THE ALBION – a new hotel on the River Teifi waterfront at Cardigan created from two Grade II-listed former warehouses – will open its doors on Monday.

The first hotel to be opened by outdoor lifestyle and staycation retreat specialists Fforest, the hotel is themed around Cardigan’s maritime past and the local legend of the brig, Albion, which sailed 180 passengers from Cardigan to Canada in 1819.

James Lynch, founder of Fforest and chief designer for The Albion said: “This has been a real passion project of mine over the pandemic.

“With funding from the Development Bank of Wales, the ambition was to restore the existing building; to emphasise its heritage qualities, its original and unique features, then design and craft spaces within the open floors that would embrace and complement those qualities.

“We have a mantra at Fforest for the accommodation and experience we provide: ‘warmth, craft and comfort’. To the Albion we can add: ‘Heritage’.”

A spokesperson said the hotel would provide a permanent legacy of the voyage of The Albion ‘and the spirit and endeavour of those aboard’.

In this first phase of opening, there will be 12 double bedrooms in the ‘Bridge’ warehouse with 11 further rooms and family suites available in the second Granary warehouse building in spring 2023.

The 12 rooms have been designed around the existing historic features of the building, all restored to full heritage standards with views over the river from all rooms.

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Each room is said to honour those original emigrants and take its name from a log of the original settlers in New Brunswick.

Interiors are designed around the theme of ships cabins, but much more luxurious than the conditions that the Albion voyagers would have experienced two centuries ago.

The cabins are lined entirely in wood panelling and this, together with most furnishings, has been re-purposed and fashioned from reclaimed timber in Fforest’s own workshops.

The Albion’s reception welcomes guests with a lounge area featuring relaxed seating and ‘The Galley’ cocktail bar, which will be open to the public and will have an extensive slate-flagged riverside courtyard.

The first floor has a guests only lounge/workroom which will also serve breakfasts prior to the restaurant opening later in the year.

Yr Odyn restaurant (The Kiln), named after the remnants of the lime kilns forming part of the wharf complex, will open in the autumn and serve ‘the best of local and seasonal cuisine’, including meat from animals reared at Fforest Farm, with an emphasis on cooking over fire and influences from Scandinavia and Japan.

Other features to come will include an outdoor sauna and onsen in a private elevated woodland glade housed discreetly behind the hotel. This is planned to open in December.

“The design of The Albion has been meticulously planned to retain as much of the original buildings as possible, leaving parts raw to tell their own story,” added the spokesperson.

“A highlight is the historic graffiti etched into the original limewash walls of the third floor - pencil sketches depicting tall ships, signatures, calculations for rope and sail cloth - dating back to the second half of the 19th century.”

The interior design of each room has the essence of a captain's cabin: reclaimed wood lines the walls, whilst 150 year-old beams make up the flooring.

The furniture has been custom-made using Welsh-grown cedar and beeswaxed cement boards, complete with luxurious king size beds and hand-picked reclaimed fixtures.

Steffan Walker, General Manager of The Albion, added: “As a local to Cardiganshire, I am thrilled to be opening a world-class venue on my doorstep and to encourage more visitors to beautiful West Wales.

Richard Easton of the Development Bank of Wales said: “Our continued support for James and the wider team at Fforest is a reflection of our belief in their business and the opportunities that they are bringing to Cardigan."

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