Sotogrande: The ultimate getaway for golf, gourmet, and relaxation

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With world-class amenities and golf courses, Sotogrande serves as the ideal destination for couples, groups and families alike.
Posted on
June 28, 2024
by
Jack Lumb in , ,
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Nestled along the sun-kissed shores of Andalusia, Spain, Sotogrande beckons with its perfect combination of high-end amenities and peaceful coastal allure, offering an idyllic community and resort that finds itself a world away from the fast-paced hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Originally envisioned by developer Joseph McMicking and his wife Mercedes Zobel de Ayala in the 1960s, Sotogrande was to be a luxurious retreat for those seeking a harmonious blend of tranquillity and sophistication.

Its development over the years has been marked by the meticulous integration of world-class facilities, including championship golf courses designed by renowned architects like Robert Trent Jones Sr., and a luxurious marina that welcomes visitors from around the globe.

Golf

Sotogrande is renowned for its exceptional selection of golf courses. Among these are the legendary Valderrama (ranked number one in Spain) and the esteemed Real Club de Golf Sotogrande (ranked number two in Spain), each offering a unique experience for golf enthusiasts.

Founded in 1974, Valderrama has hosted the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) and the iconic 1997 Ryder Cup — marking the first time the prestigious event was held in continental Europe.

It's also worth mentioning that just a short distance away from Valderrama — outside of Sotogrande — lies Finca Cortesin, an immaculate course that played host to the 2023 Solheim Cup, further cementing Sotogrande's status as an established golfing destination.

The 18th green at Real Club de Sotogrande with the clubhouse in the background
The 18th green set against Real Club de Golf Sotogrande's clubhouse

And, a brief drive from SO/Sotogrande, is the prestigious Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. Opened in 1964 and designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, the course offers a delightful challenge. The favourable Andalusian weather ensures its pristine condition year-round, while the clever design demands precision and skill, making it a must-play for any serious golfer.

For a detailed overview of the course, you can read my full Real Club de Golf Sotogrande review here.

Adding to the roster of bucket-list courses is the magnificent La Reserva Club (ranked number seven in Spain). Designed in 2003 by American architect Cabell B. Robinson, this championship course is nothing short of spectacular.

The 11th and 15th hole at La Reserva
The 11th and 15th hole at La Reserva

Impeccably maintained, the challenging layout offers a round of golf that leaves you wishing it would never end. The course masterfully utilises the Andalusian landscape, with holes that weave, rise, and fall around strategically placed bunkers and water hazards, demanding thoughtful shot-making at every turn. For avid golfers, La Reserva Club is an essential experience that should not be missed.

Lastly, situated within the SO/Sotogrande resort is Almenara Golf. Designed by British architect Dave Thomas, the 27-hole course blends tree-lined fairways, pernickety doglegs, and long, water-guarded holes. It’s a course that will keep you on your toes and tear you up with any lapse in focus. And while it may not share the championship pedigree of its prestigious neighbours, it’s certainly a track worth visiting.

Almenara provides an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all abilities.
Almenara provides an enjoyable challenge for golfers of all abilities.

Accommodation at SO/Sotogrande

My accommodation for the short visit was at the spectacular SO/Sotogrande, located roughly 10 kilometres inland from the bustling marina and set against the stunning backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.

From the get-go, the five-star spa and golf resort captivates with its seamless blend of modern comfort and traditional charm, effortlessly drawing you in from the outside world.

SO/Sotogrande
A view of the SO/Sotogrande from a penthouse balcony.

A sense of calm envelops you almost immediately. It didn’t feel as though I had arrived at a hotel, but rather like entering a private sanctuary cocooned within its own peaceful community.

The journey through reception unfolds into a scene adorned with fountains, palm trees, sculptures, and three inviting outdoor pools.

Despite its intimate size, the resort has an expansive outdoor space perfect for leisurely strolls, refreshing swims, or basking in the warm embrace of the Spanish sun.

We were informed during a walk of the grounds that it was at 80% capacity during our stay, which was something I found hard to believe. It felt as though we had the place to ourselves, and that’s exactly what the resort set out to achieve.

The accommodations at SO/Sotogrande are thoughtfully arranged around the periphery of the resort, connected by charming cobblestone pathways that evoke the ambience of a traditional Andalusian village.

