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LUXURY RESORT: Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, Ragusa, Sicily, ITALY

Style : A mix of modern interiors, traditional exteriors
Scene: Golf veterans and beginners, Spa veterans and beginners.

Seen  in the Lobby: Beautiful orchids, stunning chandeliers and golf bags.

As we made our way along the road through the Sicilian countryside and approached the resort I felt like I should have been visiting a member of the Italian aristocracy - there is something very romantic about the architecture. Instead I was approaching Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa which has preserved the beautiful original features of the noble Donnafugata estate.
Once through the front doors however it is clear that we have entered a luxury resort. The interior of the large lobby is bright and bold and it beautifully blends modern with the old exterior. It probably shouldn't work but it really does.
One of the things The Luxury Travel Bible loved about the decor was the mix of modern, vibrant colours (purple in the lobby, red in the bar, green in the Club House) juxtaposed against the traditional stonework.

swimming pool
swimming pool
club house

Golfers will always be drawn here for the golf courses which the resort prides itself on. Two 18-hole championship courses are, according to my golfing source, 'challenging yet enjoyable and very beautiful to play'. The resort has its own golf academy offers beginners and experienced players coaching, advice and an understanding of golf psychology and a golf pro-shop and equipment hire.

However, as TLTB found there was much to draw non-golfers to this 5 star hotel.

After evening drinks and taking in the views on the patio deck outside the Club House we were driven along to our rooms in golf buggies (of course), although the layout of the resort means everything is within a couple of minutes walking distance.

My room had views over the grounds and towards the golf course and was bright, clean and spacious. In total the resort has 202 rooms which include 10 Suites and 192 Deluxe, Superior and Classic rooms. Every room either has a patio or balcony which are lovely to sit out in the sun in the peace and quiet of the Italian countryside.

The bathroom was massive. After the long journey, and to relax before dinner I decided to have a bath. I literally sank into the bubbles and it was lovely to be able to have the music playing on the TV streamed through the speakers.

For internet access in the room you do need to pay (ahhh, when will hotels learn) however, Wi-Fi internet access is available in public areas and is free for the first 30 minutes.

The resort's Executive Chef Salvatore Pullara hails from Sicily and is passionate about making use of the area's abundance of quality ingredients and culinary traditions.

The fine dining restaurant Il Carrubo serves a delicious blend of local Sicilian cuisine with traditional Mediterranean dishes whereas the Club House serves simpler food, more suited to golfers needing a quick refuel. Pace yourself as you will still want plenty of room for dessert.

The hotel's Wine Bar is on the site of the original Palmento and now acts as the hotel's wine celler. The Palmento was the original place for winemaking during the time of the Greek and the Roman Empires. Once again the hotel has blended modern style beautifully with tradition and history. Set underground the decor of old wine barrels, boxes and stonework creates a cosy atmosphere for a pre-dinner drink or a wine tasting session to try some of the local wine.

The (male) golfers in our party were initially wary of the spa but vowed to venture off the golf course and try it out.

The resort's cool and calming Spa is big and features six treatment rooms.   Treatments available are based on the award-winning CULTI concept and there are treatments available specially designed to suite golfers' needs. As well as the Sauna, Hammam, two (inside and outside) swimming pools, relaxation area and hydromassage the spa also has a well equipped gym specifically devoted to golfer fitness for the truly dedicated.

I was told that each of the treatment rooms overlooks the Sicilian scenery. Although I was so zoned out of everything during my relaxing massage for all that I knew a herd of wildebeest could have been roaming outside and I was none the wiser.

The (male) golfers in our party were initially wary of the spa but vowed to venture off the golf course and try it out. After a few moments they had relaxed into it like pros and were quite happy in their white fluffy robes, eating fruit, sipping herbal tea and lounging by the pool.

The resort also owns a Private Beach and Beach Club. It felt very glamorous to be lazing on the sun loungers on our private deck sipping champagne. The town is a very short walk from the beach club and while it is touristy there is no getting away from the fact that some of the best Gelato around is available in the shops - it tasted beautiful in the Sicilian sun.

 Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa has something that will keep everyone entertained. And me? After my beginners golf lesson at Donnafugata it seems I have also been bitten by the golfing bug ... but thankfully, the relaxing spa and amazing treatment reminded that I still love them too. Something tells me that other guests will also realise a holiday here can encompass the two.

Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa is an initiative of Sotogrande.  

Check in: CONTRADA PIOMBO. 97100 Ragusa (Italy)
Ultimate Luxury:  A one-on-one golf lesson from the golf pro, you'll be playing like Rory McIlroy in no time.
Insider Secrets: One of the Donnafugata golf courses was designed by golfing champion and legend Gary Player. The resort hosted the first Sicilian Open in 2011.
The Little Things: Delicious little cakes left beside the bed each night.
Dress code: Golf gear acceptable in the day, casual chic for the evenings.
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Resorts Link: www.nh-hotels.com www.donnafugatagolfresort.com


How to get there

Alitalia operates flights from London Heathrow and London City Airports to Catania via Milan Linate and Rome and flights from Glasgow via Amsterdam and Rome. www.alitalia.com/

Transfer from Catania International airport to Donnafugata Resort and Spa is 1 hour, 20 minutes by car. Airport and helicopter transfers are available on request.
Sarah Bryans 6/9/11
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