We all love to escape for a well deserved weekend of golf, pampering and over indulgence but for those with “a better half” it can often be difficult to drop everything and leave them in the lurch for the weekend without incurring some serious “I owe you points”! Thankfully, there are plenty of places in the UK & Ireland where golfers and non golfers alike can enjoy a few days of peace and quiet. With such venues in mind we thought we would ask a guy from yourgolftravel.com and a gal from Spabreaks.com for their take on a fantastic and affordable resort in the North West of England, Macdonald Hill Valley.
What did you like the most about Hill Valley?
He Said: The ground floor rooms with the patio overlooking the Emerald golf course. No where better to enjoy a G&T whilst watching other golfers messing up their opening tee shots!
She Said: The new mud rasul – it is a new addition to the spa and it’s not everywhere that has one, so it makes for a really different treatment, especially if you are visiting as a couple.
What’s the restaurant like?
He Said: Hotel breakfasts as always are a highlight, and it is something Hill Valley does very well. Food is well prepared and sourced locally and gives a good variety for the evening. They also offer a good selection over in the Sports Bar which is the ideal place to enjoy a few cold beers after your round.
She Said: The main restaurant serves all meals – I think breakfast is the nicest meal to eat out, so the continental buffet and cooked meals on the menu go down a treat, while for lunch and dinner there are a range of dishes from steak to pasta. On your spa day though I really recommend eating in the spa lounge at lunch time.
How was the golf course?
He Said: The Emerald course is a great challenge and rewards well placed shots. The tricky par 3s along the way are particular highlights. The course maintenance over the last few years has meant the course is in great shape and the greens run fast and true…an important factor on any golf course. The Sapphire course although shorter is great course for the morning after the night before! Do not be put off by the length of the course as accuracy is key to any success here. It’s truly a course that you have got to think yourself around rather than overpower.
She Said: The golf course dominates the view from all angles of the hotel – particularly the pool which is completely surrounded by glass – it’s really very beautiful to look towards the horizon as you swim (fortunately it is one-way glass though, which is something of a relief when you are wandering around in your bikini!)
What else is there to do at Hill Valley?
He Said: Other than the amenities at the hotel you have Chester within a 15-20 min drive, easily accessible by taxi and offers good additional nightlife if you are looking for something in the evenings. There is also the Cheshire Oaks outlet centre for the ladies who like to shop and a Sea life centre for something a little different. Locally, Whitchurch is a historic market town in Shropshire that offers a few local bars and restaurants without the city rush of Chester. If you can get out and about then combining these local attractions with the resort itself makes for a fantastic weekend away.
She Said: At the hotel itself it is very much about golf and spa, but the incredibly beautiful town of Chester is known for its Roman history and horse racing, which has the capacity to take over the whole town in terms of atmosphere. There is also the Trans Pennine Trail if you are feeling really adventurous and Reaseheath Zoo only fifteen minutes by car from the hotel.
What did you think of the spa?
He Said: It’s a great addition to the hotel and provides somewhere to go and relax after the hard toil round the courses. After some new developments this has just got better and easier access from your rooms…an excellent facility.
She Said: I have visited the spa a couple of times, and the new developments which mean that you don’t have to go outside to get to it from the hotel have transformed the experience. It was always lovely – with a pool looking out onto the golf course, sauna, steam room, experience shower and relaxation lounge complete with a water feature, silver Buddhas and low lighting, but now there are additional treatment rooms, the rasul, and an extremely light and airy spa lounge where you can have lunch in the comfort of your dressing gowns, which means you can have a whole day there rather than just a couple of hours.
Would you recommend going there?
He Said: In a word…YES!
She Said: The nice thing about Hill Valley is that it’s very relaxed, and the staff are extremely accommodating. There are children’s hours in the pool as well so it is family friendly, but it is a half hour drive from Chester and a little way off the main roads, so if you are going, stay for a weekend.
What is your top tip for visiting Hill Valley?
He Said: Just relax and let the staff do what they do best, which is looking after you the client. The upgraded rooms are certainly affordable and make a nice difference for those who are staying longer than just the one night. Probably the biggest tip I could give to all golfers is to place shots rather than to “grip it and rip it”!!
She Said: Take the car – one of the lovely things about Hill Valley is how remote it feels, but there is a reason for that, and your own mode of transport will make things much more convenient. Also, try to get a room with a view of the golf course!