Portmeirion Hotel, Wales 2010

The Village, Hotel Portmeirion, Wales, UK

The Village - No.6's first view

(Click any image to see it full size.)

After a brisk 70 mile or so walk in the Cotswolds, we took the train to the Portmeirion Hotel in Wales for a couple of days of R&R. The train reflected the totally different conditions and lifestyle of the countryside. Schoolchildren take the train instead of being chauffeured in buses. If there's anywhere you want to stop, you just let the conductor know.

The future of the Portmeririon Hotel will forever be secure thanks to Patrick McGoohan, who was so impressed with it during the filming of a Danger Man episode, that he wrote a whole series around it. The Prisoner, 1966-67, is arguably the most important television series ever produced. It's the Atlas Shrugged of TV. The hotel itself is simply a production company's delight, with an entire village built of unique buildings and structures, decorated with gaudy artifacts and colors, set on a steep hillside with views and angles you don't get on the soundstage.

First view of the Portmeirion Hotel, Wales, UK, from the train Looking across the green, Portmeirion Hotel, Wales, UK View up to the dome Hotel Portmeirion, Wales, UK
First view of The Village, from the train Looking across the village green Looking up to No.2's Domed HQ

The hotel itself is pure charm. Fifty-odd rooms (some very odd), all decorated differently, but also with orchids and refrigerators and free sherry. Our suite faced both the central pool and the sea, which sweeps in an amazingly quick tide, and sweeps back out again in a couple of hours. We stayed in the Royal Dolphin, overlooking the bay and main building, with a view of the main village green on the other. This is the only hotel I know where there's an admission fee if you're not a guest, and tour buses line the parking lot. There is of course a Prisoner convention, much like Trekkie conventions, and everyone is fascinated to recognize settings they've seen on the show. A real luxury hotel, where they pick you up at the train station, and deliver you right to your room. Where the towels are heated, and everyone has a stunning view - if not two, as we did. In the early days it was a must for the celebrities of the era, and will remain a unique memory for us. A true treat.

Royal Dolphin, Portmeirion Hotewl, Wales, UK Low tide, main building and stone boat, Portmeirion Hotel, Wales, UK Row of shops, Portmeirion Hotel, Wales, UK
Royal Dolphin, set on arches Low tide, main building and stone boat Shops no longer accept "Credits"