Ten of the Best Historic Welsh Hotels
by Adrian Mourby (December 2012)
Until the nineteenth century Wales was underpopulated and undervisited. Consequently it never developed a sequence of coaching inns as in England. Tourist hotels when they came to Wales arrived with the railways, large Victorian structures many of which have since been demolished. As a result most of Wales’ historic hotels today are converted from private homes built during the period of nineteenth-century prosperity. The big exception is Portmeirion, a twentieth-century hotel village built by the eccentric genius Clough Williams-Ellis, but then Portmeirion is unique and an exception to all rules.
Showing below are all 4 records in "Ten of the Best Historic Welsh Hotels"
Capel Coch, Llangefni
The Pritchard-Rayner family built Tre-Ysgawen in 1882. Later Gerald Pritchard-Rayner stood unsuccessfully for parliament but never got enough votes. This was in spite opening his election addresses with a spectacular magic show, and drawing big crowds. A skilled conjurer, Mr Pritchard-Rayner later settled for being church warden at the nearby Llangwyllog Church where there is a plaque to him.
Llanwddyn, Lake Vyrnwy, Welshpool
In 1889 a huge dam across the Vyrnwy river created a new water supply for Liverpool, drowning the village of Llanwddyn and its Powis Arms Hotel. A year later a huge new hotel overlooking the reservoir was opened. George, Prince of Wales arrived at the hotel in 1910 to declare this major engineering project complete. Today the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel is delightfully unchanged, a warm, cosy piece of Victoriana.
Plas Rhianfa means Lady’s Bower. It was built in 1851 by Sir John Hay Williams of Bodelwyddan in Clwyd. The baronet wanted to leave his wife a Loire Valley style chateau for her widowhood. Lady Sarah had made sketches of the sixteenth-century Château de Chenonceau on the couple’s European travels and she worked with the architect Charles Read to create Plas Rhianfa with its Mediterranean-style gardens.
Gliffaes Road, Crickhowell
In 1885 a Welsh clergyman moved into his new house on the River Usk. It was an expensive building in the fashionable Italian style and by the time the Reverend West died, he had spent his way through three inheritances. The house was subsequently let to various dignitaries including the Breckonshire magistrate Sir Shirley Salt who then bought the house in 1903. In 1936 Gliffaes became a hotel and soon developed a loyal following amongst anglers.
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