As I walk into the Belfry Hotel and Resort, it is a hive of activity. Couples wander around in fluffy robes and there are polo-wearing golfers milling around, kitted out in the latest gear. The doorman informs me that 300 golfers are here and 100 of those are corporates staying overnight.
I drop my bags and head to the Gatsby-style Brabazon Bar for a glass of something chilled before exploring the grounds. It’s an impressive spot. Done out in shades of emerald green with grand white pillars, a central glass cupola and loungey leather sofas and chairs, it’s the beating heart of this country house hotel, sitting pretty within 500 acres of mowed lawns and vibrant flowerbeds – it’s both a golf and a leisure destination.
When widening business opportunities, the ability to do business and pleasure simultaneously is key. Golf’s relationship with the business realm is evidently still going strong – I look around and witness multiple business partners being entertained through a mutual appreciation of the sport.
The Belfry is a golfer’s Mecca. Synonymous with the Ryder Cup and home to the Quinn Insurance British Masters, its PGA National Course is one of three PGA-branded courses in Europe. A team of resident professionals are on hand offering world-class tuition at England’s only PGA-branded Golf Academy. There are five individual custom fitting suites that house the leading brands, including Titleist and Ping – I’ve been booked in at the driving range for an hour, which proves extremely therapeutic after a busy week in the office. Considering I’m a novice, a private suite is ideal for me to learn at my own pace. If you’re curious to swing a club but don’t know how, this option will appeal to you. There is also a 34-bay floodlit driving range, putting green and short game area, video analysis, practice facilities, launch monitor technology and Europe’s largest on-course golf shop. Corporate golf membership packages are available too.
On top of the iconic courses, there are 319 Signature bedrooms and 14 luxury suites. My room is spacious and boasts an ample dressing room, a large, well-appointed bathroom with epic mirror, one hell of a bed, and the lounge double doors open out onto a lengthy balcony that overlooks the grounds.
Elsewhere the hotel offers more than 20 conference and event suites accommodating up to 400 guests, six boardrooms, all with the latest technology, a variety of formal and informal bars and restaurants (including a Starbucks – yes really), onsite nightclub and free car parking. The meeting and event rooms have natural daylight, cutting-edge technology, wifi, air conditioning and most have an outdoor space.
For those of you in need of relaxation, head to the luxurious spa and leisure club to unwind. Two years ago the hotel splashed out £1 million on renovating its spa – and the result? Impressive. Why not take a dip in the indoor pool, take an exercise class, or hit the gym? If this sounds too much like hard work, then the Fire & Ice Sensarium and 12 bio thermal rooms including a foot spa, feature showers, aroma cave, sauna, igloo, crystal steam and tranquility room may be more up your street.
I’ve opted for an express back, neck and shoulder massage and am ready to be prodded, kneaded and transported to oily, spoily Cloud 9. Alas however, my treatment feels rather rushed and I am in and out of the treatment room in a mere 20 minutes. Granted, it is ‘express’, but word to the wise, book in for 55 minutes instead.
I end the day with dinner at The Ryder Grill and opt for grilled scallops with smoked bacon (beautifully cooked), ham hock and chicken terrine with rustic bread (filling but salty) and an excellent fillet steak (tender, thick and perfectly pink), all complemented by a sterling Malbec. The tangy cider sorbet is like summer in a bowl.
The Belfry is a 70-minute train journey from London with easy transfers from Birmingham International Airport and Nottingham East Midlands Airport. One for your little black book.
The Belfry, Lichfield Rd Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield B76 9PR; 0844 980 0600; thebelfry.co.uk. Signature rooms start from £109 and Suites from £284