Travelling abroad for a golfing holiday is simply a must-do for anyone serious about their golf, those looking to improve their game or even those needing to fall back in love with their clubs once again. However, with diverse or large groups the hassle of separating the bill or agreeing who had what can take the joy out of things. The answer is simple and comes in the form of a semi or all-inclusive escape.
Both options can work well for any golf escape, particularly semi all-inclusive (full board with a drinks package usually from 17:00 to midnight) as this kind of package helps keep the budget under control whilst ensuring that the drinks and food are covered.
With this in mind, the team at Golf Escapes have compiled a list of the best semi and all-inclusive packages voted for by some of our customers.
Our first stop is Fairplay Golf & Spa Resort. This resort is one that came back from the dead in late 2017 after the Spanish recession and since it’s unveiling, has grown and grown to become one of Spain’s finest golf resorts. 5 star in every sense apart from its price point, the property oozes elegance and class with a traditional pueblo look from the exterior and modern, light furnishings inside.
The golf course is the real success story in terms of making a come-back. Formerly Benalup golf, it was known as a good holiday golf course in the past, but since its closure in 2015, it was let go a lot without any maintenance. This however meant when the hotel took ownership of it in 2017, it was theirs to recreate into something quite stunning. The Fairplay golf course now sits in tandem with its 5-star hotel and is a joy to play over and over when staying at the resort.
For those needing a getaway to relax in a peaceful environment, this is the place to go to. It is also helped with its hugely impressive spa and indoor pool. Quite literally the biggest indoor pool seen by a Golf Escapes staff member, it is a place to come to for the ultimate pampering session after a long day’s golf or for those accompanying a golfer and needing to chill.
Fairplay Golf & Spa Resort offers both Semi All-Inclusive and All-Inclusive, so it ticks both boxes in that sense. We would probably recommend the Semi All-Inclusive here though in terms of value for money. Also, if you are on the course in the day, you won’t really maximise your opportunity to eat and drink. So picture this… finish up your round of golf, head to the pool for a bit to wind down and once that clock hits 17:00, head to the bar and enjoy the tranquil surroundings whilst the sun sets with a beer or wine in hand. Dinner when you fancy it in the high-quality buffet restaurant that caters for every guest numerous times over. Then if you fancy it, back to the bar to socialise with the rest of the high spirited guests. Perfect!
If you like to have All-Inclusive or Semi All-Inclusive included in your golfing holidays, then most have probably been to Precise Resort El Rompido. If not, why!? El Rompido is the queen of Semi All-Inclusive and from our recollection, the first hotel to offer this package. So with that experience comes a smooth process from start to finish. El Rompido has always had a unique feel to hotel with its atmosphere. With most guests being golfers, everybody is there for the same reason, to play well, have fun and enjoy their trip. With golf being such a social sport, it filters through to the hotel as well. Couples, friends and groups alike all seem to enjoy the social aspect when staying at the hotel which means the hotel bars are a fantastic place to be of an evening.
The hotel itself is U shaped around the large pool area which is a lovely place to relax with just your thoughts, the sound of birds and the occasional smash of a driver followed by the shout of fore coming from the 1st tee of the South course just over the other side of the hedge. The rooms are all great sizes and the superior rooms that look over the pool are well worth paying the upgrade for if you like to sit out on your balcony. The food is another excellent feature of the hotel. Show cooking, a great selection of salads and other buffet delights are all of superb quality and often gets special comments from its guests.
The two courses are similar in style but the layouts are different enough that you certainly don’t feel like you are playing the same course. The scenery on both courses is something that really catches the eye. Being so close to a nature reserve, the chirps of the local birds and the peaceful sounds of very little at all make your rounds here not only a great round of golf but a picturesque walk as well. For those looking to experience Semi All-inclusive for the first time, there is no better place than El Rompido to visit.
Bom Sucesso is a resort that has recently taken up the board basis of Semi All-inclusive and is flourishing due to the change. It is normally a self-catering resort of townhouses and villas with the clubhouse as the central base. Because of this, it can be quite quiet in the evenings as many stay in their apartments for the evening. But for those golfers on Semi All-Inclusive, the clubhouse transforms into the evening hub for dinner and drinks. The A la carte menu offered is a nice change to the normal buffet-style food on holiday allowing you to choose what you fancy each night.
The resort reservations are good as well in that they will always try to pop golfers in the Two-Bedroom Townhouses closest to the clubhouse making it nice and easy for guests to wander to and from the golf course, clubhouse and your property.
