“ Address: Wales „
We spent a couple of nights in Portmeirion Village in December 2011 and one evening we chose to eat in Castle Deudraeth (pronounced 'Dye drath') as it was one of only two options in the village and we didn't feel like getting the car out and driving into Porthmadog as it meant one of us had to not have a drink.
We booked the time with the reception at the main hotel using the phone in the room. Interestingly we chose not to eat in the village on our second night and in the late afternoon I got a phone call asking if we would like to book a table at either the hotel or the Castle for that night which I thought at the time was a bit pushy but I decided to take it as 'helpful' so as not to feel annoyed!
When you eat at either the hotel or the Castell Deudraeth and you are staying in the village there is a small mini bus which collects you outside your accommodation and takes you to whichever venue you have chosen to eat at. When you have finished they will then call to bring the mini bus to collect you and deliver you safely back to your room. I thought that was an excellent service as the Castell Deudraeth is quite a walk from the village at night and there is not a lot of light and the road is very narrow.
We arrived safely at Castell Deudraeth with another family sharing the bus. They had young children and a pushchair so took up a few seats in the bus. When we arrived at the front of the castle one of the young girls said "It's Windy Castle" and we laughed as those of you who are forced to be Peppa pig fans will know it is the castle that features in those stories.
We were welcomed into the castle and the front entrance is lovely, just as you imagine a castle entrance room should be but with 21st century warmth and comfort. It is possible to stay in the castle but I am afraid i don't know the cost of the rooms there.
A BIT OF CASTLE HISTORY
This is not an ancient castle but rather an early Victorian mansion built in a castle style. Clough Williams-Ellis bought the building and grounds in 1931 so that he could have a proper access from the main road and also expand his village. In the 1930s it was used as a hotel , it then became a public school and then rented private apartments.
In 2001 the castle opened as part of the village as further accommodation and the restaurant. The renovation was made possible with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund as well as the Wales Tourist Board.
As I said we were welcomed by the girl at the front desk and shown to our table. Apart from the table next to us and the family who arrived with us and were shown into another room we were in a pretty empty room. The table next to us were just choosing their food and we sat and sort of kept an eye on what they were ordering to get an idea of what we might have offered. Two more tables of people came in and were shown to their table. They were given menus, then they had their drinks brought to them and still we sat. My husband was just about to say something when someone came and handed us two menus and asked if we would like a drink. Yes we blooming would we had been sitting there for about ten minutes by now. He also suggested we might like a jug of water too.
He then disappeared hopefully to get our drinks but no. The other tables were served their starters and still we had got not even the jug of tap water. Finally someone came over and asked if we had ordered. We ordered our meal as we had had plenty of time to decide! No apology for keeping us waiting or anything was given.
We both chose off the Christmas specials menu which offered two course for about £17 and three for a bit more as far as I can remember. I believe it was about £20 for three courses but I may be not quite accurate with the prices. This seemed to offer the best value as most of the starters were around £6, main courses were around £13 and up to £18ish. The desserts were again around £6 so the Special Christmas menu offer was certainly a better deal and you get a glass of mulled wine included.
My husband chose a chestnut pate which was okay but came with very little bread or toast. I had the seafood cocktail as we were near the sea I thought it was fairly safe. It was quite nice and no complaints.
We had to wait another ten minutes for the food and our long awaited drinks to arrive. Service was not that great as you can tell we were far from impressed.
We chose not to pull the crackers and i stuck them in my bag to take home for our grandsons as we were not feeling very "jolly" by now.
I chose a sea bream and my husband had a traditional Christmas dinner. My food was okay and my husband quite enjoyed his food but we had started to feel slightly annoyed at the fact that we seemed to be sitting at the invisible table. No one came to ask if we were happy or if we wanted another drink nor in fact did anyone come anywhere near our table at all.
We never did get the jug of water offered that all the other tables got almost as soon as they sat down.
I wish I hadn't bothered mine was awful. A very solid sickly pie thing that I can't even remember what is meant to be but I do remember I didn't finish it. My husband had Christmas pudding which he said was okay but not great.
WHAT DID WE THINK?
