Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa Review
Everyone loves a little hotel stay. And we love it even more when it has a golf course! We recently took a trip North to visit the impressive Formby Hall – a 4 star hotel close to Liverpool, with an excellent golf course and spa. Read on to find out what we thought on this little West coast gem.
First impressions of this well respected hotel were good, the check in staff were friendly and impressive with their knowledge, and soon had us comfortably settled in the bar with a drink whilst they checked our room was ready.
The first thing visitors to Formby Hall will notice is the modern, crisp decor and stunning grounds. Clearly, a lot of time and effort has gone into making this resort look appealing to people of all ages – and that should be noted. It isn’t your typical hotel with golf course, the decor and guests were much younger than you would expect at your average country stay hotel. The decor has smooth surfaces, geometric shapes and a muted palette that will please the younger generation, whilst winged seats, large windows with views over the golf course and a fine selection of whiskey behind the bar will appeal to the more traditional guests. The walls are adorned with pictures of golfing ‘greats’ including Tommy Fleetwood (well hopefully one day) – a local sporting hero who is a member and regular at the course, not to mention the academy is in his name. This combination of classic meets contemporary works very well and provides a welcoming feel throughout the property.
As we made our way to our room, the hum of people in the lobby and bar soon drifted away and we were in a wide, tranquil hallway with rooms of varying comfort levels on either side. Our room was a Deluxe Suite, which was not only huge, but also had wonderful views over the 18th hole and chic outdoor furniture on a small terrace. Inside, a large seated area with a TV led through to a king size bed flanked by floor to ceiling wardrobes and mirrors. Little touches such as a complimentary box of chocolates, mini bags of popcorn and various hot drinks made the room feel all the more inviting and were soon munched on after a night in the bar!
After sorting our belongings, we had the rest of the day to try out the golf course and spa, two of the main attractions for guests staying at Formby Hall.
The first thing about the golf is the whole place is plastered in Tommy Fleetwood – not only is the academy under his name, his face is on every wall and they are obviously very fond of the bloke (who isn’t). I am sure the benefit of being associated to such a top player is the additional investment, and it certainly shows here. Even forgetting the course, the facilities are top notch. A great pro-shop, super practice facilities (undercover or outside) and even a Par 3 course to hone your game or get some beer games in with the lads.
The course was very, well wet when I played it. Two days of pretty solid storms meant that as well as water on more than half the holes, there was water everywhere else. What was impressive though was how quickly the course dried out after the rain stopped – a sure sign this is an all year round course. The course was in very good condition, with greens and fairways as good as many my only slight criticism may be the rough wasn’t as penal as it could have been and was cut back a little. Perfect for a group of different cappers but not so for those better golfers.
I guess the only issue with Formby Hall is the sheer amount of world class golf around you (Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham and Royal Liverpool Hoylake) all within just a few miles. For me this makes it even better, with Formby the perfect place for your first round before tougher tests head.
As a modern man (albeit a bit older), I am no stranger to a spa – especially when sweating out the ale from the night before. Located on the upper level, the spa ticks all the boxes for a relaxing experience. Robes and slippers, hot sauna, steam room, complimentary drink on arrival, a hefty menu of treatment options and more. After a warm welcome, a short tour is offered to familiarise you with the different sections, and then you can wander in and out of each as you please. During our stay at Formby Hall, we booked to have an express facial and full body aromatherapy massage. Both were very good – although the treatment rooms were rather cramped. Our only other observation is that all the drinks throughout were served in plastic cups – and with hundreds of people using the facilities on a daily basis, we hope this will change in an effort to be more eco-friendly.
After a day of sport and spa, we headed back to the room to freshen up before dinner in the Fairway Grill. Luckily, this was an enjoyable experience thanks to the enormous bathroom with plenty of mirror space and a powerful shower – a nice change from the cramped bathrooms often found in similar resorts.
The Hotel and Restaurant
Unfortunately, having eaten in many hotel restaurants in the past, we went down to our table with low expectations, which we soon discovered was a huge mistake. A clear and consise menu had an impressive choice of dishes, many of which included locally sourced ingredients. The food was exquisitely presented and full of flavour, basically faultless, and very well priced. The modern decor and pleasant atmosphere made for a wonderful dining experience. After almost licking the dessert plate clean, we moved into the bar for a few post dinner drinks, and retired to bed gone midnight having had a brilliant evening.
The following morning we treated ourselves to a leisurely lie in, before hitting the breakfast buffet. The early morning offerings at hotels are another sore point with most properties, however, yet again Formby Hall came up trumps with a huge array of goodies from classic full English (with unlimited hash browns!), continental pastries, cereals, breads and a menu of eggs cooked to your liking. Bellies full, we jumped in the car and spent the day at the coast – a recommendation from the hotel staff.
The sun was shining as we pulled up at Ainsdale beach. A vast horizon was backed with pristine sand dunes and endless blue sky, far off in the distance we could even see the Welsh coast to the left, and Blackpool tower to the right. We wandered along the shore, finding coastal tidbits along the tideline and watching the kite surfers ride the waves before settling among the dunes for a snooze on the sand. Bliss. On our way back to Formby Hall, we called in at a local pub for a pint and before long, it was time to head home.
The experience we had at Formby Hall was fantastic. The food, the staff and the golf course particularly, were all first class, and the hotel is a wonderful retreat for a few days R&R.