In the search for the UK’s most quirky hotel, Portmeirion is likely to feature in most conversations. Where do we begin? Anyone who has ever seen the cult 1960’s series ‘The Prisoner’ might be forgiven fo thinking who built the film set and how much it cost? Well the answer to the first question is Clough William Ellis, an eccentric architect, who wanted to demonstrate that you could build in amongst an area of natural beauty and not ruin it. Ellis drew heavily on classical Italian influences to frame his design, with arches. pillars, domes and bell towers. The answer to the second question is that ‘the Village’ isn’t a set, it was a location, and the location was Portmeirion. Now it’s beyond the scope of this review to explore ‘the Prisoner’, but any appraisal of Portmeirion needs to try. A brief synopsis might look something like this
The over fertile mind of Patrick McGoohan thought that village was a sinister incarceration centre for former spies who knew too much. It became a battle of wills between the expression of an individual (given the distinctly impersonal name of ‘number 6’) asserting their rights to freedom, and some kind of dark hidden force that supresses it. Every episode became increasingly surreal, anyone who’d still kept up by about the eighth was doing well! By about the fourteenth most of us had given up, other than being vaguely aware that there was a potential masterpiece unfolding on our TV screens, (it’s just that no one really seemed to understand what was going on – and the finale didn’t make things that much clearer either). McGoohan never explained it, and took the secret to his grave, which has only added to the mystique … but this is a hotel review
The ‘human game of chess’. Prisoner enthusiasts re-enact another bizarre ritual from the series
The house that ‘number 6’ was held in is the pink one centre
(now a souvenir shop)
Somewhat improbably at face value, the Portmeirion village is actually a hotel. The main hotel building is more influenced by the art deco movement and can be found down on the bay overlooking the Dwyryd Estuary. It has 14 stylish bedrooms, a fine-dining restaurant, a bar and terrace and several relaxing lounges. Clough Williams-Ellis opened The Hotel Portmeirion at Easter, 1926 as the focal point for his proposed ideal village. He retained much of the Victorian interior including an intricate Italian fireplace, the grand Mirror Room, the library carvings from the Great Exhibition of 1851 and a grand eighteenth-century oak staircase. The bar and dining room were re-styled by Sir Terrence Conran in 2005 to recreate the atmosphere of Clough’s art deco walnut panelled rooms.
The main hotel overlooking the estuary
The second part is an eclectic cluster of self-catering Italian influenced cottages, characterised by the iconic architecture, stylish shops, award-winning restaurants, casual cafes, an Italian ice cream parlour, exotic gardens and sandy beaches. Guests of the village can still use the facilities of the hotel
We try and secure a ‘village room’ (twin if possible for golfers). These rooms are situated in various locations around the village. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, televisions, Wi-Fi and tea or coffee making facilities. Guests enjoy free entry into Portmeirion Village and Gardens and use of the heated outdoor swimming pool (May – September). All residents are offered dedicated parking bays.
Portmeirion Village offers a variety of dining options from the fine-dining experience in the Art Deco Restaurant at Hotel Portmeirion to the more relaxed Brasserie at Castell Deudraeth. Several cafes on-site serve up the classics, including Town Hall, Caffi’r Sgwâr and Caffi No 6, while Caffi Glas specialises in Italian favourites such as pasta, pizza and salads. Caffi’r Angel is a traditional gelateria on-site! And you can enjoy Afternoon Tea on the Terrace at Hotel Portmeirion, or in the lounges or bar.
Even though we have to impose some supplementary surcharges in line with passing costs on, we endeavour to adopt a sincere position that doesn’t seek to penalise such travellers and exploit your situation, occasionally absorbing some of the cost ourselves. Despite our commitment to fair play, there is still ultimately only two bottom-line options:
1: Pay a single traveller supplement
2: If you indicate a willingness, we can attempt to pair you in a twin room
Most hotels operate a cancellation premium of some description. The amount charged however varies between chains, and even different hotels within the same chain, it also fluctuates with little sense of predictability. In addition, the terms and conditions also differ with 3 days to 24 hours being typical cut-off points beyond which cover is invalidated. Group bookings can find they’re subjected to 28 days given that a hotelier takes a bigger risk accepting such a reservation to a mass cancellation. We try to reserve piecemeal as a result
Our policy is to recover what we can for you, but we are restricted in line with what the hotel offers. It’s always helpful to check the individual hotels T&C’s. We advise you if booking by credit card, to check that you don’t hold an added service item that came when you signed up. This might cover you.