South Africa Week – Part 1

Golf Educational to South Africa

April 2017

In January I was invited to join a small party on a golf focused educational trip touring the southern-most coast of Africa from Cape Town via the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth. The invitation was accepted for mid-April.  My first visit to Cape Town in (too) many years and my first as a pretty average 18 handicapper.

Since there is such a wide variety of carriers that service this route I began, as all should do, by looking at my flight options, i.e. routing, timings, and costs. The only carrier that flies direct into Cape Town direct – and they know it, are British Airways from Heathrow; their fair came in at just shy of £1,000.  Convenient – yes, expensive – most certainly. So indirect it was and since I live near Gatwick my next thought was Emirates via Dubai. Bingo! The timings were great, with good connections, and the fare…just £445, and they allow you to take 30kgs of checked luggage in two bags; so my golf clubs could come with me. Why so much BA? And why only 23kg of checked luggage?

The flight out was on one of Emirates new A380’s, a really comfortable plane and great in-flight entertainment. Food – the usual. The flight from Dubai to Cape Town was on an A320, so not as good as the A380, but as I slept most of the way – it did its job and arrived on time.

Cape Town International was rebuilt for the 2010 Football World Cup and is a friendly easy-to-navigate point of arrival.

Day 1

I was met by the Adam, the MD of Gilt Edge – the arrangers of the trip – and taken to my overnight hotel – the Cape Milner; a contemporary boutique hotel in the quiet suburb of Tamboerskloof, just to the south-east of Signal Hill and a 10 minute drive to the V&A Waterfront. The room was large and well equipped with a great en-suite behind glass walls.

After a quick shower and a quick beer (obligatory), we drove to the V&A and met up with my host (Warren) and the other participants on the trip. Certainly an eclectic mix, one Czech, one Dutch, a
Finn and me. They would turn out to be superb company and to each bring something different to the group. A lovely fish supper was had in heart of the Waterfront, which has seen a massive amount of development and is now a vibrant place with a real ‘buzz’ about it.

Day 2

After breakfast, our itinerary showed a surprise activity for half an hour; it had to be Table Mountain – didn’t it? How wrong was I, as we pulled up outside the reception area for NAC Helicopters. What a way to start the trip – a 15 minute flight to view the City from the clear blue skies. It’s a great way to get to understand the layout of Cape Town, the views are spectacular and it’s not that expensive. NAC Helicopters also offer 30 minute and 1 hour excursions in 3, 4 and 6 seater aircraft.

It was time to leave central Cape Town for our first round of golf (one of six on the trip) at Steenberg Golf Club in Tokai at the back end of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles. The course is located on the Steenberg Estate, which has a long and esteemed history and now offers stylish accommodation in Cape Dutch style white washed and thatched buildings in the grounds of the old Manor House, all set within one of the oldest vineyard in South Africa. And yes their Merlot is awesome!

 

 

 

 

 
The course is within a parkland setting and despite the South Africans love of bunkers, it’s a playable course for most handicaps and great way to settle yourself into a golf holiday in South Africa, before you take on the challenge of the tougher courses you’ll experience. I managed to avoid a bunker until the 16th and water until the 18th. The odd par here and there and I sat in the clubhouse with a glass in hand feeling happy with my first outing.

Our overnight accommodation was at the Steenberg Hotel & Spa, a classically stylish property located between the course and the winery. We ate in the stylish and elegant the Catharina’s Restaurant in the old barn – the service was exemplary and the food exquisite.

Day 3

Another beautiful day dawned and following a Cape Malay omelette and strong coffee, we headed first up to the winery, where you can a have a tour, a sundowner or a full meal overlooking the vines and the mountains beyond before driving down to the district of Newlands situated at the back of Table Mountain where we visited the Vineyard Hotel. Set in 7 acres of parkland the hotel offers 208 en-suite bedrooms in a variety of grades of rooms, suites and cottages. Its location is ideal for those who want to stay neither in the heart of Cape Town nor in the winelands, yet close to both. Excellent coffee as well.

