Plans for a big new investment, announced in September, will mean a wider choice of holidays on offer at Desert Springs, Europe’s only international award-winning luxury family resort and championship desert golf course in the Almanzora region of Almeria in south-east Spain.
Resort developer the Almanzora Bay Group is to embark on a €40 million (£32 million) scheme to build a 166-bedroom lakeside hotel and a second 18-hole golf course within the 300 hectare (750 acre) resort on an elevated plateau overlooking the coast near the Mediterranean town of Cuevas del Almanzora.
“This announcement underlines the developer’s long-term confidence in the resort on which it first cut ground to build the existing golf course and resort facilities in 2000,” explains Bridget Rosser, sales and marketing manager of Cheltenham-based The Almanzora Group, the main European sales agent. “Since then over 300 luxury homes have been completed, along with the first course, club house, resort centre, and other facilities. Desert Springs is of the view that now is precisely the right time to start investing once again for the future “
Currently only high specification self-catering holiday accommodation is available on the resort itself – offered through The Lodge @ Desert Springs (www.almanzora.com) – and comprises 50 individual privately-owned apartments, cottages and villas.
“With the new hotel – The Beach House @ Desert Springs – we will extend the choice and style of resort accommodation to meet the needs of a wider market,” says Bridget.
Featuring a five-storey stone tower and a four storey central courtyard, with two wings topped by roof gardens, the luxury suites hotel takes its name from its beach location on the eastern bank of Steamboat Lake, at more than 20 acres, the largest of the three natural-looking man-made lakes forming the heart of Desert Springs. It will also be alongside the resort’s golf club house.
Guest accommodation will be in 83 high quality two-bedroom, two-bathroom, apartments, arranged so that rooms can be effectively separated and the accommodation let as a flexible mix of two bedroom suites, one bedroom suites and single rooms. Self-catering options are also provided for.
Provisional plans for the hotel – subject to refinement once an operator has been selected – indicate a large bar and grill restaurant with extensive open air dining terraces, a deck and beach bar on the lake, an activities room and bar opening onto a large ‘Roman’ style swimming pool, reception areas and boutique, spa and treatment rooms, banqueting and meeting rooms and a night club
The planning and funding process means that it is likely to be the end of 2009 before construction work starts on site, but the resort developer has Easter 2012 as the target date for the hotel to open.
Meanwhile, initial plans for a second golf course at Desert Springs are being drawn up in conjunction with former Great Britain and Ireland Golf Team Captain Peter McEvoy who designed the resort’s first 72 par 18-hole USGA Indiana golf course, inspired by the desert courses of Arizona and California.
Hotel guests, like self-catering visitors and property owners at Desert Springs, will have access to a variety of well-established leisure facilities. In addition to the golf course and golf academy, they include the Crocodile Club resort centre with swimming pools, a natural rock Jacuzzi, sun lawns and a pool bar. Included especially for children are the extensive equipped sand play bunkers, a kick about area, self-drive John Deere Gator track, video games room and tea house
There is also the Sierra Club with a range of Sports and Fitness facilities including a gymnasium, tennis, paddle and beach volley ball courts, a trim trail and jogging track, mountain bikes, table tennis and an international size grass football/rugby pitch.
Current leisure and beauty options include treatments at the Day Spa – likely to relocate to the hotel when it opens – the Billiards Room, the Film Screening Room and Private Dining and Bar facilities at the Private Reserve and the Cave Bar.
Guests wanting to eat out can choose between the resort’s international award-winning El Torrente Restaurant and the Crocodile Club family restaurant and bar, or at the numerous tapas bars and restaurants in local towns and villages.
Properties currently for sale at Desert Springs include apartments, townhouses, cottages, villas and country houses. Prices start around €233,000 for an apartment, rising to €2.5 million for the most spacious country house.
The lakes at Desert Springs, Almeria
The Beach House @ Desert Springs takes its name from its location on the edge of the largest of three natural-looking man-made lakes at the heart of the resort. They are Tiburon, Sweetwater and Steamboat – the largest, which will be used for a variety of ‘peaceful’ water sports ranging from sailing and canoeing to windsurfing. Sweetwater is already stocked with bait fish for the introduction of black bass game fish in the near future. When complete, the combined area of the three lakes will be 15 hectares (35 acres).
The climate at Desert Springs, Almeria
Desert Springs takes it name from the region’s desert microclimate which is unique in Europe. It has the warmest winter weather on the continent with an annual average of more than nine hours of daily sunshine and maximum daily temperatures of between 16C (60F) and 30C (86F) throughout the year. Annual rainfall is less
than 200 mm. The Almanzora’s coastal waters are among the cleanest and warmest in Europe, attracting both unusual fish and aquatic life and diving enthusiasts.
Getting to Desert Springs Golf Resort, Almeria
Desert Springs is easy to reach, thanks to three international airports. Airlines currently flying from the UK to Almeria Airport, around 50 minutes away by road, include easyJet, Monarch, Ryanair, Jet2, Jetair Fly and Thomas Cook.
Other international airports are at Murcia – 80 minutes by car on the new toll motorway direct to the Almanzora Valley (the toll is €11.5) – and Alicante which is less than two hours by road.