If you haven't noticed I got married recently! After the magical occasion, the dramas and the exhaustion of it all, my husband and I decided to take a well needed break after our wedding. This wasn't our honeymoon, this was our minimoon for a quick get away from the wedding madness! We won't be doing our honeymoon until next year so decided to venture to Wales to the resort boasting an extensive golf course, the 14th century St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Chepstow. We were taking our mountains bikes to go exploring around the area surrounding, and take a trip to the PuzzleWoods to discover where J.R Tolken got his Lord of The Rings inspiration.
I'd never been to the area before but all I wanted from this trip was a chance to catch up with myself. We were very kindly invited to the Marriott St Pierre for a complimentary nights stay, with us paying for the additional night. I wanted to stay longer to give us a better break and more of an overview of what it was all about. I couldn't wait and the relief of a fun road trip with my husband was the perfect way to celebrate our new relationship status.
We found the venue relatively easily, drove along the long drive up to the hotel through the golf course, and there before us lay a grand period building. A church was even onsite - having just got married anything potentially wedding related was at the forefront of my mind, in fact we saw two weddings happen at this venue. The Church of St Peter is the oldest building on the estate dating around 1065 but has been considerably restored from then. I couldn't help but think how easy it would be to get married at the church then have your reception in the hotel, you'd avoid losing your guests that's for sure and going home wouldn't be an issue!
There are 148 bedrooms in the main building with 16 suites called the 'cottages', these were dotted around the courtyard facing towards the hotel entrance. Each cottage was named after a flower and we were staying in the Marigold Cottage, which funnily enough had marigolds planted just in front of our door! It looked beautiful.
Key hotel information
- Two 18-hole golf courses including Championship Old Course
- Two restaurants
- 11 meetings rooms
- 14th century manor
- Fitness Center
- Extensive Parking
- 400 acres of beautiful parkland
- Two floodlit tennis court
The building was clearly something full of character and the decor inside reflected that, obviously in parts it was a bit dated but somehow it all fitted together perfectly. It was obviously well kept, being looked after by the friendly groundstaff daily, mowing the lawns and seeing to the plants with a smile on their faces, well, the sun was shining so why not!
The room was exactly what we needed. A separate lounge area, a desk for me to write at, a separate toilet, a bathroom and a gloriously large bed with a flat screen tv in there as well as the lounge.
Whether it was the place or the fact I finally had stopped after all the wedding chaos, I just felt so relaxed in such a quiet and chilled out surrounding.
On our first night there we were dining at the on site restaurant called Morgans. This was based in a room between the breakfast dining area and what appeared to be some kind of meeting room for conference. It was a bizarre layout because the restaurant had traffic running through it constantly due to other rooms being located off it. Even though the dining ambiance was spot on with the ideal lighting and decoration, I couldn't help but feel like we were somehow in the way.
As the evening went on and for a few moments whilst me and my husband sunk down into our food, I noticed the music playing. Unfortunately the music was really inappropriate for this scene, we had chart hits playing during what should be a calm and relaxing atmosphere. The likes of Katy Perry and other pop tunes during your evening "romantic" meal wasn't a good match - perhaps something instrumental or classics such as Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra would be far more suited, not upbeat pop songs that should be in a shopping centre. Once I picked up on the music during dinner I noticed it through out my stay, without a doubt it seemed totally unfitting with the style of hotel and the sort of guests staying. A little more thought needed to go into the appropriate mood the hotel wants to create.
It was a set menu for the evening with a small but good range of cuisines with different textures and flavours. I had pork and Nick had steak, both were very tasty and the ex-chef husband of mine had no complaints either - winner! We decided to finish with a cheese board which we took back to our room to nibble on whilst watching a film.
Tucked up in our MASSIVE bed, happily full from a tasty meal, I slept soundly for the first time in months.
The next day we decided to explore the surrounding areas. There are cycle routes going off from the hotel but we decided to go mountain biking on tracks a little more intense. With our bikes on the back of our trusty little car Bernie, we were really looking forward to cycling at Pedalbikeaway in Cannop.
It was really easy to get to with an approximate 20 minute drive away from the hotel. It seemed to be the place for families, couples and the extreme mountain bikers with the various runs you could head out on. We went on a blue run, I won't bore you with all the finer details but it turned out the blue run was being redone as it was more like a red run. No wonder I was sweating so much from the fear of sliding down the sheer drops! None the less I made it out alive and of course rewarded ourselves with coffee and cake - obviously!
After a long ride we headed back to the hotel for some down time. For once we were going at a leisurely pace with things, we didn't need to be anywhere, we didn't need to do anything and that is exactly what we wanted out of our visit.
As we were at an amazing golf course we went to the driving range to hit a few balls. I'm no golf expert as I only learnt to play during my recent trip to Austria, but this was amazing to have a go at. There were so many people playing golf - the place even has a specific golf shop and I believe they do lessons too if you book in advance.
We took some time to go visit the PuzzleWoods which isn't too far a drive away. You can see why J.R Tolken and J.K Rowling got inspiration for their globally famous stories. It was so fantastic that it was closed only a few days before our visit to film part of the new Star Wars film! It was so wonderful it deserves an Instagram roll of its own, keep an eye out for it soon!
Breakfast had a good selection of food to chose from with a chef making fresh omelettes to order. I always like to see hotels making that extra effort to show items are freshly made, of course I took advantage of this opportunity and indulged! They had all the basic food bits with cereals, yogurt, fruit, bread and so forth.
All was very smoothly running on the first day for us to go into breakfast, but the second day was a little frustrating. We were late for breakfast by a few seconds, so politely asked the gentleman if there was any possibility we could still just grab something as all the food was still out, no one was packing up and there was around 25 people in there. Four other guests were asking the same but the hotel worker firmly said no and wasn't being flexible at all. In the end one of the more senior members of staff sorted it all out, but I felt the unflexibility to look after guests was rather odd. If we were 15 minutes or later I wouldn't of even asked but because breakfast was still very alive and kicking I couldn't see why there was a problem. None the less it was resolved quickly and once again I was able to have another delicious omelette and cup of coffee!
For me this trip was a to relax in a peaceful setting and that's what we got. The cottages in the courtyard were perfect for such an occasion and I left feeling how I wanted to post wedding. As mentioned there were only a few points I wanted to raise in relation to music and room layouts but besides that it was great.
Overall I'd say a strong passion for golf is a must if you want to get the most out of the beautiful St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club, however that being said I think my husband and I have proved you can still find plenty to do and have a relaxing stay. It was the perfect place for us to call a base (a relaxing base) to go off and do our cycling and exploring of the nearby areas - also to have a go at some golf, although the way we were doing it, im not sure it really counts!
Many thanks to the St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club for having us stay.