PGA Catalunya Resort is situated in the northeast corner of Spain on the Costa Brava, a mere 7 kilometres from Girona-Costa Brava airport, which is served by airlines such as Ryanair, Jet2, Thomas Cook, TUI Airways and Transavia. The city of Girona lies a short 20-minute drive away, and it’s a place well worth exploring both to discover the history behind the modern day city and to sample the Catalan culture and Michelin-starred restaurants it offers.
There are a few different accommodation options available at the PGA Catalunya Resort, starting with a range of exclusive rental properties where guests can choose to stay in a luxury apartment, a semi-detached home, a townhouse or villa.
The 5-star Hotel Camiral has a total of 145 rooms, including 9 suites which overlook the golf courses, the swimming pool or gardens, with each apartment offering a perfect blend of comfort, space and design. Every painting, every fabric and texture has been carefully chosen by interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán and his sympathetic touch is clear to see in many of the little details around the hotel.
Some of the rooms are interconnecting, allowing families to move freely from one living space to another, so everybody can feel right at home. Egyptian cotton linens, superior mattresses and a selection of pillows ensure a deep, restful night’s sleep in twin-size or King size beds. Bathrooms are modern and spacious, finished in oak wood flooring, hand-painted tiling and pristine white fittings. A large bath and oversized shower come as standard, along with thick cotton towels and robes.
Superior deluxe rooms are furnished with full-length windows and a private terrace, an executive work desk and large sitting area with specially designed chairs and sofas. These rooms (approximately 32m² with 6m² of balcony) have no connecting doors for extra privacy. Deluxe rooms are actually slightly larger with a 34m² area and they’re specified to a similar standard with climate control, minibar, 37-inch television, interactive in-room entertainment system, mood lighting and Illy coffee machine.
There are several light and airy suite alternatives: Duplex Suites are laid out on two levels (with fantastic floor to ceiling windows) as are the Duplex Superior Suites which also have a private balcony. Four one-bedroomed Junior Suites are located on the first and second floor of exterior wings and these are decorated in soothing tones, where guests have more than enough room to relax in open plan lounge areas. The Presidential Suite is located on the first floor, enjoying fantastic vistas across the Tour course to the Pyrenees, and it boasts two bedrooms and bathrooms, a spacious sitting room and dining room within a massive 154m² space, along with a private terrace that extends to 42m².Opened on 1st April 2018, LAVIDA Hotel is a smart and convenient gateway for golf and activity enthusiasts looking to discover the natural beauty of the local area through offerings including golf, cycling, hiking, trekking, horse-riding trails, boat trips and gastronomy or walking tours of nearby historic Girona. The fifty twin-bedded rooms feature sweeping golf course views from private balconies, top-quality beds and amenities, modern design details and bespoke golf club storage. Bathroom amenities are provided by Lavar, a new Irish brand which is working exclusively with the hotel.
Hotel Camiral’s 1477 Restaurant – named after the year that the first Catalan recipe book was launched – showcases the best ingredients from local food producers under the watchful eye of Barcelona-born head chef Ramon Simarro, who has worked in several Michelin-starred establishments during his career.
Buffet breakfast spreads offer a choice of artisan breads, local cheeses and “eggs any style” whilst family lunches at the weekend are selected from a special menu and there are children’s activities and a live DJ on hand to keep everybody in a relaxed, non-school day mood.
Dinner is more refined, obviously, but not too formal. Starters include the chef’s favourite dish, Creamy Rice with Palamós Prawns – a modern interpretation of a traditional dish – and main courses are mainly meat or fish-orientated dishes, focused on the likes of lamb, suckling pig, monkfish or seabass.
Breakfast service in the 1477 Restaurant is available weekdays from 07.00 until 10.30 and it stays open an extra half an hour on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. It’s closed for lunch on weekdays but open at the weekend from 13.00 to 15.30. Dinner is served every day from 19.00 until 22.30 except Friday and Saturday when the closing time is 23.00.
The Library Lounge Bar is open from 10.30 until 01.00 the following morning and there’s food on offer every day until 22.30, except Friday and Saturday when you can eat until 23.00. There’s an array of tapas, salads and sandwiches to choose from or perhaps something more substantial like a burger or thai curry.
Opening hours for the Pool Bar are daily from 11.00 to 18.00 and it serves salads, sandwiches, pizzas and wraps, whilst the recently refurbished Club Café in the clubhouse has a more extensive menu available from 07.30 to 19.00 every day.
The brand new Bella's restaurant in the LAVIDA hotel serves authentic Italian food in a contemporary, relaxed setting and the Mediterranean-inspired menu is based on rustic Italian pizzas, seasonal oven-cooked dishes, antipasti and daily specials.
Girona is one of the most interesting cities in Catalonia and its development over more than two millennia can be traced through close examination of its old fortified enclosures, beginning with the Força Vella, built in the first century BC by the Romans. Within this compound, The Cathedral was built between the 11th and 18th centuries and its Gothic knave of 23 metres is reckoned to be the widest of its kind in the world.
The Costa Brava beaches and coves – like Sa Riera, Sa Tuna and Aiguablava in Begur, or Tamariu, Llafranc and Calella in Palafrugell – are all within striking distance from the PGA Catalunya Resort and they’re the ideal venue for an energetic day of water sports or perhaps a relaxing day of sea fishing.
