Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Hidden among the sun-kissed rolling hills and vineyards of Provence near the picturesque village of Tourrettes, lies the luxurious five-star golf resort of Terre Blanche. Less than an hour from Nice and the stunning coastline of the Cote d’Azur, this magnificent resort, boasting two championship level courses and a state-of-the-art academy, is one of the world’s most prestigious destinations for golf lovers.
The two courses, Le Château and Le Riou, have been woven seamlessly into the natural Provencal topography. The 115 suites and villas which make up the hotel are equally at one with their surroundings, cascading down a wooded hillside overlooking the local countryside and neighbouring hamlets.
With an All Square rating of the 7th best golf course in France, Le Chateau is a true test of golf and in immaculate condition as you would expect from a championship level venue. Architect Dave Thomas has skilfully capitalised on the existing valleys and lakes of this magnificent site, and his trademark jagged-edge bunkers and spectacular water hazards feature on both 18-hole courses. The 7,235-yard Le Chateau is the more demanding and prestigious and staged the French Riviera Masters’, a Senior European Tour championship, between 2010-15.
The holes are threaded over rolling terrain, with tree-lined fairways and visually welcoming, but testing greens. The signature hole is perhaps the Par 5 11th with its elevated mountain-view tee and downhill canyon fairway with smartly placed bunkers in the landing zone. Another standout is the 3rd , a 440 yard par 4 which turns left around the lake which also hugs the 5th and 6th before opening up to a stunning tree-lined green. The 18th provides glorious views of the local villages and ensures this course sticks in the memory.
Less demanding than Le Chateau, but arguably more playable and enjoyable for a wider range of handicaps, is her little sibling. At 6,567 yards, Le Riou is around 700 yards shorter and rewards strategy and imagination. The course, exclusively reserved for hotel residents, club members and their guests, is a technical challenge that features steep fairways and rolling greens. Each year it hosts the Terre Blanche Ladies Open, stage one of the Ladies European Tour Access Series.
There are some fun risk and reward holes, like the downhill, dogleg par four 7th where longer hitters can cut the corner with a driver or take an iron to the corner for safety. Both the 9th and 18th are tricky finishing holes to the front and back nines, both with water lurking down the right.
Golfers can also visit The Terre Blanche Golf Academy. Open throughout the year, it offers coaching to all age and ability levels. The Biomecaswing Centreis also available to guests, where every aspect of your swing can be analysed using biomechanics and the latest video technology.
The service and wealth of facilities at this five-star hotel are hard to beat. There are 115 suites and villas, ranging from 60-300 square metres, all with terraces. They are spread out in independent country houses on the hillside with views of the local medieval villages. The rooms are finished with natural wood and stone with chic furniture and en suite bathrooms, and are fully equipped with internet access and satellite television. There are four pools including a stunning 600m infinity pool with panoramic views, and an outdoor bar area. Younger guests can play games or learn to swim in the Kids’ Club children’s pool.
The Spa at Terre Blanche is set within a large villa with open spaces and warm interior design to make you instantly feel at ease. There are 14 massageand treatment rooms, a whirlpool bath, steam shower and an outdoor terrace to catch some sun after a treatment. The outdoor vitality pool is lovely to relax in with a drink, and there’s an indoor pool, bathed in natural light and heated to 28°C. If you fancy a workout, the well-equipped gym offers Aquagym, Aquabike, Body Sculpt, yoga and Pilates classes. There are also 2 outdoor tennis courts
Like Provence itself, Terre Blanche is a food lovers’ paradise. There is something for everyone with light lunches at Les Caroubiers with a view over the golf course, Michelin-starred dining on the terrace at Le Faventia overlooking the local hills, the stylish Gaudina with its brasserie ambiance, and poolside meals at Le Tousco. Le Pitchoun caters just for children and, in summer, Le Patio is perfect for family meals.
Open whenever the 5-star hotel is, the Kids Club is for children from 2 to 12 years old and offers a range of creative classes, opportunities to explore, shows, games and other organised activities.
Book your weekend stay at Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort***** at the best rates with All Square.