Buenavista resort oozes Seve’s spirit
The spirit and swagger of Seve Ballesteros is alive and kicking in the north west of Tenerife.
Seve won a million hearts and inspired a generation of golfers with his charisma, bravery and flair, which is imprinted all over the Buenavista Golf course at Melia’s Hacienda del Conde resort, based an hour’s drive from the Tenerife South airport.
The legendary Spaniard designed the course which lies on the coast of the Atlantic and also has stunning mountainous backdrops, meaning teeing off is a pleasure on all 18 holes.
Seve’s love of the game also comes across, however, as the fairways are forgiving, cleverly-placed hazards are not too hard to avoid and the undulating greens are testing but not score breakers.
His love of life also oozes through the impressive adults-only boutique hotel, which has sweeping sea views from its balconies, a tempting pool and spa area to ease aching limbs and a fine choice of restaurants and buffets to feed the soul.
Tenerife immediately draws visions of rowdy nights in Playa Las Americas or Los Cristianos, and the four-hour flight with Monarch, who fly to the island from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester, was a comfortable experience including soundtracks from entertaining hen and stag dos and excitable chatter from families.
On arrival at the airport, you part company with the party crowd and enjoy a sweeping transfer that takes in windy mountain roads to the north of the Canary island, which has a much more relaxed ambience.
Melia Hotels International’s recent renovation of the five-star Hacienda del Conde has been money well spent, and warm and friendly staff greet you with a much-needed glass of fizz on the patio overlooking the pool, course and then the ocean if you choose their personalised service: The Level.
The rooms – of which there are 117 – are spacious and beautifully furnished in a style befitting the great Seve’s eye for detail, while lunch choices are aplenty ahead of the main event – the first crack at the Buenavista course, which more than lives up to its ‘beautiful view’ name.
The 18-hole par-72 course, which opened in 2003, is an even split of six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, with the back nine particularly breathtaking as the Atlantic waves crash into the rocks while you play your shots.
Wildlife roam free and the vegetation is plush due to frequent but short showers that provide a nice relief from the sunshine, which ensures the year-round climate settles at an average of 22 degrees Celsius.
Time to take in the views is essential, but error-friendly fairways mean you can enjoy the scenery and get around the course at a good pace, with a new fleet of buggies and Taylor Made rental clubs available at the clubhouse if you don’t fancy taking your own set on the plane.
Lunch on the clubhouse terrace overlooking the challenging 18th hole’s green and water hazard is a must, with paella and a beer almost as good a partnership as Seve and Jose Maria Olazabal in the Ryder Cup.
The recently-renovated resort has developed a close relationship with the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, which conducts research into brain tumours and provides young children the opportunity to learn how to play golf.
And the hotel’s general manager Juan Jose Moreno said: “We take great pride in the fact that Buenavista Golf helps to preserve the legacy of Seve Ballesteros and this new investment will only enhance the experience for our visiting guests.
“The golf course is an enjoyable challenge for visitors and many have often spoken about how his character and personality shines through in the design. We also ensure the hotel’s service and range of facilities is up to the highest possible standard to further enrich any visit.”
When you’ve mastered the course, there are also a host of excursions available, with day trips to nearby towns like Garrichico offering the finest tapas to be found on the island – and treks into the mountains available through the hotel’s concierge service.
We had the pleasure of meeting a 74-year-old goat herder named Gregorio, whose mastery of a wooden pole with a spike on to scale the mountains has to be seen to be believed – and this comes from a man who lives in Leeds, the stag do capital of Yorkshire, so I’ve seen plenty of pole-sliding skills in my time.
By Simon Wilkes
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