Salvador Dalí is one of the region's most famous people and the legacy of this great artist can be admired by visiting what’s called Dalí Triangle: the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, housing an important collection of surrealist art as well as the artist’s grave; the Salvador Dalí House-Museum, his home in Portlligat where some of his work and personal belongings remain; and the Gala Dalí House-Museum in Púbol.The Girona Pyrenees are close at hand and the PGA Catalunya Resort is a great base for taking in its spectacular scenery, visiting lovely little villages like Besalu, Ripoll and Castellfollit de la Roca or La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park and the Fageda d'en Jorda forest. There are also fabulous ski resorts close by at La Molina, Masella, Vallter 2000 and Vall de Núria for the more active visitor to explore in the winter.
The wellness area in Hotel Camiral is well equipped with a warm hydrotherapy pool that has body and foot jets and a geyser, a traditional sauna, a herbal steam room (which is a little hotter and steamier than the sauna), therapy rooms and even a couples suite that can be used by partners, best friends or even a mother and daughter sharing some quality time together.
PGA Catalunya Resort's fitness centre has a range of cardio equipment, complete with personal television monitors and headphones, and a selection of weight and strength training equipment is also available. Yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes are held at Hotel Camiral at appointed times, with aqua aerobics and aqua toning sessions taking place in the swimming pool to improve general physical condition or aid injury recovery.
The list of activities goes beyond the 25-metre outdoor pool, the state-of-the-art spa and gymnasium, guests can use up some surplus energy on the outdoor tennis and padel courts, burn up some adrenaline on the zip wire in the new on-site Forest Adventure Park, or just chill with a spot of fishing nearby.
PGA Catalunya Resort is also a great place for hosting an important meeting, a presentation, product launch or a convention. Eight meeting rooms in Hotel Camiral can hold up to 450 people, supported by state of the art audio-visual technology, and these rooms can be tailored according to need – from a small private space for 10 to a gala dinner for 300.
In addition, the clubhouse offers two multipurpose rooms, the Olot Room and Banyoles Room, which have space for up to 100 guests in a naturally lit environment with spectacular views and direct access to the golf course and spacious terraces.
Owned by Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, who’s also the proprietor of Quinta do Lago in Portugal, PGA Catalunya Resort is one of twenty-seven golf facilities in the prestigious portfolio of European Tour Properties, a network of top class golf venues across three continents which have a close association with The European Tour.
It’s a luxury property development with low-density residential units set within a 300-hectare landscape of mature woodland, where private residences effortlessly blend in with their natural surroundings. Beautifully finished with open-plan layouts and the innovative use of glass, the spacious villas, semi-detached villas and apartments epitomise contemporary living and a luxury lifestyle.
The Stadium course (originally known as the Green course) was the first of two 18-hole layouts to appear in 1999, designed by European Golf Design in association with Neil Coles and Angel Gallardo to be capable of hosting big golf events. Within a year of opening, it had hosted the Spanish Open and that prestigious tournament has returned here on another two occasions since then.
The Tour course didn’t arrive until 2005 and it was the same Stadium design team that laid out the fairways of this track. Slightly shorter and a bit more forgiving than its older sibling, the Tour course should not be taken lightly as it co-hosted the European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage for professional golfers from 2008 - 2016.
PGA Catalunya Resort boasts some of the best practice and coaching facilities in the world, including Europe’s largest putting and chipping green at 2,000² metres. The approach play area features bunkers with five different sand types from around the world and it’s also possible to practice putting on a variety of grasses.
A new private group tee has been added to the driving range, which has additional targets for fairway, short iron, chipping and bunker play. With so much on offer, it’s hardly any wonder that international elite amateur teams and professionals regularly use the practice facilities.
There’s also the Sergio Garcia Junior Academy, a collaboration between the Sergio Garcia Foundation and the PGA Catalunya Resort to nurture the best young golfing talent for the future, introducing the game to children with physical and learning disabilities through its ‘Golf Adapted’ programmes.
Here are a few review comments over the last decade from golfers who’ve played the Stadium course:
“The Stadium course was an instant hit with me nearly seven years ago and remains so now… the condition is fantastic, bordering on perfection.”
“PGA Catalunya combines top level service with world class facilities. The hotel resort is great, with friendly and helpful staff. The practice facility is one of the best I have come across.”
“There’s no let up with this course; it’s just challenge after challenge. Designed so that you have you think about every shot and then take the punishment if your execution doesn’t match your ambition.”
“This is where the game becomes a sport. You had better be fit. You had better be honed. If you are a serious, proper golfer you can’t go through life without at least one pilgrimage here.”
“It is well routed and there is pressure on every shot; a technical masterpiece that is a joy to play. You must make strategic decisions throughout. You must negotiate the undulations, hazards, plentiful lakes and tree-lined fairways from tees that offer numerous options.”
“The whole setup is superb, with one of the best practice areas and short game practice facilities that I have ever seen. The clubhouse is laid back and the pro shop excellent. Bring plenty of balls and hope that the wind doesn’t blow.”
“Of the many hundreds of courses I have played around the world, this is one of the easiest 6-ball rankings that I have given. There is an obvious WOW factor here – this is a first class resort that does everything correctly on and off the course.”
“I have played this course on many occasions. I love it. I have played lots of courses all over the world and this is my favourite. Very tough for the average player but the design is magnificent.”