entrance gates to a hotel

entrance gates to a hotel

In the heart of the countryside of Provence lies Terre Blanche, a luxury resort with two renowned golf courses and an oasis for growth biodiversity. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Darius Sanai speaks with the Vice-President of Supervisory Board, François Vaugoude, on how on how the resort has been a sustainability pioneer since the early 1990’s, educating its guests and making instrumental environment change in the region.


LUX: How did Terre Blanche come about?

François Vangoude: Between 1978 and 1980, there was a desire to develop the site on which Terre Blanche now sits. At the time, Golf was more of a pretext for town planning and therefore there weren’t all the provisions. There was no internet, there were no regulations on water, there were no impact studies and raising awareness about ecology was not a priority like it has become today. The site therefore benefited from considerable building rights, and with the construction of the golf course there was more than 90,000 square meters of surface area to be built.

When the authorities later realised that the surveys and impact studies had not been carried out, the project came to a complete halt. Dietmar Hopp, a German business and golf enthusiast, had built a golf course in Germany and proposed creating something that brings sports, nature and development together, rather than creating a city within a city. The authorities gave the go-ahead, and we opened the grounds in June 2000.

Le Chateau Golf course

LUX: Was there a sustainability strategy at the time?

FV: Yes, Immediately, I’ve been passionate about sustainability for years, being someone from the countryside and from the sea. I’m also an architect so urban development has always been a passion of mine as well. From the outset, our philosophy was to think about how we could do something sustainable because our objective was to operate long-term. Since 2000, I’ve been involved in the design of our various projects, as I’ve overseen the whole program since its conception and now its management.

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Our guiding principle on the development of Terre Blanche is that all infrastructures that are useless above ground are buried underground. All the infrastructure needed to manage and distribute water is underground. It maintains the permeability of the soil and it’s better for the quality of the resort as a whole because having a view of a forest or green spaces is much better than having a view of a car park, for example. The car park did cost a little more but at the end of the day, the cars are sheltered, there’s more security, and we don’t have to resurface every ten years using petroleum-based asphalt.

The design of our driving range follows the same principle. The Albatros Golf Performance Center is a semi-underground driving range. As a result, you play out of the summer sun, and you’re sheltered from the rain in winter.

LUX: Is what you do, in terms of your sustainability strategy, important to your clients?

FV: Admittedly, in the years 2000-2010, what we were doing was very good but there wasn’t the heightened sensitivity we have today around climate change and the environment. People are now beginning to understand that biodiversity and climate are about the survival of future generations. Everyone now understands and wants to preserve but the term ‘preservation’ doesn’t work for me.

I think ‘to preserve’ is a negative idea as it just means to protect what exists. I think that today we need to take a much more proactive approach and we need to be contributors to the development of biodiversity. That’s what we do. We now have the participation of our customers.


The Infinity Pool at the Terre Blanche resort

I’m not going to say what country these people come from, but there are people who can’t stand to see an ant or mayflies. So, we get our customers involved and we organise events to show them what we do, especially as golf today is all the rage.

Golf is a big consumer of water, but we don’t use drinking water, we use natural water. The natural cycle is respected, which means that since 2000 we have been pumping water from the Saint-Cassien lake, just five kilometres from our property.

We have financed networks and pumping stations so as not to use drinking water. We’ve had a policy from the outset of asking ourselves what Terre Blanche will be like in ten, fifteen, twenty and even thirty years’ time.

LUX: Is it important for you to do a bit of customer education, or is it more something that exists and if customers are interested, they can ask?

FV: It’s something that needs to be understood and accepted. For example, a golfer wants to find his ball on the course. We only mow once a year, at a very specific time, with a cutting height to avoid destroying everything on the ground. The golfer’s first reaction is to say, “Well wait a minute, you’re saving on maintenance and I’m losing more of my balls.” Then we explain to them why we’re doing this. We’re preserving the nesting period of birds on the ground, invertebrates, insects, and honey plants. Then they say, “Ah yes, you’re right” and they accept that we need to implement these kinds of provisions, and they become supporters.

Another example is unfortunately, we have quite a high mortality rate of trees that are not from the region and that have been brought in and can no longer withstand the rising temperatures and lack of water.

So, when the tree dies, we leave them in place and let them rot. The first reactions I received were, “You leave them there because you don’t have time to pick them up.” We then explain that if you leave a log in a given place, six months later you’ll have a profusion of animals. To motivate them too, we’ve set up an application, that’s also managed by the naturalist organisation on site, in which people can take a photo of an unknown plant or insect and upload it onto our application.

