Everyone by now should know that at Leadingcourses.com we love statistics and rankings. And we love them even more when they are transparent, honest and based on reviews written by you, the golfer. Since 2016 – as a teaser for our own Golfers’ Choice rankings – we have been publishing a ranking for Best Golf Resorts in Europe as we felt a lot of golfers really needed such a list. We’ve used our own review data and the reviews of our hotel partner Booking.com to provide a comprehensive list of the best golf resorts throughout Europe.
How are the Best Golf Resorts rankings determined?
As mentioned, we love to analyse your reviews to come up with interesting lists. This is also how the ‘Best Golf Resorts in Europe’ ranking started. As time went by, the list has improved significantly. This year we decided to totally revamp our Best Golf Resort list. One of the major discussions within Leadingcourses.com was: when does a combination of a golf course and hotel qualify as a resort? Is St. Andrews with the Old Course Hotel a resort? Does Royal County Down with the Slieve Donard Hotel across the road qualify as a resort? We felt not.
We turned to Wikipedia for an answer or at least a proper definition: “The term resort may be used for a hotel property that provides an array of amenities, typically including entertainment and recreational activities. A hotel is frequently a central feature of a resort (source: Wikipedia). So, having a hotel and a golf course is just not enough to be called a golf resort.
We have checked many rankings concerning ‘golf resorts’, but most of them do not really point out what they are listing. We wanted to change that. So, below we have listed our criteria to be in our Best Golf Resorts in Europe rankings:
- the rating of the golf club on Leadingcourses.com must be active, so we should have enough (recent) reviews
- the rating of the resort or hotel on Booking.com must also be active
- the (official) hotel must be located next to the golf course or must be located on the premises of the golf course (and referred to on the website of the golf club).
- the resort should include more facilities in addition to having a golf course (for example a spa, tennis court, swimming pool, etc.)
- the golf club should explicitly mention or refer to the specific resort or hotel on its website (so linking to multiple hotels is not)
The criteria mentioned above mean that not every golf resort will be present in our Best Golf Resorts in Europe list. Resorts that are not listed on Booking.com – and thus do not have a rating which can be checked online – are not taken into account. Resorts are also not listed if either their golf course or their hotel/resort have not been reviewed enough (i.e. inactive rating). Still, it’s a great starting point and all the resorts below can be booked via the Leadingcourses.com site which is very convenient as well!
The overall rank is 50% based on the Booking.com rating concerning the resort or hotel itself and 50% based on the rating of the golf club overall (including the courses, facilities, etc.) on Leadingcourses.com. If resorts have equal scores, then the rating of the golf club determines who comes in first. We are all golfers, so that’s what we find most important.
1Finca Cortesin Best Golf Resort 2018
The Best Golf Resort in Europe in 2018 – just like in 2017 – is Finca Cortesin. Golfers rate the club with a 9.1 and hotel guests rate the hotel with a 9.5 on Booking.com which results in a 9.3 on average. Finca Cortesin boasts 67 spacious suites and is also home to 23,000m2 of manicured gardens, a spa offering Thai treatments, 4 swimming pools, tennis and padel tennis courts, a beach club, exquisite dining options and a great golf course which is always ranked amongst the very best in Spain. Finca Cortesin offers an excellent experience and seems to please visitors day in day out. A big compliment goes out to the whole team at Finca Cortesin. Finca Cortesin also ranks very high in our Golfers’ Choice Rankings which are published every year at the beginning of the golf season.
2Monte Rei Golf & Country Club
Monte Rei Golf and Country Club has always ranked high in our best golf resort list and just like in 2017 they are our runner up in 2018. The golf club itself is rated slightly higher than Finca Cortesin – a 9.2 – but the resort has a lower score, which results in a 9.25 on average, just below Finca Cortesin. The service level at Monte Rei is high, the golf course – designed by Jack Nicklaus – is great and their Vistas restaurant was recently included in the Michelin Guide 2018. Monte Rei is also planning to build their second Jack Nicklaus course; we can’t wait to see it finished. Keep up the good work!
3Trump Turnberry Resort
The Trump Turnberry Resort – Home of the Championship Ailsa course – in South Ayrshire, Scotland jumped quite some places – from number 6 in 2017 to a top-3 spot – in our 2018 list. It seems that the £200 million that was invested in transforming the iconic Edwardian luxury hotel facilities and its golf courses with it’s iconic light house has paid off, making Trump Turnberry the ultimate golf and spa destination in Great Britain.
Costa Navarino with its two brilliant golf courses – The Dunes and Bay Course – and two terrific hotels – The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino – has secured a place in our top-5 in 2018 and their No.4 rank is well-deserved. Costa Navarino opened for play in 2010 and already offers a world-class golf experience. Both golf courses are set in an idyllic setting next to the finest golf resort in Greece while offering excellent resort facilities.
5Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort
Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort completes our top-5 of Best Golf Resorts in Europe in 2018. If you are a lover of good food, then you should definitely try Le Faventia, Terre Blanche’s Michelin-star restaurant, or one of their other three restaurants. The two 18-hole championship golf courses were designed by Dave Thomas and are inspired by the natural surroundings. The level of maintenance is second to none at Terre Blanche.
NOTE: Rockliffe Hall Hotel Golf & Spa cannot be found in our list anymore as they are not listed on Booking.com anymore, which is a pity. Royal County Down, Royal Dornoch and St Andrews did not make it to our list as they did not met our criteria anymore. We intend to make a list of best golf hotels – which did not qualify as a resort – soon as well.
Top-100 Best Golf Resorts in Europe in 2018
Below the full list of Best Golf Resorts in 2018 in Europe is shown. You can use the filters or search bar to explore the list. If a golf resort is missing this might be because the resort did not have enough reviews or did not have a rating high enough to make it to the top 100 list. But, feel free to comment below this article. Please note that the ratings were gathered beginning of February 2018. The current ratings can differ.
(if you view this on a mobile device please rotate your screen for the best experience.)
If you look carefully, we added 40 extra golf resorts (rank 101 – 140). Hope you like this little present 😉
If you are interested, then you can check our previous rankings here:
Note: This list was finalized on 5th of Feb 2018. So, the ratings can and will change as time goes by.
If you want to print the list, then here is the Best Golf Resorts 2018 in Europe list as a PDF.
In addition to the Best Golf Resorts in Europe, our friends at Golf Drives have compiled a list of the Best Golfing Nations. So which country is the best pound for pound golfing nation? Click the link above to find out.