A sculpture poolside at the SO/Sotogrande resort
SO/Sotogrande promotes Andalusian artists by featuring sculptures such as this around the resort.

​​Each room and apartment offers a retreat-like setting, exuding a sense of privacy and exclusivity, resembling your own personal mini-villa amidst the picturesque setting.

The simple yet meticulous design blends modern amenities with classic Andalusian architecture, ensuring every corner of the resort reflects the region's rich cultural heritage.

Spa and Amenities

SO/Sotogrande also offers exceptional spa facilities and a state-of-the-art gym.

The indoor pool area includes a cold plunge, jacuzzi, hydro-pool, sauna, and steam room, with its all-glass façade looking down on the Mediterranean Sea in the distance, helping to create the ideal setting to unwind.

Alongside an extensive menu of spa treatments, ranging from classic massages like hot stone and deep tissue to therapies such as Thai massage and restorative treatments. The spa also offers innovative wellness options like flotation therapy and cryotherapy, ensuring guests find the perfect remedy for recovery.

The view from Society Clubhouse patio.
A view of the Mediterranean Sea from the Society Clubhouse patio.

For two out of the three days, I started my mornings with steam room sessions and refreshing cold plunges, followed by a tasty breakfast at the Society Clubhouse.

It was a routine that I could certainly get used to, as it filled me with renewed energy and set the tone perfectly for a day of golf.

Food and Drink

Within the confines of SO/Sotogrande, guests are spoiled for choice with four distinct dining venues: The Society Clubhouse, IXO Tapas & Bar, Marxa Chiringuito and Cortijo Santa Maria 1962.

On the first night, we dined at Cortijo Santa Maria 1962, where I indulged in an exquisite tasting experience themed around strawberries and tuna. Though the combination seemed unconventional, the execution was nothing short of extraordinary.

Each course was a testament to the chef's creativity, with perfectly paired wines enhancing the flavours to give my taste buds a night to remember.

Trocadero restaurant
The beach club interior of the Trocadero restaurant.

Beyond the resort, the wider Sotogrande area offers additional gastronomic gems. Restaurante Asador Cancha II, a wonderful Argentinian steakhouse located next to the Ayala Polo Club, offers succulent cuts of meat grilled to perfection.

And for a more relaxed yet equally delightful dining experience, the Trocadero restaurant serves traditional dishes accompanied by inviting cocktails, all set against the Mediterranean coastline.

Real estate

Sotogrande doesn’t just have to be a destination visit; it can be a place of permanent residency. With new real estate developments like Village Verde and The Seven, there are options to suit a variety of lifestyles and preferences.

Village Verde offers a gated community of apartments, complete with swimming pools, a gym, and underground parking. The latter was designed to ensure that cars do not dominate the roads, allowing children and families to play safely in the streets — a nice touch.

The complex integrates seamlessly with the natural landscape, reflecting the area’s commitment to sustainability while also fostering a sense of community.

A view of La Reserva from Village Verde (Image courtesy of Sotogrande)
A view of La Reserva from a Sotogrande villa (Image courtesy of Sotogrande)

It offers an inviting space for families from around the world. Its proximity to Sotogrande International School, just a ten-minute drive away, also makes it an ideal location for those looking to start a new life in this sought-after region.

And, for those seeking more space and privacy, The Seven Collection offers something a little more special. Spread across seven plots on one hectare, these villas provide a more secluded, extravagant living experience.

With stunning views over Sotogrande, neighbouring La Reserva, and the Mediterranean Sea, owning a villa in The Seven Collection would acquire you one of the finest properties in Andalusia.. and bragging rights.

Verdict

Sotogrande stands out as the complete package for those seeking a relaxing getaway — or a future home. From world-class golf courses to fine dining, refreshing drinks, and rejuvenating spa treatments, this destination has it all.

Truth be told, I didn’t want the trip to end. I had been given a taste of what was on offer, only to find myself back in old Blighty before I knew it.

It’s an area that I look forward to returning to, and couldn't recommend it highly enough to anyone considering a visit.

***

For more information and how to book, you can visit the Sotogrande website here.

About Jack Lumb

Jack is the editor of Golf Today. Having spent ten years playing competitively at a high amateur level and five years at county, he has carried his knowledge of the game into the world of journalism. He once set the course record at his home club, only for it to be beaten a month later.

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