By Teresa Barnett
At Planet Golf Review we love a luxury spa resort; the fine dining, super soft towelling robes, grandiose staircases, body balancing massages and soul satiating spa treatments.
I imagined a country Manor House nestling in the beautiful Usk Valley as I travelled to the Celtic Manor Resort; it was therefore a surprise to see a grey brute of a building looming above the trees and looking down onto the M4 like the colossus of Newport. So far so unattractive and so imposing, but then it changes. Taking the lift from the underground car park to the lobby I am met by the concierge before being directed to the 6th floor where the signature collection suites are housed. This adult’s only floor has a dedicated check-in and check-out for signature collection guests, in my suite there is a complementary bottle of wine and gourmet chocolates together with a selection of the most popular home, health and travel magazines.
Between the hours of 5-6pm Signature guests are treated to complementary prosecco in the exclusive Signature lounge and you can also enjoy complimentary tea, coffee newspapers and magazines, best of all guests can indulge in some fine dining in one of the two stunning Signature restaurants, Steak on Six and Epicure by Richard Davies.
The Y shaped atrium is well designed and the suites with their marble bathrooms are exquisitely decorated, they have to my delight managed to merge traditional country chic with modern living whilst retaining a homely feel.
Celtic Manor is a luxury resort most notable for its three golf courses, the Twenty Ten, Montgomerie and Roman Road. This resort has played host to the 2010 Ryder Cup followed by the NATO summit in 2014 along with the celebrities such as Beyonce and the former POTUS, Barack Obama. The essence of golf is delicately hinted at throughout the hotel but golf widows and golf orphans need not despair, the Celtic Manor has something for everyone. Set in 2,000 acres of panoramic parkland in the beautiful Usk Valley children of all ages are kept amused and thankfully quiet with a range of activities to include crossbow, Forest Jump, Laser Combat, archery not to mention adventure golf. There is also a crèche and the Evergreen Nannies service for the younger guests.
Forum Signature Spa
Men are well catered for and I leave the editor to play a round of golf while I take a short stroll downstairs and indulge in a Forum Signature massage; this is a simple massage using effective Swedish techniques andElemis products. Under the expert hands of Corinne, my masseuse, I'm was transformed from stressed lawyer to zen butterfly in minutes I knew my massage was over when Corinne lightly tapped me awake, to my enduring shame I had fallen asleep.
There is a well-equipped health club to work off the previous evenings excesses and an indoor pool complete with a night sky effect ceiling. I had great intentions but was simply too lazy to exercise. For the more active there is a daily programme of classes.
With three championship golf courses, a spa and new Scandinavian lodges complete with outdoor hot tub and sauna, the Celtic Manor Resort has all bases covered.
Steak on Six
There is an array of dining options at the Celtic Manor resort, so much so that it could leave the indecisive among us suffering from a crippling state of paralysis by analysis.
Not wanting to move to far from my room and acknowledging the madness in not choosing one of the fine dining restaurants, we find ourselves seated in the warmly lit double AA rosette dining room that is Steak on Six. Steak by name and design with its cowhide seating.
A selection of breads with flavoured butters arrives and I'm treated to a foamy purée of smoked carrots which accompany my starter of pan fried scallops and braised pork. The scallops are plump and perfectly gilded and the pork deftly seasoned and ripe for me to devour.
Our main courses were wonderful, my editor ordered his fillet steak to be cooked Pittsburgh style. He sat waiting, his face a mask of concern as he contemplated whether his steak would be cooked to his liking; suffice to say he's found many fine dining establishments in the UK to be lacking when it comes to this particular style of cooking a steak. He need not have worried, his steak arrived well charred on the outside and deliciously bloody on the inside. My main of spring chicken with truffle butter is suitably restorative. The accompanying French beans, bacon, shallots and garlic Portobello mushroom were ordered unnecessarily in a greedy "eyes bigger than my stomach" moment.
My hot chocolate fondant oozed with quality thick gooey cocoa, the richness of which was cut by the creamy rich vanilla ice cream. James ordered the raspberry and green apple sorbet, refreshing and full of natural flavour. We could not find fault with any of our courses.
The service was better than expected, knowledgeable, prompt, good and gloriously unstuffy. If you're given a choice, choose a table by the window to enjoy the views over Coldra Woods while you dine, but not matter where you are seated this restaurant deserves its double AA rosettes.
Resort Leisure Facilities
* 3 Championship Golf Courses
* Golf Teaching Academy and Pro Shops
* 2 Spas, Health Clubs and Swimming Pools
* 6 Restaurants and Bars
* Forest Jump Ropes Adventure, Adventure Golf and Laser Combat
* Fishing and Shooting
* Mountain Biking and Walking Trails
* Tennis Courts
Celtic Manor Resort
The Usk Valley
Newport NP18 1HQ
T:: +44 (0)1633 410 262