The organism is automatically geolocated on the network and it’s passed on to our naturalist society. At the end of the year, we have a census of everything discovered on Terre Blanche and whoever has made the most observations, with the most interesting organisms, wins a prize. This motivates people to take part. It’s not just on golf courses and in the forest, but under a stone near the Terre Blanche resort.

LUX: Is there a focus on art in the hotel too and do you link art and biodiversity?

FV: There is an art collection at the hotel, but it is not something we shout about. It’s known through word of mouth. The collection is for our guests to enjoy. We have a press book about the works of art that are on display, which is available upon request. Guests can follow a route to see the artworks around the property if they want to. As the works are scattered throughout nature, we naturally create this intersection between nature, biodiversity, and art. When I tell people that we have over 300 works of art and they ask where they are, I tell them to open their eyes. That’s what biodiversity is all about as well. It’s about taking an interest.

LUX: Are there any other plans you have for biodiversity?

FV: We have a huge number of developments on the resort. We’re creating an atlas on biodiversity to monitor the species, fauna and flora that exist on Terre Blanche. We did a first census in 2018, and another in 2020 and 2023 to see what changes there have been in relation to all the measures we’ve implemented on Terre Blanche.

I went to see the Mayor of Tourrettes and asked him why we weren’t doing this at a commune level. It makes sense to do it on a much larger scale. The hope is to demonstrate to them that Terre Blanche has become a zoological wildlife park and not just a resort for the wealthy. It’s about showing we are well ahead of the game, and that they too can contribute to the preservation and expansion of biodiversity.

LUX: Do you organise biodiversity events?

FV: Absolutely. We organize events and golf tournaments focusing on biodiversity, with workshops for people to ask questions and help them understand. We’ve put up information panels all over the resort to educate people.

These aren’t the kind of information panels you buy in the shops, but ones we’ve put together explaining how the watering system works, how the lakes work, what’s in front of them etc. It helps to open people’s minds.

We explain why we’ve installed bat shelters and nesting boxes. Instead of watching TV and looking at a tablet, we buy nesting boxes in kit forms for the kids to build their own nesting boxes, like Lego, and they install them themselves afterwards. Once you’ve captured the children’s’ attention, the parents are right behind and they follow.

Find out more: terre-blanche.com

Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, marked with a series of activities and experiences that highlight the resorts commitment to eco-responsibility. The resort is now open for the season. 

Reading time: 7 min
People playing golf in front of the Colosseum

Team Captains Luke Donald of England and Zach Johnson of The United States with the Ryder Cup Trophy at the Colosseum in Rome

Guy Kinnings is the Deputy CEO, Ryder Cup Director & Chief Commercial Officer at European Tour Group & Ryder Cup. Ahead of the Ryder Cup in Rome this weekend, he speaks to Samantha Welsh about the growing enthusiasm for the sport from the next generation and the organisation’s focus on making golf more sustainable

LUX: You are a renowned leader in the golf world; where would you say your focus and relatability have come from?
GK: I originally trained as a lawyer in London and that gave me a good grounding in the commercial world. But as a lifelong sports fan, I always knew I wanted to gravitate towards that world. It’s been three decades for me in the world of golf, and I’ve worked on virtually every aspect of the professional game and enjoyed working with pretty much everyone involved in the game. I worked in every aspect of golf (event staging, sales, media etc) but I also spent many years as a player manager/agent. That job requires you to be a salesman, lawyer, confidante, all-round sounding board and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. I learned the ropes from the legendary Mark McCormack at IMG, who managed the likes of Arnold Palmer and Gary Player and basically invented the role of a modern sports agent. I could not have asked for a better mentor. The Tour is ultimately a Members’ run organisation, so the players are the shareholders that I answer to. Athletes are a unique breed who I have a huge amount of admiration for and I’d like to think I’ve learned what makes them tick.

It’s also crucial to be passionate about what you do if you want to succeed – and I love my job. I get to travel to amazing places (visiting Ryder Cup venues and the legendary Augusta National is an annual highlight) and to spend time with incredibly talented people. I also have an amazing wife and family. She has always been very understanding about the travel and late-night phone calls! Sport is ultimately a relationship-based business and golf tends to attract great people, which helps. It may be a niche sport, but it punches well above its weight because its core values – things like integrity, inclusivity and sportsmanship – are so appealing.

