- Girona Golf = pleasure x (5G force)
Internationally renowned as a vacation area, Costa Brava offers destinations for sightseeing, Catalonian cuisine and some of the finest golfing in Europe. One of the best golf clubs in this golf lover's paradise is Golf Girona.
They say that one of the keys to success is location, location, location. Golf Girona enjoys a privileged location being only 4 km from the city of Girona, about an hour's drive from Barcelona to the south and the Pyrenees and France to the north.
Golf Girona was designed by the esteemed F.G. Hawtree, founder of Hawtree Ltd. Hawtree Ltd. latest project was the Trump International Golf Links in Scotland. F.G. thought that Girona Golf was one of his best creations. The standards of Hawtree have been kept up because of careful maintenance and is the only course in Spain sown entirely with Penncross grass, the highest quality grass for golf. Like most Hawtree designs, the course is laid out perfectly to the terrain.
As the golf course meanders between the valley and hills, you get the sense that you are the only group on the course. These hills also form a perfect windbreak on ultra-windy days.
My visit to Girona Golf was one of those good news/bad news days. First, the bad news. The tourist board will probably frown, but it has to be said. It poured rain, as in buckets. When it wasn't pouring, it drizzled. That's the bad news.
The good news was that I did go out and play and the course held up absolutely amazingly. There was no standing water anywhere on the fairways and greens. Once I was in the swing of keeping my clubs and I dry, the round was as pleasant as playing in the rain can be. A tip of the hat to Hawtree's design and the outstanding maintenance work of the Girona Golf crew.
Our hosts wanted me to tell people that there are five "G's" that they think will help you to remember what Girona Golf is all about. They are Girona, Golf Girona, Grande, Gourmet and Good Service. I can vouch for all five:
Girona is a lovely city and carries a history that dates back to the Greeks.
Golf Girona, despite the weather, was a scenic and challenging golf course. It deserves the reputation that it has in Spain.
Grande, can mean large, as in the clubhouse that is over 32,000 square feet. Built from natural stone and glass. It contains meeting rooms, comfortable common areas, restaurant, snack bar and pro shop. Girona Golf also has a full size children's play room.
Gourmet goes without saying. Catalonian cooking is renowned around the world. It would be hard to find a less than delicious meal in this area and you won't find one of those at Golf Girona. Every bite I took from the chefs at Golf Girona was passion on my palate.
Finally, the fifth "G" stands for Good Service, as it should. Every one from the receptionist to the waiter to the grounds crew makes sure you are recognized and well taken care of.
No matter that the rain was coming down, because the five "G"s more than compensated for the weather. As a matter of fact, you might say I came away from Golf Girona in a warm and sunny mood. Make a stop and experience what five "G"s will do for you.
- Comfort and Convenience in the Heart of Costa Brava
If you're planning a trip to Costa Brava with the family or, like me, a golfing group, I have a suggestion for lodging that strikes the right balance between hotel amenities with apartment convenience. You should try the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol in Platja d'Aro, Costa Brava.
After a day of golf, my golfing buddies and I pulled into the parking lot of what looked like a private apartment complex. After getting our room keys, we parked our car in a secure underground parking space. Using the elevator, it was easy to get the gear up to our rooms.
The rooms at Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol are divided into two types, 2 to 4 guests and 4 to 6 guests. We were staying in the smaller suites, which were a modern and clean double rooms and came with:
• A living room with two sofa beds.
• Fully equipped kitchen
• Bathroom with shower, towels and hairdryer.
• Television LCD 32" with TV Satellite Channels
• Air conditioning and heating.
• Telephone with Internet access.
Perfect for this bunch of golfers. The included washer and dryer were especially welcome.
If you're traveling with children, I recommend the larger room. It will be welcome relief for Mom & Dad, after a day of sightseeing or enjoying the beach, to know that the kids are in one bedroom while the two of you can have some privacy in the other sleeping on a kingsize bed.
While the apartments are convenient, did we mention that the hotel-type amenities are four star quality. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet style and you csn choose from either indoor or outdoor seating. If you have children, buffets are perfect as they can choose what they like, rather than trying to pick out their meals from an adult menu.
There is so much to do on the grounds, that you may skip the itinerary and stay right at the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol. You can get a relaxing massage or loosen up in the sauna and steam bath. You can work off that great buffet in the gym or in the sparkling swimming pools, while the kids have a large and fully equipped play ground to call their own. When I walked to have breakfast, I saw a Tai Chi class serenely enjoying the peace and quiet in the morning sun.
I mentioned I was on a golf adventure with some friends. We chose Plato d'Aro to stay because there are nine great Costa Brava golf courses in the area, none further than one hour away. The classic Club de Golf d'Aro is only 2km away. Located on the top of a 300 meter rise, it is a challenging, excellently maintained golf course offering views of the sea and the Pyrenees Mountains.
Platja d'Aro is situated in the center of the Costa Brava. Plato d'Aro offers you shops and restaurants for your pleasure. Remember that Catalonian cuisine is considered some of the best in the world. It will be hard for you to find a bad restaurant any where in Costa Brava. The Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol is only 110 km from Barcelona and 35 km to the colorful and historic city of Girona. Other points of interest are Pals, Peratallada, Ampuries and the Dali Museum in Figueres, all within easy reach.
