The Celtic Manor is one of our favourite resort hotels in the UK and we couldn’t wait to revisit the hotel for a weekend break. Although iconic for its golfing facilities having hosted the Ryder Cup in 2010, you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy the hotel’s impressive range of family friendly facilities.
What’s it like?
The Celtic Manor resort is the vision of Welsh tech tycoon Sir Terry Matthews who bought the site in 1980 – he was born in the original manor house on the site in 1943 which was the local maternity hospital and is now part of this huge 5 star property.
He had a vision of creating one of Britain’s best 5 star resort hotels, taking inspiration from some of the best hotels in the world, and it really does remind me of the large resort hotels that you would find in North America. The sheer scale of this luxurious resort is evident as you arrive at its impressive entrance façade.
Just as impressive is the towering atrium lobby that wouldn’t look out of place on a cruise ship. What catches your eye as you enter are the two impressive Celtic dragons expertly carved from wood which straddle either side of the lobby.
Upon checking in, which was incredibly simple and efficient we were excited to check out our room for the night, located on the 5th floor.
The Celtic Manor is a huge hotel with 330 rooms with a wide range of family rooms to choose from. On this trip we stayed in a two queen bed deluxe family room, which offered more than enough space for the four of us and was perfect for an overnight stay. I also loved the fact that we had a balcony with views over the front of the property and the grounds of the resort.
The marble-clad bathroom in our room had a separate bath and walk in shower and an abundance of my favourite toiletries – Elemis! As you would expect at a five star hotel, there were also white fluffy bathrobes and slippers – perfect for a visit to the pool and spa.
A wall mounted flat screen TV, complimentary wifi and lots of charging sockets ensured that the kids were sorted from a tech and entertainment perspective but there was so much to see and do here they hardly used their phones and ipads – a no mean feat for a hotel to achieve to keep a tween and teen off their devices.
As you would expect at a hotel of this standard our rooms had all of the amenities you’d expect such as a air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, fridge, free wifi, iron and ironing board and in-room safe.
I really liked returning to our room after a busy day and receiving turn down service, its these little touches that really make the 5* difference – but we did have to ask the front desk for this.
If we were staying longer, I would look at their grand deluxe family rooms, which is what we booked last time – these rooms are exceptionally spacious, have two king size beds rather than queens and huge wraparound balconies or if you wanted to splurge then take a look at the Hunter Lodges.
Swimming Pool and Spa
One of the highlights of a visit to the Celtic Manor will be swimming in the stunning surroundings of their Forum pool, located in the main hotel. After a quick change in our room and donning our complimentary white fluffy robes and slippers we made the short journey from the fifth floor down to the pool.
My favourite is the spa bath, the largest freeform spa bath in Europe followed by their sauna and steam rooms. The 20m long swimming pool was a hit with the kids and at night the star lit ceiling of the pool is incredible – if there was an award for the most aesthetic swimming pool, this pool would be there with the best pools in the country.
Outside of the pool facilities the health club is also worth a mention, not only is it luxurious its also one of the largest in the UK. We didn’t have time on this occasion to visit their incredible Elemis spa which smells divine as you exit the lift and offers a wide range of beauty treatments or if you fancied a workout, the impressive gym here has all of the latest state of the art fitness equipment.
What is often missed by guests when staying here is there is another incredible pool available located at Dylans Health Club, a 5 min ride away on the complimentary hotel shuttle buses. This is a hidden gem and whilst the main pool at the Forum can get busy especially at weekends, this is typically much quieter but just as beautiful. There is an 18-metre Romanesque swimming pool here complete with sauna, steam room and spa bath.
On-Site Resort Activities and facilities
The Celtic Manor encompasses 1,400 acres of the Welsh countryside and there are very few hotels in the UK that offer so many activities for both adults and kids – this resort is a unique mix of full service hotel with activities you might find at a Center Parks, so kids of all ages will love it. I would highly recommend pre-booking activities online before you arrive as spaces can fill up quickly.
During the weekend we managed to fit in three activities, all of which were really great fun and brought out all of our competitive sides. We started with Archery, one of our favourite activities and under the guidance of our instructor we were quickly hitting the targets.