 

 

 

 

 
Leaving Cape Town behind us we drove towards the winelands town of Paarl and to Pearl Valley, home to Jack Nicklaus’s Championship Signature Course. Unlike my round at Steenberg, I found a bunker off the first tee and many more on my way round. Actually, it may have taken me until the 17th before I didn’t hit sand somewhere on each hole.  It just seemed as if Jack knew where my ball was going to land and put a bunker there for me!

The accommodation at Pearl Valley is not yet officially open but is of a high standard and consists of self-catering suites set in small blocks of 8 rooms just behind the practice green. If you do not want to self-cater, the clubhouse offers a range of meals, but a full service restaurant it is not.

Day 4

The sun was again in full attendance as we hit the road again leaving Cape Town behind us as we drove to the quaint wine-lands village of Franschoek (‘French Corner’). The village (it’s really a little too small to call it a town) is nestled between hills on three sides giving it an Alpine feel, and consists of a few top quality properties (e.g. Le Quartier Francais and Leeu House) and some beautiful vineyards. It’s ideal if you’d like a Cape winelands experience without the masses…for a few days…

From there we crossed over a mountain pass, with a magnificent view back over Franschoek and its vineyards, and dropped down (eventually) onto the N2, which runs along the length of the south coast through George, Knysna and Port Elizabeth before turning north along the Indian Ocean coast of KwaZulu Natal passing Durban. It eventually runs out of tarmac at near Johannesburg; a distance of some 1,400. It’s quite some road.

Our next stop was game reserve on the outskirts of Mossel Bay called Gondwana. Having travelled widely on safari in Southern Africa I was a little concerned that the experience would fall far short of my previous experiences.  How wrong I was to be proved…

We had barely cleared the two wildlife security gates for the short drive to the Kwena Lodge, when we spotted some shapes just below the crest of a hill some 1,000 yards away. The call went up ‘ellies’ but they were too small and not moving like elephants. Rhino? We got closer, yes five white rhino were ambling gently down the track towards us. Warren wisely pulled to the side of the road, turned off the engine and we sat as they walked up to the vehicle and then past us, almost within touching distance. A great introduction to Gondwana!

 

 

 

 

 
Our accommodation was a three bedroom house, a short distance from the main lodge – perfectly walkable but this is Africa so you don’t. Over the two game drives we came across elephants, rhino, a pride of lion and several different antelope species. The experience is a little ‘canned’ but in the context of the Garden Route golf & safari holiday, juts perfect for first-timers to Africa.

Day 5

Following our early morning game drive and yes, with the sun shining yet again, we bade farewell to Gondwana and drove the short distance down to Mossel Bay and Pinnacle Point Golf Club (Par72, 6,460 yarsd). Set on the edge of the cliffs, with the next landmass south being Antartica, I had identified the course as likely to be a challenge with seven holes teeing off alongside the cliffs or over the sea between the ‘pinncle’ of land jutting out to sea. Sadly, I was right. The course got into my head and a simple shot to a Par 3 became a nerve-racking shank into the ocean far below. So unnecessary!

The course is amazing and the 18th one of the best I have ever played. This course kept on giving right to the end. In my view, it’s a MUST play course when you’re in this part of the world.

From Pinnacle Point we had an hour’s drive to get to Herold’s Bay and Oubaai Hotel Golf & Spa for an overnight stay before playing the Ernie Els designed Oubaai course the next morning.

17 of the Best Places in the UK for a Golf and Spa Break

The UK is kind of a big deal when it comes to golf vacations. Did you know that? OK, maybe you did, but were you aware that many of these golf courses also pair themselves with spas? That’s right, the spa treatments that these resorts offer are just as incredible as the golf courses. Plus, after a long afternoon swinging your club, a relaxing evening at the spa may be just what the doctor ordered.

So, before you start planning your next golf outing in the UK, consider booking a resort that has the spa to match. Here are the best places in the UK for a golf and spa break!

Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club

Built in the 1800s, the country club is situated on 450 acres of private land. It overlooks the rolling countryside of Northumberland and has won awards for the food and drink offerings on site. In fact, this country club is such a destination that it’s a popular spot for business meetings, weddings, and other important events. The accommodation options are considered luxurious, and it makes the perfect getaway for couples looking for some romance.

