13 Feb 2016
It is with great sadness that we report that the much-loved hotelier Joan Reen has died. Joan lost her battle with cancer on Friday 12th February 2016 aged 67.
Throughout the years Joan and her husband Rob Reen transformed Ynyshir Hall into one of the UK’s finest country house hotels. Under the Reen’s, the hotel became a foodie destination having a Michelin star over 13 years. Last year, it became the only place in Wales to be awarded 4 AA Rosettes having held 3 AA Rosettes for 20 years. Ynyshir Hall has appeared in ‘The Good Food Guide’ for the last 26 years. It was also awarded AA Hotel of the Year, Wales in 2014.
Joan and Rob Reen took ownership of Ynyshir Hall in 1989. Prior to acquiring and managing Ynyshir Hall, Joan was a geography teacher and Rob an art teacher.
Joan was a truly remarkable woman. Together with Rob, she won back her hotel following the collapse of von Essen hotels group. Joan and Rob had stayed on following the initial sale to manage the hotel and then suddenly the group collapsed and they almost lost everything. Ynyshir Hall is a former childhood retreat of Queen Victoria. Famous guests have included Richard Gere, Julia Ormond and Eddie Izzard among many others. Ynyshir Hall is more like visiting someone’s much-loved home than being in a hotel. Joan always greeted everyone like members of her family. Her warmth and energy were unique.
Unfailingly modest, there is no doubt about Joan’s charisma (in 2014 she had a 10-page cover interview in Welsh magazine, InBusiness). She cites her parents as role models. “Together they created a fantastic business and ran it very successfully for 50 years. They made sure each of their four daughters had a university education, but most important, they instilled into all of us a work ethic that has stayed with us all our lives.”
Fiona Duncan, hotel critic of the Daily Telegraph reviewed the hotel in May 2015 awarding it a 9 out of 10, she commented; “It would make a good book, even a film”.
There will be no one like Joan again in this industry. Her beloved hotel is a testament to her creativity and passion. May she rest in peace.