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Rolls of Monmouth golf hotel sets world standard; TOURISM: Six-star wonder.

Byline: SIO NBARRY

A pounds 35m scheme to transform the Rolls of Monmouth estate into a world-leading golfing destination with the first six-star hotel in the UK has been unveiled.

The development, spearheaded by London-based property company GSH Estate Management, will redevelop the Hendre Mansion House at the 900 acre estate in Monmouthshire.

The scheme will create 300 jobs. It will see the mansion house, once the home of Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame and a frequent resort of royalty 100 years ago, revamped to provide 17 high-quality suites, restaurants and bars.

The hotel element will involve building an extension to the listed Victorian mansion that will be in keeping with its design to provide 125 bedrooms. The scheme also includes a 2,000 square metre health spa.

The existing course at the Rolls of Monmouth Club will be complemented by the building of a second championship-standard 18 hole, golf course, scheduled to be ready in the spring of 2004.

The developers say the hotel will be of a six-star status, which although not graded currently in the UK by rating organisations such as the RAC or AA, has been awarded to a number of hotels worldwide including the Burg al Arab in Dubai.

The Cardiff office of Capita Property Consultancy has been appointed design and project managers.

A planning application has been submitted to Monmouthshire County Council and consent could be granted as early as June.

The scheme is expected to create 200 jobs during the construction period. Work on the mansion house should be completed by 2005.

London-based GSH, headed by Gerald Hyam, looked at a number of locations throughout Europe before opting to invest in Wales.

The Rolls will maintain its name and will become the brand name for other GSH international hotel, spa and golf resorts planned for locations around the world.

GSH recently concluded the acquisition of the estate from Japanese company Sanyo Oil, which had planning consent for a new golf and hotel development.

Terry Hoggett, of Capita's architecture division in Cardiff, said, "This is one of the most exciting and prestigious developments we have been involved in.

"It will further cement Wales's growing reputation as a worldclass golfing location and will complement the pounds 100m Celtic Manor Resort at Newport which will host the Ryder Cup in 2010."

The former chairman of the successful Wales Ryder Cup Committee, Tony Lewis, said the plans were "wonderful news."

"This will provide Wales with another golf and hotel development on a par with the Celtic Manor Resort, " said the Wales Tourist Board former chairman.

The development also includes plans for a pounds 4m clubhouse sited between the two courses.

Transformation

AFTER many a false dawn, plans for the revamp of the historic Hendre Mansion House at the Rolls of Monmouth Estate have come to fruition.

As part of a pounds 35m investment by GSH of London, the manor house will be transformed into one of the world's top golfing destinations, complete with a second championship course and a six-star hotel.

The scheme will create 300 new jobs and provide a boost for the economy of South East Wales, still reeling from job losses at Corus in Newport and a number of the region's hi-tech companies.

But Monmouth AM David Davies has expressed concerns regarding the woodland that will be destroyed.

When completed in 2005, the development, alongside Sir Terry Matthews's pounds 100m Celtic Manor Resort, will provide Wales with world-class leisure facilities, giving a much-needed boost to Wales's flagging tourism sector.

In a competitive tourism market, those which can "stand out from the crowd" have the best chance of success.

Like any development proposals, there are still hurdles to overcome, but the Rolls of Monmouth project has already gained strong momentum.

Credit for this must go to Terry Hoggett of the Cardiff office of Capita Property Consultancy, whose close relationship with the directors of GSH helped to ensure that they opted for Wales to build the company's first international hotel, spa and golf resor under the Rolls brand name.

CAPTION(S):

CLASSICAL FACADE: The Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club is a superb setting for a world-class golf and leisure facility Picture: David Hurst CONCERNS: AM David Davies
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 25, 2002
Words:701
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