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Summer Newsletter 2016

Well as we wind down for the quiet summer months we would like to share with you some of the developments taking place on the Costa del Sol and Algarve. There are many investments to mention both on the golf courses across the tourism infrastructure.

The important message we would like to convey is that tourism to Iberia in general is very buoyant with hotels in particular benefiting greatly from the downturn in business from competing North African destinations. So with that comes the need for earlier decision making if you wish to get the cheaper rates and conditions at our hotels. So the message is simple – plan early to avoid disappointment.

For anyone needing to rent a car for the summer holidays please let us know as soon as possible now is the time as already we are booked out in certain popular models.

In addition to a buoyant tourism market the real estate sector has taken off again on our relentless boom and bust cycle. The cranes are once again rotating overhead and we are beginning to see the trucks laden with bricks and other building materials move up and down our motorways again. It’s not a full blown recovery as yet but getting there!

Stop Press !!

And then BREXIT happened! All bets are now off!. I suppose deep down we didn’t really believe the citizens of the United Kingdom would, when push came to shove vote to leave the EU. But they did. With this comes uncertainty and as we all know economies don’t like uncertainty. So we live in interesting times as Europe enters uncharted waters.

Will Westminster ever vote to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty and actually take the UK out of the EU and perhaps bring about breakup of the Union? If and when it does it will have some real consequences for British tourists visiting Spain and Portugal. Some of these which spring to mind would be the requirement for medical insurance as they will no longer be covered by the European Health Card.

A less favourable exchange rate in the foreseeable future is very likely. One of the most important positives of European integration has been the Open Skies policy adopted within EU member states. There is no guarantee that British carriers will be allowed operate within EU skies (not to and from but within) such as, for example Easyjet flying between Geneva to Malaga. Roaming charges on UK mobile phones could well be re-introduced.

On the bright side UK citizens will once again be able to purchase duty free goods at Malaga and Faro Airport when returning home!!

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Golf Course Developments

Ongoing improvements at El Paraiso Golf Club

There have been many changes at El Paraíso GC over the last year or so that have vastly improved the overall experience.
Improvements to the course and club-house have greatly enhanced the overall experience of one of the best established golf clubs on the Costa del Sol. New tees have been built, along with new greens (1st & 2nd), new bridges and newly laid fairways. The plan is to rebuild all 18 greens on a rolling basis so that no more than one is out of commission at any one time.

The reaction to these changes has been very positive and there is general agreement that the course has never looked better. A very nice and spacious new has been added. The new terrace & restaurant is an ideal place for groups to enjoy a Barbeque after a game of golf (talk to us): where restaurant manager Paul Crumpler and his team will take great care of your group.

In addition to these developments a wonderful new chipping area and putting green has been built and is overlooked from the new terrace.

Parsaiso-terraceEl Parsaiso’s new terrace.

Doña Julia Golf Club progress.

donajulia-golfclublogo1New owners and new money has resulted in many improvements at the Doña Julia course between Estepona & Sabinillas. The club house facilities and catering have been upgraded and much work has been carried out on the bunkers and greens.

The long term plan is to build a completely new clubhouse which will allow for the normal two loops or 9 holes. At present the 10th hole is at the highest point and furthest from the clubhouse. The course offers great value for money within its category.

 

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Doña Julia GC

Atalaya Park Golf & County Club

Atalaya Old Course 1st green under re-construction

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Major new developments are also taking place over the summer at the very popular Atalaya Park GC – one of the oldest on the Costa del Sol. The first hole (Old course) is being re-designed and is getting a completely new green. Work should be finished by the start of the Autumn high season. A new first tee (Elevated) on the roof of the snack bar.

These works are part of a Master Plan ( 2.000.000 €) with Hole 1 totally rebuilt. A new kiosk with terrace, new pro tee with 15 m longer distance to the 1st green, purchase of 3.500 m2 of land and the building of an underground car park for 130 cars.

