STAY & PLAY RESORTS
Ever since we started ranking Golf Courses we have been inundated with requests to include factors outside the course itself, but we have resisted as we wanted to focus on the quality of the golf experience. Not every golfer wishes to “stay and play”, but resorts catering to this demographic certainly represent a very important part of our industry, so this year we present our inaugural ranking of these facilities. We’re sure it will cause as much controversy as the course rankings, and that’s a good thing!
Unlike other Resort rankings, we have NOT tried to provide an overall assessment of course and resort combined. We have identified within our overall Top 100 some 40-odd courses that have a fully integrated resort offering on course accommodation, meals and other facilities. Even if the accommodation is separately owned or managed, for inclusion in our list there must be the option to book a “Stay and Play” package.
As with our course rankings, we have aimed for clear criteria and presented individual assessments in each category so that users can decide for themselves whether they are seeking better quality food and beverages or additional non-golf activities.
For simplicity in rankings, we have identified the key elements as:
Accommodation: The quality of the rooms, the range of suite sizes, appointments, room service and in-room facilities; accessibility to golf and dining.
Food and Beverage: Quality, choice and service in restaurants/clubhouse/on course (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Resorts that do not offer full meal service 7 days were penalized, even where there were nearby restaurants.
Other: Quality and range of on site activities - tennis, pool, spa, beach, gym, barbecue, gaming, shopping, walking, fishing etc. For resorts featuring more than 18 holes of golf a small bonus was applied in this category. Services that may be available from nearby providers were NOT considered. Golf practice facilities were NOT rated this year, although we intend to do so in future.
Each element was weighted equally (ie one third of total score for each). Ties were decided by placing the resorts according to their course ranking (best course if more than one).
As this is our inaugural ranking it was not possible for many of our judges to visit and assess a large number of locations throughout the year. Therefore there is less precision and more subjectivity in our results. We hope to gradually improve on this in coming years.
2 SANCTUARY COVE
3 TWIN WATERS
4 ROYAL PINES
7 KOOINDAH WATERS
8 MOONAH LINKS
9 MAGENTA SHORES
11 THE VINES
12 NOOSA SPRINGS
13 HOPE ISLAND
14 SANDS TORQUAY
16 CLUB PELICAN
18 PARADISE PALMS
19eq CYPRESS LAKES
19eq PALM MEADOWS (RADISSON)
21 THIRTEENTH BEACH
23 LAGUNA WHITSUNDAYS
24 MT BROUGHTON
25 BARWON HEADS
26 CAPE SCHANCK
27 LINKS LADY BAY
29 BARNBOUGLE DUNES
30eq EAGLE RIDGE (NEPEAN CC)
30eq ROSEBUD COUNTRY CLUB
33 MURRAY DOWNS
34eq COBRAM BAROOGA
The Cut, WA has recently opened luxury onsite villas with Stay and Play packages but our judges have not had the opportunity to assess for these rankings. The Glades on the Gold Coast no longer offers accommodation packages.
The following Resorts were considered to offer exceptional onsite facilities in accommodation, food and beverage and/or other, but did not have a golf course that ranked in the 2010 Top 100 (The Peninsula Country Golf Club is not classified as a Public Access course, but is highly ranked.)
COUNTRY CLUB TAS
FOREST RESORT CRESWICK
PENINSULA COUNTRY GOLF CLUB
SANCTUARY RESORT WA
Analysis of the Results
Topping our list and separated solely by the rankings of their golf courses are the Hyatt Regency Coolum, Sunshine Coast and the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast.
At Coolum there is a vast range of accommodation options on the sprawling property, with nine swimming pools, a health spa and a private beach.
Guests at Sanctuary Cove not only obtain use of the magnificent hotel amenities including 24 hour room service, the beach lagoon pool, two golf courses and lawn bowls, but also the shopping village and marina that cater to the large number of residents in the gated community.
Each property features a wide range of dining options, tennis and gym facilities and a kids club. Business conferences have choice of indoor or outdoor settings.
The newly refurbished Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast ranked No.3 offers golf packages at the adjacent course so qualifies for our list although the course is separately owned. The resort is set on a lagoon with kayaking, windsurfing and sailing, a day spa, heated swimming pool, and dedicated circus school, kids club and bikes. Dining options include the famous Lily’s on the Lagoon.
In fourth place, another Gold Coast property, RACV Royal Pines Resort offers an exceptional choice of luxury hotel rooms, four restaurants, a world class Angsana Spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, covered tennis courts and a vast convention and conference centre that can accommodate 1800 people. The resort boasts 27 magnificently groomed golf holes.
The Japanese investment boom of the 1980s has certainly endowed Queensland with a wonderful group of world class golf resorts that continue, under new ownership in most cases to attract visitors from the rest of Australia and the world to the Sunshine State.
Top placing outside Queensland went to Joondalup Resort, WA, in Perth’s northern suburbs, at No. 5 edging out the 6th place getter courtesy of course ranking. This well-appointed hotel provides an outdoor lagoon style pool, spa, tennis, gym with health and beauty treatments and a choice of casual or formal dining.
The Sebel Heritage Yarra Valley, Vic, No. 6 offers luxurious boutique hotel accommodation including spa suites. Bella Restaurant features fine local ingredients and there are extensive conference facilities. There’s the choice of two distinctive golf courses, heated indoor pool, gym, tennis, walking tracks and river activities.
At No. 7 Mantra Kooindah Waters Golf & Spa Resort at Wyong, NSW, provides luxurious accommodation and dining, the Endota day spa, sauna, lap and swimming pools, tennis, barbecue and stunning conference and function rooms.
Peppers Moonah Links Resort, Mornington Peninsula, Vic, No. 8 (ahead of the following four place getters by virtue of course rankings only), boasts two immaculately manicured golf courses adjudged the best playing surfaces in the country, great dining, a day spa, swimming and tennis.
9. Quay West Resort Magenta Shores, NSW Central Coast, offers the choice of heated indoor lap pool or outdoor lagoons, Mii Spa with health and beauty treatments, tennis, gym and sauna and alfresco dining.
10. Rydges Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon, Qld, boasts an incredible range of activities including tennis, mini golf, swimming, sailing, spa and sauna, massage and beauty treatments, horse riding and wetland tours as well as two 18 hole golf courses.
11. The Vines Novotel Resort in Perth’s Swan Valley also offers the choice of two championship golf courses, extensive dining options, wedding and conference facilities, tennis, swimming and entertainment.
12. Noosa Springs Resort, Sunshine Coast, features luxury self-contained apartments with tennis, a magnificent $8m health and beauty spa, fitness and conference facilities, a restaurant and bar all alongside the golf course, lake and national park.
Beyond our “Top Dozen” there are 28 more golf resorts from our Top 100 Courses that offer truly integrated Stay and Play packages. Use our judges’ rankings as a starting point only in selecting facilities that meet your accommodation and dining requirements, or provide those special extra guest amenities to complement the golfing aspect of your stay. Our comprehensive Stay and Play listing provides the detailed information and pricing to guide your final choice and ensure that it is within your budget. The savings available to Guide users may just entice you to stay an extra day or two!