Get ready to elevate your summer getaway to new heights of luxury and recreation. We unveil three extraordinary global destinations where the perfect fusion of indulgence and sport awaits, promising an unforgettable holiday experience
As the sun blazes and temperatures soar, summer entices with relaxation, adventure, and opulent getaways. Imagine escaping to breathtaking destinations where luxury and leisure intertwine, pampering your every desire. Now, envision this experience infused with the timeless allure of golf, adding sport and elegance to your holiday. This week, we unveil three destinations around the world where indulgence and sport unite for a perfect holiday.
Quinta do Lago, Portugal
On the shores of the Algarve is a resort tailor-made for everyone. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s hard to name something Quinta do Lago – firmly established over the last five decades as one of Europe’s leading destinations – doesn’t have. Spread across 2,000 acres of the beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park, Quinta do Lago thrives on a sense of seclusion from the bustle of the busy nearby towns and cities. Yet getting there couldn’t be much simpler; you only have to drive north-west from Faro Airport for 15 minutes to reach the resort, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.
At its heart is the Campus, a state-of-the-art sport performance facility used by elite athletes and total novices alike. No matter your sport or your level, there’s something here to help you develop. Tennis and Padel courts, swimming pools and a vast range of gym equipment offer endless choices. There are regular classes in dance, yoga and more, including junior training camps run by some of the biggest names in sport. Here guests can taste the lifestyle of a world-class athlete, all within easy walking distance of the comforts of a luxury hotel. That hotel is the boutique Magnolia, an enchanting getaway with 74 rooms and a collection of charming cottage retreats.
Each suite is furnished and appointed with everything you could ask from a world-class hotel, but the experience doesn’t stop there. The poolside Magnolia Restaurant is open three meals a day, serving the finest Mediterranean food and boasting a fantastic wine selection. Incredible food and drink is a theme across all of Quinta do Lago, which has over a dozen different bars and restaurants on site. Highlights include the Bovino Steakhouse, where expert chefs prepare the finest cuts of beef, as well as the new sports bar Dano’s and the fine dining experience Casa Velha. The eclectic array of eateries takes inspiration from cuisines hailing from across the globe and has no shortage of choice for any dietary requirements or tastes.
In theory, guests could stay at the resort for two weeks and never have dinner at the same place twice. Similarly, a diverse trio of golf courses means that golf lovers could play a completely different layout each day: the South Course, which in 2021 underwent a €7million renovation and is now considered one of the best in Europe; the neighbouring North Course; and the unique Laranjal, which comes alive every year with the aroma of the orange groves it weaves through. While there’s plenty at the resort to keep non-golfers entertained, the three courses are not to be missed by anyone who wants to play. Quinta do Lago celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, and its owners share a rich vision to continue its rise as one of Europe’s premium lifestyle resorts. Perfect for families who want to enjoy a myriad of facilities for all ages, or couples seeking the ultimate in luxury and relaxation.
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Apes Hill, Barbados
If you want paradise on earth, it’s hard not to think of the Caribbean. Golden beaches overlook vast sapphire seas, and further ashore loom mountains coated in rich green foliage teeming with life. Cultural artefacts dating back thousands of years await visitors, intertwined with the stories of some of history’s greatest figures.
Fresh, locally sourced food is served alongside expertly concocted cocktails on terraces with the kind of views you simply can’t get anywhere else. All the ingredients for an unforgettable luxury break are here – and high on the peaks of Barbados, one of the world’s most enticing resorts is rapidly evolving.
Perched 1,000ft above sea level, Apes Hill is one of a kind. Once a golf club popular with locals and tourists alike, substantial investment in recent years has seen it metamorphose into a luxury resort, residential community and – above all – a tribute to the island lifestyle.
Arriving in Barbados isn’t something you forget in a hurry. As the plane descends into Grantley Adams International Airport, a glance out of the window reveals an island covered from north to south in a hundred shades of green, each more vibrant than the last. You may even catch a glimpse of Apes Hill itself, with its pristine new 18-hole golf course – the most elevated in the country.
With your feet on the ground, the view is even better. In fact, there are places in Apes Hill from which one can see the Caribbean Sea over one shoulder and the Atlantic Ocean over the other. “The fun here is in the vistas,” said veteran golf architect Ron Kirby when he redesigned the course, and you’d be hard-pressed to disagree.