Guardian Bom Sucesso Golf is a European Tour destination and covers an area of over 60 hectares meandering its way around the banks of the Obidos Lagoon. It’s a stunning place to play golf with beautiful views of the rolling hills. The golf course is kept in superb condition and has one of the best finishing stretches that we can think of. It’s not only the Bom Sucesso course that makes this resort so great though. Its 3 neighbours are also of the highest quality. With the resort offering free transfers to Royal Obidos, Praia d’el Rey and West Cliffs, it makes this area one of the best in Europe for its quality of golf. Four very different styles of courses and all maintained to the best standards, it really is a must for golfers looking for a challenge and where better to stay than here, so you can enjoy a beer or two after a tough round of golf? We can’t think of anywhere other than Bom Sucesso.
Belek, Turkey. The mother of all All-Inclusive Golf Holiday destinations. With over 20 All-Inclusive beachfront hotels and 14 golf courses set behind these hotels, it was a struggle to pick our favourite. After a long think, we weighed up value for money, course availability and general quality. With this in mind, we’ve gone for the Cornelia Deluxe.
With it being one of the mid-sized hotels in the region it offers all the amenities that the rest do in terms of good entertainment, large pools, plenty of restaurants and good quality drinks, but also not so enormous it takes you the whole holiday to figure out where your room is. Bright décor scattered around the hotel makes it a feel-good place to stay and informal in a friendly way. You never feel judged in this 5-star resort and makes it very easy to enjoy your stay.
The Faldo golf course linked to the hotel is one of the most famous in Belek. 27 holes all as good as each other means you don’t really need to think about playing at any of the other courses when staying here. A tough challenge like most of Faldo’s courses, it makes you want to try again and again to improve on your last round.
With 7 restaurants to choose from here, there is certainly no shortage of options. 5 need a tiny supplement to eat in, but the A la carte options are well worth paying the small amount for the experience. 8, yes 8 bars are also available to enjoy a drink (or a few) whilst staying at the Cornelia Deluxe including 1 that is 24 hours in the high seasons. It’s safe to say that the All-Inclusive here caters for every guest and you will never be stuck of where to go.
Located a short distance from the bustling town of Albuferia is a small resort based around the golf course Salgados. Within this resort is the 5-star hotel VidaMar Algarve. This resort is new to the Semi All-inclusive concept, but after high demand, it has decided to offer this from October – April, just in time for when the golfers start to arrive. The hotel is located just a 15-minute walk to the Salgados golf course which is a true test to every golfer. Huge lakes and streams affect almost every hole on the course making it a bit of a must to stock up with extra balls before your round. That being said, it is a very pleasant area to be in. Nature reserves and marshlands surround the 18 holes and low-level hotels around the course don’t spoil the sea views at all.
The hotel itself boasts large rooms and every view is a good one whether it be resort, nature, pool or sea view. Palm trees circle the pool area and are prominent throughout the resort making it feel like you are experiencing Caribbean luxury at its best. With 10 bars and restaurants within the resort, you will never be stuck on where to eat or drink. All of excellent quality and offering a huge variety of cuisine, we would definitely recommend the Semi All-Inclusive here without really the need to leave the resort.
Next up is moving away from Europe to the Middle Eastern wonders of the UAE. Situated on Saadiyat Island is the first-class 5-star hotel Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island. The truest of 5-star hotels it lives up to what you would imagine from a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi. There is no expense spared when it comes to the furnishings with golden trims found everywhere adding the touch of class and superiority you come to get used to in Abu Dhabi. Rooms are a great size with views to the Gardens, Sea and Pool.
7 restaurants and 4 bars make this hotel a delight for a variety of cuisine. From Japanese to Italian, you can enjoy the highest quality of food for little extra cost. The drinks included are all premium brands as well, meaning you can finish off your meals with a drink that accompanies your high-quality dinner.
The Rixos and Abu Dhabi are lucky enough to have 3 of the best courses in the UAE on its doorstep. All Troon managed, it guarantees the highest of quality and maintenance. Saadiyat Beach is obviously the closest and is a Gary Player design which weaves in and out of numerous hotels and many of the holes offer sea views. Links in style through part of the course means challenging dunes, not to mention the saltwater lagoon to tackle as well. The other two courses in Yas links and Abu Dhabi National make the Abu Dhabi experience one of the best in the world for course variety and quality. For 3 very different golfing experiences of the highest class, this is the place to stay!
Set amongst rolling hills and vineyards north of Lisbon lies the Dolce Campo Real Golf Resort. This 5-star hotel with 4-star villas on offer is spread over a large expanse of land with the Campo Real golf course winding its way around the whole resort.
The hotel is the perfect place for a sporting break with tennis, foot golf and golf on-site and for those not fancying these activities, the spa in the hotel is one of the finest in the region. The golf course is one of the trickiest in the Lisbon region with narrow and undulating fairways putting you into difficult places for your approach to the green. The stunning views surrounding you, however, make you forget all the troubles on the course and enjoy your round to the maximum.
