Penally Abbey: A Q&A with Designer and Hotelier Melanie Boissevain

Penally Abbey is a 12 bedroom boutique hotel with stunning views overlooking the sea near Tenby, Pembrokeshire. Housed in a Grade 2 listed Georgian house built in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style, it's a unique piece of architecture and also home to a candlelit restaurant called Rhosyn, acres of woodlands and gardens, a happy little spaniel called Maud and owners, husband and wife duo Lucas and Melanie Boissevain.

penalley abbey hotel restaurant
The Rhosyn restaurant at Penally Abbey featuring our Zephyr Mural

After taking on the charming property back in 2014 the couple have since transformed it into the beautiful and charismatic hotel and restaurant it is today. Melanie, an interior designer by profession, tasked herself with creating a unique hotel interior based around the hotels three fundamentals; being warm and welcoming, good food and wine and comfortable and memorable bedrooms.

Woodchip & Magnolia is a familiar face to Penally Abbey, with both the restaurant and a few of their bedrooms adorned in our designs. We took a moment to chat to Melanie all about her inspirations for the hotels interior design, her own interior design style and of course, Woodchip & Magnolia. 

Room 7 at Pennally Abbey
Room 7 at Penally Abbey hotel featuring our Garden of Dreams Exotic mural

Hi Melanie! We'd love to know, did you design the hotels interior by yourself?
Yes I did. Prior to taking ownership of the hotel in 2014, I worked as an Interior Designer on projects both in the UK and overseas.

Every room is so beautiful and well thought out. How would you describe the interior design style of the hotel?

We wanted guests to feel like they are visiting a seaside family home of a well to-do eccentric and artistic aunt. The furnishings and pictures have been collected over time rather than as a completely 'done' design scheme, so the style is not necessarily designed as such but has evolved and become more cosy over time. Lived in and un hotel-ish has always been our vision.

penally abbey hotel
Penally Abbey Hotel

What has been your main inspiration behind the design of the hotel?
I really wanted it to be a home from home; informal, easy, intimate, relaxed, lovely wine, food, fires and sea views.

Do you have a favourite room in terms of design in the hotel?
I have to say, it's the dining room of the restaurant where we have used your Zephyr Mural. I also love our newly renovated Room 7 in which we wrapped your Garden of Dreams Exotic mural around the room.

room 7 penally abbey
Room 7 at Penally Abbey

We also love the dining room at Rhosyn Restaurant. How did you decide on our Zephyr Mural for that space? 
We felt the room could take a statement wallpaper on all the walls. I’m not really a fan of feature walls when you can do ALL the walls instead, especially when it's a design as wonderful as Zephyr. It was mainly chosen for it’s impact but I also liked how muted it is; enough not to overwhelm the space.

Please could you tell us a bit about the new room number 7 at Penally Abbey?
Room 7 is one of our larger rooms and has a wonderful view towards the sea. It was ideal for another statement but equally calming wallpaper, which is how we landed on the Garden of Dreams Magnolia mural. It was previously decorated in muted shades of blue but we felt it was time to give this beautifully proportioned room a little face lift. The feedback has been unbelievably positive and exciting!

crane birds velvet fabricA bedroom at Penally Abbey featuring our Crane Bird Forest Green velvet fabric on the headboard

How did you decide on the that particular mural?
Very easily! Like the Zephyr in the Dining Room, the colours and the design was muted enough to feel calming and restful and doesn’t detract from the all important sea view. We love that there is no obvious repeat in the design too.

How would you describe your own interior design style?
I wouldn't say I have a particular signature style at all. I love all styles of interiors, from minimal to highly traditional but I often let the building itself and the people who inhabit the space dictate the style and the design. However, as the years have gone by I’m finding I veer more toward the traditional and cosy vibe with perhaps a super modern piece of furniture or painting amidst it all.

To book a stay at the hotel and restaurant, click here.


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