The Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa is Sicily’s premier golf retreat, and is the perfect starting point for discovering Sicily’s unspoiled countryside and baroque towns.
This incredible venue is surrounded by a picturesque nature reserve, and is an elegant and traditional hotel with a quaint little chapel in the courtyard.
This destination offers 202 rooms, and is based in the splendid countryside of Ragusa. This breathtaking haven stands on the ancient landed domain of the Arezzo Marquises, and is located a few miles from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Modica, Noto, Scicli and Siracusa. This luxurious five-star setting lies within a vast, almost 500-hectare prestigious estate, frequented since the XIV century by Sicilian aristocracy.
This magnificent property represents the ideal regenerating, refreshing and strategic location to discover the Donnafugata Castle, the archaeological sites of Camarina, the unspoilt golden sandy beaches of Ragusa coastline, and all the magic of this secret region.
I stayed in a very stylish classic room with soft white and pastel decor mixed with modern furnishings which was located on the first floor and had a balcony overlooking the serene countryside and the resort’s large garden. The spacious 38sqm room included a king-sized bed, flat screen satellite TV, polished hardwood floors, free Wi-Fi, mini-bar, hairdryer, safe deposit box and air-conditioning, whilst the generously-sized bathroom boasted a bath, power shower and plenty of high-end toiletries. I enjoyed the feeling of space, and I loved the ultra-quiet and calm feel the room offered too.
Whilst exploring the vast grounds, I found that there are three excellent restaurants to choose from within the resort. The first is the Il Fico D’India that serves a lavish international breakfast buffet. The second is the Clubhouse 19th Hole which offers a variety of fresh local ingredients in simple Mediterranean, but enjoyable dishes. Lastly, there is the Il Carrubo restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, and my personal favourite. It features a wide and bright dining hall that overlooks the gardens and the golf course close-by. I thoroughly enjoyed the menu that was proposed by the efficient and friendly staff. The dishes consisted of a typical Sicilian appetizer, followed by a delicious baby cannoli pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese and walnut with zucchini and clams. Next to be served was red mullet in thyme with endive and saffron which went down very well indeed.
My dessert was a luscious Ragusan parfait with chocolate sauce from Modica which I highly recommend for all those with a sweet tooth.
During my stay at this marvellous nest of tranquility, I also got the opportunity to go and tour Ragusa further – this town is part of UNESCO for the late baroque architecture of its monuments. Ragusa was devastated by an earthquake in 1693, but was rebuilt on a limestone outcrop in the early 18th century. It contains some of the finest baroque buildings in the whole of Italy, including imperial churches, such as the Cathedral of St George.
The Ragusa area, along with the Val di Noto area, is full of architectural structures and archaeological sites of great interest. As anywhere in Sicily, these places have maintained their old typical customs and still preserve their traditional events that stem from the various dominant cultures. A perfect film set, where some of the scenes from the films “Il Gattopardo” and “I Vicere” were made. At Ibla, the historic centre of Ragusa, there is the San Giorgio duomo, famous today thanks to the popular TV show “Commissario Montalbano”, a character created by Andrea Camilleri.
In typical late baroque style, Modica is part of the district of Val di Noto. Apart from the numerous beautiful architectural structures, it is famous for the confections of chocolate made according to an ancient Aztec recipe. I got the chance to visit Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily which I thoroughly recommend. The attention to detail and the precision used to produce the finest chocolate is very impressive and well worth the visit.
I also got the opportunity to experience the brilliant Golf Academy by Darren Clarke Golf Of Excellence based at the resort, and it was indeed a very educational and fun filled experience. This is the first facility of its kind in continental Europe, and I had a great golf lesson with Davide Terrinoni – Head Professional (PGA Italy). The Academy also has a driving range with 70 tees, a pitching and chipping green, a practice bunker and a putting green.
For golf lovers, the Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa offers two 18-hole championship courses. The Parkland is a signature course designed by the legendary Gary Player, while the other course, the Links, was designed by the Italian architect Franco Piras. The Club House offers excellent facilities for all players such as comfortable locker rooms, golf-cart storage room and a pro-shop.
For those who wish to inspect the nightlife outside of the Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, there is Marina di Ragusa to visit which is less than twenty minutes away by car. It’s the largest beach resort in the area with a long paved esplanade and large central piazza teeming with locals and holidaymakers enjoying the many cafés, bars, restaurants and gelaterias.
However, for those who like to concentrate more on their rest and relaxation techniques, there is a world class spa at the resort that will not disappoint. After my dip in the superb and relaxing hydropooI, I then had an amazing forty five minute treatment which was simply heavenly. The luxury rooms, overlooking the superb golf course, allowed my body and mind to fall helplessly into nature and enjoy moments of absolute calm and relaxation, within the stunning frame of the Sicilian landscape.
The spa is the perfect place for unforgettable moments of comfort abandoning yourself totally to the right expert hands that restore physical and emotional balance. This stellar spa has been awarded by Condé Nast Traveller as the “Favourite Overseas Day Spa” – it has a majestic area of 900 square meters with a unique view on the park. I have to say it was certainly one of my highlights of this exemplary resort.
I really enjoyed Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa and everything it had to offer, and whether you are a golf enthusiast, a beginner, or simply visiting to rest and relax, this stunning jewel has something for everyone.
For further information, or to make a reservation, visit www.donnafugatagolfresort.com.
Photos courtesy of Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa.