As a member of IAGTO, International Association of Golf Tour Operators, Red Tee Breaks is often invited to visit countries that want to show their products to us as people who can sell them to our clients. A recent trip to Alicante did just that. Alicante Airport is one of the most accessible airports from airports in the UK making it a quick pop over for some sun, sea and of course golf.
Whilst we saw many venues, for the sake of this article my focus will be on two resorts – La Finca Golf and Spa Hotel and Barcelo Asia Gardens Hotel and Thai Spa and its surrounding courses.
La Finca Golf and Spa Hotel is a modern quality hotel with 18 holes of great golf on site. The clean fresh feel about La Finca immediately hits you as you walk through the door, the reception staff neat in their uniforms set the standard for the rest of the resort. We arrived hot and sweaty having just played golf in the sunshine, methodical friendly check in proceeded until everyone of us was catered for with ease. Entering the hotel on the first floor meant that it was a bit of an upside down hotel spreading its far reaching wings to enhance that illusion of clean space. Despite its modernity it wasn’t out of place in the Spanish sunshine. The outside space lends itself to a large outside pool for the guests to relax on the comfy sun beds with further relaxation being offered by a quiet moving water channel of turquoise blue surrounded by rich vegetation and ice white paving to set the mood. The rooms are clean cut and comfortable offering everything a good quality hotel should. My room overlooking the pool with the golf course in the distance – there to tantalise the inner golfer in me whilst fighting for my inner desire to just sit and relax and take in that view; a good start for a few days at La Finca.
La Finca actually has three golf courses in its portfolio. La Finca being the 18 holes on site to the hotel – a beautifully maintained golf course of a high quality, easy to play bunkers, wide fairways without them being too silly and readable putting greens. As a stand alone golf course, it can certainly hold its own, but as one of the three on offer in the group, it can offer even more choice for the visiting golfers.
Las Ramblas and Villa Martin make up the trio package. Las Ramblas, a golf course whose identity if taken from the pine trees guarding and protecting the course. A hillier course with character and a menacing stream plotting its way around the course to bring itself in and out of play makes for a good test for strategic golf.
Campo de Golf Villa Martin is one of the oldest courses in the region. Host to European championship competitions Villa Martin is well regarded as no walk in the park where skill will reward your golf, but not totally unplayable for higher handicaps, so long as they don’t get too greedy! A pretty course offering a good round and sense of achievement whilst nursing a glass of wine in the bar afterwards.
Whilst in the area, other places to visit are the historical centre of Orihuela, a beautiful traditional city boasting architecture depicting its chequered history from the Romans to present day. Take time to wander the narrow streets and locate the Baroque church of Santa Domingo. It is on these steps that we were treated to the all male choir singing stories of history of the city, with every tone and pitch of their voices being reverberated around the ancient stone buildings enhancing history with each note sung.
Alicante and especially it’s neighbouring Benidorm are known as party towns, hen and stag parties flock in their thousands to sample the 24/7 offerings, however there is more to this part of Spain, a side that is rich in a very different way, a way that offers luxury hotels and golf with thought provoking views across to the deep blue sea.
The Asia Garden Hotel and Thai Spa is a little oasis of calm amongst the bustling towns. A deceptively large complex with areas of rest strategically placed around the site to contemplate that great shot of the day. Easter Island style heads with water trickling down into calm pools of fish happily swimming along create the ambient tranquility further enhanced by the various swimming pools, private thatch roof lounge areas and rich vegetation. Tropical flowers edge the various restaurant walls which in turn overlook the pools, the stark contrasting red of the building somehow blending into the overall serene scene with ease with the odd glimpse of the high risers to bring you back to reality. Spacious rooms have varying views but each room is decorated to a high standard with emphasis on quality fittings and comfort.
Courses to play in the area are Golf and Spa Bonalba; a rich terrain course beguiling its newness in age, good sized putting greens with subtle movement to catch the unexpected errant putt. A course of two nines with the back nine having the reputation as the harder of the two. Large expanses of water and tricky bunker positions compliment the wide fairways culminate in a good all round golf course.
Melia Villaitana Golf Course sets itself above all others – literally, with its panoramic views of Benidorm, a skyline bringing high rise buildings of varying shapes and sizes set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean sea, demanding and intimidating equally, the sight is one to bemuse, if you can tear yourself away from the golf course that is!
A quality golf course which gently winds itself around with ease, wide fairways and playable greens add Villaitana as a must play in Alicante.
One to watch out for – currently a nine hole course is emerging as a good test of golf, over rugged ravines, across water and playing good condition fairways and greens despite its youthful age. Puig Campana is undergoing major renovation – not only the golf course but the club house too. A large panoramic clubhouse dominate the spot to maximise the views across the valley to the ocean in the distance. Not quite finished but still imposing in stature, should the current thread of good quality continue to the second 9 holes and the not yet completed clubhouse, this golf course will be one to look out for.
Benidorm may not be every ones cup of tea, but take time to go to the old part of town and wander along the beach, or better still get electric bikes and explore in this unique way, gently pedalling along in the comfort that the motor is taking on most of the hard work and hills!
There are 21 golf courses in the Alicante area, all within striking distance of this hub airport. Having such an array gives choices for a varied golf holiday for any golfer of any level and budget with four and five star hotel to choose exactly what you want from your golf break in Costa Blanca.
Interested in Alicante for golf? Contact [email protected]