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I treated my dad to a stay at the Celtic Manor Resort for his 60th birthday - and it was a milestone moment

Celtic Manor Resort is just on the outskirts of Newport

An exterior shot of the Celtic Manor Resort
Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
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Birthdays for your parents are always a tricky thing to plan for. When it comes to buying for dads, we usually default to a bottle of port or whiskey, while heading straight for candles when it comes to mums. So, as my dad hit his milestone 60th birthday, I decided to think a little bit outside the box for his gift.

Whenever my dad and I travel to Wales we always pass the Welsh International Convention Centre, and nestled just behind it is the Celtic Manor Resort, a five-star hotel that includes fine dining, an impressive pool, an 18-hole golf course and enough activities to make Center Parcs blush. Just 45 minutes from Cardiff and five minutes past the Severn Bridge, getting to the resort couldn't be easier.

Upon checking in, which was incredibly simple, we were whisked up to our gorgeous deluxe suites that were the epitome of luxury. The king-sized bed was perfect to spread oneself out on after a busy day of activities (more on those later) and the marble bathroom was just the place to unwind ahead of going to bed or to freshen up ahead of a meal.

What's more, the suite that we stayed in had a view across the acres of land that house the hotel, allowing us to peer down across the golf course and catch our bearings when it came to walking around the premises. We were also able to enjoy a glass of complimentary prosecco at a small bar that had views across the River Severn.

Best places to eat at Celtic Manor Resort

A rib-eye steak next to a side salad and dried tomato© Matthew Moore
Steak on Six was one of the best meals I'd had

When it comes to food options at the Celtic Manor Resort, you are certainly spoiled for choice, with at least ten bars and restaurants available either on-site or located nearby. As we were celebrating my dad, the best option for us had to be the adults-only Steak on Six, located on the sixth floor.

From its smart-casual dress code to the jazz-style contemporary hits that are played over the sound system, everything about the restaurant oozes sophistication, including its menu. Of course, we went for steak, and as people who have sampled a lot over the years, this was certainly one of the best I've ever had with both the rare and medium-rare offerings hitting all the right spots. A starter of artisinal bread and butters and a cheesecake dessert put the cherry on top for an evening to remember. The restaurant also proved to be our breakfast venue with its buffet-style menu and unlimited coffee giving you the energy to face the day.

The other restaurant we dined at during our trip was Pad, which offered sumptuous Asian dishes, although it was a short walk through the hotel to close to the ICC, and proved to be a little bit of a maze to get to. However, when we arrived and were seated, with gorgeous nightime views of nearby Newport, it did live up to expectations. Perhaps I could have been more adventurous but when spring rolls and pad Thai are dishes you know come out perfect, why mess with it?

Things to do at the Celtic Manor Resort

A man with an archery bow© Matthew Moore
Dad was a dab hand at the archery

In my opening paragraphs, I described the activities available being like a mini Center Parcs, and that really does hold up. For those skilled at golf, the 18-hole course and clubhouse would be the perfect place to spend the day, but for families, there's plenty more to tackle. My dad and I tried our hand at archery and while I might need to rub up on my skills, he was never far off the perfect score. We also took on the 18-hole mini-golf course, which features the usual zany obstacles and even water hazards, but also has stunning recreations of world-famous golf holes. I felt like Tiger Woods playing through the final nine holes, though I imagine he would've walked away with a much better score.

The resort is also the perfect place to lace up some walking shoes and go for a walk. Although there's a shuttle service to the golf clubhouse, my dad and I walked most of the distance before turning back, and we also spent a lot of time exploring the grounds, seeing the manor house in its full beauty and even spotting a forest adventure course that I'm sure would be a delight in the summer weather.

How to relax at Celtic Manor Resort

A swimming pool
Although sometimes noisy, the pool was an excellent place to head in the evening

Outside of the luxurious rooms, fresh air walks and prosecco by the window, Celtic Manor Resort is also home to its own treatment centre and pool complex. Located just beneath the hotel, both of these places proved to be the ultimate places to unwind. A heated pool, steam room and sauna lie just outside the main pool and are the best spot to relax in if the main pool is crowded with noisy children. The pool itself is spacious with the roof design mirroring a starry night, giving the feeling of night falling. And located just next to it is a powerful jacuzzi with bubble jets that go off like bazookas.

The hotel also boasts numerous treatments. After 60 years, my dad finally got his first full-body massage and it appears we have a convert. I was also treated to the experience and after weeks of sitting at my desk, the massage was just what I needed, effortlessly undoing all the knots in my back and leaving me incredibly contented on the table.

Final thoughts

The Celtic Manor Resort was one of those places that I always passed by, wondering what it would be like to stay there, but now that I have, I know that on my next journey on the M4, I will be wistfully thinking of the two days in heaven that I spent there. Relaxing treatments, endless activities and food to die for. What more could someone want for a 60th birthday present?

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