December 11, 2012 - 11:12pm
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John Holmes
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Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Courtesy of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
The Links Golf Club is one of three courses included in Sandestin's pre-Christmas bargains.

The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla., is making a unique offer for the week leading up to Christmas – that's next week! Guests who book a round on one of Sandestin’s three participating courses will receive a free night stay in either the resort's Luau or LeCiel communities.

Green fees for that week at the Links Golf Club, Raven Golf Club and Baytowne Golf Club are $89, with replay rounds going for $79. Carts and unlimited range balls and use of the practice facility are also included.

"This promotion is our way to give people the gift of travel and the opportunity to experience all Sandestin has to offer, including the enjoyable game of golf," said Sandestin Vice President of Operations Robert Schamber.

There’s more than golf going on at Sandestin over the holiday saeson, though. The more than a dozen events and activities include the Santa Tuck-in and Santa Skype programs, Village outdoor skating rink, holiday movies under the stars and the festive "12 Nights of Lights" light show.

Spread through 30 neighborhoods and over 2,400 acres with 1,300 vacation rentals, condominiums, villas, town homes and hotel accommodations, Sandestin features seven miles of beaches and bayfront, four championship and resort golf courses, 15 tournament-caliber tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, fitness center and spa.

The pedestrian-friendly Village of Baytowne Wharf is the heart and soul of the resort, where guests enjoy a mix of boutique shops and restaurants, bars and nightlife. Family-friendly entertainment options include the Adventure Landing Playground, Adventure Zone with the Florida Gulf Coast's only zipline, Carousel and the Blast Arcade and Laser Maze.

For more information, visit www.sandestin.com

December 3, 2012 - 10:08pm
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John Holmes
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Courtesy of Golden Horseshoe Golf Club
Golf at the Golden Horseshoe in Colonial Williamsburg is a father-son affair, thanks to the course-design genius of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his sons Robert Trent II and Rees.

Few names in golf course architecture are as recognizable as that of the Jones family: The late, great genius Robert Trent Jones and his equally renowned sons, Robert Trent Jones II and Rees Jones. Together, the three industry giants have designed or remodeled nearly 1,000 courses around the globe.

Now, golfers can play the Robert Trent Jones-designed Gold Course and the Rees Jones-designed Green Course at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, and also stay onsite at Colonial Willamsburg's Woodlands Hotel. In addition, they can add a round at the nearby Rees Jones-designed Club at Viniterra, for a two-night, three-round package starting at $399 per person.

The Jones Collection package is available through the end of 2013 – yes, 2013.

Fittingly for a family destination, golf at Golden Horseshoe is a father-son affair. Trent Jones Sr. designed the Gold Course in 1963 and Rees came along to build the Green Course nearly 30 years later. The Gold Course is both an enduring example of traditional golf course architecture -- walkable and free of surrounding real estate development – and an excellent counterpart to the Green Course, which at 7,120 yards plays a little tougher than its sibling.

Located just off I-64 in New Kent toward Richmond, the Club at Viniterra opened in late 2009 as an amenity to help sell real estate, and once the golf course fully matured, the developers elected to open for public play earlier this year. Built on nearly 1,200 acres of wooded and rugged terrain, Viniterra can stretch to nearly 7,800 yards from the tips and flies against the grain of your typical Tidewater design.

With massive fairways and run-ups to nearly all of its green complexes, combined with the strategic placement of various grass, sand and water hazards -- Viniterra is enjoyable for golfers who select the proper set of tees, as some holes offer up to a dozen different teeboxes. Viniterra's routing incorporates many of the site's diverse natural features, including frequent elevation changes, multiple wetland areas and sections of mature, deciduous forest.

For more information, click here.

December 2, 2012 - 1:08pm
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John Holmes
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CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
Courtesy of CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
The clubhouse overlooking the Greg Norman-designed course at the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa in Anguilla received a major refreshment.