Two men holding a goldtrophy

European Ryder Cup Director, Guy Kinnings and European Ryder Cup Captain, Luke Donald

LUX: How do you think the pandemic affected the global golf industry?
GK: The pandemic was a big shock to the entire sports and entertainment industry, but our Tour faced more challenges than most because of our global nature. We are a travelling circus in many respects, visiting 26 countries this season. When air travel was severely restricted and fans had to stay away, it became a battle for survival. But one of my proudest career moments was seeing how my colleagues managed to overcome so many hurdles. We completely revamped our schedule and quickly set up a sector leading testing and bubble system for players and our staff, which meant we could get back playing earlier than almost any other sport. This allowed us to fulfil broadcaster and sponsor obligations and keep our players competing for prize funds. We learnt a lot and have come out of the pandemic even stronger than before it. It brought the best out of our people at a tough moment.

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The pandemic has also been a key factor in driving a big boost in the popularity of golf. We saw big spikes in participation across 2020 and 2021, particularly amongst younger players, and it’s great to see that this trend has continued. I feel like golf is undergoing a cultural moment right now and the launch of the new ‘Full Swing‘ series on Netflix will only help drive this by showing off the sport and its personalities to a new audience. Of course, we also have the Ryder Cup in September, which is always a moment in time when the sport enters mainstream consciousness.

A man playing golf wearing a pink top and white trousers

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland at the DS Automobiles Italian Open 2022 at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome 2022

LUX: What was behind the ET rebrand as DP World Tour and how has this brought about the vision for driving golf further?
GK: We sat down with DP World, a long-standing Tour partner, at the 2019 DP World Tour Championship – our season ending event – and discussed what a bigger relationship might look like. Becoming the Tour’s Title Partner was discussed and it quickly became apparent that there were a lot of synergies there. Changing our brand, with all its history, was not something we took lightly but from a very basic branding perspective the “European Tour” name was increasingly a misnomer anyway. Pre-pandemic, 27 of our 47 events were outside the continent and the idea of rebranding to a “world” Tour had already been floated, so what better way to cement this global footprint than by partnering with a company whose very name encapsulates that?

The extra investment they are making has also helped us to elevate the Tour in every way. We’ve had record prize funds for the past two seasons – no mean feat given the pandemic and global economic uncertainty – and unlocked new funds to further invest in our Golf for Good programme. A good example is the launch of the G4D (Golf for the Disabled) Tour last year. We could create an entirely new Tour for the best disability golfers in the world, who play the same course, the same week, as DP World Tour events across a nine-event schedule. Making golf more inclusive is a big passion point for the Tour and this was a major statement in this area.

Two men holding a trophy

Guy Kinnings presents the trophy to Juan Postigo Arce of Spain after winning the G4D event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club

LUX: What is your vision for raising the profile of the women’s game?
GK: Whilst we are a men’s professional Tour first and foremost, we have worked with our friends at the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour to create a series of mixed gender events. In 2022 there was the Volvo Scandinavian Mixed and the ISPS Handa World Invitational. These are great opportunities to show that women’s golf is just as entertaining as the men’s game. In fact, we had the first ever female winner on the DP World Tour in 2021 as Sweden’s Linn Grant won the Scandinavian Mixed. She played unbelievable golf that week and I’m proud that we could give her a platform to compete against her male counterparts. I truly believe that golf can be the most inclusive game in the world. The handicap system in the amateur game means that people can compete against each other on an equal footing, regardless of their skill level, and our mixed gender events are just one way to showcase that ethos. I am also a big fan of the Solheim Cup – which is played the week before the Ryder Cup later this year.

LUX: Have your team had success in reducing environmental impacts?
GK: 2022 saw us measuring our carbon footprint across eight key tournaments to identify a baseline to work from, so full data on our emission reductions have started coming through this year. We have seen some really positive developments. For example, we require a lot of temporary power generators at our tournaments, because a golf tournament is basically held in a large field, and we have switched from traditional diesel generators to bio fuelled powered ones which is reducing emissions by up to 94%. We have also reworked our schedule to try and group tournaments together geographically to reduce air travel and we will be making more headway on that in 2024. We have also started trialling remote TV production techniques with our partner Tata to reduce the amount of people we fly out to events. The recent Singapore Classic was a major trial for us in this respect. We had 29% fewer TV staff in Singapore – they were working remotely in the UK from Stockley Park – which saved 140 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of 850,000km in a diesel powered family car.

