Short stay: The Belfry Hotel and Resort, near Birmingham, UK
The Belfry Hotel and Resort is not just a golfer’s paradise. Some guests, having fun, wouldn’t know the difference, in terms of golf, between an eagle and an albatross. It is a vacation spot for the whole family, to meet up with friends.
Although a visit to The Belfry, set in the lush Warwickshire countryside east of Birmingham, is a draw for golfers. It is the only course to have hosted four Ryder Cups, those epic battles between American and European golfers for the historic Silver Trophy.
A large, high-ceilinged reception, with a chandelier constructed from hundreds of glittering golf clubs, is a pantheon of golfing legends, a hall of fame.
As multiple staff are available to facilitate check-in, this is a quick process. Young children receive a welcome pack of crayons and a coloring book. Our reservations for the spa, dining room and breakfast are confirmed. A porter is on hand to help you with the luggage.
The Sunningdale Suite on the second floor, overlooking the lake from the 9th green of the Brazabon and the 1st tee of the PGA course, is one of the many suites celebrating the great golf courses: Muirfield, St. Andrews, Wentworth.
There is a grand entrance hall leading to a lounge, a gallery of black and white photographs of the course and the Ryder Cup waiting and glistening in the sun. Decorated in light gray and neutral tones, there is a sofa, armchair, coffee table, and dining table, where many golfers and cadets could reflect on the triumphs and disasters of the day.
A six-foot-wide Sealy Royal Crest bed, in a bedroom with its own air conditioning system, invites a restful sleep between turns. A silhouette photograph, of victorious hands lifting the Ryder Cup against a setting sun, captures another moment in iconic golf history.
There are two bathrooms. The first has a deep freestanding tub with handy Espa toiletries, a heated towel rail, and towels.
A second bathroom houses the shower, sink and a long shelf to store personal toiletries. And there are still fluffy white towels.
Light and bright, the Ryder Grill with its white wood floor tiles and dressers has a warm country kitchen aesthetic. Lighting is creatively constructed from barrels that function like lit Halloween pumpkins and chandeliers made from empty wine bottles. Most of the tables give an overview of Brazabon’s route.
Impressively, there is a separate vegan menu with three options for each course, reflecting the number of golfers opting for a plant-based diet.
The main menu covers the basics for golfers with their nutritionists in mind. Lamb protein, chicken supreme and a perfectly crispy pan-seared sea bass fillet on layers of succulent white fish are on offer.
Among the desserts, there is a moment of culinary invention. The sticky tastes of caramel pudding run through banana bread with an airy, breaded texture.
An expansive spa, featuring Espa products, attracts some of the Belfry’s patrons. In addition to a heated indoor swimming pool and two hot tubs, numerous massage and treatment rooms are at your disposal.
Back to golf. The main attraction for golfers is a round or two at the Brazabon course. Next to the Brazabon, the PGA course is also demanding and requires golfers to have a handicap of 24. A third course, the Derby, is open to everyone.
The PGA National Golf Academy offers a range of driving racks with Top Tracer technology providing immediate feedback on stroke distance and effects imparted. Free personalized fitting sessions are offered to golfers who purchase new clubs.
The Belfry is using its location to offer packages that include tickets to Twycross Zoo, Drayton Manor and Cadbury World. It is also not far from the Ash End House children’s farm with tractor rides, pony tours and lamb meals for the little ones.
Shifting into high gear, the Belfry Resort is close to The Bear Grylls Adventure with high ropes, a free fall tunnel, and PADI approved diving lessons. The Snowdome is an indoor ski and snowboard center with an ice rink.
If that’s too adventurous then RSPB Middleton Lakes is a 160 hectare nature reserve, offering wetlands, meadows and forests in the heart of the Tame River Valley, home to a variety of birds including Gray Herons. and kingfishers.
Other nice touches
It is a resort for all ages, for the whole family. Kids love the outdoor adventure playground and mini golf.
For others, it’s an afternoon retreat for a traditional English tea or a cocktail-making class. Later in the day, after the pandemic when it is cleared to open, there is the Bel-Air nightclub.
A large shop, with cloakroom and very friendly staff, has everything the golfer needs as a souvenir of a visit to one of golf’s greatest venues.
However, for those who are in a suite, with a balcony and lounge chairs overlooking the course, perhaps the nicest touch is the supplied gin and tonic with lime already waiting in the glass.
Suite prices start from £ 256 per night.
Each lane is a golf gallery evoking a sense of golf history. Even non-golfers feel the passion when they gaze at the fairways trapped by bunkers, lakes and trees.
Everywhere there are epic golf imagery: crowds of gardeners preparing a green for the day’s game, golf greats on their hips reading the line of a putt, faces of triumph and despair.
The final verdict
With over 300 rooms and suites, the Belfry Hotel and Resort is large, but the service at the Brazabon Bar and Grill is elegant and personalized. Away from the bustling reception, guests quickly find a peaceful spot, whether in the spa, in their room, or on the serene fairways.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by The Belfry Hotel and Resort.