What I really liked about the archery experience here compared to other attractions was that it never felt rushed – we had nearly a full hour of archery and enjoyed lots of fun, interactive games.
Next up was adventure golf, an 18-hole course inspired by famous holes in golf including St Andrews and Pebble Beach to play on which was great fun as we all tried to outscore each other. Apart from a hole in one for Chloe, another highlight was when we had to float across the lake on a Celtic inspired raft to complete one of the holes.
We also tried the golf diving range here, this is not your typical range however it is really interactive as it uses top tracer technology in the golf balls. If you have ever been to a TopGolf this was very similar with lots of fun interactive games to choose from. This was one of our favourites and it was a great way to spend our last morning at the resort before checking out.
There are lots of other paid for activities to try at the Celtic Manor, ranging from high and low ropes, laser combat, axe throwing (which opened the week after our stay) and forest nets but there are also activities for families that come at no extra cost. I mentioned the swimming pools earlier in this article but there are also woodland trails to explore and the kids adventure playground which is free to use.
Off the main lobby you’ll find the Celtic Mall, a shopping arcade which features designer golf and leisurewear from the likes of Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger along with beautifully presented gifts and Welsh souvenirs from the gift store, if you needed a haircut there is also a hairdresser on-site. The coffee pod was a new addition from our last stay, serving grab and go drinks and snacks in the mall.
Dining at the Celtic Manor
When it comes to dining options at the Celtic Manor Resort, you really are spoilt for choice with five of its restaurants being family friendly.
Breakfast is served at the Olive Tree restaurant offering an impressive buffet selection of hot breakfast items. The breakfast is extensive with many of the items locally sourced, some of our favourites were the Welsh tea, yogurts and Welsh cakes – yum!..
Breakfast time can get a little busy – so the earlier you can arrive the better or if you are staying in the adult only signature floor, breakfast is also available in the calmer surroundings of their exec lounge.
For lunch we stopped off at Merlin’s before an afternoon packed with activities. There was a good range of lunch options available , the girls enjoyed their pizzas and burgers and our sandwiches were really tasty. One of my favourite areas her is sitting by the fireplace in the gorgeous wood panelled room off the main bar area.
We booked dinner at the Grill, a restaurant located in the clubhouse which was a 5 minute shuttle ride away from the main hotel. This family friendly restaurant is so cosy in winter, with its high vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and cosy fires – it felt more like a mountain lodge in Canada and had spectacular views over the golf course. The food and service here was impressive, with family friendly menus and extremely attentive service.
The children’s menu offered a good range of dishes even for the fussiest of eaters and the girls selected the garlic bread to start with, followed by buttermilk chicken strips and British rump steak with a side of fries each.
To start, we chose the chicken wings with buttermilk ranch sauce which was large enough for two to share.
Moving on to mains, I couldn’t resist the Montys beef burger served with onion rings, Welsh tomato relish and fries whilst my husband chose the British sirloin steak, both of which were delicious.
For dessert, the girls chose the chocolate cake and bakewell tart and we shared the cherry bakewell tart and ice cream, all of which were amazing. In addition to the food, there was an excellent drinks menu to choose from including local ales, wines and spirits to my personal favourite a mocktail and delicious hot chocolates for the girls.
Located in Newport, South Wales this property is hard to miss as your drive down the M4 into Wales with it dominating the skyline over junction 24 of the motorway. It’s a really impressive landmark and the giant Welsh flag flying in front of the hotel acts as an unofficial gateway to South Wales. The hotel is 5 minutes from the Severn Bridge, so you get reach London in 90 minutes and both Bristol and Cardiff are approx. 45 minutes away.
The Celtic Manor is an impressive resort hotel that is really family friendly. With lots of family-friendly activities, The Celtic Manor is one of our favourite resort hotels for a UK staycation.
You certainly won’t hear the word “I’m bored” from your children during your stay at the Celtic Manor Resort, there is so much for them to see and do.
If you are looking for a family friendly hotel then the Celtic Manor Resort will be very hard to beat. We can’t wait to return.
Ready to book
Prices at the Celtic Manor Resort start from £145 for a family deluxe room when booking direct at celtic manor resort.
*Disclosure: This was a pr invite but all opinions are entirely my own.