A golf tournament

Rory McIlroy of Northen Irleand at the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

LUX: While you can create KPIs for courses, real estate, logistics, materiel, processes, how do you guide behaviours and set standards for spectators, fans?
GK: We have to bring fans on this journey with us. We have tens of thousands of spectators watching our events each tournament day and they travel to and from the event. Fan travel is included in our net zero commitment, so we need to encourage behaviour change. We can do many things ourselves to help guide them to be more sustainable, such as offering refillable water stations to reduce single use plastic use, offer vegan food stalls, or provide incentives to travel by public transport. But at the end of the day there is only so much we can do and personal responsibility takes over. But sport can be a powerful tool to educate people, so in 2023 we have been really trying to get the message out there to spectators that sustainability is important. We’re launching a fan-focused campaign at the Betfred British Masters where the Tour will be planting 100 trees for every player that manages to drive the iconic par 4 10th hole at the Belfry. Fans can also have a go themselves in a simulator experience. It’s one way to authentically incorporate sustainability into the on-course action, which is not always an easy thing to do. We will also be providing a mechanism at the Ryder Cup where fans on site will be able to calculate their travel footprint and make a payment to offset it.

LUX: LUX approaches the subject of carbon offsetting with care. The World Economic Forum warns it ‘can cause people to disassociate themselves from the issue and deflect attention from the immediate dangers posed by climate change’: is ETG set directly on a path to net zero?
GK: We are indeed. In fact, we recently became the first pro golf Tour to set a net zero target when we signed up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework. We have now committed to halving our emissions by 50% by 2030 and being fully net zero carbon by 2040. As you say, carbon offsetting alone is simply not enough, not least because some off-setting projects can take many decades to have any effect, so it should only ever be seen as complementary to a more robust climate mitigation effort.

Read more: Kelly Russell Catella on sustainable urban planning

LUX: Where is there a role for carbon offsetting and when will you get to carbon neutral?
GK: There will always be certain emissions we incur when staging a golf tournament that are unavoidable, and this is where carbon offsetting can be utilised alongside a robust climate mitigation programme. Off-setting by itself as a standalone approach is not enough of course, and the sports industry seems to be getting that message. We understand that and have embarked on an ambitious climate mitigation programme to reduce our carbon emissions. Some of our events are already carbon neutral – our five Rolex Series events, that represent our biggest tournaments, is carbon neutral this year. The next step, which will take several years, is to get to net zero carbon, which has required a root and branch review of how we stage a tournament and where we can do things differently. Thankfully, our operations teams fully embrace this mission and are passionate about making their events as sustainable as possible – harnessing a little internal competition is not a bad thing in that respect!

Two men holding a trophy on a golf course

Luke Donald of England and Zach Johnson of United States during at Marco Simone Golf Club

LUX: Is driving sustainability having any impact on sponsorship and prize-money? We would love to hear about the approach with partners on working toward sustainability goals.
GK: Without a doubt, and as Chief Commercial Officer I’m at the heart of these conversations. Virtually every sponsorship conversation I have will turn to sustainability at some point. If you do not have a credible sustainability strategy, then sponsors will look elsewhere. We hired our first Head of Sustainability in 2021 to drive this work internally and launched a revamped Green Drive sustainability strategy. This has detailed plans for how we will reduce our carbon footprint. Sponsors are drawn to our leadership in this area and what is really compelling is the ability to work together to use a sponsor’s technology and expertise to help us get to net zero. For example, using BMW’s electric vehicle fleet to transport players and staff at tournaments, or working with our partner OceanTee (who make sustainable golf products) to roll out tees made from bamboo and reusable water bottles at events. These relationships have practical advantages for us and create great brand storytelling opportunities for a sponsor, so it’s a win-win situation. So whilst there’s a moral obligation to do the right thing, let’s not forget that being sustainable makes business sense as well. It’s a virtuous circle.

LUX: We are excited for the Ryder Cup. What is the winning formula for this legendary sporting event?
GK: The Ryder Cup is the moment when golf really enters mainstream culture – it’s up there with the Super Bowl, the World Cup and the Olympics in that respect. When working on it you’re very aware that it is something special, so you have a responsibility to protect and nurture it. In terms of a winning formula, first things first it’s very tribal and this helps bring the casual fan along for the ride. Even if you are not an avid golfer, you can feel an allegiance to Team Europe or Team USA. It also means more to the players. Golf can be quite an insular sport at the pro level, so these guys love coming together every two years and playing a team sport. We also create an unbelievable atmosphere on the first tee. It’s a real amphitheatre and the players all say it’s the most nervous they ever feel. Rome 2023 promises to be particularly special as the location is so iconic. You can actually see St Peter’s Basilica from various spots on the course, so spectators can enjoy one of the world’s great cities when not watching golf.

