This article was written by leading food and travel journalist, Angela Youngman.
Catch them while you can – a new type of hotel is set to appear in Wales this year. Operated by Epic Retreats, the purpose built cabins will stay in a specified location for just a few weeks, before moving on.
With designs inspired by Welsh legends, the Epic Retreats pop up hotels will be appearing in Carmarthenshire, on the Llyn Peninsular and in the foothills of Cader Idris, Snowdonia. Only 200 bookings will be available throughout the June to mid September. Participants can choose between a seven day stay, a three night weekend break, or a 4 night mid week package which includes a range of unique Welsh experiences. Prices start at £795 for a 3 night weekend break, rising to £1,995 for a 7 day stay.
All the cabins are extremely individual and unusual as well as being inventive and innovative. There are eight styles: Arthur’s Cave, Black Hat, Cabin in the Woods, Dragon’s Eye, Little Dragon, Miner’s Legend, Skyhut and Slate Cabin. Some involve several levels and all are environmentally friendly for example the Dragon’s Eye resembles an eye-shaped pod, covered with recycled plastic cut in the shape of a dragon’s scales. Inside there is a round, rotating bed offering views across the countryside through the glass ‘eye’.
Arthur’s Cave invokes the concept of cave tunnels where Arthur is believed to lie sleeping complete with a large sliding glazed door to cover the entrance.
Black Hat is inspired by France’s failed attempt to invade Britain via Fishguard in 1797 but were routed by local Welsh women in their black hats. This version is covered in Welsh wool covered walls, has a canvas skin shaped like a hat with a bedroom in the top of hat offering sky views through the roof dome.
Cabin in the Woods is more akin to a child’s fantasy tree house perched on tall legs, with a tall chimney amid a forested setting.
Little Dragon is a vertical unit balanced on three prongs like a dragon’s foot. Celtic knotwork can be seen on the steel door, while inside panoramic views can be enjoyed on both levels.
At Sky Hut, you can open the roof to enjoy views of the night sky and really sleep under the stars!
Miners Legend comprises a collage of mining structures and corrugated iron sheds, leading through tunnels to a series of chambers while Slate Cabin invokes the slate industry with its grey slate exterior contrasted by honeyed wood interiors.
Co-founder, Llion Pughe says,
“The locations we have chosen provide a choice of seascape, mountain and valley, a true reflection of Wales’ legendary landscape.
“We have carefully selected sites that will show Wales at its best, alongside an itinerary packed to the brim with trips and activities crafted by Wales experts Cambria Tours, featuring only the finest local produce and unique accommodation inspired myth and legend – guests will be immersed in a truly Welsh experience.”
Pop up Hotels have been gaining in popularity in recent years. These are the next step on from glamping, as the hotels move around the countryside. As they are not fixed buildings, they have minimal impact on the location and consequently can be used in more environmentally sensitive locations for short periods. This is believed to be the first time that such pop up hotels have been used in Wales.
Epic Retreats is a partnership between Best of Wales, Cambria Tours and George & Tomas Architects. It is partly funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund.