Celtic Manor Resort is a luxury modern hotel complex that literally stands at the doorway of Wales. Just a few minutes’ drive from the border with England, and two hours from London, the resort is Wales’ answer to Scotland’s Gleneagles, without the history.
You might associate the word ‘resort’ with seaside hotels. But with two properties onsite — the period Manor House and the contemporary Resort Hotel — plus the self-catering Hunter Lodges and a list of activities that you would need to stay weeks to get through, Celtic Manor Resort deserves its title.
The four of us stayed in a spacious, modern family room in the Resort Hotel. Connecting double rooms are also available, whilst for a trip with the extended family you might want to opt for one of the luxury self-catering lodges in the grounds. The four-bedroom ensuite Hunter Lodges sleep up to eight and include an outdoor hot tub and a sauna, with full access to all the resort facilities.
The “what’s on” programme at Celtic Manor Resort would put the Olympics to shame. You could test your aim with state-of-the-art laser clay rifle shooting or the more ancient art of archery. You might swing through the trees with Forest Jump, go for a hole-in-one on the Adventure Golf Course, race a remote-controlled car or fish for salmon in the River Usk. That’s just a taster of what’s on offer.
Everything gets booked up very quickly, however. To avoid disappointment, make sure to reserve a good couple of weeks before arrival. My kids were so frustrated when we arrived and they discovered that they couldn’t try out the Forest Jump they’d been admiring on our way in to reception.
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Everything you’d expect to find in a luxury country house hotel is on offer here too: swimming in a vast indoor pool, tennis, woodland walks. Plus, there are professional nannies available to take the children off you whilst parents discover the award-winning spa. There is also the Dylan’s Den kids club for children between the ages of 2 and 10; it runs a regularly updated timetable of events. This, like many of the activities, costs extra, so factor this in when budgeting.
Breakfast was our favourite meal here. The vast buffet had us continually replenishing our plates, with eggs of all varieties, meats, cheeses and fruits. We also had a hearty three-course meal at the Manor House Hotel, which is linked to the main hotel, but this has since relaunched as Asian fusion restaurant Cen, so I’m not in a position to comment. It is run by MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen, however, so it looks promising. There are also half a dozen other restaurants, offering a range of casual and fine dining, scattered across the resort. Again, early booking is essential.
The resort is a few miles away from the Welsh capital, Cardiff. Bute Park, Cardiff Castle and the Doctor Who Experience pretty much sum up the variety of what’s on offer there! The charming villages of Abergavenny and Monmouth have lovely boutique shopping and great restaurants, and the stunning Forest of Dean, a few miles into England, is waiting to be explored too— ideally by bike.
Editor’s Note: Anna received a media package to review Celtic Manor Resort for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Anna Tobin except where noted.
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