As part of the Michael family’s hotel collection (they own a vineyard in California) which also includes The Vineyard nearby, Donnington Valley boasts amongst its assets a particularly fine offering when it comes to food and wine, but according to Spabreaks.com and YourGolfTravel.com’s reviewers, that’s not all you can expect …
What did you like the most about Donnington Valley?
He Says: It will sound strange to many but the location of the clubhouse added a real sense of drama to the end of each nine holes while playing golf. The building itself is stunning and there is nothing like finishing your round of golf in front of a load of other golfers. Finish well and you feel like a pro; finish badly and you feel like a prat … either way it is a lot of fun!
She Says: The owner, Sir Peter Michael, who also owns The Vineyard nearby is a great art collector and as such there are sculptures dotted about the gardens that add interest to the view whether you are enjoying it from your room or sitting outside in the gardens with a smoothie in the summer.
What did you think of the spa?
He Says: I am by no means an avid spa goer but I was mightily impressed with the one at Donnington Valley. I actually went for a hot stone massage after my first round of golf and, along with a nice long soak in the Jacuzzi, a quick blast in the steam room and a brief swim I felt fantastic and ready for not only golf the next day but the evening ahead. Along with Celtic Manor, this was the best spa I have been to. A great addition to a weekend golf break!
She Says: There is a good range of facilities and the treatments are wonderful, but my favourite part is the fact that thanks to a glass partition by the pool you can have your lunch in your robe if you don’t want to change which means you can really relax and have a proper spa experience. Again, in the summer you can also eat outside which is lovely provided the weather behaves!
He Says: It is certainly not the longest golf course but the layout provides a number of entertaining challenges that will appeal to a range of golfers. Our group included players ranging from a guy off plus two to a guy struggling off 23 and everyone enjoyed the course which says a lot. The best holes are towards the end of the course and while it is not a mind blowing golfing experience it is an enjoyable parkland test that is ideal for a leisurely weekend break. The Bid Dipper is a great hole!
She Says: The view is all about the golf course and a number of the hotel rooms have terraces as well, so you have a sense of being in a secluded location even though you are only a short distance from the nearby town of Newbury.
What’s the restaurant like?
He Says: We ate in the WinePress Restaurant and the food was amazing. Even better though, was the wine list!
She Says: The food is a real highlight at Donnington Valley – and again, thanks to being of the same pedigree as The Vineyard, it has an excellent wine cellar which it showcases proudly, courtesy of the family vineyard in California.
He Says: On resort it’s all about the golf, spa and wonderful food and wine served in the hotel but there are a number of local attractions nearby should the mood strike to venture away from the resort. On our break it didn’t as we were quite content with a couple of rounds of golf, some relaxation in the spa and hotel along with the odd over indulgent meal!
She Says: It is a very chilled-out environment, so it’s all about the spa, golf and food. The grounds are also lovely to walk around, and Newbury is nearby which has a canal you can walk along in the summer, watching the barges go by. For an entirely different vibe, Newbury racecourse is also within easy reach.
Who would you recommend it for?
He Says: Groups of golfers, a gaggle or girls who want to enjoy the spa (or golf course), couples or indeed families. Maybe families with young nippers would find it tough to keep them entertained but for anyone else Donnington Valley is a great base for a weekend away.
She Says: I agree, it’s great for girly groups and mother/daughter getaways. I would also recommend it for families because it is a relaxed and welcoming environment, but as He says, there are not a lot of different activities for very tiny children, although staff are always accommodating.
What is your top tip for visiting Donnington Valley?
He Says: This one is for the golfers out there … make sure to score well on the front nine as the back is significantly more testing. With plenty of water to negotiate there is always a potential disaster lying in wait towards the end of the round so rattle off your pars and birdies on the front side!
She Says: Upgrade to an executive room – they are really lovely and have DVD players, so if you are planning a relaxed girly break it could be a nice end to the day – just remember to take a few DVDS!
To visit Donnington Valley go to Spabreaks.com or contact the team on 0808 163 3216.
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