The Golf Course

Spread across the large private estate is an 18-hole golf course that is just as beautiful as it is secluded. It was designed by Jonathan Gaunt and is a 72 par parkland course. The greens here are USGA specific and there are 4 challenging par 3’s. Golfers here can expect some strategically placed bunkers, water hazards, a par 5 hole, and a golfer’s lounge.

The Spa

The health and fitness club is home to a heated indoor pool, Technogym, sauna, and steam room. Some of the treatments include a hot stone massage, aromatic massage, body polish, ear candle, reflexology treatment, waxing, manicures and pedicures, and more.

Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa

This mansion has been the home to royalty for centuries but is now open for visitors to enjoy. A visit to this estate offers a 50-acre lake, woodland trails, landscaped gardens, fine dining, and tennis courts.

The Golf Course

Designed by Mike Smith, this championship course stretches for over 7,000 yards. The challenging green follows USGA specifics and a front nine with an inland links feel. The back nine will take players parkland and around the estate.

The Spa

The oak framed building is an oasis of luxury that is perfectly secluded to provide the ultimate spa experience. Guests can lounge in the infinity pool or vitality pool, enjoy the heat therapy, or just relax in the gardens. Some treatments include: ESPA facials, scalp treatments, eye firming treatments, body wraps and scrubs, firming thigh treatments, hot stone massage, Swedish massage, and more.

Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club

Situated on 1,000 acres of parkland, this hotel and country club has dazzling views of the Edinburgh Castle as well as the Forth Bridges. There are more than 200 suites and rooms that are filled with history and surrounded by a variety of restaurants and bars. With a state-of-the-art fitness center and plenty of leisure activities, visitors will always have something to do.

The Golf Course

The east golf course was designed by James Braid back in 1927 and offers a par 73. Guests can enjoy the bunkers and perfectly manicured green across the 7055 acre course. The west course stretches for 5168 yards and is a par 68. It has narrow fairways and smaller greens that make this course slightly more challenging.

The Spa

Luxury is the goal of this beauty salon and spa. They offer nail treatments, spray tanning, waxing, facials, massages, and more.

Marriott Hanbury Manor Hotel & Country Club

This is one of the UK’s premier resorts as it has 5-star dining options, and an award winning spa. In fact, the hotel has a little of everything including tennis courts, fully-equipped gyms, steam rooms, and a pool.

The Golf Course

The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus II and requires a lot of nerve as well as physical and mental strength to complete. Opening up in 1990, it has quickly gained respect and a status as one of the best resorts in the area. It’s seen many of the sport’s greatest players on its immaculately tended for green.

The Spa

Visit this spa at almost any time of day and enjoy their rejuvenating treatments which include: body wraps, facials, manis/pedis, waxing, massages, a steam room.

Foxhills Club & Resort

This 400-acre estate is family run and offers an experience of both luxury and home comfort. Play tennis on one of the eleven courts, or wander through the picturesque countryside where the resort resides.

The Golf Course

Take a few swings at the driving range before heading over to one of the three onsite golf courses. While two of them are 18-hole championship courses, one is a unique 9-hole course.

The Spa

Finish each day with a spa treatment to work out the kinks from the course. Try a sports muscle massage, facial, thermal therapy, Reiki, acupuncture, and more.

Celtic Manor

It’s a 5-star hotel with 330 bedrooms, all expertly designed to be unique and exude luxury. Imagine calming terraces and large, sun filled picture windows welcoming you to each new day. Listen to a piano player while you sip craft cocktails in the many onsite restaurants and bars.

The Golf Course

The Twenty Ten Course features more than 7,000 yards and has a par of 71. Expect a links-like feel in some areas as well as water hazards. The Roman Road course has a par 70 and provides views of the Seven Estuary. The Montgomerie course has a par of 69 and stretches for more than 6,000 yards. Expect bunkers, valleys and downhill shots here.

The Spa

Visit the Forum spa for an afternoon of tranquility. Ambient lighting and aromatherapy characterize the sixteen rooms that offer hot stone massages, deep tissue massages, facials and more.

Marriott Breadsall Priory Hotel & Country Club

This 13th-century hotel is located right between Nottingham, Derby, and the Peak District. Aside from its architecture and history, this destination is known for its luxurious spa and the perfection of the golf courses.

