The big trip

Anantara Vilamoura: live like a master, play golf like a pro

Hone your skills and explore the Algarve from this five-star golf resort

Within 20 minutes of settling in to my new golf swing it felt like I had finally achieved my goal: the ball was flying straight - not far - but straight nonetheless. This was a major victory for a golf obsessive who is more comfortable reporting about the sport than actually playing it.

So, what had brought about my (slight) improvement on the driving range? Here’s my answer: tips, tricks and plenty of patience from my coach Tomas Carlota, the “golf guru” from the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort in Portugal.

While some of the best European Tour golfers were battling it out for the Portugal Masters title last month, I was hitting the driving range just trying to master the basics of the sport.

Luckily for Carlota he had seen it all before. From my poor stance to the general shoddy way I handle my clubs, it really was going to take a “guru” to sort this mess out.

But within two hours, not only was Carlota able to straighten my stance and get me hitting the ball well, I also walked away wondering when my next tee time would be?

Conveniently, the next tee was never far away, given I was staying at the five-star Anantara Vilamoura. Located 20 minutes from Faro airport, the hotel is a great base for golfers looking to explore the Algarve’s 30-odd courses.

As the hotel’s appointed trainer, Carlota can not only offer guests lessons or a round of golf, his team can also arrange tee times and free shuttles to local courses.

All this happens from the hotel’s “Anantara Golfer’s Lounge” - a new facility with a golf concierge desk, changing rooms and access to the Arnold Palmer-designed Oceanico Victoria golf course (owned by Dom Pedro Golf). In the lounge you will also see the hotel’s “wall of fame” with pictures of all the past Portugal Masters winners.

For the non-golfers the hotel has plenty of other activities to offer, including many dining options and leisure facilities. Active guests can enjoy tennis, the swimming pools or the fitness centre, while for people wanting a more relaxing stay there’s the spa, poolside bars and the three restaurants - Victoria, Ria and Emo. There’s also great facilities for families, kids and adults alike.

As well as Tomas, the hotel also two other “gurus” - one for wine and one for guests' general experience.

If you enjoy a drop, then a trip to Emo restaurant should be on your checklist. With more than 400 options on its wine list, the hotel’s sommelier can match anything on the Emo food menu with your preferred tipple.

In the hotel’s other two main restaurants, Victoria offers breakfast and dinner buffets while the poolside Ria restaurant offers amazing seafood dishes straight to your lounger or at a table inside.

Rebranded and reopened in April this year, the Anantara Vilamoura is the Asian company’s first property in Europe.

While the firm has Asia at its roots, one of the defining factors of each Anantara hotel is its nod to the local area. In Vilamoura, the Anantara has Portuguese flavours and art throughout the hotel, while Asian touches include its own tuk-tuk tours from directly outside the hotel lobby.

Golf is no doubt a global game, but the Algarve’s great courses mean the sport is as important to the region as the local crafts, arts, cuisine and wines.  

With a stay at Anantara Vilamoura you can enjoy everything the Algarve has to offer. Even if you are not a master of the golf course.

Nightly rates start from €255 (£218) in a deluxe double room for two persons on a bed and breakfast basis with VAT included.

Anantara Vilamoura, Av. dos Descobrimentos, 8125-309 Vilamoura; vilamoura.anantara.com 

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