The hotel’s ‘Wellington Bar’ is a relaxing and quiet area to mingle with other guests and your group whilst enjoying many of the delights of the bar. On a nice Summer’s day as well the eagle pool bar is a lovely spot to sit out and take in the last few rays whilst enjoying a sundowner. As the resort is a little isolated from its nearest town, we would definitely recommend taking up the Semi All-Inclusive whilst staying here. With such good quality gastronomy here, there is little reason to seek restaurants outside of the resort.
Aphrodite Hills. Voted best golf course in Cyprus and 2018’s best golf resort in Europe, the accolades speak volumes. The resort is more of a small village than a hotel complex with villas as far as the eye can see, a 5-star hotel, holiday residences, an 18 hole golf course, minimarket, a village square, tennis courts, football pitch and a magnificent spa.
The All-Inclusive at Aphrodite Hills is a fantastic experience as they open the restaurants in the Village Square to those on All-Inclusive. With that, you have a choice of up to 11 restaurants depending on the season plus all the bars and cafes around the resort as well. Some incur supplements, but nothing that would put you off trying all the different options. With such an expansive choice of food and drink, you can have something different every day in a 10-night stay.
As we mentioned earlier, golf on the PGA National Cyprus course is another reason as to why this resort is so popular and well regarded. You could pick a number of holes as its signature hole. The 3rd (from the back tee), 7th, 8th and 18th all in contention. The 7th probably just pips it though and will be the hole you all compare scores at the end of the round. A 210-meter par 3 off the back tees with nothing back a gorge between tee and green. Anything short and it’s a re-load.
The hotel is a wonderful 5-star property with all you would expect from a hotel of its stature. A grand and welcoming lobby area, a hotel bar with a fun and relaxed atmosphere, large rooms with excellent views, a stunning spa and everything else you could possibly imagine. There is nothing to disappoint you at this golf resort and they always want to give you the warmest of Cypriot greetings.
Situated in Alvor in the Algarve is newest of the Pestana properties. The Pestana Alvor Blue we feel is a great addition to the hotels of Alvor. Different to a lot of its neighbours, it’s only a two-story hotel, keeping it below some of the higher rising hotels around it. Set a couple of rows back from the beach, it’s a more peaceful plot than the beachfront hotels, but still has the advantage of being a short walk to the sea. 5-star in every sense, the hotel also offers fully-inclusive to all of its guests.
The hotel has 3 restaurants to choose from to accompany the 2 bars you can enjoy a drink at. The Mercado is the hotel’s main restaurant and offers a great buffet selection for breakfast lunch and dinner. Luigi is the second of the restaurants in the hotel’s grounds and its name tells the story. Italian Gastronomy seating 80 guests and is a must-visit when staying at the Alvor Blue. And finally the Surf & Turf Grill. The same size as Luigi and offering the finest of meat and fish dishes with a twist. These two A la Carte options can be enjoyed alongside the buffet restaurant for a supplement, or when staying 7 nights, you can eat in either of these restaurants 3 times during your stay.
It also has the advantage, like the other Pestana hotels, of getting highly discounted green fees on the Pestana courses. Alto, Pinta, Gramacho, Silves and Vila Sol are all great courses and very different in style. Any of these 5 packaged with the Pestana Alvor Blue makes for a superb Golf Escape to be enjoyed by every type of golfing group.
Our final stop is another new hotel and it is just what the region south of Lisbon needs. A true golf resort with two golf courses on-site. The Aroeira Lisbon Hotel – Sea & Golf Resort is a modern, boutique 4-star hotel located 30 minutes south of Lisbon Airport and are offering the well thought of Semi All-Inclusive. For those looking for a peaceful break in an area of true natural beauty and great golf on site, then this is the spot. The hotel has been built to a fantastic standard and is contemporary and fresh in design.
The INPAR restaurant continues to exude class like the rest of the hotel and is a great place to host your evening meals. The quality of food at the hotel is already getting a name for itself especially in fish dishes provided from the nearby fishing villages. The PineBar is the place to retire of an evening and enjoy a few drinks with the rest of the hotel guests. Its first-floor balcony location is a great spot to relax and unwind after a day’s golf preparing to go again the next days.
The two golf courses on site in Aroeira 1 & 2 are considered amongst the best in the general Lisbon region. Both located in pine woodland, trees are only one of the hazards that make these courses quite a challenge. Areoria 1 has even been dubbed the ‘Wentworth of Lisbon’ by many that have played it. 1 has also hosted the Portuguese open back in the 90’s which again proves its quality in comparison to some of the other courses in Portugal. Aroeira 2 is a newer course, but similar in design. Longer than its older sister and with water on 9 of its holes, it is perhaps a little trickier than 1. Both are great tests and accompany the hotel so well to make it a real prospect in the golf resort world.