Authors, playwrights and musicians
Portmeirion was built to inspire others and judging by the number of artists and performers who have turned up here over the years it certainly seems to have lived up to its billing.
So many famous guests have visited this Snowdonia hotel over the years that only a small number can be mentioned. Very few North Wales Hotels have such an illustrious roll-call of past guests, going back to the 1920s. From George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells toNoel Coward, Augustus John and John Steinbeck, writers and artists were frequent visitors to this Snowdonia Seaside resort. Frank Lloyd Wright visited Clough Williams-Ellis at Portmeirion in the 1950s and was duly impressed.
People from all walks of live have found this rather theatrical setting congenial, including the philospher Bertrand Russell who wrote his Freedom & Organisation at Castell Deudraeth in 1934; Russell later bought a property adjoining Portmeirion (Plas Penrhyn) where lived until his death in 1970. The World War II codebreaker Alan Turing was a frequent visitor to Portmeirion during and after the war. Turing was born in Maida Vale, London in 1912 however he had many connections with north Wales. He collaborated with Bertrand Russell and Lord Aberconway during the 1930s. He was a close friend of his protégé Prof Robin Gandy, a Cambridge mathematician, who was a close friend of Euan Cooper-Willis, son-in-law of Clough Williams-Ellis. Turing and Gandy would often meet at Portmeirion, a place that gave them the freedom to relax from their high level top-secret work. Turing took his own life in 1952.
Other writers who frequented Portmeirion were Daphne du Maurier, J.B.S. Haldane, Arthur Koestler, Sir Julian Huxley, Margaret Irwin, Sir Compton Mackenzie, Lewis Mumford,Sir Francis Oppenheimer, Kingsley Martin not to mention the writer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl and Portmeirion's neighbour, the writer Richard Hughes together with his frequent lodger Dylan Thomas the Swansea born poet. Ingrid Bergman stayed at Portmeirion during the filming of the Inn of the Sixth Happiness in 1958. The plaster cast statue of Buddha beneath the Dome was one of the many props discarded following the filming and gratefully appropriated by Clough Williams-Ellis for use in the village.
Brian Epstein, The Beatles' Manager, used to stay at Portmeirion for the summer season during the 1960s and invited John Lennon to join him at Gate House, however John Lennon declined. From the 1960s onwards this seaside hotel resort has been the location for numerous film and television features, most notably Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner in 1967. George Harrison celebrated his 50th birthday at The Hotel Portmeirion on 25th February 1993 (he wrote 'Fab' in the guest book). Musician Jools Holland has found inspiration in the work of Clough Williams-Ellis and recreated a mini Portmeirion at his recording studios.
Other musicians, artists and writers have stayed, worked and performed here including Bryn Terfel, Rhys Ifans, Geraint Jarman, Meic Stevens, Bryn Fon, Eddie Izzard, Liam Neeson, R.S. Thomas, Jan Morris and many others. Portmeirion is a timeless place that inspires creativity - its purpose is to promote beauty, that strange necessity, and to inspire the creation of art in all its forms.