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The renewed desire for the super luxury residential golf resort

By Michael Atkinson on 27th December 2020

The recent pandemic has made many people reassess the location and environment in which they live. With strict lockdowns and wider travel heavily restricted, people have reflected on the importance of their principal residence and second homes in terms of their location, environment, safety, security, community and the overall lifestyle that they provide.

The ability to spend time outdoors and the ability to reach the outdoors quickly commands a premium value, with country estates finding renewed favour over city penthouses. With business no longer having to be conducted in city offices and city restaurants, there is also more freedom in where individuals can choose to base themselves. The importance of quality family time has increased.

This refreshed lens through which luxury property is viewed has resulted in a significant rise in desire for super luxury residential property within golf and country clubs throughout the likes of Europe, the United States and the Caribbean.

“We have been a haven for the elite since 1962 but never has our offering been more attractive and prevalent than in today’s world. It seems that going back to fundamentals is a key draw to many of the families we interact with.”

The offering that Marc Topiol, chairman of Sotogrande SA, is referring to is that of its ultra-luxury property, positioned within an exclusive private residential golf and country club in the province of Cádiz in Spain. Around the Guadiaro River, it occupies an area that covers twenty square kilometres stretching all the way from the Mediterranean Sea to the foothills of the Sierra Almenara.

A peaceful environment, stunning views, fantastic facilities and golf on tap. What more could you want from a residence?

A renewed enthusiasm for the game of golf has been seen with the sport’s popularity having jumped in the UK and USA, a consequence of the desire for time spent in open space and fresh air and golf providing a sport which can adhere to social distancing restrictions, whilst also enabling competition and companionship on the fairways. A common theme of super luxury residential developments is that they all tend to be centred around a world-class golf course.

Back in the summer, La Reserva Club, the exclusive private gated community in the heart of Sotogrande in Spain, developed by Sotogrande SA, launched a private jet service for prospective property buyers, enabling them to view homes and the surrounding facilities in a covid-19 safe manner. The service was developed to satisfy a surge in demand for its luxurious properties contained within the golf resort and country club, following the coronavirus outbreak.

The private jet service can pick prospective buyers up from a wide range of international airports and fly them to Gibraltar, just a short 20-minute drive from La Reserva Club. Golf remains at the heart of the service, prospective buyers having the chance to experience the positive lifestyle that Sotogrande can provide and tee off and walk the fairways of not only La Reserva Club, but also the world renowned Ryder Cup course, Real Club Valderrama, and Real Club Sotogrande.

It’s not hard to see why acquiring a family or second home at La Reserva Club appeals. It pitches itself as ‘the epitome of Andalusian living’ providing an opportunity to ‘immerse yourself in this unique Mediterranean lifestyle’. That lifestyle includes a variety of residential options giving exclusive access to a state-of-the-art country club with the La Reserva Golf Course at its heart. This is a stunning 18-hole championship course, carved into the hillside with arresting views to the Mediterranean Sea and the Andalusian mountains. Off the championship tees it is a par 72 at 6,721 yards. Designed by Cabell B. Robinson, the challenging and attractive course features expansive undulating greens, multiple water hazards, dog legs and large bunkers.

In addition to golf, the country club provides a top-class gym and associated fitness classes, tennis and paddle courts with an academy for coaching, the only inland private beach club in Spain with its sports lagoon, several restaurants and an equestrian centre with extensive nature trails within its gated perimeter.

The ability to spend time outdoors and the ability to reach the outdoors quickly commands a premium value, with country estates finding renewed favour over city penthouses

It’s not the only luxury residential development that has witnessed such a surge in interest. The Discovery Land Company was founded in 1994 by Mike Meldman, a US-based real estate developer and operator of private club communities and resorts, and features a world-class golf course as one of the many sought-after facilities. Discovery Land’s mission is ‘to build settings where families can create intergenerational memories and enrich their lives in exquisite and untouched sanctuaries’.

A sense of community is at the heart of what they offer. Each and every development puts a focus on family and experiences. Again, they are centred around a great golf course, then the properties and overall layout are inspired by and respectful of the natural environment, while a clear emphasis has been placed on the importance of sustainability.

One of its most recent developments is the Silo Ridge Field Club, which is situated in 800 acres of the Hudson Valley, ninety minutes outside New York. The private gated community is described as a place which ‘captures the nostalgia of the good old days, a place that feels like home’. It offers five distinct neighbourhoods, providing relaxed country living set against dramatic landscape views with a variety of property sizes and styles. A four-bedroom family home with views across the 18th green and fairway costs, as an example, just over $6 million.

The 18-hole golf course at Silo Ridge Field Club is Tom Fazio designed, every hole offering dramatic views of the Taconic Mountains, with lush green fairways, oversized bunkers, immaculate greens and challenging holes. There’s not just golf to occupy your spare time, there is a wide array of additional activities with hiking, riding, summer paddle boarding on the lake, archery, mountain biking, fly fishing and many others all available.

There’s a dedicated Kid’s Club too, and combine all this with a number of magnificent restaurants and it’s clear why there isn’t an issue selling the property on the estate. Indeed, according to reports, every property available at the time at Silo Ridge was sold within a few months of lockdown. It was a similar situation at Discovery Land’s Madison Club in La Quinta in California.

‘Security, space, clear air, warm weather, fantastic amenities for all the family, a closeness to nature’ is how Marc Topiol describes Sotogrande SA

In August, the company announced its latest (24th) private luxury residential community called James Island Golf and Ocean Club in British Columbia, its first project in Canada. The 780-acre private island will feature a Jack Nicklaus designed 18-hole course.

