WITH warm bubbles on my skin and a glass of bubbles in my hand, I realise there are worse ways to relax in the fresh country air.
I am sitting in a hot tub in the middle of the Welsh winter watching the trees gently sway in the distance.
No wonder The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport is one of the UK’s top retreats for the rich and famous.
Everyone from top footballers and their Wags to reality stars — and even President Barack Obama — have stayed here.
In fact, Obama pumped iron every day in our four-bedroom lodge while staying for the 2014 Nato summit.
Most recently, the cosy lodges were home to reality stars Sam and Billie Faiers and their brood while filming their ITVBe show The Mummy Diaries. And if it’s good enough for them . . .
The main hotel is impressive but the real luxury lies in the Hunter Lodges set within 2,000 acres a five-minute drive away.
They provide the perfect escape for those seeking some serious time out. The lodges come complete with outdoor hot tubs, sauna, log fire and cinema room as well as huge double-height lounge and dining room, slick, modern kitchen area and unspoilt views of the countryside.
The peace and quiet in a luxury setting makes them perfect for romantic weekends away when you’ve only got eyes for each other.
And the four bedrooms mean they are also ideal for families or friends who want to enjoy each other’s company in a gorgeous setting.
Although there’s no need to see another person for days, there’s plenty to do back in the real world at the resort.
Foodies should tear themselves away from the hot tub for a visit to Newbridge on Usk, an award-winning boutique hotel and restaurant.
The staff here will ensure you’re treated like a VIP, whoever you are, and the food is quite simply exquisite.
The chef nailed my blue steak, complete with the perfect wine recommendation of a velvety Malbec. And the delicious cheese board was never in danger of running out.
The intimate inn is a hidden gem, 15 minutes drive away from the main resort.
It is off the beaten track and down dark country lanes, so make sure you book the hotel concierge who will drive you there free of charge.
You’ll be glad you did as it’s hard to resist the espresso martinis and other intricately prepared cocktails. If you weren’t relaxed enough already, then you will be after those.
Thankfully, the hotel boasts the perfect hangover cure — a beautiful spa with treatment rooms, swimming pool with whirlpools, steam room and sauna.
Start the day with a dip or a relaxing massage to expel those nasty toxins. And why not follow it with a champagne afternoon tea in the Olive Tree And Garden Room or lunch at Steak On Six upstairs inside the main hotel.
But if it’s hair of the dog you’re looking for, the hotel boasts three bars — a quaint, old-fashioned watering hole in The Manor, small cocktail bar called The Mulberry and Merlins at the heart of the resort.
Then there’s the golf course, too, which needs no introduction if you’re a fan of the sport.
The resort is home to the Ryder Cup and three championship courses, as well as a golf academy and two clubhouses.
But if the lure of a log fire crackling while cosying up on the sofa in front of the TV in your pyjamas is too much, I really don’t blame you.
The hotel can even organise catering in your lodge. They will deliver hampers for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea and top up your logs when the fire burns out.
So there’s really no need to leave the comfort of your lodge, ever. Pure and utter bliss.
STAYING THERE: The Celtic Manor hotel has rooms from £119, including breakfast.
Hunter Lodges start from £81 per room per night, based on a two-night stay.
Total from £648 per lodge for a two-night stay, based on eight people sharing.
To book, see celtic-manor.com or call 01633 410 262.
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