The Golf Course

The Priory course offers some of the best golf in the entire area. There are 6054 yards of parkland that wind their way around the hotel. The Moorland course was designed back in 1991 by Donald Steel and is known for its excellent views overlooking the countryside. It’s par 70 and has 6,028 acres to play on.

The Spa

The property has been put on the map party because of its opulent spa. Picture a candlelit room reserved for you and your relaxation. Some of the treatments here include: facials, body wraps, massages, manicures, body scrubs, and waxing.

East Sussex National Golf Resort & Spa 

It’s nestled into the heart of the countryside and has become known as an epic destination for golf. The resort has been home to the European Open in 1993 and 1994, and is characterized by its luxurious atmosphere and elite spa experience.

The Golf Course

The East course was designed with the championship at the forefront, stretching more than 7,000 yards. There are two loops with nine holes, and the entire course as a whole is full of challenges. The west course is smaller and more scenic, yet slightly tighter with more challenges.

 The Spa

This spa offers some pretty exclusive packages like, “The English Garden Experience” which features a whole lineup of hot stones as well as “The Summer Body Treatment” package which features a salt scrub and full body moisturizer.

Cameron House

Look out over Loch Lomond as you ease into a new way of life at the laidback Cameron House. Take loch cruises, enjoy fine dining, stop in at the spa or play a game of golf while visiting.

The Golf Course

This 71 par course was designed by Doug Carrick, and has elevated holes that offer some pretty stunning views. While the course is certainly challenging, it makes it all worth it to look out at the beautiful views of the Scottish Highlands.

The Spa 

Take a journey into a tranquil and almost spiritual place. The spa at Cameron House will treat you like royalty and give you plenty of relaxing options to choose from. Try an ESPA facial, Carita facials, ESPA body experiences, and hair & nail treatments.

The Oxfordshire Golf, Hotel & Spa

Close to London, this hotel makes the perfect getaway into the countryside. It’s only 50 bedrooms which means it’s small enough to feel intimate but large enough to make you feel spoiled. With a sauna, swimming pool, and full gym, you will have plenty here to keep you busy. Don’t forget to visit the on-site restaurant and sample their world wine list.

The Golf Course

This course was built by the world renowned, Rees Jones and has been the site of multiple golf championships. With strategically placed lakes and bunkers, this course offers the perfect challenge.

The Spa

The ambient and calming atmosphere set the scene for an array of luxury spa treatments. While visiting, choose from: a full body massage, eco-chic facial, pregnancy treatment, and more.

Hallmark Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf Club

Located in the northern Cotswolds, guests to this golf club will be welcomed with 157 acres of beautiful grounds. The building dates back to the 1800s but now has contemporary décor. Guests can keep busy on the green, at the tennis courts, in the thermal experience rooms or at the pool.

The Golf Course

This championship course is 18 holes and a par 70. The course stretches for 6,288 yards and offers par 3 and par 5 holes.

The Spa

It’s bright, light, and noticeably modern, making this spa a trendy place to relax. Check out the ancient Roman treatments, infinity showers, the Finnish sauna, or dual treatment rooms.

Belton Woods 

Set on more than 400 acres of countryside, this destination makes quite the escape. Not only is it beautiful and relaxing, but it also offers an exciting lineup of activities like squash, quad-biking, and croquet.

The Golf Course

The Lakes Course is a true challenge as it has lots of water hazards to work around. It’s a championship course with a par 72, and the lanes are long with tight fairways. The Woodside Course is a 73 par that runs along the wooded area of the property. It’s just over 6,000 yards long and is especially beautiful during autumn months.

The Spa

While at the spa, you can try an ESPA facial, ESPA body treatments, a mani/pedi or waxing.

Barnham Broom Hotel

The Norfolk countryside is home to this hotel, all 300 acres of it. It’s a four-star hotel with a contemporary design that is warm, welcoming, and quaint with its 46 rooms. There is also an award winning Brassiere onsite for when you’re feeling peckish.

The Golf Course

The Valley Course is characterized by its water features that blend into the natural landscape designed by Frank Pennink. It’s a 72 par course that has been operating since the 1970s. The Hill course is 71 par course with wide fairways and a real links feel.

