History family home strikes gold

By Sue Austin | Ellesmere | Travel | Published:

When Henry Curteis was faced with the prospect of selling the family home he grew up in he couldn't bear the thought.

Henry Curteis and his sons enjoy a game of croquet on the lawn

Instead he turned Plas Yolyn into a holiday let, which has won a major travel award less than a year after it opened.

The historic hall, together with 10 acres of countryside has been enjoyed by holidaymakers throughout the summer.

It has now won gold in a national travel awards scheme by Sykes Cottages, the UK’s largest independent operator of UK holiday rental properties.

Plas Yolyn between Ellesmere and St Martins was named best for large groups with the 17th century hall able to accommodate 14 people and boasting seven bedrooms, a banqueting hall, sauna and hot tub.

The land has been in Mr Curteis' family for more than 1,000 years, acquired by Henry’s ancestor Welsh King Hywel Dda in approximately 925 AD.

In 2011, the family had to decide whether to sell the property which was lying empty. But Mr Curteis decided he couldn’t part ways with his childhood home and took on the challenge of turning it into a holiday let.

Six years and a one million pound investment later, he says the property has been a hit with groups who want to come together for a slice of luxury and discover the experiences on offer across Shropshire.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won gold in the Best for Large Groups category. This place is very close to my heart having been in my family for so long and it’s incredibly rewarding to see all of our hard work being recognised," he said.


“Plas Yolyn was a wonderful place to grow up. I had a really idyllic childhood thanks to this house, and it’s such a pleasure to see other families and groups of friends cherish their time here just like I did."

The competition attracted thousands of entries from across the UK.

Judged by a panel of travel industry experts, Plas Yolyn was assessed on its style, suitability and facilities, as well as its occupancy rate and customer feedback on cleanliness, comfort, location and value for money.

Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Cottages, said: “The Sykes Gem Awards have given us the chance to celebrate unique properties like Plas Yolyn and their owners. The awards uncover the best of the best in our portfolio of properties and make it even easier for holidaymakers to select the perfect break. Whether it’s about discovering the best walks, most beautiful beaches, or finding properties that suit large groups or families, there’s something to suit everyone.”

To view all Sykes Gem Award winners, please visit

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.


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