Almost completed, new first hole.

Photo taken 30th June by drone.

Spanish Open at Real Club Valderrama

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Well Valderrama was a late call up to host the Spanish Open which it did with great style and was hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation. Sergio himself was a contender on Sunday afternoon but the tournament was won by Britain’s Andrew Johnson.

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Martin Kymer at Valderrama Andrew Johnson & Sergio.

In the meantime Real Club Valderrama has announced that from 1 November 2016 to 29th February 2017 they will be rebuilding all the greens and surrounding areas on the front nine (Holes 1-9). These works will bring to an end the investment plan that Valderrama initiated four years ago.

During this period visitors can only play on Tuesdays from 09:00 AM to 13.00PM at a slightly reduced rate!

News from Calanova Golf Club

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Entrance to the new Calanova Clubhouse.

There are major developments coming to fruition at Calanova G.C. not least of which is a state of the art new clubhouse which will be open by the time you read this. The entire entrance & car park has been resurfaced and the course has seen many improvements over the last year. The views from the elevated club-house out to the Mediterranean are stunning.

We can also tell you that Calanova Golf Club has recently opened the MICHAEL CAMPBELL ACADEMY.

Calanova recently signed with Michael Campbell so that he and his team of professionals can give golf lessons at a new academy at Calanova,

From the 1st of July, everyone can enjoy having golf lessons in the Michael Campbell Academy.

Sotogrande courses.

lareservasotograndegolflogoThe good news is that Real Club de Golf Sotogrande will re-open all 18 holes in September and we can now book it for clients but at the somewhat increased green-fee of €185.

La Reserva de Sotogrande  has appointed Golf Experience as one of only 4 agents on the Costa de Sol to be allowed book their newly revamped course.

The price here has also increased considerably over 2015 rates which at €189 including buggy is in the top 4 most expensive courses in Spain.

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La Reserva Sotogrande

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Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

Accommodation Developments

In general hotels throughout Iberia are in very buoyant mood with most managing their yield very closely. What this means is a tendency towards longer “minimum stays” which would now make it difficult to get 2 or 3 night stays over weekends in high season.

Under pressure from the hotel industry lobby the Andalucian government has introduced strict new laws governing the rental market with the aim of regulating it and presumably generate tax revenues from the sector which has largely flown below the radar up to now. So availability of suitable privately owned apartments may become under pressure.

Hotel Puente Romano

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The Puente Romano Hotel (5 star) on Marbella’s Golden mile has made great strides over the last two years towards becoming the “in place” for visitors to the Marbella area. A major refurbishment programme has seen the rooms take on a totally new perspective and modernisation.

Its Plaza area with no fewer than 7 restaurants (and a further 2 beachfront) combine wonderfully to create a very Spanish village atmosphere which has become “The” place to be!

A member of “Leading Hotels of the World”, the sister hotel to The Marbella Club has been renovating its facilities and leisure areas at the resort for three consecutive years. Millions have been invested in this exciting project since its inception in 2013. These major improvements allow this resort to proudly position itself among the best luxury resorts in Europe.

Right now, the resort offers an extensive range of eating options boasting 9 restaurants showcasing the best food from all over the world. Enjoy international flavours at Sea Grill, or more local Mediterranean dishes at Del Mar. Travel further afield sampling the best Thai cuisine at Thai Gallery, famous Italian food at Serafina, or the nikkei cuisine (a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese influences) at UNI. The French Patisserie, Les Deux, will delight those with a sweet tooth, and the most avant-garde cuisine can be sampled at Bibo, 2-Michelin star chef Dani Garcia‘s most casual restaurant yet. Those looking for a healthier, gluten-free option can enjoy Celicioso or the organic cuisine of Rachel’s, as this resort strives to cater for all tastes and diets.

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The Plaza at Puente Romano Hotel.