The Spa

This luxury spa offers a wide range of holistic treatments. After a long game of golf, head on over for a body wrap, Indian head massage, Reiki, Hopi ear candle, or some reflexology.

Herons’ Reach

Guests here can choose from 172 bedrooms that have been modernly styled to make each guest feel at home. There are multiple restaurants on site as well as a Starbucks for all of the coffee lovers. Their wellness and beauty center, as well as the golf course, are what make this hotel so popular.

The Golf Course

Expect elevated tees, challenging holes, low-hanging trees and strategically placed bunkers. It’s a championship style golf course at its finest. Plus, they even have a floodlit driving range.

The Spa

Relax in the soothing spa with treatments that will relax your muscles after a long day on the green. Opt for a full body massage or get some work done on those shoulders.

Stoke By Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa

Located on 300 acres of English countryside, this resort is a site within itself. Guests to the luxury suites are welcomed to dine at the onsite restaurants or enjoy the health and fitness center. This is the perfect resort to visit if you’re a golfer but your wife just wants somewhere beautiful to relax.

The Golf Course

The Constable Course was built in the 1970s and is full of interesting water hazards. The green is well manicured and you will get lake views. The Gainsborough Course has been voted one of the best in the region and is filled with challenges that suit all skill levels.

The Spa

This spa has got it all from international treatments to the tried and tested favorites you know and love. Check out the Hammam, the mud therapy, steam room, Jacuzzi, and sanarium.

Macdonald Portal Hotel Golf & Spa

With an award winning restaurant, three golf courses, and gigantic bathtubs in each room, guests here can expect to seriously relax. There is also the town of Chester nearby which has plenty of shops and restaurants for guests to explore as well.

The Golf Course

The championship course is spread over 7000 yards that were once the site of a battlefield. With water features and USGA standard green, this course has an immaculate landscape in addition to the picturesque countryside. The 3rd hole has a 602 par 5 and the 14th hole has a par 3. The premier course has a par 3 7th hole and although smaller, is said to be the hotel’s most challenging.

The Spa

The spa is renowned and known for its expert pampering. Try a scalp massage, Elemis facial, a mani/pedi, and a whole lot more.

Gleneagles

This 5-star resort is one of the most luxurious destinations in the area. It’s in the heart of Scotland and offers 232 luxurious rooms for guests. While visiting, you can dine at the Michelin star restaurant before checking out one of the three championship courses. 

The Golf Course

The PGA Century Course was once the location of the Ryder Cup. It’s stunning views and expert design are something that you won’t want to miss. The Kings Course is fairly hilly with strategic bunkers and beautiful fairways. The Queens Course is the shortest but is a par 68 which makes it an interesting challenge.

The Spa

Indulge in both traditional and new-age spa treatments at this oasis for tranquility. Have a facial, try a foot ritual, or get a full body massage.

After a long day of golf, a little spa time is welcomed, so what better place to stay than a resort where you can do both. And, if you are traveling with someone who doesn’t necessarily share your enthusiasm for golf, why not book them a few spa treatments to enjoy while you play? On a rainy day in the UK, you’ll be pleased to spend some time soaking in the warm jacuzzi! Get in touch today to discuss your UK golfing plans. 

The Insider’s Guide to Sotogrande & Almenara

This week’s blog is an insider’s guide to a couple of great hotels situated in the resort Sotogrande which is on the Costa del Sol. Sotogrande boasts a fantastic atmosphere with a world-class marina, a wide range of different restaurants and bars as well as some of the best golf in Spain. With everything that you could possibly want or need for your next golf escape as well as some great hotels, Sotogrande is a golfer’s paradise and when thinking about your next golf break, you should consider it…

Hotel Almenara is a luxury resort located in Sotogrande with spacious rooms which boast stunning views across the gardens or the brilliant on-site golf course. Whilst you are not enjoying a round on the golf course, you can relax by the large outdoor pool or in Almenara’s Spa where there is a hot tub, a sauna and a gym. At the spa, you can also choose from a range of different treatments or take part in the many classes offered. Although you can easily venture out into the resort of Sotogrande for food and drink, the hotel offers everything that you could want or need right on its own site including several restaurants. In the Gaia Restaurant, you can enjoy a wide range of different Mediterranean dishes whilst witnessing some of the beautiful scenery from the ceiling-to-floor windows. Alternatively, you can eat at the clubhouse which boasts a beautiful terrace and an informal setting for you to try some of the healthy meals which are made from locally sourced ingredients. There are also two bars for you to sit in and have a few drinks in including a poolside bar.