Well as you may have gathered we were far from impressed with the service and the food was only okay. I think if the place had been really busy and the staff had been rushing around i would not have minded so much but they just seemed to be walking around doing nothing much. Once again had there been an apology it would have helped but nothing at all. Needless to say we didn't leave a tip.
I could almost feel the daggers as we crossed off the tip from the credit card slip. We often do that and then a cash tip but this time there was no way. I hate tipping anyway and I certainly don't believe I should tip for rubbish service.
WAITING FOR THE BUS
Of course we then had to sit in the front area by the huge open fire while we waited for the bus. The lady at the desk called it for us but it did seem a long five minutes with stoney looks coming from the staff. Funny they noticed us then!
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
In a word, NO. If this is what the service is like on a quiet night I can't imagine how they cope in the summer. In fact I think I would keep away from the village all together in the summer season as I imagine it must be really crowded and that would spoil the atmosphere of the place completely. If you stay in Portmerion I would suggest trying the hotel or getting your car and driving to Porthmadog as it couldn't be a lot worse and would probably be much cheaper.
I think we paid about £60 for the two of us which I feel is quite a lot of money and I had the two mulled wines which were included in the set meal while my husband had two beers so we didn't exactly order expensive drinks either. But stil we were saved the expense of a tip with the awful service.
Thanks for reading . This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name
When it comes to Oh's birthday, I always try my hardest, but have managed to ruin every one of his birthdays that we've celebrated together.
This year, I triumphed. I took him to Portmeirion, the fabulous holiday resort in north Wales which is perhaps best known for being the setting for "The Village" in the Prisoner.
There's a hotel on the site (which I believe doubled as the old people's home in the series), as well as self catering cottages but a fantastic castle on the website caught my eye. As OH's birthday was midweek, I was able to secure a deal on a hotel called Castell Deudraeth. This is an imposing building set at the top of the hill by the entrance to Portmeirion and overlooking the estuary. It's just how you'd imagine a castle, with dark stonework, turrets and towers.
Inside, it is a lot more welcoming. It's recently undergone a refurbishment which means the inside is modern, bright and clean. I had to wait for the receptionist to deal with another customer (there was only one on duty), but then we got checked in and carried our bags up to the room on the second floor. The room - or should I say, suite, was huge. The door opened onto a room that was about five times bigger than we were expecting and bigger than our own house! It opened onto a living room area, with a separate bedroom, and even a cupboard with kitchen equipment cleverly stowed inside!
Then a smallish door took us into the bathroom - which was in the tower!! An amazing bathroom (although not entirely accessible for everyone, as the doorway was quite narrow- I'll take it as a compliment that they allocated us this room!). So from the bathroom, you have those narrow windows which were originally used for shooting arrows from (as they're too narrow for arrows to get through fired by intruders on the other side!), and a view over Portmeirion.
The room was simple, yet elegant and the furniture was a lovely mix of old and modern.
Internet is included, as was the Welsh breakfast and a £25 per person credit for the evening meal in the offer we chose (please check with the hotel, as these differ throughout the year, and subject to availability).
As well as tea and coffee, there's also sherry to welcome guests, so after downing the lot, we headed to Portmeirion, entrance is only £9 per adult, but is included in the price of the hotel room.
I won't rave here about Portmeirion village which is a five minute walk away from the entrance of the castle, suffice to say that it completely lived up to expectation, and there are shops catering from everything to essential Prisoner merchandise to Welsh ice cream and Portmeirion pottery.
Back to the hotel, we waited by the fire and next to a suit of armour for dinner. We were shown to our table in a beautiful conservatory with the most incredible view of the mountains and Mount Snowden to the side. The service wasn't exceptional, and was a bit faltering. Though the three-course menu was beautifully presented, it wasn't quite as tasty and flavoursome as it looked. It was still a wonderful experience and worthy of a celebration, simply for the setting alone. Though I'm not criticising the dining experience, I simply felt it could have been done better. Simple things such as staff not chatting in view of the guests, more attention, not starting by telling us what had sold out from the menu, but recommending something in season, and not spraying the next table with a potent-smelling kitchen cleaner while we were eating less than an arm's length away!
