Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Lisbon and the Central Region of Portugal

Lisbon Ladies?

City Gates to Golf Breaks
The simple pleasure of being in Lisbon is enhanced by its delightful gastronomy, its old and new parts of town, shopping, the cafĂ© culture and welcome from the ever willing to please Portuguese people.  Lisbon in itself is worth a visit with easy access from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester to Lisbon up to 9 times a day with TAP.
But why stop there when there is so much to see and do.  Maximise your stay in Lisbon and sample some of the stunning unspoilt golf courses and hotels within 45 minutes of this lovely city.
I was lucky enough to be invited to join a trip to do just this recently on a trip to the Centro Region.

Arriving in Lisbon we were swiftly shuttled to Dolce Campo Real just 45 minutes away, we were met by a friendly welcome at the clubhouse bar for some local delicacies before being given the opportunity to sample their golf course.  Sadly it rained, no it didn’t rain it tipped it down allowing us only 9 holes of enjoyment, but those 9 holes were playable, even in those conditions the greens ran true and stood up to the wet sodden feet trampling across them, the tee boxes were in good condition and the fairways played well.  It is easy to stay and play one golf course, and you would enjoy yourself, but being given some information about alternatives could be just as welcome.  We were given this when we visited Hotel Areias do Sexio just 15 minutes from Dolce Campo Real, a small boutique hotel which prides itself on home grown local food with a twist of sophistication, encapsulating traditional recipes and adding a hint of modern taste to create mouth-watering delights.
That night we stayed in a delightful rooms in Dolce Campo Real overlooking the golf course and comfy bed followed by breakfast the next day.  In fairness I think I need to play it all again and give it the full positive response it deserves in better conditions.
Day two heralded a trip to the popular Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf and Beach Resort, a golf resort known worldwide and it is easy to understand why.  The golf course offers so much variety from Links style golf on the coastline to more parkland feel golf holes, wrestling the wind on some holes and have welcome respite on others.  Top quality greens followed inviting fairways.  A unique blend of all things good in golf followed by a lovely lunch in the clubhouse.
A break from the norm was a trip to Alcobaca a cobbled street village with its monastery standing proud in the centre commanding its well-deserved place in history.  A designated UNESCO site in 1989 built almost 900 years ago it is a fine example of Cistercian architecture in Europe and the largest primitive Gothic church built in Portugal in the Middle Ages. 
It is difficult to visit Portugal and not be greeted by an amazing array of fish dishes, we experienced one such restaurant in Nazaré. Access is from the coastal town by way of a funicular to the top of this unassuming restaurant providing unfussy yet tasty Portuguese fayre.
Our next stop to lay our heads was Bom Sucesso Design Resort, Leisure and Golf.  Simply stunning apartments in this extensive complex where we each had not only square footage beyond all expectations but also had a neat 18 hole golf course on site too.  With some interesting holes to keep you talking in the clubhouse into the small hours of the night and hankering after a replay to better that score.  Holes set high up afford views across this lovely part of the world, enjoy the natural landscape and maximise some great closing holes.
The town of Obidos being a stone’s throw away enables the visiting golfers (and non-golfers) to stroll amongst the intertwined cobbled streets and lose yourself in this romantic walled city.  Known as a literary town, it puts Hay-on-Wye to shame with all embracing approach to ‘study’ areas open to all.  Design being a major element of these ‘libraries’ to ensure a relaxing and welcome break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Don’t be surprised to see a grocery store in the ‘library’ businesses cohabit in harmony to create ‘the feel’.  Sample the Literary Man Hotel for fine food and a gin bar where you will be mixed with a gin ‘cocktail’ to suit your personality – I got a fruity one! 
Staying that night at the Royal Obidos Spa and Golf Resort, the recent winner of the 2016 golf resort of the year by IAGTO, whose interior was voluptuous yet retaining  comfort and welcome to this boutique hotel.  The golf course heralded yet another surprise in golf for the Centro Region allowing views  with a stunning  golf course as the foreground with easy to play fairways and subtle undulating greens to keep you on your toes!
It was sad to leave this relatively unspoilt part of Portugal, which I would recommend to golfers worldwide to come along and relax and to blend into this welcoming region
Golf breaks can be booked with www.redteebreaks.com
sarah@redteebreaks.com

For further information on Flights with TAP, visit www.flytap.com or call 0345 601 0932.  Prices start at £124 return including all taxes and surcharges.

With amazing golf packages to incorporate the four resorts in Centro Region or to extend your stay in Lisbon contact sarah@redteebreaks.com or visit www.redteebreaks.com

Article as appeared in Golf South and Golf North Spring 2016