Almenara golf course is made up of 27 holes so you have alternative loops of 18 to choose from. Each loop of nine holes are brilliant and can prove a test of golf to those with all handicaps which makes it perfect for a golf break. After a round, you can enjoy a drink on the terrace at the clubhouse and look out onto the golf course. Hotel Almenara is a great golf escape destination with so much to do, see, eat, drink and play!

Hotel NH Sotogrande is a great and stylish four-star hotel which is located right in the heart of Sotogrande and right next to the beach. The rooms are all spacious and decorated with a contemporary design with traditional Andalusian décor. Whilst staying at Hotel NH Sotogrande there are some great packages for two great golf courses: Real Sotogrande Golf Course and La Reserva de Sotogrande but whilst you are not on the golf course, you can relax on the beach, by the outdoor pool or even spend time on the paddle courts. The Sotogrande marina is just a five minutes’ drive from the hotel so you are in a good base to explore Sotogrande and some great golf from. From the hotel, you can venture out into Sotogrande and enjoy some of the great restaurants and bars that it has to offer but there is a lovely restaurant and bar right at the hotel. The Sotogrande restaurant offers guests a beautiful setting in which to enjoy their meals with fantastic views across an ancient forest and at the Sotogrande Bar there is a laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy a few drinks and a few snacks if you’re looking for a light bite, the bar also offers an outdoor terrace. With all of this as well as easy access to arguably two of the best golf courses in Spain it is no doubt that this is widely regarded as a great option for your next golf escape…

La Reserva de Sotogrande is a superb but a very long course at almost 7,400 yards from the back tees. However, as the fairways are quite wide, you can afford to take big but not wholly accurate shots. Although water hazards feature on six of the holes but on five of those holes, water is not blocking you from reaching the green as they were positioned mainly to catch errant shots. Despite the forgiving fairways, this course can be a challenge with many holes featuring guarded greens on more than one side as well as many interesting layouts which you must navigate your way around. One of the best things about the packages with the Hotel NH Sotogrande is that you are also given a complimentary buggy around this course which can be useful with its undulating terrains as well as its length.

Real Sotogrande Golf Club is the second course that you can easily play whilst staying at Hotel NH Sotogrande and it is rated as the 2nd best course in Spain and 7th in Europe and after you have played here you won’t question how it achieved these ratings. The course was designed by Robert Trent and opened in 1964 and proof of how brilliant this course is comes from the fact that even more than 50 years on the course is still enthralling players all of the time. To avoid all of the strategically placed hazards which are set out across the course, you must plan out and execute each one of your shots with accuracy, otherwise you will be left a few balls short with an unpleasant scorecard. Each of the holes is magnificent and offers something unique but there are a few very special holes including the 4th which is a very difficult par 3 with a harsh sloped green and the 7th which is another par 4 but with a narrow green and water guarding the green to the right. The finishing stretch of holes on this course is brilliant and you will leave a round here feeling very challenged but you will be able to remember each hole individually for a long time. With a recent renovation project on the course, this course is ready for another 50 years of brilliant golf and any discerning golfer should have this course on their must-play list.

We hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog and that when you are thinking about your next golf escape to the Costa del Sol, the brilliant Sotogrande resort and all it has to offer you comes to mind…

The Insider’s Guide to Palacio Estoril & Golf do Estoril

This week’s blog is a guide to the brilliant five-star Palacio Estoril Hotel Golf and Spa which is situated in the heart of Estoril, Portugal. This is a lovely hotel which boasts a fantastic location in Estoril which is a great beach resort located to the west of Lisbon. Here, you can find a wide array of different bars, restaurants and shops which means that you are never far from some great entertainment or food if you don’t want to stay in the hotel.