Even when you aren’t staring out across one of the planet’s most beautiful regions, this is nirvana for anyone with a taste for life’s finer things. The secluded spa is surrounded by vegetation, and nearby you’ll find regular yoga classes. They represent just one of countless ways to stay active, including a new Racquet Centre with tennis and Padel courts. Hiking trails cover over 12 kilometres of Barbados countryside, while at the heart of the resort is an expansive wellness centre and swimming pool.
There’s no danger of getting bored – whether it’s golf, enjoying the spa and wellness facilities or seeking adventure exploring the 100,000 acres below, there’s a reason it’s love at first sight for so many who have made the journey before.
You may not want to leave the resort, but there’s plenty to explore around the island for guests seeking adventure. Barbados’ natural charm is perhaps even matched by the manmade treasures it holds, with religious, cultural and historical sites and even several thousand rum shops.
The new-look Apes Hill has already become home to plenty of new residents. Properties start at around £1.5m but are diverse enough to serve a wide range of budgets and buyers. Spacious three-bedroom golf and sea view villas – each with a private garden and 30ft pool – will be available to rent for holiday stays from January 2024. Each sleeps up to six guests and is enhanced by wonderful ocean views, sitting within walking distance of Apes Hill’s full range of facilities.
The resort has also announced new stay-and-play golf packages this winter, perfect for experiencing Kirby’s acclaimed course redesign. The layout, fused with the island’s natural DNA, is unashamedly built to be as fun as golf can get.
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The Manor House, Wiltshire
The Cotswolds. An area of the UK renowned for its lush rolling hills, picture-postcard villages, historic stone buildings and a seemingly endless network of babbling brooks and winding rivers. The region has become a favourite staycation destination for those looking to get away from the day-to-day mundane – to sit back, relax and enjoy an enchanting stay that will sweep them off their feet.
Nowhere offers that opportunity better than The Manor House, an idyllic countryside retreat in Wiltshire, that is home to exquisite accommodation, golf on another level and fine-dining options. As you make your way down the long and winding drive, you feel a sense of magic, excitement, and anticipation for what awaits.
A beautiful countryside retreat like no other, The Manor House estate dates back to the 14th century and is nestled within the village of Castle Combe – named as the prettiest village in the UK by FBM Holidays in 2021. Bursting with history, the Cotswold village is the perfect setting to enjoy quaint walks and down time, all while being within easy reach of Bath and Bristol.
At The Manor House, luxury accommodation and dining options meander around the estate and village in a similar style to the River Bybrook that flows through the area, to create all the ingredients needed for a unique break. There are luxury rooms and suites to retire in either the magnificent 14th-century Manor House, its mews cottages along the road into the village – all full of character and individually designed – or in The Waterfall Lodge which overlooks the 18-hole championship golf course. Accommodation is also available at The Castle Inn. A classic pub with rooms in the heart of the village, this charming spot serves excellent food that’s even claimed a spot in the Top 50 Gastropubs and two AA Rosettes.
The Castle Inn is also an ideal location for a quick drink before heading back to The Manor House to enjoy mouth-watering creations in its Michelin-starred restaurant. Named after the river that sweeps through the village and creates plenty of drama on the golf course, Bybrook offers a relaxed atmosphere and serves seasonal and local ingredients crafted into exceptional dishes.
After, why not escape to the Italian Garden for a post-dinner walk or curl up with a book and retire in one of the many lounges. With so much to do in the area and at the hotel, The Manor House is fast becoming a must-visit destination for keen golfers looking to take advantage of the hotel’s location.
Home to an acclaimed par-72 parkland course within 365 acres of countryside, the layout features beautifully manicured fairways across the rolling countryside that are lined by mature oak and beech trees, while undulating but immaculate greens add to its charms. The course – designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark – meanders around the River Bybrook and provides a stern challenge for experienced players while also being playable for beginners with a number of teeing options.
With exceptional food, stunning accommodation, and wonderful golf, it is easy to see why The Manor House is quickly becoming one of the UK’s must-visit golf hotels. If you are planning to get away in the UK in 2023 and beyond, with golf breaks available from £135 per person, this cosy countryside retreat with its championship course is well worth considering.
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