By Rhea Saran
These four golf resorts, located by waterfronts—whether oceans, seas or bays—
offer not only world-class golfing, but also luxurious accommodations and services designed to complete the five-star vacation experience.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
Set on 10,000 acres along South Carolina’s coastline, this top-rated golf resort is not just a great golfing destination, but is also a breathtaking getaway, with 10 miles of private beach for those post-game relaxing evenings. The resort boasts five courses designed by five renowned architects, but it’s Pete Dye’s Ocean Course that garners the most attention: panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean are available from each of the 18 holes. This year the Ocean Course will host the 2007 Senior PGA Championship (May) and, in 2012, it is slated to host the PGA Championship.
The resort offers various packages, depending on golfers’ needs. There is the Championship Golf Package that includes one round on the Ocean Course and two rounds at any of the other courses, or Pampered Putters, designed especially for women who want both a golf vacation and a spa getaway in one.
A good bet is the Total Performance Golf Package (two-day package begins at $1,420, varies depending on season), which caters to golfers at every level and includes personal training, two rounds of golf, sports massage and accommodations at the oceanfront Sanctuary. kiawahresort.com
St. Andrews (Old Course), Scotland
St. Andrews Links, also referred to as the “Home of Golf,” has seen golf played on its courses for about 600 years now. This is where the tradition of 18 holes (instead of the original 22) began. The legendary Old Course, an apt name for the oldest course in the world, has, more recently, hosted the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, but remains a public golf course, allowing anybody (with a certain par, of course) to walk its greens. This course is also home to “the most famous hole in golf”—the 17th or Road Hole.
The Old Course Hotel, overlooking its namesake, provides ideal accommodation for golfers who have come to play the game, almost as it was played several centuries ago. Views are primarily of the links course, but reach as far as the coastline. A spa offers body scrubs and massages that are designed to relieve post-game strain. The hotel has short-stay golf break packages, like the Golf Breakaway to the Home of Golf, which includes a round each on The Duke’s and one of the other links courses (the Old Course is recommended) and a two-night stay starting at £156 per person per night.
One & Only Palmilla, Mexico
For a place where sensuous luxury is as high on the priority list as world-class golf facilities, it would be hard to beat this resort, set along a warm ocean front in San José del Cabo. The Jack Nicklaus-designed 27-hole par-72 course has views of the Sea of Cortez on the one hand and desert landscape on the other. The course is divided into three sections of nine holes each —the Ocean Nine, the Mountain Nine and the Arroyo Nine.
Accommodations are either ocean-front or beach-front, offering views of the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Cortez from balconies and patios. This resort is renowned for golf, but offers a myriad other services and activities, including spa services, water sports and fine dining. Golf-focused packages are available. One that provides a complete experience is the Classic Golf Package (beginning at about $3,000), which includes three days of unlimited golf on any of the three courses, breakfasts and dinners and even private airport transfers in a Hummer.
Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay, Hawaii
Set above the Pacific Ocean, this ocean-front resort boasts two top-ranked golf courses. The Challenge at Manele was designed by the seemingly omnipresent Jack Nicklaus and is perched above the crashing waves of the ocean. Three of the holes are actually on lava cliffs and every hole offers ocean views—in winter, this sometimes means spotting whales as you tee off. The Experience at Koele offers an entirely different golfing experience. Designed by Greg Norman and Ted Robinson, this course is about mountains and lush greenery and requires golfers to play through ravines.
Accommodation is luxurious and the amenities and services are numerous and varied, incorporating all that one expects from a full-service resort on an island in Hawaii. Rooms and suites overlook either the bay and the ocean or verdant gardens. Golf packages include unlimited golf, breakfast and accommodation at the resort, starting at about $1,000 per room per night.