Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa Review – Comfy Retreat from Birmingham Proper

About half of the visitors to the Ross Bridge Resort are there for events and conferences in the hotel's ballrooms and other meeting halls. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

Ross Bridge Golf Course: 18 holes, 8,191 yards. Par for course: 72. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

With dusk-timed bagpipes regaling you and with bright tartan patterns throughout its carpeted halls,

 

A bright tartan pattern on the carpeting throughout the hotel announces its Scottish roots

 

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa gives a shout out to its Scottish roots.  The namesake Ross family had emigrated from Scotland in the 1700’s to the “Magic City”, as Birmingham was and is known, to work in the burgeoning iron and steel industries.  The Ross Bridge landmark per se was hand-built for the Confederacy to help it re-arm.  This resort boasts the fourth largest golf course in the United States.

 

The Ross Bridge Resort golf course welcomes golfers at all skill levels. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

These local touches are not a surprise in a Renaissance resort, where branding with local flavors and color is a trademark. 

 

Lobby entranceway in the week before Xmas

 

To add to the historic Alabama feel, the Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort lobby and various landings are also decorated with works of  local artists curated by an Alabama native multimedia artist known as Nall, whose work is also part of this Alabama artists’ showcase.  

 

 

If you’ve learned how huge football is to Alabama culture, you’ll find it quite natural that two sculptural pieces are an elephant (mascot of the University of Alabama) and an eagle (mascot of rival Auburn University).

 

Aerial view from hotel balcony looking at pool below

 

But perhaps the biggest giveaway that this in an Alabama hotel experience comes most from the fellow guests you might meet and exchange pleasantries with as you ride the elevator, share the nightly beverage ritual in its JT Bar,

 

JT's Lounge. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

sup in its scratch kitchen restaurant Brocks,

 

Brocks is the fine dining option at the resort

 

or while hanging out on one of the terraces overlooking the swimming pool and with golf course vistas before you. 

 

Open terrace seating outside JT's lounge. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

If you think you are running into mostly Alabamans you are probably right. 

 

Retirement Systems of Alabama, which subsidizes vacations at a discounted rate for teachers, first responders and the like on the state’s public payrolls, many of whom are avid golfers. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

A healthy portion of these Alabamans are there because the resort and its award winning golf course are connected to the Retirement Systems of Alabama, which subsidizes vacations at a discounted rate for teachers, first responders and the like on the state’s public payrolls. 

 

One of the suite options at the resort. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

The resort also boasts a destination spa that draws Alabamans and especially many from Tuscaloosa and is also an official hotel for Porsche and BMW-hosted visitors to their respective driving schools at nearby Barber Motorsports Park. 

 

According to Ross Bridge Resort’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Paul Sharp, about half of their visitors are tied into meeting and conferences that they hold in the various ballrooms and meeting rooms of the hotel. 

 

Paul Sharp, Director of Sales and Marketing at Ross Bridge Resort, proudly reports that the hotel is involved in a wide range of Birmingham community projects and programs

 

Another quarter of the visitors are there to get the most out of the golf course, with the remaining quarter strictly leisure travelers. 

 

The resort's spa is a draw of patrons from nearby Tuscaloosa as well as Birmingham. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

In the pre-Xmas week the clientele had an especially family feel with children making gingerbread houses in the lobby and the event calendar touting many special events like celebrity broadcasters reading aloud children’s books. 

 

Both the indoor and outdoor pools are salt water. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

It’s both a plus and minus that the resort, with an official address of Birmingham is actually in the city’s largest suburb, Hoover.  If you are visiting Birmingham to do the Civil Rights tour or take in other tourist attractions such as the foodie havens that are putting Birmingham on the South’s culinary map, you have to plan an hour or so of your day to commute back and forth.  Then again, the surrounds are gentle and soothing and might be just the ticket to help you relax. 

 

A terrace overlook adds to the spacious feel of many rooms. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

Two minor advisories to heed—and actually both a bit puzzling considering how comfort is truly the Resort’s calling card. 

 

A large suite room provides a comfortable option for families. Photo courtesy of Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

 

One, unlike many of the major luxury brand hotels and also the on-the-cheap chains, you won’t find free WiFi at Birmingham’s Renaissance Resort.  Nor will you find welcoming aromas of coffee or tea service in the Lobby.  The rooms however do have the usual coffee/tea self-service and the Lobby Gift Shop sells a very fine cup of fresh brewed coffee.

 

There is a pro shop for the many golfers who come to use the resort's famed course

 

Plan to book ahead.  Given how conference-driven much of the hotel census is you might not be able to predict when it will be sold out.  Also, if your schedule allows wiggle room you may find that rates vary as much as 150%.  As with all Renaissance hotels, you can get and use Marriott Awards points here. 

 

For more information visit the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa website or call 205 916 7677.

 

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

4000 Grand Avenue

Birmingham, Alabama 35266

 

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Photos: Peter Kachergis, unless otherwise indicated

 

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