The Celtic Manor Resort Hotel
The Celtic Manor Resort is a golf-centric hotel and leisure resort in the city of Newport, Wales. The Resort is owned by Welsh billionaire Sir Terry Matthews and the CEO is Matthews' son Dylan Matthews.
It will be the venue for the Ryder Cup Matches in the year 2010, marking the first time the Cup will be played in Wales. The Matches will be played on the Resort's new "Twenty Ten" course; the first golf course specifically designed to host the biennial event.
The Resort consists of two conjoined hotels; a golf and country club; and a multi-purpose conference centre. The Resort is located on the south-facing side of Christchurch Hill in urban East Newport, overlooking junction 24 of the M4 motorway. The golf courses themselves extend over the ridge and down the north-facing side of the hill into the rural Vale of Usk, characterised by its rolling countryside with views up to the Wentwood escarpment. In all the Resort covers 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) of land.
The earliest record of a building on the Resort site was 1634, when it was the residence of the High Sheriff of Monmouthshire, Lewis Van.
The Manor House was built by Thomas Powell in 1860. Powell was at one point the largest coal mine owner in the South Wales coalfield and the biggest coal exporter in the world. He became the world's first coal millionaire.
Powell's son, Thomas Powell Jnr, and his bride Julia Jenkins were given the mansion as a wedding gift when they married in 1859. They named it Coldra Hall.
After Thomas and Julia Powell's deaths whilst on safari in Africa, Coldra Hall was leased to a number of tenants, including the Firbank family from 1900-1915. Charles Firbank was also a High Sheriff of Monmouthshire and was well known for his generosity, entertaining parties of a hundred or more blind and disabled people at a time.
On Mr Firbank's death in 1915 the hall was sold to Sir John Wyndham who was a colliery and shipping entrepreneur and the son of the then High Sheriff of Monmouthshire. He improved the Manor House by adding a further wing.
In 1930 Sir John donated the house to the local Health Authority and in 1940 it became the Lydia Beynon Maternity Hospital, named in honour of his mother. Over 60,000 babies were born there, including the Celtic Manor's present owner, Sir Terry Matthews. It closed as a hospital in the late 1970s and was to be converted into a small hotel.
The Celtic Manor Hotel 1980 - 1999
Matthews bought the Manor House in 1980, ploughing £100m into a redevelopment and refurbishment project. The house was renovated and converted but retaining all its best older features. Initially with 16 bedrooms, the Celtic Manor hotel opened in 1982. With the eventual addition of a three-storey modern extension, by the early 1990s the hotel's capacity was expanded to 70 bedrooms. The hotel won Egon Ronay awards for the best hotel in Wales for five consecutive years.
In 1991 plans were unveiled to develop two new golf courses and a convention centre on land between the Manor House and the River Usk. Matthews had become friends with the late golf-course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. whose family roots were in Aberystwyth. Work began on the Roman Road course in 1992 - named after the main route connecting the fortress of Caerleon with the town of Caerwent which crosses the land. By 1994 work had commenced on the 400-bedroom Resort hotel; as well as a £10m golf clubhouse and the 4,000-yard (3,700 m) Coldra Woods golf course.
The new development was completed and opened in 1999. The original building was re-dubbed the "Manor House" to distinguish it from the new "Resort Hotel."
Matthews commented that: "I think the Resort can act as a magnet to draw new investment into Wales from across the UK and overseas. I did my best to put up a building that you can see from the West End of London and I didn't come far short of it!".
- A 19th-century 69-bedroom 4-star hotel (floors 1-4, rooms 110 - 427). Rooms 110-118, 120-121, 123 and 125 are located within the original Coldra Hall building and as such are furnished and marketed as "Period" rooms. Three of these rooms contain four poster beds.
- A 334-bedroom, 32-suite luxury 5-star hotel (floors 5-10, rooms 501 - 1080)
- 2 Presidential suites
- 1,500-delegate conference suite
- Exhibition hall
- 40 function rooms
- The Olive Tree features informal dining with a Mediterranean theme and is located within the main atrium of the Resort hotel
- The Crown At Celtic Manor is an exclusive fine dining restaurant featuring Welsh sourced organic produce. The name stems from a franchising deal struck with the nearby Crown At Whitebrook Michelin-starred restaurant
- The Lodge Brasserie is a brasserie located at the golf lodge
- The Patio is a brasserie located in a conservatory adjacent to the Manor House
- Hedleys is the private dining room and function suite located within the Manor House
- Rafters is the restaurant located at the new Twenty Ten course clubhouse
- Merlins is a piano bar featuring a baby grand, snooker table room and regular live music
- The Cellar Bar is an informal basement bar which shows live televised sports. It is located within the Manor House
- The Manor Bar / Lounge Bar is a simplistic, relaxing bar located within the Manor House
- Spike is the bar located at the new Twenty Ten course clubhouse
- 3 championship golf courses
- Golf training academy
- 2 health clubs
- 16 treatment room spa
- Shopping centre featuring golf and pampering retail outlets
- Two tennis courts
- On site mountain biking and nature trails
- Off-site Clay pigeon shooting and fishing
2010 Ryder Cup
In 2001 the Resort won its bid to host the 2010 Ryder Cup. As a result much of the Wentwood Hills course was redeveloped into the Ryder Cup's first purpose-built venue; the "Twenty Ten" Course. An additional clubhouse built specifically for the Twenty Ten course was completed and opened in autumn 2007. In April 2007 it was confirmed by Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan that the Celtic Manor will host the Ryder Cup on the weekend of 27 September to the 3rd October 2010.
The Celtic Manor hosted the All*Star Cup, a celebrity golf tournament televised firstly on Sky One in 2005 and then ITV in 2006. In a similar vein to the Ryder Cup, it pitched European celebrity golfers against their American counterparts. Celebrities such as Ross Kemp, Bruce Forsyth, Jane Seymour and noted golfing enthusiast Alice Cooper took part. There was no tournament in 2007 due to the inclement weather.
- Wentwood Hills - Opened in 1999 and was the venue for the Celtic Manor Wales Open, on the European Tour from 2000 to 2004
- Coldra Woods - a par-59 academy course for beginners that opened in 1996 and was replaced by The Montgomerie in July 2007
- The Twenty Ten - Wentwood Hills has been extensively remodelled for the 2010 Ryder Cup Matches, making the new version the first course to be purpose-built for the biennial transatlantic tournament. Opened in 2007, the resultant course comprises nine pre-existing holes from the Wentwood Hills course and nine new ones. The layout is designed to allow large galleries to conveniently follow the small number of concurrent matches which are played during the Ryder Cup. The course has only one fairway crossing, and there are open views of the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, which are situated in an amphitheatre. The spectator capacity will be 50,000. The course will also host the Wales Open tournament prior to the Ryder Cup
- Roman Road - opened in 1994. This par 70 championship course hosted the Wales Open in 2005, 2006 and 2007 during the conversion of Wentwood Hills into the Twenty Ten course
- The Montgomerie - this is a new par-69 course designed by Colin Montgomerie that opened in July 2007. The new course incorporates elements of both Coldra Woods and Wentwood Hills
- In common with many hotels, the Celtic Manor has no rooms which end "13". It also has no room 666 or, interestingly, no Room 1066
- The Resort is home to one of the largest collections of Welsh art to be found anywhere. It is also the home of Welsh-Italian artist Andrew Vicari
- A time capsule is buried underneath the lobby area and is scheduled to be opened in 2100
- A grand piano belonging to rock star Alice Cooper is a feature of one of the Resort's Presidential suites
- It is possible to see the Second Severn Crossing bridge from the lobby level bar windows.