NAU head for the Algarvian Hills !
The NAU Hotels & Resorts has risen like the proverbial phoenix out of the CS Hotels ashes and in a short period of time, has established itself as the new and shining star on the Portuguese tourism firmament.
To start of our 10th anniversary year, EGTMA members were invited to the Algarve to experience just what exactly the NAU Hotels & Resorts are trying to achieve. With three golf courses and several hotels all within reach of each other, their offer is both diverse and immense.
We headed for the Morgado Resort just inland of Portimao and on the way to Monchique. The resort is easily reached via the A22 about 45 minutes west of Faro airport. Although it still bears the scars of the insatiable appetite for expansion the CS Group had, the resort has a nice level of privacy and cosines. With two courses, extensive practice facilities, a practical clubhouse and high quality accommodation, this is an ideal resort for smaller groups or couples who have their sights set on golf, good food and relaxing.
Morgado and Alamos are two different courses with Morgado being the longer and more generous of the two and Alamos requiring precision with both the driver as the approach. Both courses are designed by European Golf Design, a European Tour and IMG joint venture. Alamos, with its small undulating greens, sits on the north side of the valley with extensive views over the Monchique mountains and the Algarve's agricultural landscape while Morgado heads back towards the coast. The accommodation is set in several low level buildings nestled in the South East facing hill and waking up with the beautiful Algarve sunsets is one of the perks of staying at the Morgado Resort.
Heading back East towards Albufeira, the Salgados complex comprises of several hotels next to the Salgados lagoon. The golf course forms the buffer between the hotel complex and the nature reserve and has a distinctive Florida feel to it. With water in play on all but one hole, this is a test of nerve and skill. Stray and your ball will most likely find a watery grave. The courses is flat and easy to walk and has some lovely views at the far end of the course. The Salgadus Dunas Suites hotel sits virtually on the beach and offers large rooms and suites to anybody's taste.
During the week we were to sample the different meals both resorts offer with a-la-carte and buffet dinners put in front of us. None of them disappointed as they were equally as good. The hotels have pride in offering typical Portuguese cuisine with local meats, fish, vegetables and cheese all presented superbly. We all know that Portuguese wines, although not often found abroad, are amongst the best in the world and offer superb quality at a reasonable price. Combine the two and you're in for a treat. The food is uncomplicated and deliciously honest and accompanied by a glass of Douro, Alentejo or even Algarve wine can't go amiss.
The Algarve is reachable from any European country with low-cost airlines. The weather is mild all year round and it's safe, very international and familiar. Portuguese society is all about family and children are welcome everywhere.
The NAU Hotels & Resorts are a young and vibrant local hotel group and they recently held a recruitment drive to provide employment to a beleaguered area of Portugal where youth unemployment is high. They are doing their best to provide a future for the region that is currently going through a revival and tourism in general and golf tourism in particular is very much at the heart of that revival.
Jo Maes, President of the EGTMA