A Welsh hotel has introduced a controversial new “membership fee” in an attempt to deter Instagrammers.
The Druidstone Hotel in Pembrokeshire has copped criticism for introducing a £200 ($376) yearly fee, which can be increased to £400 ($752) to include extra benefits, for access to its bar after it became inundated with tourists, according to BBC News.
Travel restrictions and safety concerns have prompted more UK residents to holiday locally this year and many have chosen to visit Wales’ picturesque beaches and mountains.
Angus Bell, who owns The Druidstone Hotel, said travellers had flocked to the hotel bar to take advantage of its beautiful sunset views over St Brides Bay and get ahold of some coveted Instagram content.
“My guests were having to wait 45 minutes at the bar to get a drink and a lot of the local people would avoid us in the summer because we were too busy,” Bell told BBC News.
“It just got too much.”
Bell said he introduced the membership fee to control numbers and make the hotel more pleasant for locals and guests, after it became crowded by visitors staying in local campsites and Airbnbs.
Visitors and locals alike have taken to Tripadvisor to vent their frustrations, with one reviewer lamenting they would no longer be able to visit the bar after frequenting it for more than 40 years.
Another reviewer called the move “utterly elitist and backward”.
Bell hasn’t let his critics get the better of him, though.
“I’ve made my life better – even though someone might be a bit upset that they can’t pop in for a cup of tea,” he said.
“We could have gone down the route of having a second bar, but we don’t want to be a pub and I didn’t like walking into my garden to find 60 people there that I didn’t know.
“Non-members can still book rooms or a table in the restaurant – membership is really about the bar.”
BBC News noted the hotel has a message on its website advising those who “really love this place” but can’t fork out £200 a year to “talk to Angus and Beth”.
Bell, who also grew up in the hotel, inherited the business from his parents who transformed their family home into a 10-room hotel with five accompanying guest cottages on the property.
Featured image source: YouTube/Gwilym Huws.ltd via druidstone.co.uk