The Ryder Cup is being held in Rome on Friday 29 Sept – Sunday 1 Oct 2023

Find out more: europeantour.com/dpworld-tour

Reading time: 12 min
A hotel on a golf course
A hotel on a golf course

The Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel is the first golf resort on the island

This month we head to Mallorca for a stay with a view of the mountains, ten minutes from the thriving capital Palma

The lowdown

In the summertime, Mediterranean island stakes, LUX is very pro-Mallorca. There is competition from everywhere, ultra-chic individual Cyclades and party-central Mykonos to old establishment Sardinia, and even from its neighbours, vibier younger sister Ibiza, and newly arty Menorca. And dozens of others, many of which could justifiably stake a claim to be the ultimate Mediterranean island to visit.

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And yet: Mallorca has the spirituality and culture of Deia in the west, the intricate beauty and cuisine of Palma in the south, high quality local wines, some celebrated restaurants, and a huge variety of sports, including truly world-leading golf and cycling. It also has the deepest yacht harbour in the Mediterranean, in case your boat doesn’t fit in Monaco’s harbour. And it’s big enough not to bore you.

A swimming pool surrounded by palm trees

The hotel has both indoor and outdoor swimming facilities

Which takes us to the Son Vida estate, in a valley and on a hillside outside the city of Palma. The Arabella Sheraton (originally an Arabella hotel, then taken over by Sheraton) is built in the style of a local finca, or farmhouse. It is surrounded by mature gardens and shrubbery; arriving felt more like walking into at a boutique hotel than an international chain, a feeling that persisted throughout our stay.

The arrival

The reception and bar area lead out onto a broad terrace with a curving balustrade facing across the estate and to the mountainside across the valley; beneath are three large, curvaceous pools, all surrounded by trees, beyond which are tennis and other sports facilities. The public spaces are hung with distinctive and compelling art, much of it by local artists, all part of the private collection of the hotel’s German owners. The feeling is more of staying at a private estate than a hotel, amplified by the staff, who all seemed to be local, warm, friendly and professional.

Fried shrimp on a black plate

La Bodega del Green serves classic Spanish tapas as well as other local delicacies

On our first night we ate at the Bodega, a wine bar on a terrace on the lower floor; sea bream with capers and courgettes. The atmosphere was casual though the service was anything but. The wine list was broad, although perhaps could have championed wines from Mallorca and the nearest mainland area, Catalonia, a little more.

Take me to my room

Our room, with a long balcony, faced out beyond the pools and the canopy of trees, where Mallorca’s most renowned golf course, Son Vida, was on display. While the clubhouse is less than a long tee shot from the hotel, the Arabella doesn’t feel at all like a golf hotel: no groups, no taking over. Couples and families were equally in evidence.

A room with a view of a golf course

Hole in One Suite’s living room

On our second night, we had some light bites on the upper terrace, with its sunset views of the mountains: crystal bread with iberico ham and local olive oil, a very delicate gazpacho, a salad of local tomatoes of various shapes. A very attentive and thoughtful bar manager kept everything coming like clockwork; and as throughout our stay, we felt, if not alone, then certainly very much with the luxury of space.

Read more: One&Only The Palm, Dubai, Review

At night, a chorus of frogs from the lake beyond the gardens joined the cicadas.

Out and about

During the days we discovered a great advantage: the hotel’s perfect location. 15 minutes from the centre of Palma – one of the most underrated cities in Europe – 45 minutes from Deia’s beauty, 20 minutes from the beaches, and 25 minutes from the airport. (And if you play golf, that clubhouse is less than four minutes by foot).

A table looking over a garden with trees and pink flowers

LA Bodega overlooks the peaceful Son Vida golf course

So there you have the Arabella Sheraton: a rather nice synthesis between a boutique hideaway and a luxury hotel, and proof that, with excellent management of a very nice property, an excellent hotel can be even more than the sum of its parts.

