"Pampered In Portugal" - The Ultimate Ladies Golf Break
By Golf Today Ladies Editor Carly Frost - March 2013
The Algarve has long been a favourite destination with golfers, with its year-round sunshine and fantastic selection of courses along this scenic stretch of coastline - all just a two and a half hour flight from the UK and serviced by virtually every airline you could imagine. But until recent years travelling golfers have only had the choice of either high-end five star hotels or more budget-orientated self-catering accommodation for their stay.
The Monte da Quinta Suites, located within the gated community of the Quinta do Lago estate, fills this gap in the market perfectly. This four-star resort has a clever concept as it takes the shape of an upmarket boutique-style hotel equipped with luxuries such as a lavish spa, fine-dining restaurant, heated outdoor pool and more, but with the added bonus that all the rooms here are suites, (or townhouses/private villas with your own pool).
To say the rooms are large would be an understatement - each is the size of a small apartment, equipped with a comfortable lounge area with sofa bed, great for families, a modern kitchen and luxurious en-suite bedroom decorated to an extremely high standard. In my opinion this gives you the best of both worlds on a golfing trip. You can choose to dine in the hotel's bar or restaurant one night and enjoy the home comforts of cooking for yourself the next. It also gives groups of golfers the advantage of buying in a bottle of wine to enjoy with a few nibbles before heading out for a meal in each other's rooms - a great cost-saving exercise. With the Pound so weak against the Euro at present, believe me it is a welcome relief to check-out of such a luxurious hotel without an enormous bar bill at the end of the week.
Like all ladies I love to indulge in a spot of pampering after a round of golf and at the Monte da Quinta Suites you'll find yourself in relaxation heaven. The hotel's Magnolia Spa is a haven for weary golfing limbs with its wonderful warm Jacuzzi pools, heated hot beds to lie on and relax, indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, Turkish bath, sensorial showers and sauna. For the energetic there's a large, well-equipped gym, and for those who prefer to be pampered by a professional the massage rooms have those big comfortable treatment beds where you lie looking up at the tranquil twinkling ceiling lights which send you to sleep along with the soothing hands of the expert therapists.
The Monte da Quinta Resort is literally surrounded by dozens of great golf courses but the beauty of staying here is that you can walk just five minutes up the road with your clubs on a trolley and onto the newly branded Paul McGinley Golf Academy practice ground or the first tee at Quinta do Lago's North or South Course. With such great convenience the hotel has teamed up with Quinta do Lago and created a bespoke 'Women and Golf' offer, which includes a three-night stay, two rounds of golf, two massages and complimentary use of the spa (a 20% discount on further spa treatments), plus a few other special extras like a session with a personal trainer should you want it. Priced at a very reasonable 522 Euros (approximately £435) it really is great value.
The 'Women and Golf' package includes two rounds of golf, one on Quinta do Lago's Championship South Course or slightly tamer North Course, or you also have the option of taking the short taxi ride to Laranjal, one of the newest courses to open in the Algarve and one that has already received rave reviews including picking up the 'Best New Lay-out' accolade at the 2011 Portuguese Travel Awards.
Laranjal is Portuguese for 'Orange Grove' and is aptly named as the course winds through a former orange estate, with the colourful orange and lemon trees lining the fairways, adding a sweet aroma to the scenery and hopefully to your shots! What sets Laranjal apart from most other courses in the Algarve is that there are no villas surrounding it, so you really are playing a Championship Course with the most beautiful undisturbed natural scenery. The only manmade additions are the many water hazards, which add to the challenge, along with the large American-style greens, many featuring tricky breaks, and those big bunkers that surround the slick surfaces ready to gobble up anything less than a perfectly struck approach shot. Laranjal is a course that ladies will really enjoy as it's not brutally long, has very generous-size fairways and some really interesting 'thinking' holes where you actually have to lay-up - it's not just about bombing the ball with your driver here.
In fact the same can be said for both Quinta do Lago North and South. Both courses are carved out of the indigenous umbrella pine forests and as such the premium is placed on your accuracy as many holes have tight doglegs and sloping fairways with sweeping views. The South Course almost reaches the coast and you can spot the sea in the distance, while the North is more characterised by its lush rolling fairways. Both are typical resort courses and great fun to play, although during my visit extremely popular and pretty packed, so make sure you choose your tee time wisely and go for an early morning start if you are only a two-ball.
If all that wasn't enough to entice you to book the 'Women and Golf' package at Monte da Quinta then the free unlimited house wines and beer at the bar during happy hour each day, which is included in your package price, along with one evening meal in the hotel's restaurant with wine is a real deal-clincher. The menu has an excellent choice of local dishes including delicious fish, fine cuts of steak and the perfect-sized deserts to just appease your sweet tooth at the end of a meal. If you have a late tee time and take the option off a lie-in and head down to the breakfast late morning you'll not need to eat for the rest of the day! The quality of the food and presentation of the buffet is more five-star than four and rather unusually you'll actually find proper English bacon and sausages among the hot cooked dishes on offer.
The Monte da Quinta 'Women and Golf' package really does tick all the boxes you could possibly want from a golfing break and the hotel certainly has the 'wow' factor. Oh, and one more thing, the resort is even offering to refund 40 Euros back to all their guests this year if you have to pay to take your own golf clubs on board your flight, simply by showing your golf baggage receipt. What a great idea!
MONTE DA QUINTA'S WOMEN AND GOLF PACKAGE
Three-nights B&B, one dinner with complimentary wine, free daily happy hour wine and beer, two rounds of golf (one on Quinta do Lago North or South Course, one on Laranjal including a buggy), two massages and complimentary use of the spa (a 20% discount on further spa treatments), plus a few extras.
The offer is based on two people sharing a one-bedroom suite and includes a welcome pack on arrival, late check-out facility (subject to availability) and free storage of your golf clubs.
Price: 522 Euros (approximately £435) - valid from March 1 st 2013 until the end of October 2013, excluding June, July and August.
For further information, or to book a stay call 00 351 289 000 300, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.mqresort.com .