Being situated in Estoril also means that the weather is warm almost all year round which makes it the ideal destination for your next golf break, especially when the weather in the UK isn’t as good as you would like it to be…

 

Palacio Estoril Hotel, Golf and Spa really does occupy a brilliant location just a few minutes’ walk from the lovely sandy beach and adjacent to the casino. Both golfers and non-golfers alike will find plenty to love about Palacio Estoril Hotel as for golfers, you can take advantage of the fantastic unlimited golf packages whilst staying here which entitles you to unlimited golf on the fantastic Golf do Estoril. Whilst golfers are out enjoying a round on the golf course, non-golfers can enjoy relaxing in the hotel’s wonderful spa and fitness centre where they can enjoy a range of different treatments, work out in the gym, enjoy the sauna and Turkish bar or swim in the indoor pool. There is also a lovely outdoor pool area which is perfect for the summer months of the year when you can soak up the sun and of course, the beach is just a short walk away so you have endless options of relaxation areas.

From the moment that you arrive at Palacio Estoril Hotel, you will be greeted with a warm welcome and get to experience the wonderful old charm and character that this hotel emits. The service that you will receive whilst staying here is befitting of its five-star status and the staff will do everything they can to make sure that your stay is as luxurious as possible. All of the rooms here at Palacio Estoril Hotel are spacious and decorated with warm colours, they are all fitted with all of the amenities that you would expect from a luxury five-star hotel such as this including a flat-screen TV and a marble bathroom.

Being situated in the heart of Estoril means that you will never be far from a great restaurant or bar to enjoy but the hotel boasts two lovely restaurants and a great bar for you to enjoy without even leaving the hotel. The Bougainvillea Terrace Restaurant is situated on a terrace and is somewhere that you can enjoy a meal or just relax with a drink whilst overlooking the beautiful gardens of Estoril on one side and the Palacio’s limpid pool on the other. Whilst the Bougainvillea Terrace Restaurant provides a more chic and cool atmosphere, the Grill Four Seasons Restaurant boasts a more sophisticated atmosphere and is somewhere that you can enjoy a delicious meal from a menu filled with both traditional Portuguese dishes as well as international cuisine. Last but certainly not least, Bar Estoril is famous for being a haunt of spies during the Second World War but now it boasts a lovely, stylish atmosphere and is somewhere that you can truly relax and enjoy a few drinks whilst enjoying views of the poolside gardens.

If you are looking for a luxurious golf break, you really need to look no further than the five-star Palacio Estoril Hotel, Golf and Spa especially when within two kilometres there is the fantastic Golf do Estoril. Whilst staying here, you must take advantage of the unlimited golf that is available to you on Golf do Estoril as well as the free transfers between the hotel and the golf course which makes your life very easy and enjoyable as you have no worries about transportation and you can play as much golf as you like.

Golf do Estoril is a well-known and prestigious golf course which has hosted The Portuguese Open no less than 20 times. It is one of Portugal’s oldest courses and although it is a little shorter than most other brilliant golf courses at just over 5,200 metres, it should not be underestimated just because of its length. This course is filled with well-designed and challenging holes, tight, tree-lined fairways, undulating terrain and small greens which makes it a very challenging course and one that you may want to get a buggy for!

There are many notable holes which will leave long-lasting memories within you for long after you putt your final ball on the 18th. A particularly good hole is the downhill 3rd hole which is a par 4 and requires you to be wholly accurate if you are going to score well. Another terrific hole is the 14th which is a stunning 359-metres long dogleg and this along with the 16th which is widely considered to be one of the best par 3s in the whole country helps to round of your fantastic round before tackling the two finishing holes. This is a beautiful and challenging course with a fantastic layout and is well-worth adding to your itinerary when you are staying anywhere near to Estoril but staying at the Palacio Estoril Hotel will give you unlimited rounds on this course during your stay which really cannot be beaten…

We hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog and that when you are next booking a golf holiday to Portugal, you consider the luxurious five-star Palacio Estoril Hotel, Golf and Spa!

The Insider’s Guide to the Orizonte Collection

This week’s blog is an insider’s guide to the Orizonte collection. The Orizonte courses are all situated in the Lisbon region and each of them offers you something different so that you will have a variety of rounds of golf when you play the Orizonte courses. The Lisbon region is an excellent destination for your next golf break and with its great weather, fantastic golf and brilliant accommodation it isn’t hard to see why.