The unique CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa on the Caribbean island of Anguilla is back in business following a three-month, $15 million renovation to the property.

"We're seeing a strong renewed interest in CuisinArt in the U.S. market as a result of the recent renovations," General Manager Stephanie Zaharia told Travel Weekly. "There's steady growth, as well, in the Canadian and South American markets."

The 11,000-square-foot clubhouse at the resort's $50 million Greg Norman-designed 18-hole golf course received part of the upgrade, and the resort's entrance was reconfigured to offer more expansive views of the course and the ocean beyond.

In addition, the 275-acre beachfront property's 93 guest rooms received new furnishings, LCD TVs, Bose Wave music systems, Nespresso makers and other enhancements. The resort also opened Anguilla's first Japanese restaurant, called Tokyo Bay. Another new restaurant, Italia, has opened in the golf clubhouse, while the menus at Cafe Mediterraneo, Beach Grill and the AAA Four Diamond-rated Le Bistro at Santorini all have been updated.

CuisinArt's winter rates start at $875 per night, though a variety of promotional plans and packages are available.

For more information, visit www.CuisinArtResort.com.

November 6, 2012 - 7:42pm
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John Holmes
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Palmetto Dunes
Courtesy of Palmetto Dunes
Angling for redfish and swinging like Masters champ Bubba Watson are just two of the many activities available this fall and winter at Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Want to learn to play "Bubba Golf?" You can do just that and much more at the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The new Bubba Golf class at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy teaches golfers to emulate the playful attitude of Masters champion Bubba Watson. The program, held every Monday on the Robert Trent Jones Course, focuses on the mechanics of making specific trouble shots while learning to think less and focus better. It costs only $25 per person.

Bubba Golf is one of 11 programs, which include Ladies Only, Mental Golf Workshop and Power & Distance class, offered at the Golf Academy. Private lessons are also available.

Also new is the Fish & Chips golf and fishing package, which is designed as a guys’ golf getaway for a group of four. The four-day, three-night mini-vacation lets golfers take in a round of golf in Hilton Head’s mild fall temperatures and enjoy many autumn activities, including inshore fishing, kayaking, biking and tennis. During the fall, redfish are abundant in Hilton Head waters, and golfers will have the opportunity to take an inland fishing charter to try and catch a "Big Red" for a great photo and bragging rights.

The Fish & Chips package includes accommodations in a resort view villa; a $100 resort dining card good at Palmetto Dunes’ Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers & Pizza restaurant, the Dunes House restaurant or the golf grilles; two hours of kayak rentals; bike rentals throughout their stay; one round of golf per person; a $50 gift card per person for the resort’s golf pro shops; a sleeve of golf balls per person and two hours of tennis court time daily.

Kids younger than 10 play free golf rounds with a paying adult. The package provides guests a total savings of nearly $800 off regular rates and starts at $1685 for four players. Rates vary according to the season and availability.

Golfers looking to spend an extended vacation at Palmetto Dunes this fall or winter can partake of the resort’s monthly golf membership, which offers unlimited golf for up to 30 days at all three of the resort’s courses. Members also receive discounts at the pro shop, golf grilles and range. Available for both couples and individuals, the passes start at $630 per person and $1050 per couple for 30 days.

Also new this season is the Palmetto Dunes Golf App, available for free on both iPhone and Android. It lets golfers track their score digitally and share it on Facebook, offers live leader boards, provides GPS yardage markers and allows users to book tee times directly from their phone. The app also provides details about each hole on the resort’s three courses as well as tips for playing the holes.

Palmetto Dunes features three distinctly different courses – the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course, the George Fazio Course and the Arthur Hills Course. The community itself is a 2,000-acre resort bounded by three miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other.

The resort also includes an award-winning tennis center, an 11-mile inland salt-water lagoon system for kayaking and fishing, and Hilton Head Outfitters for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour deep-water marina, located right across from Palmetto Dunes, features waterfront shopping and dining and a wide variety of charters, including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing.

