April 9, 2020
Celtic Manor – A luxury home from home
The Celtic Manor Collection is quickly becoming one of the UK’s fastest-growing hotel groups, and with staycations on the rise (last year the term saw a 71% increase in searches in the UK with the trend set to grow in popularity as more domestic holidaymakers plan their holidays on homegrown soil), this luxury home from home hotel deserves to be up there in your shortlist.
On arrival, we were greeted by a smiling concierge and taken up to the sixth floor to our suite. The suite was incredibly spacious and boasted a living room with dining table, sofa, marble bathroom, along with a host of Elemis goodies. The room was tastefully decorated with a six-foot double bed centred in the room and complimentary Chilean wine with Welsh cakes awaiting on arrival, it was a wonderful start to the stay. A balcony view is a must-have when you’re surrounded by more than 2,000 acres of panoramic parkland.
We headed to Steak on Six for our first evening and instantly felt looked after. Both the lounge and the restaurant have a strict adults-only policy, creating a sophisticated setting for couples, business people and avid golfers.
Daniella was an excellent host and seated us on the far right by the window. The restaurant felt superbly modern and contrasted the traditional ambience of the bedrooms – a pleasant surprise and rather unique. Martin (our server for the evening), was well-versed in going the extra mile and had a charming and personable manner. He recommended the scallops to start with and the Tomahawk steak to follow – we were glad we went with those options.
The scallops arrived with chorizo, carrot purée, charred sweetcorn and puffed rice cooked to perfection. The presentation cannot be faulted; clean, crisp, with just the right amount of food to leave your mouth watering for the main course. About that steak. The Steak at Six teams came and sliced the Tomahawk beside our table whilst passing small cast iron pans to present the sides on. We had a side of potato gratin, cooked wonderfully, along with green beans and bacon which complimented the steak due to their delightful crunch.
Dessert was a very tough choice, so my partner and I decided to try two contrasting desserts, one traditional burnt at the table vanilla bean crême brulée and one praline and chocolate orange terrine with chantilly cream. I’ve got to say, the whole meal (and cocktails) surpassed my sky-high expectations. From the excellent service to the well-crafted delicious food, down to the small details, such as the four different pots of salt (smoked, chilli, pink and spiced). Having sampled many a steak, this one sits up there and surpasses steaks at both Hawksmoor and Smith and Wollensky – I’d come back to Celtic Manor purely for Steak at Six.
Day two started with breakfast at Steak on Six. In the daylight, you can see the beautiful views with a totally different ambience, without losing the warm Welsh service.
The Celtic Manor is home to two award-winning spas, including the Forum Spa. There are 16 beautifully appointed treatment rooms designed for full relaxation. With ambient lighting, aromatic scents and luxurious electronic therapy couches, I headed to the spa for a signature session, ready to come out feeling rejuvenated and restored.
My masseuse Shannon was lovely, knowledgeable about treatments as well as stress triggers. We chatted during my massage about her role at Celtic Manor and she praised the business and the way it’s run saying that she gets treated by all staff as if she were a guest when walking around the hotel. It was lovely to hear that she couldn’t fault the manor due to how at home she feels. This is one of the highlights of staying in an independently owned hotel and also one of the reasons Celtic Manor is such a gem. Two staff throughout our stay mentioned the owner, Terry Matthews saying he’s a family man which is why the hotel has that charm – I’ve never heard that before from a hotel-chain and hope it remains like this.
Foodies, however, should tear themselves away from the pool for a visit to the 200-year-old country inn Newbridge on Usk. This award-winning boutique hotel and restaurant is only a stone’s throw away from the resort, not to mention the concierge will take you there (complimentary) from The Manor.
The team there showed great hospitality skills, Katie knew the menu inside out and made top recommendations. I’d suggest the seafood platter if you’re feeling particularly fancy, it has everything you need and more. The duck was cooked to perfection and plated beautifully as well. Both restaurant service and flavours were phenomenal, I’d say the cocktails at Steak and Six just beat Newbridge on Usk, however, there is no denying it was close.
The winning ingredient has to be that a hotel as grand as Celtic Manor feels like home from start to finish due to the staff and their service levels. Treat yourself, treat your partner, treat your loved one(s) – you won’t regret and you will be back.
A: The Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, Newport, South Wales, NP18 1HQ
T: +44 (0)1633 410 262
W: Celtic Manor
Written by Kaya Cheshire for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International