Celtic Manor ResortEdit profile
The Celtic Manor Resort is a golf-centric hotel and leisure resort in Newport, south Wales. It consists of two adjoining hotels, a country inn, two golf and country clubs, and a multi-purpose conference centre. It was the venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup, the first to be held in Wales.Location
The resort, owned by Sir Terry Matthews, is located on the south-facing side of Christchurch Hill in eastern Newport, overlooking Junction 24 of the M4 motorway. The golf courses extend over the ridge and down the north-facing side of the hill into the Vale of Usk, with views up to the Wentwood escarpment. The resort covers 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) of land.Site history
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 in 1860 by Thomas Powell, the largest coalmine owner in the South Wales coalfield, the world's biggest coal exporter and the 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 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 well known for his generosity, entertaining parties of a hundred or more blind and disabled people. On Mr Firbank's death in 1915, the hall was sold to Sir John Wyndham, a colliery and shipping entrepreneur, who added a wing to it.
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 present owner. It closed as a hospital in the late 1970s.The Celtic Manor Hotel
Matthews bought the Manor House in 1980, investing £100m in a redevelopment and refurbishment project. The house was renovated, retaining all its best older features. Initially with 16 bedrooms, the Celtic Manor Hotel opened in 1982. With the addition of a modern three-storey extension, by the early 1990s the hotel's capacity was expanded to 70 bedrooms. It received Egon Ronay awards for the best hotel in Wales for five consecutive years.Resort development
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, Wales. Work began on the Roman Road course in 1992 – named after the main route connecting the former Roman 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 £10-million golf clubhouse and the 4,000-yard (3,700 m) Coldra Woods golf course.
The new development was completed and opened in 1999. The former Celtic Manor Hotel was renamed "The Manor House" to distinguish it from the new "Resort Hotel."
In July 2010 a bitter dispute developed between Matthews and Newport City Council's planning committee which refused permission for Matthews to demolish or move a ruined Grade 2 listed building from a position overlooking the 18th green, a farmhouse dating back to 1630, described by Matthews as "damaging to the image of the entire nation". The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings said: "The problematic situation is entirely of the owner’s own making and refusal to safeguard the listed building over many years. It cannot be right to reward this by agreeing to a proposal to simply move a listed building out of the way."Archaeology
It being known that a Roman settlement had been located at Great Bulmore, the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust was appointed by the Celtic Manor Resort to oversee archaeological considerations prior to the course construction. The Trust worked closely with the designers to ensure the preservation of historic material and features. When a Roman pottery kiln was found during the construction of one of the greens, the green was redesigned to avoid it..
While as much as possible of the potential archaeology was identified at the design stage, watching briefs were carried out during construction, since other structures might be discovered. As a result, construction work was halted in sensitive areas to give them time to excavate features, like a second Roman pottery kiln with a probable workshop building and a Roman drying kiln.
On the site of the new coach park, a small square tower-like building was found well to the north of any Roman activity previously discovered. It lay alongside a lightly metalled track, that must have branched off the Caerleon to Usk road. There has been some argument as to whether it was military—a Roman watch tower (Castellum) for example—or whether it was a mausoleum where someone of importance had been buried . In the rubble that overlay the building were two pieces of an inscription, with a few letters on each. They were found to fit together, and Professor Roger Tomlin, of Oxford University interpreted them as part of a verse referring to 'unjust fate', which could support the mausoleum theory.Resort facilities
- 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
- The 1,500-delegate conference suite has an exhibition hall and 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 a fine-dining restaurant featuring Welsh-sourced organic produce.
- The Lodge Brasserie is a brasserie located at the golf lodge.
- Le Patio is a French-style 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 located within the Manor House.
- Spike is the bar located at the new Twenty Ten course clubhouse.
- Three championship golf courses
- Golf training academy
- Two health clubs
- 16-treatment-room spa
- Shopping centre with golf and other 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. The opening of the Ryder Cup, which ran from 27 September until 4 October 2010, saw a visit from Charles, Prince of Wales. Europe won the trophy by 14½ – 13½ points.All*Star Cup
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 American counterparts. Celebrities such as Ross Kemp, Bruce Forsyth, Jane Seymour and noted golfing enthusiast Alice Cooper took part. There has been no tournament from 2007 due to inclement weather.Defunct courses
- 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 is 50,000. The course hosted 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.