If you are a golf player, then the gods have been somewhat in your favour of late. Not only was it the first sport to properly ‘open up’ after lockdown, but those who play can feel smug about the benefits golf brings in these health conscious-times. From the exercise and fresh air of scenic courses to the socially-distanced contact with other players, then there’s the fact that many golf courses – by their nature – are in picturesque spots around the country – all things that benefit our wellbeing.
One of the UK’s most well-known destinations for golf is the Welsh-based Celtic Manor Resort. With three championship golf courses to dip into, this year it also celebrates the 10th anniversary of hosting the Ryder Cup, so you can enjoy following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
Being of one of the first major resorts in the UK to open back in July, once restrictions began to ease, it has heavily invested in new procedures to offer a safe haven for those venturing out again, with the hotel having already gained several industry accreditations for its Covid-safety practices. From thermal imaging cameras, to monitor high temperatures of guests, to contactless check-in; from elevated hygiene practices, including electrostatic spraying in guest bedrooms to one way systems – the hotel feels secure with the requirements not being too obtrusive to a normal stay.
The Celtic Manor brand actually encompasses several outposts (The Manor House, Coldra Court, Newbridge on Usk and Tŷ Hotel) but it is the Resort hotel that is the flagship offering. For space and views over the green, opt for one of the top floor suites. Like mini-apartments, they are supersized, meaning all the family can spread out, with separate lounge, dining areas and adjoining bedrooms. Classic décor is matched with luxury touches, so you can expect flatscreen TVs, thick towels and crisp linens as well as timeless and elegant touches, such as antique furniture, botanical prints on the walls, pretty drapes and lavish marble bathrooms.
The hotel also offers an adults-only collection of rooms – found on the sixth floor – ideal for those wanting some grown-up time. Recently refurbished, the Signature Collection rooms have more of a contemporary feel, with large beds, sitting areas, luxury bathrooms stocked with Elemis products, and with guests being able to access their own lounge, on the same floor, for breakfast and drinks. The hotel’s Mulberry Cocktail Bar and signature Steak on Six restaurant are also reserved for adults-only,
Based within the 2,000 acres that the hotel sits in, and offering the best of both worlds, are the Hunter Lodges. Sleeping 10, the stand-alone homes are perfect for those wanting privacy and the chance to reconnect with family (they come with spacious living areas, kitchens, and en suite bedrooms). A chill-out room, sauna and terraces with hot tubs complete the luxury home-from-home feel.
While the highlight of Celtic Manor is usually focused on the golf available – and it is a stand-out offering – there’s also plenty of other things to keep guests busy and entertained. A luxury spa offers Elemis treatments, a beauty bar for Champagne pedicures and manicures and intimate hot and cold therapies and pool. The setting is glorious to explore on foot and there’s also archery, laser clays, crazy golf and treasure hunts for the little ones, not to mention woodland trails and treetop ropes to entice you out into the great outdoors.
The culinary offering is another highlight, with eight restaurant and numerous bars to enjoy. Overlooking the Roman Road golf course, The Grill is the clubhouse restaurant, serving burgers, steaks and fresh pasta. It also gives a nod to vegetarians with inventive Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and a Plant-Based Mexican Burger. The Olive Tree restaurant has more of an international flavour, with Sri Lankan Curry, Rump of Welsh Lamb and Cajun Creole Chicken. One of the most elegant restaurants is Rafters, found at the Twenty Ten Clubhouse, and has views over The Twenty Ten course and the Usk Valley. The stunning views alone make this striking restaurant well worth a visit with the cuisine being simple and elegant, with a focus on the flavours of Wales.
“The provenance of our food is very important to us and we are always keen to source Welsh produce wherever possible,” says Matthew Lewis, vice-president of operations at Celtic Manor Resort. “A local family butchers, who farm their own livestock as part of their pasture-to-plate philosophy, is one of our biggest suppliers and there is a real emphasis on using quality local produce throughout our restaurants. Welsh beef and, of course, Welsh lamb offer exceptional quality so we are keen to use these on our menus and we want all the food that we serve to be as fresh and sustainably sourced as possible. Our Newbridge on Usk country inn has its own kitchen garden so you cannot get much more local than freshly picked vegetables, picked that day and served the same evening at dinner.”
When it comes to venturing further afield, the hotel is also well placed for exploring some of Wales’ best-loved beauty spots, such as the Brecon Beacons and the Usk Valley.
“Wales is known for its mountains and the Brecon Beacons are easily reached. You don’t have to be a mountaineer as there are scenic walks for all standards where you can enjoy breathtaking views and waterfalls,” says Matthew Lewis.
“We also have more than 2,000km of coastline and a Coastal Path that covers the entire journey. It’s worth driving for just over an hour to reach the Gower Peninsula and the beauty of places like Rhossili Beach. Closer to us, the Usk Valley is home to many lovely villages and just down the road, the Wye Valley is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
The Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, Newport, South Wales NP18 1HQ. For more information, including details of each of the hotels and lodges, as well as golf breaks, packages and other offers, visit www.celtic-manor.com.