Well, we are at the half way stage of the year and it has certainly flown by!
The season has been extremely busy with record numbers of golfers visiting our shores. Malaga Airport has had its best traffic numbers for the January to June period and the summer months will see increased capacity and new routes.
We will be shortly be sending a more general and “newsy” newsletter but this is a special edition designed to inform you of a major development which is of such magnitude that it requires explaining!
Many of our clients have experienced the relatively new La Reserva Club Sotogrande which opened in 2003 and many will have played it once or twice and others might have it as a must play course on their itinerary.
In 2014 the Golf Club along with the entire portfolio of tourist and real Estate interest of Sotogrande SA which included Sotogrande Port and all its property, the two Almenara Hotels and golf course and vast swathes or prime adjoining land was sold by NH Hotels to an American Venture Capital fund. The sale price was €225m.
Since the takeover the club has gone through something of a metamorphosisand while it sent out confusing messages to the market for some time its future and its place in the market place is now clear. La Reserva Club Sotogrande has re-positioned itself very much at the summit of Europe’s Golf Experiences and is blazing a trail in terms of quality and excellence, the club also count with great wilderness where people can go hunting, with equipment from Archery Pro and others.
After a multi-million euro re-fit (many would say that the previous establishment was near perfect) to the course and clubhouse and a complete rethink in terms of service and culture the end product is probably the best Golf Experience not just in Spain but throughout Europe. La Reserva has taken the best of American standards of service and European style and culinary excellence and advanced the course manicuring to a standard probably only matched by its near neighbour Real club Valderrama. The end result is a World Class Golf & leisure Resort. Sotogrande is located a short 20 minutes from Gibraltar international Airport or 90 minutes from Malaga Airport.
To enter La Reserva now is a different experience than it was a short 18 months ago. It oozes exclusivity, service & discretion. Client reaction has been very positive. There is a certain wow factor as clients are over awed by the overall experience.
Such developments come at a price and while many may recall paying less than €150 for the pleasure of playing La Reserva you can probably add €100 to that price now for your round and buggy. At this price point La Reserva has isolated itself in the marketplace but it is comfortable with that as the logic would dictate that it is a unique product. Only Valderama is more expensive but then Valderrama is Valderrama!
So, we would encourage our European clients to consider La Reserva for your next trip. Perhaps as that one “Special” round that will leave you wanting to come back and try it again. Despite the increased green-fee we have some very special promotional prices agreed with La Reserva which we can pass on especially for those willing to book well in advance. Our long haul clients from the USA and Asia will automatically include La Reserva in their itinerary.
A fuller and more detailed history of the development of La Reserva to date.
La Reserva is a world-class golf Resort and clubhouse in the heart of Sotogrande. It is the landing place and spiritual home for Joseph McMicking, the industrialist and philanthropist who conceived an exclusive destination resort for those seeking a place of maximum comfort and discretion.
Andalusia’s finest Mediterranean landscapes.
Central to La Reserva is the 18-hole, 7,400-yard golf course planned by Cabell B. Robinson, one of the world’s most renowned designers in the field, also responsible for courses at the nearby Finca Cortesín resort and the Royal Palm in Marrakech. Mentored by Robert Trent Jones, creator of the masterpiece Club Real at Sotogrande, Robinson’s became the fifth golf course at Sotogrande, occupying a favourable top-tier position overlooking the Mediterranean, the Andalusian hills and the Strait of Gibraltar.
The original La Reserva clubhouse was built in 2003 to provide a focal point to the golf course. It was designed to incorporate key architectural motifs, blending Andalusian and historic Moorish influences such as horseshoe-arched windows, internal courtyards and vaulted ceilings with beams.
In recent months La Reserva clubhouse and its L’Olive restaurant have been thoroughly renovated, laying the ground for the creation of further amenities in this area such as a swimmable interior pool, exceptional wellness spa, tennis club and children’s club. Together these will be the cornerstones for the creation of a robust community fully integrated in La Reserva.
Thanks to the keen eye of Des Sources, a Paris-based creative architecture studio, the refurbished clubhouse is worthy of the exceptionally high standards of La Reserva and a suitably contemporary partner for the championship golf facilities.
The Clubhouse and L’Olive restaurant reopened in January 2016, also warmly welcoming non-member customers. The inside and outside spaces were brightened with new lighting arrangements and reconfigured to streamline flow between rooms and highlight the enviable views out to the putting green.