The room was extremely comfortable, with a big bed. Bizarrely, for a castle which appears to be quite solid, you could hear all sorts of noises throughout the night, from people walking along corridors, to doors slamming and other guests laughing, but this was only a minor quibble and only woke us up a couple of times rather than keeping us awake all night.
A wonderful Welsh breakfast awaited in the morning, although there was no vegetarian option, disappointingly. The food was better than the meal the previous evening, but again, the service was not as good as demanded by the surroundings. After breakfast, we checked out, served by the same receptionist who checked us in. He was the best member of staff we encountered, with a lovely smile and a genuine interest in how we enjoyed our stay.
Overall, I would recommend the hotel and plan to return! I just feel that there's room for improvement (isn't there always!), and I would like to see the place rise to the occasion and gain the recognition it deserves as it has the potential to be one of the best hotels in the country.
I'll start by saying that this is definitely, comprehensively the very best hotel I have ever stayed in. I felt rich, rich I tell ya. Everything - setting, room, food, wife was top class and I would recommend it fiercely.
Where is it?
I'll tell you now. Castell Deudraeth is one of the two hotels in the decidedly weird attraction of Portmeirion. This can be found in the Snowdonia National Park, approximately 5.37miles away from the bustling town of Porthmadog and about 15 miles away from the gorgeous little village of Beddgelert. That's a plug for a review of it's campsite I haven't done yet. It can be approached from the south but I have never gone that way. It is signposted well from Porthmadog.
The hotel itself is just by the entrance to Portmeirion village after going down one of those winding roads that you think will be short but is always at least twice as long.
The hotel is impressive looking. A big bold 'castle'. Really it's one of those castles that doesn't really look like a castle. There are no knights of maidens or anything like that. Just a big house, very square in appearance. Out front there is a car park cut into the rock that surrounds it. And very little else - it could do with a bit of landscaping out front to be honest but that's a minor quibble.
The inside of the hotel smacks of expense and luxury. The stone castle floors are offset by good wooden panelling. This is continued throughout the hotel. The reception gave easy booking in by well mannered, friendly staff. Through the lobby is the main restaurant and bar with gorgeous patio doors leading to a well manicured walled-garden and lawn with patio heaters, table and chairs. Very, very nice.
By far the largest room I have ever had. Massive. About the same floor area as a house. Seriously. The décor was modern and plush with real wooden floors. The room had three areas. A large lounge with a big telly (see Haweswater hotel review -see - A TELLY), a sofa, armchair and fire. Alongside this was a kitchen area - not just a kettle, a proper kitchen. To the back was the sleeping area with a huge double bed and Egyptian cotton betting. The bathroom (sorry, that's 4 areas isn't it) was equally beautiful with soft towels, gowns, slippers etc.
The a la carte was about £25 for 3 courses which, trust me, was excellent value. The food was very posh in it's appearance and taste. I especially remember the pudding because it was adorned in a massive sugar sculpture thing which was totally pointless but just showed the effort they put into things here.
What can you do there?
The place is so nice you won't want to leave - I can usually hardly wait to get out of these places - I didn't want to leave this one. The hotel and gardens are just great places to be. Relaxing, pampered. Brilliant. I didn't even want to leave the room.
However, there is a tourist attraction parked on the doorstep in Portmeirion and entrance is included in the price for the room so you'll have to go. The village carries on impressing. I won't go on about it here other that to say that, in the sunshine, it was unusual and beautiful. We had a cup of coffee in the hotel by the sure overlooking the estuary and mountains and couldn't have been happier.
Ok - here's the rub. Room, including breakfast was £220 for the night. It was a special occasion. Now - I don't think you can ever justify that sort of price. Ever. BUT, if you're going to spend that sort of money then you want to feel satisfied that you got as much as you could from it. I have to be honest and say this is as close as I can imagine getting value for money.
I cannot seriously think of one thing about are stay here that I would like to moan about. Not one. Expensive yes, but every now and again it's worth attacking the credit card for the greater good. Well done.
All info can be found here: http://www.portmeirion-village.com
Thanks for reading - Dave
Contemporary style hotel in a Victorian castellated mansion. 11 fantastic rooms, quaint bar, two main dining areas and of course a summer garden.