As I pulled up outside The Vale Resort’s grand entrance, a small army of autograph hunters engulfed my car. I wasn’t expecting such a welcome.

Of course, they weren’t there for me at all. They were waiting for the occupants of the luxury coach I had followed through the twisty South Wales country roads. When they trooped off the bus I had to admit my ignorance.

Ipswich Town Football Club, I was informed by a fan – staying overnight to play local Championship heroes Cardiff City.

I barely recognised any of them. But I would certainly know some of the resort’s other celebrity guests, among them Jamie Oliver, Louise and Jamie Redknapp and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Close to the M4, The Vale’s extensive sports facilities have made it the training HQ for the Welsh national rugby and football teams. The 650 acres of woodland incorporate two championship golf courses, a 143-room hotel and the largest spa in Wales, with 19 treatment rooms including double treatment rooms for sharing.

The Vale Resort spa reviewed by tlm - the travel & leisure magazine

After using the health club’s superb steam room, sauna and relaxation room, I opted for an invigorating massage. Beauty treatments feature Clarins and other brands. Little ones have a supervised crèche, day nursery and activities programme.

My spacious room had lovely golf course views but was let down by the cramped bathroom. The restaurant’s harsh lighting gave it a canteen feel, a shame as the food and friendly service were exemplary.

Wales may be famed for the welcome you get in the hillsides, but you’ll be hard-pressed to feel more at home than at The Vale.


The Vale Resort

Hensol, Glamorgan CF72 8JY

Tel: 01443 667800

Two-night family breaks from £195 per room B&B

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best for

  •  Super spa
  •  Golf breaks
  •  Family fun

could do better

  • Softer restaurant lights

All prices and details were correct when publshed, please check before you visit.