 The finishing touch to this gastronomic paradise comes with the creation of La Plaza. An enchanting square, surrounded by lights which illuminate the Roman Bridge (Puente Romano), where a wide range of the cuisine on offer is brought together in a peaceful setting to be enjoyed with live music in the pleasant temperatures of the unique Marbella climate using the best Holoplot audio systems.

The hotel’s Spa, which was opened in July 2015 was one of the key parts in the refurbishment of the hotel. It completes the health and wellness features of this resort and transforms Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa into a luxury holiday destination in itself.

For golfers the Puente Romano offers a free round of golf per stay at its Marbella Resort course in Benahavis.

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Marbella Resort Golf Club

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Another 5 star hotel to open or re-open recently is the former Las Dunas Hotel – now the Healthhouse Las Dunas Health & Beach Spa.

This is a rather unique new 5 star experience located on the beach near Estepona. It could be described as a 5 star boot-camp complete with Michelin Star (2) restaurant but without salt or alcohol (at least not served in the dining room!). Not ideal for a group of golfers but perhaps for a couple looking for a relaxing detox programme combined with some golf.

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Las Dunas Health & Beach Resort, Estepona

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 Situated in front of the crystal clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea you’ll find the prestigious new Healthouse Las Dunas*****GL Health & Beach Spa – Estepona & Marbella’s first address of healthcare hotels. Just minutes from the chic marina of Puerto Banus and just a fifteen minute drive to the beautiful old town of Marbella, this Mediterranean-inspired luxury dietetic centre is arguably one of the most glamorous and fashionable on the Costa del Sol.

Healthouse Las Dunas is the epitome of comfort, elegance and cutting-edge design. With 55 sumptuously appointed luxury suites this idyllic sanctuary isn’t only bliss to the senses but a truly unique experience in one of Europe’s finest destinations.

Healthouse and Naturhouse professionals have created a selection of specific and customized programs tailored to your weight reduction needs and based in anti-stress, anti-aging and detox with science based green detox – constantly advised and accompanied by our medical & nutrition team paired with the passion and love of our hospitality team always to be a perfect host.

Golf on the Algarve

We recently took a trip to the West Algarve region to visit an alternative to the well beaten trek to Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago. We were not disappointed with what we discovered in the Lagos area. It’s really only an extra 30 minute airport transfer from the aforementioned Vilamoura and represents great value for money with some excellent golf.

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Stunning views of Palmeras Golf Resort near Lagos.

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Lagos to Alvor train with Praia or “Links” nine in the background and “Lagos” nine to the foreground.

There is an excellent choice of accommodation ranging from the 4 star Marina Club Hotel located in the lively marina and a short walk to the old town centre to the beach-side Vila Gale Lagos.

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Marina Club Hotel Lagos

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Lagos Port and Old Town

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Vila Gale Lagos

In addition to the excellent Palmeras (27 hole) course Lagos also boasts the very popular Boavista Course.

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Boavista Golf Resort

“Shared Buggies”, explained

I’d like to take a minute of you time to explain the often misunderstood meaning of “Shared buggies”. When we say that the cost of a green-fee includes shared buggies we mean that you get a buggy for every 2 players. So 2 get one , 4 get 2, 6 get 3 etc. However where we often run into problems is when a group of 6 want to and are allowed play as 3 + 3 (subject to timesheet allowing this, and this in not something we can determine or confirm in advance) and want a 4th buggy. This 4th buggy will be charged by many but not all courses.

Another case of a group that may start as 12 (6 shared buggies) but reduces to 11 a few days prior to arrival. They are now entitled to 5 buggies assuming we can get a refund for the 12th if they cancelled before the no cancellation period. So if the group plays as a 4+4+3 they will need 6 buggies and therefore the 6th buggy may have to be paid for on the day. Some courses just include buggies and there is no charge but most are on a “Shared” basis. So please understand that “Shared buggies” doesn’t necessarily mean a blanket inclusion of buggies in all circumstances.

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A Shared buggy!