art cooking suite by Control Induction. The bespoke UK built stove consists of eight induction hobs, four Plancha cook plates and a ‘quick therm’ salamander grill, using infra-red technology.

Emphasising our commitment to sustainability, this new cooking suite not only improves the cooking environment at the Grove but also helps reduce energy consumption creating a cooler kitchen environment by moving from LPG to electric.

Executive Chef Douglas Balish said :

“The new kitchen allows us to develop new techniques and push the food offering further than ever before for our Fernery restaurant and Artisan Rooms. We are very lucky to now have one of the best kitchens in the country and I hope we can do it proud.”

Works are also underway in further projects we are once again working with acclaimed UK interior designers Martin Hulbert and Jay Grierson, as they reinvent 5 rooms in the original house.

Grove wins AA Hotel of the Year for Wales

We are delighted to announce Grove of Narberth has been named Hotel of the Year for Wales 2019/20 at the AA Hospitality Awards held in London this week .

The 2019 AA Hospitality Awards event was hosted at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in London and was attended by world-renowned chefs, prominent hoteliers and restaurateurs, hospitality gurus and key media, with celebrity host Kate Silverton.  The event recognises and rewards the excellent services provided by the very best establishments, in addition to acting as the initial high-profile launch of the latest editions of the AA’s range of lifestyle guides.

General Manager of the Grove, Thomas Agius Ferrante said:
“The team work tirelessly to constantly enhance every aspect of the guest experience at our lovely hotel in the Narberth hills.  Achieving this accolade is real acknowledgment of the quality they consistently deliver.  Everybody here is both delighted and very proud and it felt a real honour to celebrate the evening with so many people from the industry.”

Grove receive 5 star hotel status

We are delighted to announce we have been awarded a 5 star hotel status by tourism governing body, Visit Wales.

Grove is the 4th hotel in Wales to achieve 5 stars and the first hotel in South West Wales to achieve this accolade. This week, Deputy Minister for Culture Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas visited the hotel to congratulate the team. The 5 star status comes from a nationwide quality assessment scheme where all accommodation is assessed to the same criteria with the stars reflecting the facilities and overall quality of the experience.

The hotel is privately owned by Neil and Zoe Kedward and since taking ownership in 2007 as a derelict building, they have renovated and upgraded the property to create a 26 bedroom luxury country house hotel.

The couple have expanded their business and since launched The Seren Collection, a unique collection of high quality hospitality venues in South West Wales which also includes Coast Restaurant in Saundersfoot and Beach House in the Gower Peninsular.

Lord Elis-Thomas, said:

“I’m delighted to get this opportunity to announce that The Grove is a 5 star hotel – and to congratulate the team on this achievement. This is excellent news for Pembrokeshire – and for Wales, high quality products such as The Grove is what keeps Wales competitive. Being awarded 5 stars is no mean feat, and is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication of Neil, Zoe and their team to deliver the best possible experience to their visitors.”

Neil Kedward, Managing Director, Seren Collection said:

“Grove has a special place in our hearts as it is where our journey in South West Wales started for Zoe & I.   It has been a long and winding road and for that reason we feel it’s very important to acknowledge the huge contribution of the current team, all previous staff and our local suppliers and contractors.   There are many steps that we have taken over the last 12 years to take this property from a derelict unloved house to a high quality hotel, and without their support this would have not been possible.  Zoe & I were once told that the ‘Grove could never be a hotel’, we are delighted that not only have we been able to prove them wrong, but we have achieved 5 star status which is the benchmark that any hotelier aims for.”

Watch out for more news about exciting new developments and significant further investment from the Grove of Narberth team in the very near future.