Portmeirion is a complete, uninhabited (apart from tourist guests), village and hotel. The entire place was created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976. He wanted to show how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it. The village is probably most famous as the setting for the Prisoner TV series.
We booked a cottage in advance to stay for one night, Friday 31st March on their dinner, bed & breakfast rate £278. We stayed the previous night in the Jurys Inn, Birmingham to get a head start and could arrive around 3pm – and we made it on time.
There is a fee for visitors to Portmerion – hotel/cottage guests and those dining at the restaurant are free, although only hotel guests can drive and park inside. The man at the gatehouse couldn’t find me on his list, which was disappointing, but was happy to believe that we had a booking and directed me, along a winding drive, to the hotel.
The main village is at the top of the cliff, the hotel down a hill with spectacular views across the Dwyryd Estuary.
We parked outside and went in to reception. Where they had Number 2’s chair from the Prisoner TV series.
A quick check in and dinner reservation and we were escorted by a friendly porter to our cottage – we had booked ‘The Fountain’ a cottage at hotel level, rather than up in the main village. It’s difficult to know what’s the best choice; our cottage with views of the estuary, simple parking and an easy walk to the hotel for dinner, or a cottage in the village where you could re-create the initial scene from the Prisoner, but also have to climb up and down to the hotel.
The Fountain is split into two, we were in the lower part, although that still meant a few ornate steps up to our door as the ground floor is used for storage. You can see our red rental car parked outside:
Here’s a view from the village looking down at our cottage:
The drawing room, bedroom and bathroom were perfectly appointed. There was also a small complimentary carafe of sherry and glasses which was a nice touch.
There was also a small kitchen counter behind some doors off the drawing room, with kettle, homemade shortbread biscuits and a selection tea and coffee.
And this was the view from our room:
Early evening, before dinner, we could hear the guests above walking around and the floors were creaking. We were concerned that they may repeat this on a late return – in the end they were back before us. I think I’d choose the upper part of the cottage next time just in case.
It was great to be able to wander around the village after dark – it closes to visitors at 7:30pm.
Breakfast was a mixture of buffet and hot cooked-to-order. We chose the full Welsh Breakfast, which was delicious, perhaps a little small; the black pudding slice was cut into two and we each had half a piece.
I’d normally be disappointed that check out was 11am – I consider that a little early. As it was, we had to leave before lunch to drive to South Wales for a friend’s wedding anniversary party. Had we stayed longer and in better weather, we would have taken some longer walks and also visited the nearby Ffestiniog Railway.
We really enjoyed our stay and would definitely recommend at least a one night stay rather than just a visit to the village.
The Hotel Portmeirion
+44 (0) 1766 772311 (Tollgate)
+44 (0) 1766 770000 (Hotel Reception)