- Function Rooms: 40
- Max Meeting: 0
- Max Dinner: 0
- Max Reception: 0
- Outdoor Capacity: 1000
- Day delegate rate: £70
- 24 hour delegate rate: £230
- Bedrooms: 330
The impressive wood carvings that greet you upon entering the soaring atrium that is the Celtic Manor Resort’s lobby might bring thoughts to China, but these giant dragons are very much of the Welsh variety. The hotel is situated atop a hill just the other side of the Severn Bridge – the view of which is a reassuring reminder that the drive back to London is just a couple of hours.
Famous for winning the right to host the 2010 Ryder Cup, the 1,400-acre resort is a golfer’s dream. However, if you’re not in the swing with the likes of Lisa B, Sienna Guillory and Yasmin Mills, who recently made use of the short Academy Course (specially designed for lessons and great for incentive groups), the hotel has plenty of other virtues to act as a catalyst for a visit.
For weekending couples and families, the award-winning spa (staffed by committed local therapists of the Clarins variety) is a real draw, complemented as it is by a superb pool complex, gym and The Hideaway Club, a huge kids club with its own ballpark.
Shooting is high on Celtic Manor’s agenda, too. Its arcade houses the UK’s only Purdey gun shop outside London and the hotel is affiliated to the superb Tree Tops Shooting School just 15 minutes away. Off-road driving is also nearby, while tennis and mountain biking are on-site. Oh, and dinner in the excellent Owen’s restaurant is worth the trip alone.
Ronan Keating, Anna Friel and Gary Lineker and are among an increasing list of celebrities who have chosen to take relaxing breaks at the resort (many football and rugby teams also stay here when playing at the Millennium Stadium). However, the monolithic property was primarily built to host large conferences, as signalled by the inclusion of escalators to ferry (hordes of) delegates to and from the Convention Centre. In fact, there are no larger event facilities with on-site accommodation along the whole of the M4 corridor.
At the heart of this Centre is the state-of-the-art Caenarfon Suite, which has 1,260sq m of prime events space. Capable of holding 1,500 delegates for a theatre-style meeting or 770 for dinner, the vast venue is complemented by a bright exhibition hall, which sits immediately beneath it and is popular for car launches: Aston Martin, Bentley and Ferrari have all held events here.
‘There’s only a handful of venues in the UK that can accommodate our big annual sales conference, when we take over the whole hotel, but I could book regional events at any number of venues around south Wales. Even so, the superb facilities and service we enjoy at Celtic Manor keep me coming back for smaller events,’ says Cameron Toshack, the Welsh regional sales manager for Pfizer.
Indeed, there’s a plethora of function rooms of varying sizes to choose from. The on-site Manor House, for instance, is popular with local clients, both corporate and private, and rarely fails to host a wedding on a Saturday. Adding to all the facilities is the Roof Top Garden’s barbecue area with alfresco tables, perfect for a post-meeting drinks party and sing-a-long. When in Wales...
There’s a host of special events to entice a trip to these parts. Apart from the annual Celtic Manor Wales Open, the hotel regularly hosts special sporting dinners and musical events (such as last year’s Jamie Cullum concert). This July, Pat Cash and Henri Leconte will be playing a series of matches in conjunction with a three-day residential tennis-coaching clinic. In August, the Women’s Cycling World Cup will be followed by a celebrity Ryder Cup, hosted by Ant and Dec, with Mark O’Meara and Colin Montgomeire acting as captains.