Set within 650 acres of beautiful Welsh countryside, the family-owned Vale Resort is the perfect destination for breaks of all descriptions. 143 modern and luxurious bedrooms on-site and they offer first-class Welsh spa and golf breaks along with magnificent resort facilities for families.
Other features include an impressive health club, Wales’ largest spa plus most importantly two high-quality golf courses.
Easy access too, just a mile from junction 34 of the M4. MG editor Phil and Staffordshire ambassador Jean-Louis enjoyed a two day trip in 2019.
Golf – The Wales National
Opened for play in 2003 this is one of the UK’s newest Championship challenges, one that has quickly earned a reputation for quality and the level of its examination.
This layout stretches to a whopping 7,433 yards from the back pegs, but the variety of tee positions allows players of all abilities the chance to enjoy the experience.
Some experience it is too. The layout has attractive wooded areas, large resort-style bunkers and many water hazards, set in the delightful countryside of The Vale of Glamorgan.
It doesn’t take long to find an early feature hole, the tree-lined second measures no less than 607 yards from the Championship tees and is the longest hole in Wales. It does all run downhill though and opens out to a stunning green side location with a dangerous pond in front.
Jean-Louis, on his first time here, played it expertly and narrowly missed his birdie putt; I was more than secretly happy with my six.
The inspiring landscape lends itself to many memorable challenges, the 10th is another fabulous par five, lakeside practically all the way down the left and the water curls around the front of the green too.
Yet the course really comes into its own from 13 to 16 – a spell of holes where it’s difficult to truly do it justice via the written word. A fabulous challenge of a stretch and you’ll just have to come over and sample it yourself to see what we mean.
The superb USGA standard greens take on new and epic levels and the 16th is considered by GolfWorld magazine to be one of the Top 10 par fours in the UK.
As you walk up the final hole, a gently undulating and shorter par four, its raised level gives you a great look over to the right and the huge training centre that accommodates the Welsh Rugby team, the Cardiff Blues and the Cardiff City Football team too.
The Lake Course
This course plays far more of a major role in a 36 hole play and stay trip than your typical resort token second layout. A delightful and stunning looking test with water once again playing a big part, featuring on 12 holes and at 6,500 yards it has decent length too.
The USGA greens are present again as are the playing conditions in general and there are some truly memorable holes to enjoy, a couple finishing by the sprawling lakeside surrounds of the hotel lawn.
The opening holes ease you in a little, a decent scoring stretch, just the fifth provides a bit of alarm, a little sighter for later on – the slender pond in front of the green proved to be a difficult hazard to avoid.
Yet Lake’s most spectacular short hole actually has no water. Lots of green side bunkers to avoid on the 210-yard stunning eighth, and the raised tee and open aspect gives you a view of the biggest heronry in Wales in close distance to the back of the green. We managed a par each, pretty happy with that.
MG Pick – 12th hole 300 yards Par 4
A truly magnificent par four and one of the most eye-catching tests you will find anywhere. One of the residents from the neighboring heronry swooped in to watch our progress. A dog leg of 90 degrees to the left, but with a Sawgrass styled island green to float an approach shot in to.
With some fairway trees and bunkers, it’s not an easy tee shot either to put it in the ideal spot to attack the green – I failed with that task yet stayed dry and two putted for a five, not a bad effort.
The rest of the round ebbs and flows through an increasingly impressive series of mid-range par fours, the challenge on offer here should never be underestimated. The home hole as well, a testing and tight short par five needs some skill to avoid a final watery grave.
We both agreed that The Lake is a very enjoyable golf course and it plays a hugely important role in a break here.
The Terrace golf clubhouse is large in size and has a relaxed feel with home-cooked food and an outside patio with seating for over 150 golfers. There’s a good-sized golf shop and fine warm-up facilities including a driving range.
Play and Stay – The Vale Hotel
- 143 luxury bedrooms of all shapes and sizes
- The Vale Bar, The Golf Clubhouse – Casual dining
- The Vale Grill – A la Carte AA rosette restaurant
- Leisure – Swimming pool, steam, sauna, gym, tennis, squash
- Wales largest Spa – 19 treatment rooms, relaxation zones
The Vale Resort has two large bars, one of which (Vale Bar) doubles up as a more relaxed eaterie too. We grabbed a drink there before dining in the Vale Grill, very roomy restaurant with a terrace eating area and an open planned kitchen.
The rooms are spacious, relaxing and full of modern facilities.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a regular visitor to the Vale ever since 2010 with the magazine. As mentioned earlier, this was Jean-Louis’s first time, and the fact that one month later he brought his wife Mandy over was an indication that he rather liked it here too!
It has everything you could possibly wish for in a quality golfing break and the play and stay prices are very reasonable too.