My 2012 travel awards: Golf resorts to cherish
My second installment of my 2012 golf awards covers resorts. I stayed in all types of places, from a tiny luxury lodge in Nebraska to sprawling five-star accommodations on the Pacific Ocean. I had my share of Hampton Inns and Drury Inn & Suites, too. Check out my previous resort awards for 2010 and 2011. For my 2012 awards regarding golf, click here.
• Best Resort: The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos. It has the best combination of restaurants (two five-star places), accommodations (beautiful villas on the water) and golf (next door to the two courses of Cabo del Sol). Honorable Mention: The American Club. The Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos.
• Best Caribbean Resort: Ocean Club Resorts on Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. Luxury suites (check out the photo above) with lunch and dinner on Grace Bay Beach? Paradise. Honorable Mention: Rosewood Tucker’s Point (technically not Caribbean but still in the same mold).
• Best U.S. Beachfront Resort: The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Everything about this place just feels calm and understated.
• Best Private Club Lodging: The Cabins at the Colorado Golf Club, site of the 2013 Solheim Cup.
• Best Lodge: The Lodge at Primland in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The food blew me away and the telescope providing a “Tour of the Universe” is an amazing touch. Honorable Mention: The Prairie Club in Valentine, Neb.
• Most Unique Accommodation I Saw: The Golden Eagle Treehouse at Primland. This cool treehouse sits precariously on the edge of a mountain top overlooking a soaring the Dan River gorge. Honorable Mention: Sandhill, a luxury cabin I toured at The American Club.
• Best Links Golf Resort: Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort in northwest Ireland. The hotel feels homey, but it’s the golf on the back nine of the Old Tom Morris course and Sandy Hills that makes this trip worthwhile. The news that the resort could soon expand its links offerings is exciting.
• Best Casino Resort: The Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash. The resort was cozy enough, its seafood bar a real delight and added amenities like a spa and cigar bar opened this year as well.
• Biggest Surprise Resort: The Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort in Pennsylvania. I love the peaceful setting along the Delaware River.
• Best Family Resort: The Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey. My kids experienced it all. They played putt-putt on the grass course out front of the beautiful alpine-themed lodge, lounged in the spacious suite, swam in the cool indoor pool complex, played golf at the family-friendly Minerals Golf Course and partied hard at the Mountain Creek Waterpark. Honorable Mention: The American Club, Shawnee, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Michigan.
• Best Spa: I was a willing guinea pig on a new golfer’s massage at The Lodge at Primland. Honorable Mention: Kohler Waters Spa, Westin Los Cabos, Crystal Spring’s Reflections Spa, Shawnee.
• Best Off-Property Excursion: (tie) Desert Wolf Tours in Scottsdale, Ariz., and sailing with the Sun Charters on the schooner Atabeyra off of the coast of Turks & Caicos. I drove my first Tomcar, an off-road Israeli military vehicle pictured below, and shot my first gun in the High Sonoran Desert with Desert Wolf Tours. While sailing, I snorkeled along a shipwreck and swam under a rocky ridge near the ocean floor. Honorable Mention: Swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery Los Cabos would have been high on this list too, but I had just had this wonderful experience on a family vacation a month earlier in Cozumel.
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