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A treat for the birthday boy!
Castell Deudraeth (Portmeirion)
Member Name: margerydawes
Castell Deudraeth (Portmeirion)
Advantages: Beautiful hotel, fabulous location
Disadvantages: Minor, minor things that could make it exceptional
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.
Summary: Highly recommended
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