On the island of Sicily, a short flight from Rome is a golf resort that feels like home away from home. Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa boasts two outstanding championship courses – the Gary Player Signature, “Parkland” and the “Links” by famed Italian architect Franco Piras. Gary Player carved the natural flowing hillsides and incorporated native grasses for a resort friendly golf offering. Wide fairways and deep bunkers contrast with uphill blind shots over wooded areas to challenge the best of players. The course meanders near and around the massive complex of the resort with views from some of the patios, restaurants and spa. The finishing holes of both nines have dramatic elevation changes with water and creeks adding to the excitement. The Links course is a veritable moonscape by comparison. Breathtaking scenery atop the varied high hills surrounded by deep valleys present commanding views from tee boxes as you traverse the course. A prevailing ocean wind can be friend or foe depending on the direction of your fairway. No tree lines here but sporadically in the fairways, as on 18, a lollipop tree is a focal and strategic point. High grasses and large lakes punctuate the natural pageantry of Southern Sicily. Your entertainment begins in the valley with an opening salvo on a par 5 guarded by the rock-lined lake that serves as both irrigation and obstacle. You climb to the top of the hills only to descend to the valleys as the journey continues toward the ocean and brings you back to the sanctuary of the clubhouse. It is one of the finest golf venues in Sicily and a nominee for 2014 Course of the Year for Italy. We vote yes!
Guy Roberts, our host, shared that the resort had not been heavily advertised to the American market yet. Building upon the success of the U.K. and European markets with the due diligence of producing a world-class resort, he is concerned that the infancy of the resort courses would not meet expectations from the fickle and demanding U.S. market. We can attest that the resort exceeded our expectations in every way.
Levels of sophistication and tastes vary in their gastronomically excellent restaurants. The upscale Irene with white tablecloths features succulent fresh surf and turf entrees paired with a fine Sicilian wine list and delectable deserts. The Wine Bar is a more casual setting with a glass top floor revealing the original presses and workings of a winery. Small intimate dinners or large gatherings of up to 40 can be accommodated. The 19th hole is host for lunch and dinners with plush outdoor seating and gallery view of the Player course. The day begins well with a very elaborate breakfast buffet to be enjoyed inside or on the patio. Service is superb throughout.
The entire grounds are a canvas of landscape artistry. Each of the 202 rooms is well appointed with adjoining private garden patios. The expansive pool offers views of the golf course and hillsides. The spa and health club has all the amenities one would expect in a 5 star venue.
Located just 15 minutes from Comiso airport the beautiful area of Donnafugata is a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle, which bears the same name. A number of fantastic historical cities are nearby for touring including Val di Noto, the heart of Sicilian baroque; Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status. A shuttle service is available for transporting to the new Randello Nature Reserve for an exclusive beach experience with sun-shaded stations amid natural dunes and landscaping. Seaside activities and dining abound. The whole island of Sicily begs exploration for the historical and natural sites, including the active Mt. Etna volcano, still spewing smoke and more on occasion. The concierge in the Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa lobby is well versed in all island options to deliver a custom Sicilian itinerary. Sicily is sizzling with culture, history, gastronomy, archeology and beaches with Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa serving as an ideal luxury hub. For more information on or to book a stay, visit www.donnafugatagolfresort.com.