For more information, visit www.palmettodunes.com.

October 29, 2012 - 9:01am
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John Holmes
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Courtesy of Grand Cypress Resort
The renovation work at the Villas at Grand Cypress Golf Resort will proceed one block of villas at a time.

The Villas of Grand Cypress Golf Resort in Orlando, Fla., has begun a four-month, $14 million renovation that will result in completely new interiors as well as upgraded furniture, fixtures and finishes and enhanced in-room technology in all of its guest accommodations. In addition, the resort will add a new fitness center.

The work will proce,ed with renovations of one block of villas at a time, with no interruption to reservations or resort operations, Grand Cypress officials said. The project is expected to be complete in February.

"Upon completion of this renovation, the Villas of Grand Cypress will once again be at the top of the list as one of Florida's leading luxury resorts," said Steve Mills of the resort's ownership group. "We are not just changing out the soft goods and refreshing the paint. We are innovating through design and elevating the guest experience."

The new 650-square-foot club suites and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with full kitchens, living and dining rooms will feature a transformative aesthetic that references a tranquil balance of contemporary and classic styles, Grand Cypress said.

The villa kitchens will receive a complete makeover with slate-tiled entrances, top-of-the-line GE stainless steel appliances, walnut cabinets, quartz countertops with stainless steel sinks and polished chrome fixtures. The five-piece baths will feature wood and stacked stone, crisp white porcelain, polished chrome and glistening glass tile. They’ll also include a deep-walled bathing vessel and custom quartz counters with double sinks, polished chrome faucets and an illuminated mirror integrated with a 19-inch television.

In addition to its 45-holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf, the resort offers the Grand Cypress Racquet Club; in-room spa services; Lake Windsong and marina; two pools, and more. The Grand Cypress Academy of Golf is rated as one of the "Top 25 Golf Schools in America" and has received Golf Magazine's Silver Medal Resort Award (2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012).

For more information, visit www.grandcypress.com

October 27, 2012 - 8:36pm
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John Holmes
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Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo
Courtesy of Casa de Campo
The spectacular Teeth of the Dog course at Case de Campo has been regarded as the best course in the Caribbean virtually since it opened.

The temperatures are dropping, and that means the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic is rolling out its fall/winter 2012-13 packages.

The 7,000-acre resort is offering four-day and seven-day "Golf Lodge" packages that combine rounds on the 63 holes of Pete Dye-designed courses with accommodations, meals, and unlimited use of some of the resort's most in-demand amenities. Both the four-night and seven-night packages include:

--Unlimited golf on The Links, an 18-hole Dye design with spectacular views of the Caribbean

--One round on the world-famous Teeth of the Dog course, long considered the best in the Caribbean

--One round on Dye Fore, the wide and windy 27-hole layout located high above the Chavon River (for seven-day-package guests only)

--Shared cart for 18 holes daily, unlimited range balls and club storage

Off the course, the deals include:

--a Golf Lodge room with complimentary wireless Internet access
--Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
--Unlimited drinks by the glass at resort bars and restaurants
--Unlimited use of the gym/fitness center

Both Teeth of the Dog and The Links were recently renovated under Dye's guidance. In addition, Casa de Campo spent more than $40 million to upgrade many other parts of the resort, including restaurants, public areas, and the main pool deck.

Golf Lodge packages begin at $1,128 per person for four nights and $1,997 for seven nights. They are available Nov. 1-Dec. 20 and then again from Jan. 4-April 30, 2013.

Along with its golf courses, the resort features a variety of dining options in restaurants such as The Beach Club by Le Cirque and La Cana by Il Circo; the 13-court La Terraza Tennis Center; a shooting center; equestrian center; polo club; marina for deep sea and river fishing and a separate yacht club. Also at the resort are private beaches; the Casa de Campo Spa; and the Altos de Chavon artists village with museums, art galleries, boutique shopping, a church and Greek-style amphitheater.

For more information, visit www.casadecampo.com.do.