The lovely four-star Sesimbra Hotel and Spa is situated in the beautiful fishing village of Sesimbra and is just two-minutes’ walk from the beach. Whilst you are not out playing one of the great Orizonte golf courses, you can relax by the pool or on the beach or even in the well-equipped spa here. Non-golfers are catered for well here with the spa as there are many different facilities there including a hot tub, a sauna, a Jacuzzi and a range of different treatments available. Whilst you are here, you can venture into Sesimbra to explore the local bars and restaurants but the hotel’s own restaurant, Aquarius, boasts excellent traditional Portuguese dishes including delicious fish and shellfish dishes. This is a stunning hotel which boasts all of the amenities that you would expect from a hotel of this rating as well as a brilliant location as not only are you in a lovely little fishing village but you can also easily venture out to many of the great Orizonte courses.

Quinta do Peru is one of the most exclusive golf courses in the region but by booking far enough in advance you will be able to get tee times here. This is a stunning course which is a perfect addition to your holiday itinerary as it cannot be described as the most challenging course but there are still a few fair tests along the course including American-style bunkers as well as water hazards! Make sure that you especially watch out for the 8th and the 16th holes as you have to carry your ball over a large lake to reach the well- guarded greens. There are a great range of different holes here but the back nine are simply superb with a great set of finishing holes to complete your round here with. Make sure to add Quinta do Peru to your itinerary for your next golf break to Lisbon…

Up next is Aroeira I which has been widely claimed to be one of the finest courses in the whole of Europe which means that you must make sure that you play here if you are ever in the Lisbon region. As you play the course, you travel through a pine forest along undulating fairways whilst tackling a wide variety of different holes with unique layouts. There is no doubting that this course is a tricky one as it is difficult to navigate through the pine forest without losing a few balls to the trees, however, besides from the trees there are very few hazards in your way. The 11th hole is arguably the best hole on the course on which you have to navigate around the water which sits to the left of the green before you get to tackle the pine tree lined fairway before you can even get to the green! Aroeira I will provide you with a spectacular round of golf and is a course that should not be missed out on.

The younger sibling of Aroeira I is Aroeira II which was built to European Tour recommendations so is an interesting and challenging course to play. Like its sister course, the layout of this course is fantastic and throughout your round you will have to navigate through heavily wooded land whilst learning to control your ball to not let the undulating fairways affect your score. This course blends effortlessly into its surroundings with the long holes which have been cleverly shaped out using the natural landscape here which makes this a very scenic course. There is no doubt that the shining stars of this course are the finishing holes, the 18th in particular. To finish your round, you will be required to avoid the water which sits to the right of the fairway as well as stretches out to the left of the finishing green! Make sure that both Aroeira courses are on your itinerary for your next golf holiday to the Lisbon region.

Ribagolfe I is another superb course from the Orizonte collection. This course is a long one at 7,370 yards from the back tees but despite its length, this is a course that is playable by those of all handicaps – as long as they play from the further forward tees! The landscape of this course and its surroundings is simply stunning and there are a wide range of different layouts. Make sure that you look out for water hazards on the back nine as that can severely impact your score! Arguably one of the best holes on the course is the 15th hole which is a par03 and requires for you to avoid the water which is sat to the left of the raised green and for you to also avoid the bunkers which surround the rest of the green! There is no denying that the Ribagolfe complex is a little out of the way but it is definitely worth the trip in order to play the two courses here.

Ribagolfe II is the sister course of Ribagolfe I and is also routed through interesting scenery including stands of cork oak. This is a shorter and slightly easier course than its sister because there are less water hazards along the course. However, when water hazards do come into play, they make the hole much more interesting. For example, one of the best holes is the long par-5 13th hole where the stream cuts through the fairway and becomes a small lake which sits just to the right of the hole. This course completes the Ribagolfe complex and is well worth the journey to play.

Last, but not least, is Santo Estevao which is in the same area as the Ribagolfe complex. This is a superb holiday course as it is very much suited to those players with a higher handicap as you have more room for error here with very wide fairways and big greens. For when you are looking for a fun round of golf with some beautiful scenery and landscapes this is the ideal course.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog and that when you are planning your next golf break you will think about the draw that the fantastic Orizonte collection of courses has and consider the Lisbon region