UK Tel: 01737 21 18 18
US Tel: 770 455 9772
Montecastillo Golf Resort*****
Just half-an-hour inland from Jerez, well away from the crowds that flock to the Costa del Sol, Montecastillo is at the centre of a little golfing hideaway, where you will normally find peace and quiet, unless there's a race at the neighbouring Grand Prix circuit!
The old Castillo has been extended into a modern hotel that starts with crenellated turrets and ends with the small villas alongside the golf course. There ia a total of 121 bedrooms and Suites in the hotel, plus one and two bedroomed villas available too, for those who like their independence.
After your round, the choice of two restaurants will replenish your energy levels: the relaxed "Jardin de Invierno" for a light dinner and the gastronomic "El Lagar" with its own twist on Andalusian cuisine. Before venturing into either, why not take a moment to relax in Ricardo's bar? Aka the 19th.
The external Spa building features indoor and outdoor pools, Jacuzzi, steam rooms, and just to make doubly sure that you leave with a bit of colour - a solarium. A full range of massage beauty and physiotherapy treatments are also available.
Arcos Gardens is more of a luxury golf retreat than a golf resort. There is no hotel per se, instead the accommodation is either in two-bedroom townhouses that run alongside the 18th Fairway or three to five bedroomed self-contained villas that are a little further from the Clubhouse. The latter doubles as the reception/bar/restaurant for the resort. There is also El Cortijo, the original farmhouse with ten bedrooms, totally separated from the other accommodation: perfect for a private golfing party or client entertaining.
The whole development sits a few miles from the pretty Spanish village of Arcos de la Frontera, a spectacular sight clinging to a steep escarpment. Here there is a surprising number of restaurants to choose from for what is quite a small town.
|Arcos Gardens - Townhouses
The townhouses are right alongside the course, running out from close to the Clubhouse along the 18th Fairway. Only completed in 2010, they are modern, well furnished and well equipped for self-catering if you so wish, although breakfast is available in the Clubhouse each morning and the restaurant is open in the evening.
Each townhouse has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a roomy kitchen, and sitting room with dining area: ideal for up to four golfers in comfort. Although there is no pool for the townhouses at the moment, just the small Clubhouse spa areas.
|Arcos Gardens - Villas
The villas at Arcos Gardens are even more spacious and luxurious than the apartments, with the same modern style of decor and furnishings. Each villa stands on its own plot of land with a private pool, across the golf course from the Clubhouse; so a good stroll to the bar and restaurant (and breakfast!)
The villas have three, four or five en-suite bedrooms, ideal for up to ten golfers. There is a full size kitchen, sitting room and a dining area - so plenty of room to spread yourselves out, or maybe throw a spontaneous dinner party?
|Arcos Gardens - El Cortijo
El Cortijo is essentially a ten-room private hotel within the overall Arcos Gardens complex. Here, even though you are only a few hundred yards from the Clubhouse, you are completely secluded from the other residents in what was the original farmhouse of the estate.
El Cortijo has been beautifully decorated and furnished in a typical Andalusian style: very different to the villas and townhouses. You may choose to have private dinners prepared for you in El Cortijo as there is a fully operational kitchen in the building. Outside there is a private courtyard and your own private pool.
El Cortijo needs to be booked in its entirety for your party, but is ideal for groups of ten to twenty golfers looking for something a little special.
|Itaca Hotel Jerez***
Quintessentially Jerez, an old convent in the very centre of the city that has been turned into a simple, yet very stylish little hotel. The lobby is quite literally inspirational, with its huge statue of Christ dominating your check-in and the café/bar in the old chapel would stun the average nun.
Bedrooms are arranged on three floors around central, inaccessible, courtyard. They are clean and simple with modern furnishings. The Itaca Jerez hotel has a restaurant on the ground floor for breakfast and a limited evening menu; but the centre of Jerez, with its multifarious restaurants is only five minutes away on foot.
The famous Cathedral and Alcazar fortress are in the centre of town too, as are most of the major sherry producers: who could possibly come to Jerez without a tasting?
Unfortunately there is no car park at the hotel (nuns rarely drove it seems) so you will have to take pot-luck in the streets around or public car parks: there is a baggage room on the ground floor if you wish to bring your clubs indoors.
|bARCELO cOSTA bALLENA****
Costa Ballena is a recent seaside development where once there was nothing but sand and sea. It is now a sprawling resort of houses, villas hotels and 27 golf holes: a Summer retreat for tourists, second-homers and to a lesser extent residents of Jerez, Cadiz and Seville. The Barcelo Costa Ballena hotel sits in the middle of the development, right next door to the Costa Ballena Golf Club.
A big complex of a hotel that has some 120 bedrooms, which are arranged within four blocks, two on either side of a central reception, bar and restaurant area.
The hotel is designed to cater for large numbers so public areas have been created on a similar scale. A huge atrium style lobby with a big restaurant and small internal bar, sensible as everybody takes their drinks outside on the patio near the twin pools.
The bedrooms are a very good size and well laid out with plenty of space and some elbow-room in the bathrooms too. Each bedroom has its own balcony overlooking the course and the outdoor pools.
Outside Block 4 there is a small spa, newly created which adds an extra option for relaxation. During the Summer there are frequent activities and entertainments arranged in the large lobby area.
5 nights at 5-star Montecastillo with 5 days of unlimited golf -
4 nights for four people in a Townhouse at Arcos Gardens with 2 rounds at Arcos Gardens, 1 at Montecastillo and 1 at Costa Ballena, plus a hire-car between four -