Sustainability will be a key feature of the development, with ‘initiatives such as repurposing timber into building materials at an on-site mill, using solar and hydro-power, xeriscaping (low-water landscaping) and implementing comprehensive recycling and composting programmes. Other initiatives include promoting the use of electric vehicles on the island, employing water conservation methods, and cultivating an on-site organic farm to supply ingredients to food and beverage services.’

The company describes the development as being ‘one of the most enchanting and secluded communities in the world’, enabling those who are fortunate enough to secure property on the estate to ‘play in a magical wooded wonderland’.

Already in Canada is the Cabot brand, Canada’s premier luxury golf resort and residential community developer, set up by Ben Cowan-Dewar and Mike Keiser. Cabot Cape Breton, situated on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, provides the chance to acquire exclusive luxury property which sits alongside two extraordinary golf courses.

The Cabot Cliffs golf course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, sits on the dramatic cliff edge. Over hit the greens here and you will send your ball tumbling into the ocean beneath. A par 72 at 6,764 yards off its back tees, this is a magnificent course. The Cabot Links course is designed by Rod Whitman, a par 70 at 6,854 yards off the championship tees with five holes running parallel with the beach. All the golf villas at Cabot Links, with panoramic ocean views, are now sold out.

There are many high-end golf resorts around the world proving a range of facilities and accommodations

Cabot is now venturing into the Caribbean, with a new development in St Lucia. The real estate at Cabot Links St Lucia ‘combines the magic of island living with a strong sense of community’ and this will be the brand’s first international property. Located on Point Hardy, a 375-acre peninsula at the northern tip of Saint Lucia, Cabot Saint Lucia will expand upon its legacy of excellence with a golf club, residential community and resort.

Cowan-Dewar, CEO and co-founder of Cabot Links said: “With the tropical allure found in Saint Lucia and the magnificent ocean views from every corner of this spectacular site, we feel honoured to be involved with such a special property within an incredible country.”

The crown jewel of the luxury resort will be the 18-hole Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed golf course, Cabot Point, carved into the landscape with Caribbean ocean views, including seven holes that play directly along the coast. The course route will feature dramatic clifftop greens jutting into the ocean and meandering fairways. “Our goal is to create a golf course with a sense of enjoyment and interest to complement and hopefully equal the site’s overwhelming natural beauty,” added Bill Coore.

The luxury real estate at Cabot Saint Lucia will offer the best of Caribbean living with a collection comprised of hillside townhouses and single-family homes designed by leading architects. Each home will be surrounded by a panoramic seascape that provides direct, exclusive access to the resort amenities and golf course. Lot prices range from $760,000 to $10 million. Of 42 lots released in the first phase, only six lots are left for purchase.

The global pandemic has encouraged people to think about where they are happiest and safest

The company has also announced its third resort with Cabot Revelstoke in British Columbia. The resort is set amid the majestic Monashee and Selkirk Mountain Ranges, known as an alpine adventure mecca and the ‘heli-skiing capital of the world.’ Cabot Revelstoke will feature dramatic views, world-class golf, exceptional hospitality and the type of luxury real estate that the brand has become known for.

Surrounded by breath-taking mountain ranges, the pinnacle of the Cabot Revelstoke experience includes an 18-hole golf course designed by Rod Whitman and his new company – Whitman, Axland and Cutten. The course will be designed overlooking the Columbia River with views of towering Monashee and Selkirk peaks in every direction. “Having the opportunity to build a mountain course with the Cabot team in this spectacular destination is a true honour and lifetime achievement for me,” said Rod Whitman. “This setting rivals the best in Canada – and across the world. Our main goal is to create inspiring golf that will bring people together and stand the test of time, and we hope that this will do both of those things.”

An exclusive real estate offering will provide for those seeking a permanent address with close proximity to world-class golf and skiing. The Residences at Cabot Revelstoke will feature mountain-style exteriors. Demand for property is expected to be high.

Back at the exclusive La Reserva in Spain, enquiries for villas which are part of the exclusive ‘El Mirador’ development have increased more than 15% compared to the same period in 2019 and 8.5% more than any period over the past 18 months. Villas here start from €5.8 million. Villas within ‘The Seven’ start from €14 million and are a collection of unique villas designed by seven of the world’s most famous architects on expansive plots and in the highest area of La Reserva Club enjoying panoramic views to the Mediterranean Sea and Gibraltar.

Not just for golf enthusiasts, resorts cater to the whole family with differing tastes

The concept of community and family time is a key appeal of La Reserva. Returning to Marc Topiol, he describes Sotogrande SA’s offering as one which gives its residents “security, space, clear air, warm weather, fantastic amenities for all the family, a closeness to nature”, but most significantly it provides “a platform to share all this with loved ones”.

As people focus on identifying property and lifestyle solutions which really matter to them, Topiol continues; “our goal is to match your expectations in this regard, but above all it is a place where you can relax comfortably, socialize with style surrounded by nature, beauty and authenticity. Live special moments with family and friends and offer what is really important to them.”

The ongoing pandemic has led to a number of trends, some of which may be shorter lived than others. It has driven a fundamental reassessment of how and where individuals live and want to live, and that rethink is likely to lead to a sustained trend towards luxury property within prestigious golf and country clubs.

From La Reserva to Discovery Land’s propositions to the developments from Cabot, all provide a focus on family and community, centred around world class golf courses and an array of other premium amenities, situated in magnificent landscapes and environments, delivering highly desirable lifestyles.

For more information on La Reserva Club Sotogrande, visit lareservaclubsotogrande.com.

Imagery courtesy of La Reserva Club.