Site of three golf courses and a top class hotel, the Celtic Manor Resort developed by telecoms magnet and bilionaire Terry Matthews is bidding to host the Ryder Cup in 2009.
Newport, South Wales NP6 27A
Tel : +44(0) 1633 413 000 Fax : +44(0) 1633 412 910
I recently spent a weekend in the 5* Celtic Manor Resort Hotel. The Celtic Manor is situated along the M4 corridor on the outskirts of Newport in South Wales 12 miles from the Welsh Capital, Cardiff. The Celtic Manor is the Host of the 2010 Rider Cup one of the most prestigious Golfing Tournaments in the world. There is a major facelift of the Town and Hotel taking place at present, in preparation of the tournament. Unfortunately this also means that there are a lot of speed restrictions in place with average speed check cameras along the motorway.
As soon as you drive into the Resort you realise just how large it is. There are two Hotels, The Resort Hotel and the old traditional style Manor House. The Manor House is the original Building which the Billionaire Terry Matthews began his expansion in 1980. Infact the Manor House was for 30 years used as a Maternity Hospital named The Lydia Beynon, Matthews himself was born there. The Manor House has 70 traditional style bedrooms, Residents lounge, the upmarket Le Patio Resturante, Hedleys and the Manor Suite plus the Cellar Bar. It won the Egon Ronay award for best Hotel in Wales for five consecutive years. It holds a lot of Weddings and its where you stay if you love the traditional and have bags and bags of money. I on the other hand stayed in the not so expensive but still very nice Resort Hotel.
The Resort Hotel although still very nice is not, I believe worthy of 5*. First impression on entering the well lit underground car park was just how overcrowded it was, it took us approximately 10 minutes to park our car, eventually having to settle on the overflow car park. I found out later that this is not just due to the Residential Guests but from the day visitors who use the rather large swimming pool, Forum Health Club and Leisure facilities(thats without the Golfers).
You enter the Lobby of the Hotel from the car park lift. I found the reception area and lounge dingy due to the inadequate lighting. There are ornate carvings in dark oak everywhere including a huge Welsh Dragon. There is a small selction of boutiques in reception selling clothing and jewellery ie: Tommy Hilfiger, Joules, Clogau Welsh Gold, Nick Faldo Golfing equipment and Traditional Welsh Souvenirs all very expensive but typical of Hotel pricing.
We were given the card key to our room. We had booked a deluxe Suite with king size bed. No one offered to carry our bags or show us the way we were meerly given directions to the seventh floor. When we entered our room I was immediately disappointed, the whole room worn and tatty, even the bedding needed a good iron. The colours in the room were a mixture of green, burgundy and mustard. The wallpaper was marked in several places and even lifted at some of the corners. There was a very large desk in dark oak in the corner with everything a travelling business person would require to catch up on work. The very large television cabinet housing the very inadeqately sized 28 inch television was chipped and dusty. I caught my finger along the edge of the cabinet door and caught a large splinter of wood which hurt like hell and bled for almost 15 minutes. At the cost of £150 per night we decided we were not prepared to accept this room. When we spoke to one of the receptionists about our disappointment we were immediately given another room. This one faced the golf course and had a small balcony. It was much more brightly decorated in a pale blue, cream and gold. There was a small table and two winged back chairs, a smaller but still adequate sized desk . The television cabinet and television were the same as the last room. The bathroom was cream and white with shower, bath, 2 sinks and even a telephone. A few of the marble tiles on the floor were cracked so you had to wear slippers which should have been supplied as part of the complimentry service, but ours were missing, as was the internet cable for the internet access. the view from our balcony was lovely but you had to open the window to see it, what happend to the window cleaner? The whole room although brighter was very dusty and in some places very dirty.
The bed was large and comfy which to be honest was most probably the only real five star luxury. The Hotel boasts 330 bedrooms with satalite tv(sky news and nickalodean). The mini bar prices were extortionate(£3.50 for a small bag of salted peanuts).
We dined at the Olive Tree Resturante on the ground floor in the evenings which was not inclusive of the £150 per night. It is an informal resturante one of three. The food is self service, buffet style 3 courses, at £29.95 per person without drinks. It is cooked very nice and the staff are very tentative, more so if you buy lots of bottles of wine, again extremely overpriced. You can relax after in the lounge which offers complimentary bowls of indian mix so you will drink more. You would expect some kind of entertainment for a 5* Hotel.
The complimentary swimming pool is delightful with seperate changing facilities for men and women. You have lots of excercise equipment to use but you have to pay for the spar etc in the Forum Health Club. There is also a hair salon should you require.
The Hotel boasts free national landline calls to all residential guests, high speed internet access luxury toiletries. But isn't that what you would expect from a 5* Hotel.
I know this Hotel is known worldwide for its golf courses but having stayed there I would not recommend it to someone who was looking to stay in a luxurious accommodation. Its dated, needs a complete redecoration and refurbishment. It would also been nice for a member of staff to have called us on the phone or in person to check if we were suitably happy. Unless you can afford to stay in one of the two Presidential suites available and rolling in gold don't bother to waste your hard earned money, there are much better Hotels in nearby Cardiff with much better facilities, food and tentative staff. it was nice to get home to a clean well decorated house.