We haven't forgotten about the wonderful beaches in Costa Brava. Staying at the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol puts the swimming and sun bathing at the beach only 200 meters away from your front door. You should make plans to drive along the coast of Costa Brava. There are so many beaches with large sandy streches or hidden coves. Whatever kind of beach is your pleasure, you'll find it in Costa Brava.
Whether it's the beaches, golf, sightseeing or enjoying the fine wines and cuisine of Catalonia, the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol is in the heart of it all. You'll be glad you chose the Aparthotel Ciutat de Palol.
For bookings or further information:
Tel +34 972 82 81 80
- mas Mauri Means Much More
It’s a real pleasure to be driven around the countryside by a local resident who knows how to get to where you want to go. While he drives, you can sit back and enjoy the view and have a conversation with your fellow traveler. It really is a fine way to take a trip.
However, with all the traffic circles and the two lane roads that are treated like highways that are in Catalonia, this traveler had a little difficulty orienting himself as to direction wondering where I was and where I was going.
You can imagine my misgivings when we turned off the highway onto an unpaved road and then, with another turn, were driving up a narrower lane coming to a stop in front of a large metal gate. Little did I know that was about to enter a combination of local history mixed with modern conveniences and some warm Catalonian hospitality.
Mas Mauri is the vision of Ramon Raventos, a lifelong resident of the area. When Ramon retired from his business, mas Mauri became his family home. When the children grew and went their ways, Ramon, who is a true raconteur and avid golfer, came up with the idea of combining those two characteristics, and offer golf groups all the comforts of home. In this case, a 1600s Catalonian country house.
Masia mas Mauri was built in the seventeenth century, the first house built outside the walls of the neighboring town. During this period there were many raids on the coastline and inland by Barbary corsairs, looting the area and capturing citizens to be sold as slaves to the pashas of the Middle East. The make up of the construction bears witness to those times. The house is constructed with traditional rock-stones. The thick walls keep the house cool during the warm Catalan summer and warm during winter. It faces south with plenty of sun all day long.
With stunning views over the Empordà Valley, the Gavarres Hills and the Pyrenean Mountains, staying at mas Mauri will make your holiday a memorable one. The house has central heating and several fireplaces. It sits on six acres of property, surrounded by the local countryside. Situated 1 km outside the charming little village of Regencós and it is 2 km from traditional Begur. Due to its wonderful coves and beaches, Begur, a town of 4,000 people can swell to 40,000 during the summer.
Mas Mauri has a large garden overlooking the valley towards the hills and a covered outdoor dining area with built-in BBQ where, on this night, Ramon whipped up his famous paella for us. There is a large, clean and sparkling pool (12 m x 6 m) with a teak solarium and, perfect for Nordic guests, a sauna that can be used upon request. There is also covered parking for up to seven cars.
The food of Catalan merits some words, as some consider it the best cooking in the world. I never argue on that point, so, thankfully, every day at breakfast time, you can choose from several restaurant menus in the area and Ramon, or his daughter, Lillia will give you tips to eat at the right place for dinner.
Nobody in Costa Brava would expect a good dinner without a good wine. Mas Mauri will provide a small bus with a driver to take you to dinner and drop you safely back home. This bonus is offered to our party guests as a courtesy. As we said, Ramon knows golfers.
Settling in, I explored the home’s interior. Mas Mauri’s interior is built entirely of rock stones and is well insulated. The spacious interior allows you to enjoy several fireplaces and the under floor central heating is a welcome luxury, keeping your feet warm during any midnight prowls There are two large living-rooms with TV. One has a 52” screen and 800 satellite channels, and the other is equipped with Spanish channels and DVD. There is a display of the rods and reels that Ramon used during the ten years he spent as a charter boat captain, specializing in giant tuna. If you are so inclined, you also can use the fully equipped kitchen.
The home has seven appealing and spacious double bedrooms for up to 16 people. All have a private on-suite bathroom and ceiling fan and two bedrooms are arranged for families to stay. There’s also a billiards table and a futbolí (fussbol) to keep that competitive edge sharp. You can’t help thinking how I appreciated the classic architecture of this old Catalan farm house.
Mas Mauri Golf is perfect for golfers. Four of the best courses are within a 10 minute drive and six more, including the world renowned Catalunya PGA Resort, are within 40 minutes by car. Ramón Raventos, your host, is a founding member of Empordà Golf Club and Platja de Pals Golf Club. That means he has the best connections to all golf courses in the area and can negotiate the very best green fee prices.
If you are very lucky, as we were this night, you’ll be able to sit around the dinner table, enjoying your favorite nightcap, and listen to Ramon regale you with his stories of the house, his family, fishing, golfing, well...you get the point. Ramon is a storyteller of the first degree and that the tales are of his life makes them all the better. As we sat there, mesmerized, I looked over to his grown daughter, Lillia. She has heard all these stories many, many times, yet the slight smile and the twinkle in her eye told of her love and admiration for her “Papi.” It was proven to me on this special night why staying in mas Mauri is so marvelous. There is no better place to take strangers and make them feel like family. In this case, a member of the extended Raventos family.
To paraphrase their slogan, you will be living in a paradise while playing the best golf courses in Catalonia.
For more information on rates and availability, visit their website at: www.masmaurigolf.com.
You can also call at +34 609 90 43 52. Tell them Gene from Stockholm sent you.