WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The Belfry Hotel and Resort is best known for golf – it has hosted the Ryder Cup four times.
The approach to the property, past driving ranges and a PGA golf academy, suggests it is more a high-end golf or country club than a hotel, but it succeeds in being many things to many people.
It has a long tradition of providing varied entertainment – the weekend I stayed, there were hen nights, line dancing and 50th birthday parties, while everyone from Led Zeppelin to Status Quo has played here in one of its previous incarnations.
Today, more than 50 years since it became a hotel, the place is packed – a testament to friendly staff able to deal with the needs of business and leisure travellers.
It is also looking better than ever thanks to a £26 million renovation, which, as well as improving the event space and bedrooms, has seen a new Ryder Grill restaurant, Brabazon bar and lounge areas installed. It is owned by KSL, which recently bought Malmaison and Hotel du Vin.
WHERE IS IT?
The resort is set in 200 hectares of countryside, including three golf courses, and yet is close to Birmingham airport (15 minutes’ drive on a good day, 25 minutes in traffic), the NEC (National Exhibition Centre), the city centre and main rail station, as well as the M6 and M42.
There are 319 bedrooms, including 14 suites, all of which have been recently refurbished. There’s no getting away from golf, with the walls decorated in diamond-patterned paper reminiscent of Pringle jumpers.
Standard facilities include showers, 42-inch flatscreen TVs and high-speed internet (wifi costs £15 for 24 hours). The rooms are organised almost in a college-like manner, with corridors that link various buildings named after golfers – Ballesteros House, Jacklin House, Torrance House, Trevino House and so on – and all have slightly different characteristics.
Mine was comfortable, had a good power shower and Gilchrist and Soames toiletries, but also overlooked a noisy air conditioning unit, or perhaps extractor fan, so no matter how warm it was I couldn’t open the windows at night, and even then the sound from it was noticeable. All rooms are non-smoking, although there are 15 that have balconies.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The Ryder Grill, under chef director Glen Watson, has views of the putting green and first tee, and offers buffet and à la carte options.
Signature dishes include 28-day dry-aged steaks sourced locally from 19 Gales farm, and classic Chateaubriand from the Buccleuch estate. The evening I visited, it was extremely busy but staff were coping well.
Brabazon bar is located in the former courtyard garden under a central glass cupola. Sam’s Clubhouse has several flatscreen TVs for watching sport while having a drink or a casual meal.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
The Belfry has 21 conference and event suites and six boardrooms. The Woodlands suite seats 400 people theatre-style or 300 for a banquet.
There are also several break-out spaces, as well as attractive gardens around the back of the hotel.
For golfers, this is a must-visit venue – there are three 18-hole courses, including the famous Brabazon.
For non-golfers, or after a round, there is a gym, a good-size pool and a spa with a “fire and ice” experience featuring 12 bio-thermal rooms.
A great choice for meetings and events, as well as weekend breaks. Good staff, refurbished venues and a lovely restaurant in the Ryder Grill for the evening.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? 319 in total – 261 Signature twins and doubles, 30 Superior Signature twins and doubles, four Family rooms, nine Signature double doubles, 11 Signature suites, three Manor House Suites and the Belfry Presidential suite.
- HIGHLIGHTS An unrushed atmosphere and excellent staff, as well as world-class golf.
- PRICE Internet rates for a overnight weekend stay in February started from £120 for a Signature double room.
- CONTACT The Belfry Hotel and Resort, Lichfield Road, Wishaw; tel +44 (0)844 980 0600; thebelfry.co.uk