Guests of the renowned Celtic Manor Resort are now being ferried around its magnificent, 2,000-acre estate in high style, aboard smart new Mercedes-Benz Traveliners. The vehicles – three 17-seat Sprinter 513 CDIs and a pair of nine-seat Vito 116 CDIs – arrived via Dealer Euro Commercials (South Wales).
Perched high on Christchurch Hill, Newport, overlooking the M4, Celtic Manor was developed and is still owned by entrepreneur Sir Terry Matthews. The Coldra Woods complex, which offers stunning views over the Usk Valley, comprises two hotels, a country inn, luxury lodges, spas, six restaurants, three championship golf courses and two golf and country clubs, as well as a multi-purpose conference centre.
In 2010 Celtic Manor became the first Welsh venue to stage golf’s Ryder Cup, and it returns to the world stage next month (September) as host for the 2014 NATO Summit.
Traveliner models are built on the production lines at Mercedes-Benz factories, rather than – as is the case with most of the minibuses on Britain’s roads – being third-party conversions of panel vans. They offer first class standards of comfort and safety, as well as coming with reassuring three-year, unlimited mileage warranties.
One of the Sprinters has also been adapted to accommodate wheelchair users – it is fitted with an underfloor tail-lift and floor tracking so that, with the rear two seats removed, the wheelchair can be held securely in place.
Replacements for the resort’s last Mercedes-Benz fleet, which has now been stood down, Celtic Manor’s latest vehicles are the subject of a CharterWay contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
Transport Manager Tim Fosdick says: “Celtic Manor is a five-star venue, so naturally we want to operate five-star vehicles that reflect and complement our own brand image – when it comes to light commercial vehicles that can only mean Mercedes-Benz.”
He continues: “All but one of our previous minibuses was finished in red but we’ve gone for a more corporate black this time, and with their tinted privacy glass our new Traveliners look very stylish as they travel around the estate.
“Make no mistake, though, these are working vehicles and they will lead hard lives. Each is contracted to cover 40,000 miles per year and we have some very steep hills at Celtic Manor, which means a lot of gear changing and wear and tear on the driveline and brakes as we ferry golfers and diners around the various facilities.
“Previous experience has proved that the Mercedes-Benz Traveliner offers the build quality, engineering integrity and reliability to withstand this demanding regime, as well as being very economical to operate.”
The resort’s transport team are also using the minibuses to collect staff from, and return them to their homes, often late at night and in the early hours of the morning when public transport is not running.
Mr Fosdick adds: “We like doing business with other Welsh companies and Euro Commercials’ sales executive Paul Reynolds provides an excellent service. The same is true of the workshop team at the dealer’s Newport depot – nothing is too much trouble and they’ll always drop off our driver when we leave a vehicle with them for servicing, or pick it up from us if we’re too busy to deliver.”