Rates: From £300 per night (approx. €350/$385)

Book your stay: marriott.com/-sheraton-mallorca-arabella-golf-hotel

Darius Sanai

Reading time: 3 min
fields in Scotland
golf course

Torrance golf course at the Fairmont St Andrews

Located on the east coast of Fife in Scotland, the Fairmont St Andrews is a grand resort hotel with a championship golf course, spa and multiple restaurants. LUX checks in for the weekend


A challenge with some of Scotland’s great hotels is that they are quite an ‘interesting’ drive away from an airport. No such problem with the Fairmont St Andrews, to which you whiz from Edinburgh or Glasgow airport along smooth roads. An hour later, the countryside reveals a view of the North Sea, and the resort grandly perched in front of you, surrounded by farmland and, given the location, a golf course.

Fairmont is a North American brand, and you could be forgiven for thinking you had arrived at a resort in northern California, with a grand driveway, ornate signs and a swanky entrance. The grandeur continues inside. Having checked in, you walk into a huge atrium lobby from where a lift takes guests to their appointed floors.

The Room

The views were tonics, and quite different to those in the Scottish Highlands. We looked out over the grassland dropping down to the steely endlessness of the North Sea, which sounds bleak but to the right were rolling hills dotted with picturesque farmhouses, and the East Neuk art colony down the coast.

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Continuing with the North American vibe, the room was huge and lavishly appointed, with marble bathrooms, excellent lighting and air-conditioning, which you often don’t get in hotels in this part of the world, where quaintness is too often an excuse for neglect. Perhaps there could have been more Scottish character in the rooms, but there was plenty of that outside the windows, and in St Andrews next door.

Hotel suite

One of the hotel’s deluxe suites 

The Experience

Unlike some places which install a treatment room and call themselves a resort, the Fairmont St Andrews really is a resort. There is a big spa, indoor pool and one of the most renowned championship golf courses in the world. A couple of miles down the road, there is also the course of the Royal and Ancient.

All this means you could entertain yourself without ever leaving the resort. There are several restaurants in the main building, but we chose to dine at the St Andrews Bar & Grill, a few minutes’ walk away on the golf course with a fabulous sea view, which served lobster, charcoal-oven steaks and oysters, along with a superb selection of champagnes. We will have to save La Cucina, the Italian restaurant, for next time.

Read more: Culture and Cuisine at La Fiermontina, Puglia, Italy


St Andrews is famous for its golf, but is also one of the country’s most attractive old towns. We spent the day exploring the streets, the university quad, the castle and cathedral, and enjoying the astonishing variety of restaurants of different cultures packed into the tiny town with its very cosmopolitan student base.

restaurant booth

Squire Restaurant is just one of the hotel’s dining options

The Verdict

Super-swanky American resort service and standards meet one of the most desirable locations in the Old World. Our only regret is having to cut our stay short.

Find out more: fairmont.com/st-andrews-scotland 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue.

Reading time: 2 min
man playing golf
man playing golf

Photograph by Valentin Luthiger

It’s not just the breathtaking alpine landscapes that are attracting visitors to Andermatt Swiss Alp’s golf course, but also its notable commitment to sustainability and biodiversity. LUX discovers more

Andermatt’s 18-hole championship golf course was designed by renowned golf course architect Kurt Rossknecht to blend seamlessly into the unique landscape of the Ursern Valley, winding around rock formations, wildflower meadows and natural streams against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

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In September 2020, the golf course became one of the first in Switzerland to achieve GEO certification from the Golf Environmental Organisation. There are now over 118 species of birds and 12 species of dragonflies living in the surrounding environment, while specially-designed drinking stations provide golfers with fresh mountain water, still and sparkling, to discourage the use of plastic bottles on the course.

alpine golf club house

The golf clubhouse. Photograph by Valentin Luthiger

The clubhouse restaurant, The Swiss House, also shows its commitment to sustainability through its broad range of local dishes and climate-friendly catering.

The golf course opened on 22nd May 2021. Find out more: andermatt-swissalps.ch

Reading time: 1 min
Andermatt Swiss Alpine village in summertime
Andermatt Swiss Alpine village in summertime

Summer in Andermatt with bike trails, the historic village streets, the Radisson Blu hotel and the new golf course

Andermatt is rapidly becoming one of Switzerland’s best year-round Alpine destinations. Already famed for its winter sports, the resort is now offering activities, accommodation and dining for summer, too, thanks to a major new development. Rob Freeman discovers the joys of the village’s new season

As the winter snows melt on the slopes above Andermatt, the year-round allure of this Swiss village becomes apparent. Thanks to the charm and the beauty of its summer meadows carpeted with white, blue, yellow and pink Alpine flowers, the resort has become a multi- faceted, all-season destination.

