Resort spotlight: Rockliffe Hall, England
If there was a poll among football fans as to the owner they would want for their club, Steve Gibson would surely top it.
The Middlesbrough chairman has spent his money and supported his managers for over two decades.
The squad train at a swish base in the village of Hurworth, and the facility sits right next to Rockliffe Hall golf and spa hotel – which we think is one of the top 25 golf resorts in the UK and Ireland.
At its heart is a Marc Westenborg-designed course that showcases the best in modern architecture.
This modern inland course is in extraordinarily good condition and combines stout two-shotters with charming 3s and par 5s that give you a chance. It has been beautifully finished and the flow of the holes is notably clever.
It is sufficiently challenging to have tested the stars of the European Seniors Tour, but its forward tees make it playable for all standards without losing any of the cleverness of Westenborg’s design, from funky greens to tricky run-offs.
The impressive course is just one of the attractions though. Within 18th Century Rockliffe Hall is a sumptuous hotel that combines the elegance and grandeur of that era with a level of luxury and amenities consistent with the 21st Century.
While the clubhouse that overlooks the 18th green offers superb food, ‘The Orangery’ in the main hotel building is magnificent. This triple AA Rosette restaurant offers a 10-course tasting menu with eight matching wines that is even better than it sounds; it’s an unforgettable experience.
Super king-size beds, ‘Tile TVs’ and Villeroy & Boch bathtubs throw a lot more luxury your way while the 50,000sq2 spa will find many admirers. In summary, Rockliffe Hall has very few peers among British and Irish resorts.
Armstrong House’s one and two-bedroom apartments, two minutes’ walk from the main building, are perfect for a family or couples’ break.
A 50,000ft2 spa has already won awards and looks bewilderingly well- equipped, whether you want treatments, to swim seriously in the indoor pool or reinvigorate yourself in the sauna and jacuzzi.
And note that in traditional links Cleveland and Seaton Carew within 20 minutes, a long weekend of golf based at Rockliffe Hall can be a very, very good one.