26 Jan Portmeirion
Portmeirion is a hotel resort in North Wales. It is close to Porthmadog, so don’t confuse those two as I first did :).
Portmeirion is a little experiment by architect Clough Williams-Ellis. He designed this set of houses and gardens between 1925 and 1975. At first, it reminds me of the Viennese Hundertwasserhouse. However, Hundertwasserhouse has it’s own unique style. The Portmeirion is designed as a copy of non-existing Italian village. It is an attempt to bring colours to Walles. However, it feels a bit odd to see colours in Wales. To me, Portmeirion is more like a Disneyland and tourist attraction (the second of which it certainly is).
After you pay an entrance fee you can walk through this spa resort. But only through the main street. You will pass many signs which say “Residents only”. In a few seconds, you arrive at the main plaza with a giant chessboard. But again, you cannot play the game. There is a fence around and a sign which basically says “Don’t touch, but you can take pictures”. Well, at least you can take pictures. That is a big step forward separating this place from many other places in the UK.
While wandering through Portmeirion I was just wondering. Who would decide to come and stay in the hotel here? If you can pay £500 for the room in this fake village, why don’t you just fly to Italy and enjoy the real thing? It might be just one of those UK relicts from the times when overseas travel was inaccessible, time-consuming or impossible. So I am throwing this place to the same bucket as Blackpool and Brighton. It is a bucket of places, which were once beautiful, but they lost their charm and it is difficult to see how they would get it back.