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How to Book a Hotel in Portmeirion
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Hotels of Portmeirion
A hotel in Portmeirion is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Portmeirion hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Portmeirion are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Portmeirion hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Portmeirion hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Portmeirion have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Portmeirion
An upscale full service hotel facility in Portmeirion that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Portmeirion hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Portmeirion
Full service Portmeirion hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Portmeirion
Boutique hotels of Portmeirion are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Portmeirion boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Portmeirion may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Portmeirion
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Portmeirion travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Portmeirion focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Portmeirion
Small to medium-sized Portmeirion hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Portmeirion traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Portmeirion hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Portmeirion
A bed and breakfast in Portmeirion is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Portmeirion bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Portmeirion B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Portmeirion
Portmeirion hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Portmeirion hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Portmeirion
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Portmeirion hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Portmeirion lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Portmeirion
Portmeirion timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Portmeirion often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Portmeirion on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Portmeirion
A Portmeirion motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Portmeirion for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Portmeirion motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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Travelling and vacation in Portmeirion
This article is about the Welsh village. For the pottery, see Portmeirion Pottery.
Overview of the central plaza
Portmeirion shown within Gwynedd
OS grid reference
List of places
/ 52.912; -4.099 / 52.912; -4.099
Portmeirion is a tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village, and is now owned by a charitable trust.
The village is located in the community of Penrhyndeudraeth, on the estuary of the River Dwyryd, 2 miles (3.2 km) south east of Porthmadog, and 1 mile (1.6 km) from Minffordd railway station.
Portmeirion has served as the location for numerous films and television shows, and was "The Village" in the 1960s television show The Prisoner.
Sir Clough Williams-Ellis at Portmeirion in 1969
Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion's designer, denied repeated claims that the design was based on the fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Riviera. He stated only that he wanted to pay tribute to the atmosphere of the Mediterranean. He did, however, draw from a love of the Italian village stating, "How should I not have fallen for Portofino? Indeed its image remained with me as an almost perfect example of the man-made adornment and use of an exquisite site." Williams-Ellis designed and constructed the village between 1925 and 1975. He incorporated fragments of demolished buildings, including works by a number of other architects. Portmeirion's architectural bricolage and deliberately fanciful nostalgia have been noted as an influence on the development of postmodernism in architecture in the late 20th century.
The main building of the hotel and the cottages "White Horses", "Mermaid", and "The Salutation" had been a private estate called Aber Iâ (Welsh: Ice estuary), developed in the 1850s on the site of a late 18th-century foundry and boatyard. Williams-Ellis changed the name (which he had interpreted as "frozen mouth") to Portmeirion: "Port-" from its place on the coast; "-meirion" from the county of Merioneth (Meirionydd) in which it was sited. The very minor remains of a mediaeval castle (known variously as Castell Deudraeth, Castell Gwain Goch and Castell Aber Iâ) are in the woods just outside the village, recorded by Gerald of Wales in 1188.
In 1931 Williams-Ellis bought from his uncle, Sir Osmond Williams, Bt, the Victorian crenellated mansion Castell Deudraeth with the intention of incorporating it into the Portmeirion hotel complex, but the intervention of the war and other problems prevented this. Williams-Ellis had always considered the Castell to be “the largest and most imposing single building on the Portmeirion Estate" and sought ways to incorporate it. Eventually, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund as well as the Wales Tourist Board, his original aims were achieved and Castell Deudraeth was opened as an 11 bedroom hotel and restaurant on 20 August 2001 by Welsh opera singer Bryn Terfel.
The grounds contain an important collection of rhododendrons and other exotic plants in a wild-garden setting, which was begun before Williams-Ellis's time by the previous owner George Henry Caton Haigh and has continued to be developed since Williams-Ellis's death.
Portmeirion is now owned by a charitable trust, and has always been run as a hotel, which uses the majority of the buildings as hotel rooms or self-catering cottages, together with shops, a cafe, tea-room, and restaurant. Portmeirion is today a top tourist attraction in North Wales and day visits can be made on payment of an admission charge.
Architecture critic Lewis Mumford devoted a large part of a chapter of his 1964 book The Highway and the City to Portmeiron, which he called
an artful and playful little modern village, designed as a whole and all of a piece ... a fantastic collection of architectural relics and impish modern fantasies. ... As an architect, [Williams-Ellis] is equally at home in the ancient, traditional world of the stark Welsh countryside and the once brave new world of "modern architecture." But he realized earlier than most of his architectural contemporaries how constricted and desiccated modern forms can become when the architect pays more attention to the mechanical formula or the exploitation of some newly fabricated material than to the visible human results. In a sense, Portmeiron is a gay, deliberately irresponsible reaction against the dull sterilities of so much that passes as modern architecture today. ... [I]t is prompted by [the] impulse ... to reclaim for architecture the freedom of invention - and the possibility of pleasurable fantasy - it had too abjectly surrendered to the cult of the machine.