As glorious as it is in winter – Andermatt is now a world-class winter-sports centre and part of central Switzerland’s largest linked ski area – the resort, thanks to some remarkable developments that are taking place there, is equally stunning in the summer. In many ways, the contrast between the verdant valleys and the glistening white peaks above in summer makes this landscape even more striking.

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Andermatt’s parish records go back 800 years, with many of its houses being centuries old, so it’s small wonder that there is a palpable sense of history and tradition in its streets. With such a background, it’s intriguing to see the village enter a new phase, underlined by the recent opening of the elegant shopping and dining square, the Piazza Gottardo, which is part of a visionary development by Egyptian investor Samih Sawiris that will see the village double in size. There’s a distinct yet subtle style to this new car-free area, known as Andermatt Reuss, of which the Piazza is the centrepiece. The trick is having every building individually designed by one of more than 30 Swiss and international architects to create an eclectic rather than uniform appearance.

Swiss village street view

Each new building, as architect Christoph Langenberg, the project manager of the developer Andermatt Swiss Alps, explains, pays homage in one respect or another to the traditional styles of the local architecture. The Edelweiss apartment building, for example, has distinctive shutters with chevron patterns in contrast to the broad arches that protect balconies against the sometimes severe weather. But its most extraordinary feature is its exterior colour, which starts from a dark base and gradually lightens as it rises until seeming to fade into the sky. Diamond shapes are scored into the façade, with wavy lines accentuating the lightness. In another building, House Wolf, the design incorporates the careful gauging of the sculptural effect of the roof overhang.

“The buildings are clustered together more closely than is usual in new projects like this,” Langenberg adds. This is deliberate, to reflect the traditional way in which these villages evolved. The buildings have always been close together for warmth and security. We wanted the new developments to be an extension to the old village, rather than something separate.” One to five-bedroom apartments are available, and the whole project, which will include 30 individual chalets, has no purchase restrictions for foreigners.

Two cyclists riding their bikes around an alpine lake in the summer

The square, complete with fountain, is fringed by shops, restaurants and bars. Restaurant Biselli already epitomises Piazza Gottardo’s village spirit and, from 8am to 11pm, is a focal point for holidaymakers and residents. Occupying the ground floor of the six-storey House Alpenrose apartment building, the restaurant is also a bakery, providing rolls and croissants every morning, and a chocolate shop where the chocolatier can often be seen creating little masterpieces. It also has a small section selling holiday necessities such as milk, butter and jam, even toothpaste. The softly lit restaurant, which is romantic and stylish, has a menu embracing dishes such as goose liver mousse with cognac and truffles, and sea bass baked in puff pastry, as well as local specialities such as tarte flambée of onions, bacon, sour cream and mountain cheese, and dumplings with roasted pork belly.

Read more: Maryam Eisler in conversation with Kenny Scharf

The Mammut sports shop opposite is a high-end ski-rental shop in winter and a bike, hiking and climbing emporium in summer. A Victorinox store has a large selection of Swiss Army and kitchen knives, designer luggage and watches. A pharmacy and small supermarket will soon join the line-up.

Exterior of a building designed as a large chalet

Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen

The impressive Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen opened recently, and its Spun restaurant, highlighting Swiss and Italian cuisine, also fronts onto the Piazza. The hotel also has a fitness zone including two saunas, steam bath and 13 treatment rooms and extensive gym, as well as a 25-metre public indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the mountains of the Urseren Valley. A new concert hall with state-of-the-art acoustics and seating 700, designed by British studio Seilern Architects, is attached to the hotel. Further accommodation for the village will include a hotel aimed at families, featuring a water-slide through reception!

Summer offerings include walks from gentle strolls to challenging hikes, and climbing for novices as well as experts. Also popular are e-bikes with auxiliary motors to tackle distances and gradients that would otherwise be out of the question. The Four Headwaters Trail links the nearby sources of four rivers, the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino and Rhone. The 85-km family-friendly route can be split into day trips or a five-day tour staying at huts. And days out on the Matterhorn Gotthard Glacier Express are spectacular. There’s no more marvellous way to enjoy these glorious mountains.

