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Local Portland Stone and copper used in the creation of luxury lodges at Pennsylvania Castle

Clifftops is a unique development of five luxury lodges, hewn out of the Portland stone cliffs that sit on the edge of Pennsylvania Castle Estate

Pennsylvania Castle Estate sits atop the cliffs of Portland, the southerly most point of Dorset’s UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, and now adds Clifftops to its luxury accommodation portfolio.  Clifftops’ unique design concept focuses on complementing the rugged landscape on which it sits, with an overtly contextual aesthetic, bringing together the mined Portland stone with the natural cliffs. 

Julian Morrow, Director, Morrow + Lorraine comments: “This was a fascinating place to work. The design carried the responsibility of highly-technical requirements to ensure the stability and safety of this dramatic and ancient site. Meanwhile giving quiet, reflective moments of architecture that we hope bring joy and pleasure to the guests. It’s a rare opportunity, and we’re very happy to have been successful in achieving both.”

Colin Johnson, Group Operating Director, Acheson Construction comments: “The location and position of Clifftops provided a really interesting challenge for the team at Acheson to navigate.  The south-facing vista and cliff-edge site is both unique and stunning.  Our crews worked closely with the Pennsylvania Castle Estate team to fulfil this iconic brief and the end result is spectacular.”  

Both the design and build of Clifftops have the natural environment at their core; from the copper trim which has turned from bright copper to burnt red in the salty air and will eventually begin to incorporate the traditional blue copper tones, to the carefully chosen fauna which adorns the exterior landscape of the development, all indigenous to the clifftop location.   

Paul Roles at Roles Broderick Roofing comments: “A location such as Clifftops really encounters the extremes of coastal weather, from bright sunshine to the clash of thunder and lightning.  The use of copper in a development like this is not only visually striking but practical as well with very little maintenance required once fitted.  Copper weathers the elements extremely well, it expands and contracts with the heat of the sun and the standing seams which have been used throughout the roof here allow for this movement both up and down and from side to side.  Even the roof of Clifftops moves with the elements of its coastal location.”   

Luxury remains at the forefront of each design decision from floor to ceiling windows to the different ages of Portland stone – embedded with ancient sea creatures – which line the interior walls.  This interior cladding is unique unto itself in terms of different ages of rock and pattern being used to clad the walls of the lodges.  This stone was mined and worked on at Albion Stone, on Portland, making the carbon footprint of this work incredibly small.      

Danny Hilton, Director, Albion Stone comments: “Albion Stone supplied and fixed the Portland Stonework throughout the Clifftops development, sourcing from Jordan’s Mine and working on the stone at the factory less than a mile away.  The stones within Clifftops would have travelled less than two miles from mining to fixing.  We pride ourselves on the environmental performance of our company which is why Clifftops was a natural fit for us.”

Each of Clifftops’ 5 beautiful self-catering apartments provides uninterrupted panoramas of the English Channel, and each has a unique interior design focus.  

Ope 
The largest Lodge, Ope, nestles under the trees at the northern end of Clifftops above Church Ope Cove.  Set over one level it is the largest Lodge both inside and out with an outdoor BBQ kitchen and the opportunity for a hot tub under the stars.  Ope includes floor to ceiling windows with a cosy corner window seat in which to sit and read or watch the ships and sea scape. The kitchen continues through the Portland Stone and out onto the patio for outside entertainment. With the sliding kitchen window, you can wander in and out to prepare dinner on a warm summers evening. Uniquely you can slide back part of the oak veneer wall between the lounge and bedroom to create a more open space.

Blue
Blue is named simply to reflect the sea and sky all around.  Walking in through the door there is a feeling of space and calm, with the window in the kitchen carefully framing the seascape with Oak.  Through the patio doors is an external kitchen with the Race as a background – a body of water created as the seabed rises and the tide converges. The Race can be seen with rough white water even on the calmest days – a place where sailors over the centuries rarely enter. 

Stone
Whilst all of Clifftops is an homage to Portland quarrying, Stone has two floors to showcase worked stone, fossils, dinosaurs and the globalisation of this renowned material sourced for generations from the tiny Isle of Portland.  

Walking in through the solid entrance doors that sit behind massive stone quoins, the eye is drawn to the planted roofs and out to sea. Inside the door is clever storage space before heading down the staircase to the kitchen and lounge. On the one side of the stairs veneered oak panelling and the other polished Portland Stone with thousands of little sea creatures. The lounge has floor to ceiling window that looks out to sea and slides away to grant access to the outside terrace. In the kitchen there is seating at a boxed window that looks over the garden and the Jurassic coast beyond.

Copper
Copper is naturally found on the island, in the quarry just opposite Pennsylvania Castle Estate.  Not only a sustainable material that will weather with the cliffs over time, the bright shining copper has reacted with salt and minerals from the sea and turned a beautiful burnt red.  A transformation unique to copper in coastal environments. 

Silva
Latin for ‘forest’, Silva celebrates the natural environment.  The only historic woodland on the Island can be found on the Estate leading down to the cove.  Silva’s split-level location can be found directly in front of the most abundant naturally occurring clifftop flowers attracting unique Portland Butterflies.

Jo Peters, Estate Director, Pennsylvania Castle Estate: “Unusually for a project of this size we designed the interior finishes ourselves.  Having lived and breathed the project from concept to completion, creating a thematic design for each lodge was a natural next step.  Internally, each lodge needed to represent the environment of Clifftops and pay homage to the stunning exteriors.  The whole Clifftops experience is a coming together of many peoples ideas and skills blending with nature and the sea.”  

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Pennsylvania Castle Estate is owned and managed by Colonial Leisure Group, an Australian Hospitality company, which includes the luxurious Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef and Danetree Eco Lodge in the Queensland Rainforest.  

The Estate includes Pennsylvania Castle which was purchased in 2011.  The 9-bedroom Castle with swimming pool can be hired for Weddings, Celebrations, Rentals and Corporate Events, with further luxury self-catering accommodation in neighbouring Cove Lodge.  

Clifftops is a unique development of five luxury lodges, hewn out of the Portland stone cliffs that sit on the edge of Pennsylvania Castle Estate. Designed by Morrow + Lorraine Architects, the building forms an integral part of the historic Estate landscape. The project focuses on respecting the natural environment of the Jurassic Coast, the sympathetic yet modern design showcasing the next step for the development of The Estate. 

Colonial Leisure continues to develop its hospitality offering attracting a global guest list to this outstanding location on the Jurassic Coast.

Pennsylvania Castle Estate celebrates top accreditations from Visit England and the National Quality Assessment Scheme with both The Penn and Cove Lodge receiving the Gold Award in the self-catering category. 

Acheson Construction
Albion Stone
Colonial Leisure Group
Morrow + Lorraine
Roles Broderick Roofing