The Celtic Manor Resort Reviewed 2015
Celtic Manor is a world-renowned destination in Newport (Wales), and we were ecstatic to be invited down to review the resort. Celtic Manor has everything you would require for either a short or long stay, such as a range of high class suites, multiple restaurants, world class golf courses, an award winning spa, and much more. Taking a step away from the resort’s prestigious golfing ties, we were excited to review the rest of the resort and find out what was on offer for couples and families.
On our arrival, we fell instantly in love with our room, the Celtic colour scheme and the vastness of our suite. There was a real feeling of opulence running throughout the hotel lobby, which successfully carried itself to our suite, where we would spend the next two evenings. Our beautiful marble bathroom and expansive bedroom area were just to details on a long list of wonderful elements to make up the accommodation. The suite also came with a full sized dining area, additional living area, an additional cloakroom, a Nespresso machine and, of course, a fully stocked mini bar.
The Bars and the Cocktails
The resort offers a wide selection of bars for all occasions, ranging from Merlin’s bar for sophisticated drinks, to the Cellar bar, for a more relaxed drink and some live sport.
Merlin’s bar is the hub of the resort’s entertainment in our opinion. Located just off the lobby, the bar provides delicious cocktails, fantastic service and a selection nibbles. On our stay there was also some great music being performed by acoustic musicians and bands. The feel was relaxed, but with vibrancy and excitement, a great place to meet up before exploring the rest of the resort.
We were also lucky enough to experience private cocktail making session with one of the bar’s mixologists. This unique session allowed us to sample and help make some of the bars best cocktails, including a French Martini finished with raspberry shavings, Strawberry and Kiwi Mojitos and Amaretto Sours (see our efforts below). The attention to detail really came across in the session and we left fully appreciating the care put into the beverages offered up here. We were also educated in some of the nuisances of mixology; such as how to successfully balance flavours, sweetness and sourness, which was a brilliant treat. The service was also of the highest level, friendly and fun – we found this level of service to be a constant throughout our stay and throughout the resort.
For our first meal of our visit, set within the original 19th Century Manor House, we were lucky enough to enjoy a meal at Le Patio. Le Patio offers authentic bistro in a romantic and candlelit setting. As the name suggests, there is also scope here for al fresco dining. The atmosphere was saturated with a calmness and tranquillity, making the perfect backdrop for a evening of hearty food and fine wines.
The menu offered a traditionally rustic exploration of French classic. For example, the starter of Coquilles St Jacques à la Bretonne (Creamy leeks and pan fried scallops topped with parsley breadcrumb), was packed full of honest, bold and gorgeous flavours. Perfectly cooked, the scallops worked well with the leeks and all of this came beautifully served in a scallop shell.
Following this the selection of mains were similarly impressive and we went for two classic French dishes; the 6oz fillet of beef and the braised lamb shank with dauphinoise potatoes and a wonderful parsnip puree. Both dishes were as expected, cooked to perfection and deceptively elegant to boot – a real taste of France in a beautiful Welsh setting.
However, it was with the deserts, and in particular the Crepes Suzettes, where Le Patio excelled itself in a little drama and flamboyance. The thinnest of crepes were brought to our table by our excellent waiter and flambéed before us – it was great to watch. Take a look at the pictures below. The theatre provided by the glowing Grand Marnier made for a very memorable dish.
Newbridge on Usk
We were lucky enough to visit the Newbridge on Usk on the second evening of our stay and we can quite honestly say that it was the highlight of our stay at Celtic Manor. Nestled next to the river Usk, the setting was idyllic and the restaurant interior natural and serene.
A short 15 minute complimentary drive from the resort, the Newbridge on Usk is a real delight for those who like to revel in local produce, high quality and yet hearty food, exemplary service and yet a very laid back atmosphere. On meeting the manager we were given a relaxed and yet informative run down of the drinks offerings. My partner went for a cranberry and peach Bellini, which had been made from local Chepstow suppliers and tasted absolutely wonderful. Similarly, I went for a Tiny Rebel “Urban IPA” from a brewery only minutes down the road. It was this connection with the local area and produce, which made for a really fascinating visit and a meal with that added dimension. Staff at the Newbridge on Usk had a very apparent love for the food and drinks they were serving and this translated into an experience, rather than just another meal.
Food at the Newbridge on Usk was absolutely sublime. We began with a Maple Glazed Smoked Belly of Woodland Pork, complete with an apple and vanilla puree. I have to say that this was the finest pork belly dish I have ever eaten – succulent, tasty and with oodles of wonderful, earthy flavour. Beautiful.
The mains were also similarly triumphant, such as the Twenty-Eight Day Matured Pan Roasted Welsh Beef, served with Salt beef, pressed potato, bone marrow and truffle butter jus. The medley of beef elements combined with the truffle butter for a melt in the mouth dish. Each element prepared perfectly and executed well. Similarly, the free Range Wye Valley Chicken Breast was a great alternative to red meat, and came with twice-cooked hand-cut chips, honey glazed wings, red onion salad.
Another treat came in the form of the Vanilla and Hilltop Honey Parfait, with calvados custard puff and toffee apple espuma. In truth, we cannot wait to return to the Newbridge on Usk as each course, each drink and each moment of service was some of the best we have experienced anywhere.
As you would expect, the resort offers a plethora of activities for all ages to enjoy during a stay. These ranged from tree top high wire courses for the young and adventurous, to the world-class golf courses, for which Celtic Manor has become renowned. However, taking an amble off the fairway, we were lucky enough to try some of the other resort activities.
Forum Spa Signature massages
If you are looking for a luxurious and sumptuous experience during your stay, then we would recommend booking yourself in for a Signature Forum Spa massage. The Forum Spa is one of the most eye-catching spas we have visited, complete with many treatment rooms, impeccably friendly staff and a range of Elemis products to enjoy.
The Signature massage uses classic Swedish techniques designed to relax and de-stress both the body and mind. Lasting 50 minutes, this treatment is available for £80 at weekends and is worth every penny.
Laser clays (new to Celtic Manor)
Another great activity, and one which was new to the resort, was the laser clay pigeon shooting. Taking on from the traditional clay pigeon shooting, this digital alternative really brought out the competitiveness in us and was well worth the cost. For 1 hour we were able to shoot at clays being released in various kinds of games, involving speed, precision and accuracy.
During our stay we were also treated to a decadent afternoon tea, complete with a range of teas and champagne. Available from £24, this is a great option for parties, special occasions or just because.
For more details on Celtic Manor, or to book your experience, simply click here: http://www.celtic-manor.com/
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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