Green of a golf course surrounded by mountains

Andermatt’s 18-hole golf course

The new 18-hole, par-72 championship Andermatt Swiss Alps golf course

Designed to complement its spectacular natural setting, Andermatt’s 18-hole golf course is immediately adjacent to the village. Although it only opened as recently as 2016, it has already achieved the highest possible accolades, including being named Switzerland’s Best Golf Course in the World Golf Awards every year since. Designed by renowned German golf-course architect Kurt Rossknecht, it has the feel of a Scottish links course and meets international tournament standards. Importantly for holidaymakers, it is open to the public on a pay-and-play basis.

Find out more: andermatt-swissalps.ch

This article originally appeared in the Summer 19 Issue.

Reading time: 5 min
large contemporary lounge area with sofas and armchairs
Auditorium with a BMW sports car parked at the front in preparation for the BMW PGA golf Championship at the Wentworth Club

The Wentworth Club, located on the exclusive Wentworth Estate in Surrey, is the birthplace of the Ryder Cup and the BMW PGA golf Championship

Invitation only, private members club Wentworth is home to one of the UK’s most exclusive and historic golf courses. After a shiny redevelopment, the luxury club house is trés chic and sophisticated – and it offers much more than just golf, as Associate Editor Kitty Harris discovers

Club houses are undeniably appealing (the lure of leisure activities, beautiful lounges, long lazy luncheons), but often their estates are difficult to get to and by the time you’ve factored in the journey and planning, it doesn’t seem so seductive after all, especially if you’ve only got half a day to spare. Fear not: Wentworth Club, on the south west fringes of London, is a short distance by limo from Heathrow, making it an ideal stopover en-route to the capital.

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Located on the Wentworth Estate, home to many a celeb and royalty (it’s one of the most expensive private estates in a London suburb), the Wentworth clubhouse sits at the end of a picturesque driveway past verdant, manicured lawns and golf courses fringed by leafy trees. We take a golf buggy (what else?) from the main clubhouse up to the Tennis and Health Club where a beautiful 25-metre indoor pool awaits along with a gym, dance studio and jacuzzi. There’s also a charming terrace where members can take their lunch whilst surveying the tennis courts and discussing the power of their serve.

large indoor pool with swimmer mid-front crawl in the middle lane

The indoor pool at Wentworth’s Tennis and Health club

The Wentworth Club was bought by the Reignwood Group back in 2014 and they have since invested over £20 million pounds in its redevelopment. Directed by Dr. Chanchai Ruayrungruang, a Chinese-Thai businessman, the group also own the likes of Ten Trinity Square in London – to which Wentworth Club members are granted immediate access (a serious perk).

The club attracts international, high flying business men and their families who travel to London for long weekends, as well as golfing enthusiasts, tennis patrons and spa denizens with houses in the estate where they visit and live for one week of the year. And of course, there are also the professional golfers. The club was the birthplace of the Ryder Cup and the BMW PGA golf Championship, and played host to the HSBC World Match Play Championship for over forty years.

Luxury lounge area with contemporary furnishings in a neutral colour palette

A cosy corner in the club lounge

One of Reignwood’s most impressive developments (and most popular attractions) at the club is the serene wood-panelled spa, kitted out with Natura Bissé products and a host of Bamford Skincare options for all skin types. We try the signature massage before gliding back to the main clubhouse to explore the nineteenth century castellated features that were maintained during renovation; what is now the club house, was the former home of the Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law. The new interiors were designed by Thorp Design of Sloane Street London, and the look throughout is plush and decadent with Chinese crafted carpets and Italian marble.

Read more: Why we love Club Dauphin on Cap Ferrat right now

We pause for a moment in admiration of the Wentworth Hall of Fame, which displays some of the club’s golfing memorabilia with a glass showcase of historic golf clubs. Members can have their clubs bespoke made and wardrobes kitted out at the Pro Shop, which more closely resembles a Mayfair boutique than a sports shop. We observe a few well-dressed members taking their coffee in the lounge, perhaps before moving onto a working lunch in one of the new private dining rooms where there are reportedly 25 chefs on hand to prepare super-deluxe menus.

large contemporary lounge area with sofas and armchairs

The club lounge where members can socialise

As it’s a beautiful day, we choose to have lunch on the terrace, which faces one of the club’s three eighteen-hole golf courses. Over duck salad garnished with pomegranates, alongside a tipple of champagne we learn that membership at Wentworth Club is a six-figure debenture. There is also a health and tennis club membership, but no access to the golf courses, so if you’re serious about your swing the full membership is a no brainer.

For more information visit: wentworthclub.com

Reading time: 3 min