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Wales celebrates heritage and landscapes with eight glamping 'Epic Retreats'

The first competition-winning cabins that form Epic Retreats – Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel – have been revealed.

Several architectural teams were chosen through a competitive tender to design the purpose-built glamping units, which are themed on “the mythology, tradition and beauty of Wales.”

Launched to coincide with Wales’s ‘Year of Legends,’ Epic Retreats is designed to immerse visitors in the country’s heritage and natural beauty. The cabins will be located around Snowdonia and the Ll?n Peninsula.

“The unique cabins, complemented by our country’s stunning landscape, make for an unbeatable experience and we look forward to welcoming our first guests this summer who will get to see Wales in a completely unique setting,” said the hotel’s co-founder, Llion Pughe.

In addition to the eight cabins the ‘hotel’ – which officially opens on 5 June – will also feature a communal area including a fridge for food storage, on-site BBQ and eating area.

The project is a partnership between Best of Wales, Cambria Tours and George + Tomos Architects and is part funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund.

The eight winning designs are featured below, with descriptions from Epic Retreats

Arthur’s Cave created by Miller Kendrick Architects

Arthur’s Cave

“Legend tells us of a cave slept in by King Arthur and his knights while travelling — a cave that could be discovered once and never again.

“Stylishly blending in with its surroundings, the cave — which features a large sliding glazed door — is an alluring hideaway from the elements, while locally sourced sheep’s wool insulation and a log fire will keep you warm whatever the weather.”

SkyHut created by Waind Gohil + Potter Architects

SkyHut

“One for the stargazers and dreamers – SKYHUT provides a unique setting to experience Wales’ magnificent night sky. Named as the country with the highest percentage of ‘International Dark Sky’, Wales boasts exceptional views, especially at night.

“Taking inspiration from the myth of Welsh mountain, Cadair Idris, where legend states that travellers sleeping out at night awake as madmen or poets, SKYHUT will leave you crazy about Wales and waxing lyrical for the stars.

“With switch to an electric actuator, open the doors to transform your cabin into a glamping-observatory. From day to night, enjoy 360 degree views across the landscape through clerestory eye level glazing.”

Animated Forest created by Francis Arnett

Animated Forest

“Inspired by the Welsh poem, Cad Goddeu, or The Battle of the Trees, the Cabin in the Woods is designed to resemble a creature negotiating its way through the woodland.

“The cosy hideaway envelops guests in a padded sleeping area extending to the wall and ceiling, while roof lights make the cabin bright and airy during the day and reveal stunning views of the starry sky at night.

“Whether you choose to escape the elements and cuddle up by the fire, or open the large entrance door to watch the world go by, this unique cabin is the ultimate retreat.”

Dragon’s Eye created by Carwyn Lloyd Jones

Dragon’s Eye

“Tread carefully — there’s a dragon lurking in the landscape.

“With its stainless steel scaly ‘skin’ and gridshell roof, our Dragon’s Eye pod will really fire your imagination.

“Relax on the round rotating bed and enjoy a stunning view of the beautiful Welsh landscape through the full height glass ‘eye.’ Or catch up in the warmth of the wood burner while protected from the elements by the sheep’s wool insulation.

“End the day with a hot shower in the walk-in wet room clad in reclaimed slate tiles.”

Little Dragon created by Barton Wilmore Architects

Little Dragon

“Little Dragon is a unique blend of industrial heritage and Welsh folklore.

“Inspired by the iconic emblem of Wales, it has been specially created using locally sourced sustainable materials synonymous with the country’s heritage.

“The scaly shingle exterior and claw-like tripod base are evocative of the smoke-breathing beast that, according to legend, once dominated the country’s rugged landscape.

“But don’t be frightened - once inside you will receive a very warm welcome — or ‘croeso cynnes’ as we say.

“Soft furnishings and a roaring log fire breathing warmth through the structure provide a homely experience, while the cylindrical design delivers magnificent panoramic views, immersing guests in the stunning scenery outside.”

Miner’s Legend created by How About Studio

Miner’s Legend

”Miner’s Legend is a tribute to the once-thriving mining industry, central to Wales’ rural communities.

“At first glance, the cabin is a collage of mining structures and corrugated iron sheds seen scattered through the Welsh landscape.

“But once through the entrance tunnel, you’ll discover exquisite, crafted details that will fill you with delight.

“Angular corridors play carefully with light and material to transport your imagination to the subterranean mines.

“Continuing your journey through a collection of unique cavernous spaces you will soon arrive in the main chamber. Generous in height and warmed by a small stove, you can enjoy views over the surrounding landscapes from the comfort of a soft alcove.”

Slate Cabin created by Trias studio

Slate Cabin

“Mimicking the art of constructing cairns, whereby walkers collect stones and build place-markers along their route — a raw, unclad building will be gradually transformed through layers of slate, forming a textured, stylish exterior.

“A neat structure of slate, the cabin fits effortlessly into its surroundings and embodies simplicity and style.

“In contrast to its grey slate exterior, inside you’ll find a single, cosy room clad with honeyed wood. A kitchen and built-in table form a sitting space, while the bed sits on a raised platform providing a magnificent view of the surrounding scenery.

“A table overlooking a perfectly framed view provides the ideal setting for people seeking a quiet retreat to come to read, write and relax.”

Black Hat created by the Rural Office for Architecture

Black Hat

Designed to reference the black hats worn by children in Wales on St David's Day, the cabin features a black canvas wrapped around a cylindrical frame formed of wood.

Wales  Epic Retreats  glamping  design  architecture 
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09 Dec 2016

Stargazing Sky Hut from WG+P wins Welsh ‘glamping-observatory’ contest

The first competition-winning cabins that form Epic Retreats – Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel – have been revealed. Several architectural teams were chosen through a competitive tender to design the purpose-built glamping units, which are themed on “the mythology, tradition and beauty of Wales.” Launched to coincide with Wales’s ‘Year of Legends,’ Epic Retreats is designed to immerse visitors in the country’s heritage and natural beauty. The cabins will be
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Dragon’s Eye created by Carwyn Lloyd Jones / Epic Retreats
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