When it comes to naming their golf courses, many Portuguese developers don’t make much of an effort. They tend to say what they see and it goes down on the deeds – Pinheiros Altos (tall pines), Boavista (nice view) and Monte Rei (er, King of the Hill?) to name but a few.
Thankfully, the people building the golf club at Quinta do Lago on the Algarve looked up and saw a beautiful lake, not a sewage pipe!
Quinta do Lago South Course – The scene of Colin Montgomerie’s maiden professional win.
This exclusive golf and residential estate of nearly 2,000 acres borders the Atlantic Ocean and the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Park. It’s a striking setting, adorned with copious lush greenery, native umbrella pines and tranquil lakes, and the three championship golf courses certainly live up to their surroundings. The three stunning layouts at Quinta do Lago Golf Club are among the very best not just in Portugal, but in the whole of Europe and they blend seamlessly with a precession of grand private villas and a superb range of accommodation options, making Quinta do Lago the go to destination for those who want to sample the very best the Algarve has to offer.
To play golf at Quinta do Lago is an absolute joy thanks to the three top class golf courses, The North, South and Laranjal. Each course has been designed in harmony with its natural environment and expertly tweaked by master designers to ensure the quality of the courses is without question. The South Course for instance, has had the privilege of hosting the Portuguese Open on no less than eight occasions with past champions of the highest order including a young Colin Montgomerie who secured his maiden professional title here.
Quinta do Lago North Course – A stern test but not one that will leave golfers overawed.
Perhaps the best thing about the three courses at Quinta do Lago is that each layout offers a different, yet equally enthralling challenge to the last. While all three can boast firm, sandy fairways akin to the great heathland courses of the Surrey sandbelt, as well as slick and true putting surfaces that are among the finest in Portugal, each layout will test a different facet of your game.
The South Course, a course that enjoys a perennial position on lists of the Top 100 golf courses in Europe, is certainly a stiff test, even for low handicap players, with strategically positioned bunkers, threatening water and severely sloping greens. The course is demanding, but should not overawe the average golfer, and with superb views on a number of outstanding holes is a fantastic place to enjoy a round of golf.
Quinta do Lago Laranjal Course – Voted Number 1 in the Algarve in 2011.
The North is similar in style to the magnificent South but is a good deal shorter meaning shots are more likely to be dropped or gained on and around the greens. Highlights on the North include a number of tricky dog-leg holes, while this course is most renowned for its par-5s, particularly the closing hole, which demands a fine drive over water and between the encroaching fairway bunkers. All in all the North will allow higher handicappers to enjoy a similar experience to that found on the South without worrying about being out of their depth.
The latest championship course at Quinta do Lago, the Laranjal, has been carved out of a former orangery and perfectly complements its older siblings. The scenic location is complemented by the beautiful features of the course. Umbrella pines, cork oaks, orange trees and no less than five lakes make the Laranjal one of the most picturesque offerings in the whole of the Algarve. In fact, the Laranjal was voted the best golf course in the Algarve in 2011.
All courses boast first class facilities including driving ranges, a Paul McGinley Golf Academy, putting greens, pro-shops and luxurious clubhouses, each of which features a large terrace – the perfect setting to relax and mull over the day’s events, to toast the victor or, console the vanquished!
Tree lined fairways, gleaming white sandy bunkers and verdant, rolling terrain are common features of all three Quinta do Lago golf courses.
But what of the accommodation?
There are a number of excellent accommodation options that are ideally suited to golfers visiting Quinta do Lago on or around this magnificent estate. Nearby hotels include the Dom Pedro Marina and the 5* Pestana Vila Sol, both located in Vilamoura, one of the most popular destinations in Europe for travelling golfers. Those who opt for accommodation in Vilamoura will also benefit from free transfers to and from the golf courses.
Perhaps the best of the lot though are the 5* Monte da Quinta Club and the 4* Monte da Quinta Suites, townhouses and villas. Ranging from one bedroom suites to grand 5* villas, these units all feature private gardens and a plunge pool or swimming pool. Best of all, they offer exceptional value for money and those who book 30 days prior to travelling between October 1st-30th will also receive a free welcome dinner at the Bamboo Restaurant at the Monte da Quinta Suites!
Monte da Quinta Club
Specifically designed to maximise both comfort and convenience, the units feature a washing machine, satellite television, Playstation, internet access, hi-fi system, telephone and air-conditioning throughout. The accommodations also feature fully-equipped kitchens which allow guests to enjoy meals in the comfort and privacy of their home away from home. While the thought of enjoying an evening meal in the cosy surrounds of your private accommodation, there are also a number of fantastic restaurants dotted around the estate which are sure to satisfy anyone’s tastes should they decide to venture out to enjoy a top class meal.
Variety, quality, service, atmosphere and fresh, locally sourced ingredients are all fundamental parts of the dining experience at Quinta do Lago. Located by the sea, expect to sample some of the finest seafood and spectacular views from a handful of restaurants. There are restaurants to suit every mood, taste and occasion and regardless of your choice, you can be assured of a meal to remember.
Recommended restaurants include Caso do Lago which is beautifully situated overlooking the lakes of the Ria Formosa Nature Park. An informal atmosphere and casual dress code makes it ideal for golfers to unwind after a round on one of the championship courses. A refreshing walk along the adjacent golden beeches is the perfect way to round of the day.
Monte da Quinta Suites
Guests can also enjoy a casual meal at any time of the day at the new Koko Lane Bistro, outstanding seafood at GiGi’s and top class French and Mediterranean cuisine at Casa Velha – this is the perfect place to head for a special evening meal.
More active travellers can also enjoy windsurfing on the private lake, horse riding, tennis, cycling, clay pigeon shooting, deep sea fishing, waterskiing, sailing and canoeing…plenty to keep you entertained and energized during your time away from the golf course!
All things considered, there are few resorts in Portugal, or anywhere else for that matter, that can offer such a complete package as Quinta do Lago. There may be other developments like Quinta do Lago on the Algarve, but this place has special qualities; the Augusta-like aura of the courses, the elegant and varied accommodation options and a rare and welcome sense of isolation.
In short, the ‘Estate of the Lake’ makes you feel special. We love it, and so will you.
The resident golf geek at Your Golf Travel. Have been lucky enough to have travelled far and wide playing golf and if I’m not writing about it at work, you will probably find me hacking it around my local course. Owner of 2 holes in one and some of the most crooked drives you have ever seen!