Resort review - Monte da Quinta
20 Jul 2010 - 14:38:55
The Algarve has long been one of the premier golfing destinations for discerning Brits seeking to play sunshine golf.
The fearful inevitability of playing in the rain and snow is replaced with a delightfully sweaty sojourn in the Portuguese heat. One resort destination that has long been a jewel in the crown is Quinta do Lago.
With the Portuguese Open having been played here eight times it brings with it the challenge of testing yourself on European tour level greens. If you add into the mix the après golf combination of fish fresher than anything fresh you care to imagine and ice cold rose then you have a potent formula for lasting success.
One particularly agreeable one-stop shop for all your golfing seasons is the Monte da Quinta Resort. Situated only 20 minutes from Faro airport, it's an amalgamation of luxury one, two and three bed suites, plus townhouses and villas on the mightily attractive sprawling estate.
The main hotel complex itself has everything the modern traveller has come to expect; top facilities, spa, expensively decorated suites, giant scary sculptures hanging from the lobby ceiling...ok maybe you don't always expect a beluga whale to be dangling on a string forty feet above your head, but it makes an impressive statement all the same.
Another highlight of the Monte da Quinta is the mixologist behind the bar serving up some of the finest cocktails this side of Havana. There is very little better in life than a post round Mojito whilst watching the sun go down.
The golf itself is impressive. The Quinta do Lago South course was magnificent. A real challenge for all standards of player, while not impossible, it proved to be a long and winding road, but one that was well worth treading.
Some tough holes were made even tougher by the prevailing headwinds, the beauty of the course architecture was coupled with the beast of some mightily long holes. Designed by William Mitchell in 1974, the scientifically situated hazards and mixture of devilish doglegs made for a real test of golf.
Holes that particularly stood out were the ninth, with a hard dogleg left off the tee. An overzealous second shot tumbles off into oblivion. The fifteenth is the picture postcard hole, a challenging iron over a lake with a devil of an undulating green at the end of it. Seventeen is a long uphill par five that tests the bottle of even the lustiest of long hitters.
As fine as the North/South courses are though, the newest, shiniest jewel in the Quinta crown is the new Laranjal Championship Course.
This belter of a golf course is one that I would roll up and carry round with me if I could. Some really well designed holes are engineered to make the shot into the green something of an event.
Having played the course in its off season, the greens weren't in great shape. Having said that, the contours and frequency of being left nasty putts leads one to conclude that when they are in tip-top condition the course will be a challenge for all standards of golfer.
The ninth is a par five with a sharp dogleg left and water part surrounding the green. It sets you up for either a soggy demise or a rapturous round of high fives if you make the short stuff.
The par three eleventh takes some playing I can assure you. A healthy par three with a lake just waiting to gobble up any wayward tee shots. The large beach bunker makes for an interesting second shot if you are playing into the green from the lapping shore line. You’ll probably wish you’d brought your trunks
The sixteenth is quite a sight to behold. The mammoth par five just seems to go on forever and ever. With water all the way down the right hand side of the fairway and a huge multi-tiered green to contend with, this is a hole to be savoured and feared in equal measure.
But it’s not the individual holes that make this such a glorious golf course. There is an air of quality and you can just tell that some real thought has gone into every rolling fairway lump and bump. It’s just a very, very pleasant place to be and I for one look forward to next time.
For some real quality food to wash the local wine down with, a little hidden gem of a restaurant is Casa do Lago. The white washed haven is nearby and does some a mean calamari.
If you’re on the lookout for a classy resort a couple of hours away from blighty, you’d have to go some distance to find something more satisfying the Monte da Quinta resort.
View prices/book - CLICK HERE
Getting there - Monarch offers flights to Faro from Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton (summer season only) and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £46.50 one way (£83.99 return) - CLICK HERERestaurant Casa do Lago - www.casadolagoqdl.com