Mumford referred to the architecture as both romantic and picturesque in Baroque form, "with tongue in cheek." He described the total effect as "relaxing and often enchanting" with "playful absurdities" that are "delicate and human in touch", making the village a "happy relief" from the "rigid irrationalities and the calculated follies" of the modern world.
Portmeirion: In popular culture
Battery Square and souvenir shops
The village of Portmeirion has been a source of inspiration for writers and television producers. For example, Noël Coward wrote Blithe Spirit while staying in the Fountain 2 (Upper Fountain) suite at Portmeirion. In 1956 the village was visited by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and other famous visitors have included Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman and Paul McCartney. Musician Jools Holland visited whilst filming for the TV music show The Tube, and was so impressed that he has had his studio and other buildings at his home in Blackheath built to a design heavily inspired by Portmeirion.
Television series and films have shot exterior scenes at Portmeirion, often depicting the village as an exotic European location. Examples of this include the 1960 Danger Man episode "View from the Villa" starring Patrick McGoohan, the 1976 four-episode Doctor Who story titled "The Masque of Mandragora" set in Renaissance Italy, and an episode of Citizen Smith in which the eponymous hero visits Rimini. In 2002 some scenes were filmed there for the final episode (at the time) of the TV series Cold Feet. The town of Wiggyville in the Cbeebies series Gigglebiz is shot in Portmeirion as well.
Siouxsie and the Banshees used Portmeirion as a setting in their 1987 music video for "the Passenger".
Portmeirion was the setting of the inaugural Festival N°6, which took place in September 2012 and featured headline acts Spiritualized, Primal Scream and New Order. Since then, this festival is celebrated each year in September at Portmeirion.
The 80s Scottish band Altered Images used Portmeirion in their video "See Those Eyes".
Hercules, a statue by William Brodie
Portmeirion: The Prisoner
In 1966–1967, Patrick McGoohan returned to Portmeirion to film exteriors for The Prisoner, a surreal spy drama in which Portmeirion played a starring role as "The Village", in which McGoohan's retired intelligence agent, known only as "Number 6", was incarcerated and interrogated, albeit in pleasant surroundings. At Williams-Ellis' request, Portmeirion was not identified on screen as the filming location until the credits of the final episode of the series, and indeed, Williams-Ellis stated that the levy of an entrance fee was a deliberate ploy to prevent the village from being spoilt by overcrowding. The show, broadcast on ITV in the UK during the Autumn of 1967 and CBS in the United States in the Summer of 1968, became a cult classic, and fans continue to visit Portmeirion, which hosts annual Prisoner fan conventions. The building that was used as the lead character's home in the series currently operates as a Prisoner-themed souvenir shop. Many of the locations used in The Prisoner are virtually unchanged after more than 40 years.
Because of its Prisoner connection, Portmeirion has been used as the filming location for a number of homages to the series, ranging from comedy skits to an episode of the BBC documentary series The Celts, which recreated scenes from The Prisoner. Other occasions include:
In 1987 Jools Holland starred in a spoof documentary, The Laughing Prisoner, with Stephen Fry, Terence Alexander and Hugh Laurie. Much of it was shot on location in Portmeirion, and it included archive footage of McGoohan.
Portmeirion, along with the Welsh village of Morfa Bychan, was used as the location for the filming of the Supergrass video Alright. The video includes numerous references to The Prisoner.
Iron Maiden recorded a song called "The Prisoner" on their 1982 album, The Number of the Beast. In a documentary programme about that album (as part of the Classic Albums TV series), lead singer Bruce Dickinson wanders through the avenues of Portmeirion and describes how the song was written and how the band's manager obtained permission from Patrick McGoohan to use dialogue from the show in the song's introduction.
The Channel 4 music programme The Tube also produced videos for XTC's songs "The Meeting Place" and "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" filmed in Portmeirion with the band wearing costumes from The Prisoner.
In Series 12, Episode 13 of Wheeler Dealers the finished Caterham 7 is taken to Portmeirion to pay homage to The Prisoner, which featured the Lotus 7, the predecessor of the Caterham 7.
Panoramic view of the central piazza
Portmeirion: See also
List of gardens in Wales
Headley, Gwyn and Meulenkamp, Wim. Follies: a National Trust Guide Cape, 1986. p.156