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Lisbon – more golf resorts around the capital city

27 May, 2022

Lisbon – more golf resorts around the capital city

We began a series of resort golf features a few months back with a look at The Argarve, which many consider to still be the top region for resort golf in all of continental Europe. We then followed that write-up with three similar articles on the Spanish Costas, the Canary Islands and Mallorcain the Balearics. It’s now time to return to Portugal to highlight some of the great golf on offer around Lisbon.

We’ve made several trips to the region in the past few years and it never fails to impress. In this short report, we focus on two main geographical areas: the first is a cluster of three golf facilities located just over an hour’s drive north of the capital on the Silver Coast and the second is another small group of resorts in the Cascais municipality to the west of Lisbon on the popular Portuguese Riviera.


The recently renovated 5-star hotel at the Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort is one of three accommodation options at the resort, along with apartments and townhouses in The Beachfront and The Village. Cabell Robinson designed the 18-hole Praia D’El Rey layout with some of the fairways routed through undulating wooded terrain and others laid out on the flat, sandy-soiled shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean – it’s quite an intoxicating mix that provides unqualified variety from first tee shot to final putt.


A short 10-minute drive along the coast lies the new development at West Cliffs Ocean and Golf Resort, which is served by the same accommodation choices available at Prai D’El Rey. There are also Twin Villas available and in the future there will be around 500 housing units and a couple of high-end hotels constructed. Cynthia Dye designed the golf course and it opened to critical acclaim five years ago. However, it’s recognised as a tough track so you’re advised to choose your tees carefully and avoid the native areas of vegetation lining most of the fairways.


Running along the southern boundary of West Cliffs, the Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort is anchored by the 39-bedromm Evolutee boutique hotel which overlooks the Seve Ballesteros-designed course, with the accommodation complemented by the adjacent Mandalay Spa. Two editions of the Open de Portugal were held here in 2020 and 2021 and the event is due to be staged at Royal Obidos again this September, when Germany’s Marcel Schneider will defend his title.


Situated seven kilometres inland from the coastal tourist destination of Estoril in Cascais, the Penha Longa Resort is set within a 545-acre National Park where a 194-room luxury hotel sits cheek by jowl in a beautiful setting with a 19th century palace that was originally founded as a monastery five centuries previously. The 18-hole Atlântico course is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design which is routed across hilly, forested terrain and the signature 6th hole is framed by an old Roman aqueduct running diagonally alongside the green.


The hotel at Oitavos Dunes is a very modern construction of steel and glass, boasting 142 surprisingly spacious bedroom and suites, each with full-height glass doors and a large balcony. The course is one of the few non-American offerings from Arthur Hills, opening for play 20 years ago. If you ignore spurious magazine rankings that have claimed it as a world-class layout then you’ll enjoy it as one of the best courses in Europe – even if the wind gets up, which it often does when you’re less than three kilometres from one of the most westerly point in continental Europe.


Positioned immediately to the east of the Oitavos Dunes property, the recently renovated Onyria Quinta da Marinha Hotel extends to 198 rooms, with €1.5 million also spent refurbishing 27 on-site villas. The Quinta da Marinha course is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. layout from the mid-1980s which has had the holes re-sequenced due to the non-construction of an intended clubhouse. This makes things a little disjointed but it’s still a terrific track to play and one that bears many of the classic RTJ design traits involving sand and water.


It would be remiss not to mention the Troia Resort located on the Tróia peninsula to the south of Lisbon, which is accessed by a frequent ferry service from Setúbal. With the Aqualuz Troia Lagoa and Aqualuz Troia Mar & Rio hotels and the Trioa Residence apartments and villas nearby, golfers are spoiled for choice wihen it comes to accommodation options. The course is another Robert Trent Jones Sr. design, with the Praia da Questa and the Praia da Costa da Gale beaches running along the west side of the sandy soiled property.


Twenty-five kilometres further south, a new development is due to open next year at Comporta Dunes, outside the small coastal town of Carvalhal in the Alentejo region, and it’s a David McLay Kidd design that broke ground almost ten years ago before work ground to a halt when the owner ran into financial difficulties.

Real estate developer Vinguard Properties and boutique hotel operator Amorim took over the property in 2019, hiring Conor Walsh (who’d worked on the completed first nine holes) to finish a project that had started six and a half years earlier. It’s fully expected that Amorim will also operate a small luxury hotel on site.

Jim McCann


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