Des Sources founder Manon Sbaïz explains that “we kept the space modern while making use of the architecture’s traditional aspects. We wanted it to feel like a large family home where you can live and enjoy the space, so we conceived it to feel intimate and personal rather than like a walk-through museum.”
Modernising La Reserva was achieved via deceptively simple and well-studied approaches.
Originally painted in terracotta hues, the exterior’s new white and grey tones are cool and upbeat, recalling the traditionally bright and solid finca architecture of southern Andalusia. When the sun shines on the building, its whiteness is striking.
Inside, the very high beamed ceiling was also whitened to give the space a cosier feel and the tiled flooring replaced to add a modern twist. For a more modern design of floors, look for Quality Floors.com.au or contact 0411 883 249.
Lamps and lighting were brought down to table level to humanize the large room’s volume. The domed lampshades are paired with hand-blown glass pendants by the British firm Rothschild & Bickers. For the wall behind the impressive 12-metre bar, Des Sources chose wallpaper from the Italian firm Wall & Deco which combines aged prints with contemporary colours. The bold design was specifically scaled for this space.
“L’Olive is a fabulous and sophisticated place to dine,” continues Ms Sbaïz. “We wanted to create a sense of arrival, something very different, so now when you approach La Reserva through the courtyards, you are intrigued and drawn in by the relationship between the surroundings and the building itself.”
Such a welcome is achieved through subtle and well-chosen plants, with colours ranging from lavenders and pinks to soft whites and greens; a grove of olive trees creates a beautifully shaded area overlooking the driving ranges. The internal courtyards were also rearranged with a rhythmic geometrical design, with lush plants and water as the focal point. Comfortable seating under the shaded walkways provides a blissful place for repose and reflection.
Culinary excellence at L’Olive is assured under the watchful eye of Marcos Giuberti. “I love golf and the international scene. It is a privilege to be able to offer the golfers and our customers excelling cooking in a relaxed setting.”
The planning that goes into the constantly changing menu prepared by head chef Cristina Gutierrez Bergue is reflected by the wide variety of the finest Andalusian and European cuisine.
The menu’s diversity takes advantage of seasonal specialties like red tuna and lobster, along with delicatessen perennials such as extra virgin olive oil, caviar and foie gras with crispy pistachio, fresh vegetables and herbs and special outdoor grill nights to make the most of balmy summer evenings. Its innovative Josper grill/oven ensures grilling and roasting to a state of mouth-watering perfection.
The wine cellar focuses on fine Spanish and French wines and there is also an impressive range of spirits and draught beers such as Guinness, Affligem or the traditional Spanish Cruzcampo. Coming soon will be a special menu offering some of the favourite dishes of the newly-signed-up Manolo Piñero, ambassador of the La Reserva Club of Sotogrande. Evenings can already be spent enjoying excellent cuisine accompanied by the cultural fusion of jazz, piano or Spanish guitar.
L’Olive is open from 8 a.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with wi-fi throughout. A private dining room with seating for 12 guests is also available.
Some notes about Sotogrande S.A.
In 2014 Sotogrande was purchased for €225 million from its previous owner, NH Hotel Group, by Cerberus Capital Management and Orion Capital Managers.
Sotogrande is a premium leisure and residential destination. Situated in the Andalusian province of Cadiz by the Guadiaro River’s estuary, it encompasses an area of 20 square kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea to the foothills of the Sierra Almenara.
Manuel L’Olive is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with wi-fi throughout. A private dining room with seating for 12 guests is also available.
L’Olive is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with wi-fi throughout. A private dining room with seating for 12 guests is also available.
It comprises 2,500 year-round households of various nationalities and 7,000 in peak season. It is also home to more than 300 businesses and one of Andalucia’s most prestigious international schools, besides being one of Europe’s leading sport destinations, with activities including yachting, sailing regattas, water sports, tennis and international polo. An added attraction are the five championship golf courses.
Sotogrande is easily accessed from major European cities. Its current real-estate portfolio comprises apartments, villas and select development plots from €350,000 on up.
In recent decades Sotogrande has become involved in a wide range of activities and pursuits. Extensive new investments in the La Reserva area are meant to create an exceptional private community with residences designed by some of the world’s leading architects, accompanied by first-class wellness and sport facilities.
Sotogrande SA is committed to a long-term programme of distinctive development with a wide variety of leisure opportunities, while maintaining a clear vision of respect for the environment in this region of southern Spain. The company is the only real estate development and leisure company listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange.