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Guide to Golf at JJW Hotels in the Algarve

By: Golfshake Editor | Sun 30 Sep 2018

PEOPLE who say that you cannot get too much of a good thing are generally those who are speaking from personal experience. And when it comes to accommodation, golf and the Algarve, there is plenty of good stuff to talk about. The Algarve’s golf heritage is well enough known, but it is still worth a recap.

Much credit for the explosion of interest in golf goes to Henry Cotton, the legendary English golfer who won The Open Championship three times. He bought a home in Portugal and spent a great deal of time there after he gave up competitive play. Cotton was a man who was ahead of his time. He knew that the climate in Portugal was perfect for golf and he also realised there was a great deal of stunning, mainly coastal land that was enjoyed by a few locals but was unknown to anybody who didn’t live in the country or, more specifically, the Algarve.


Cotton had a hand in designing many of the courses that today’s visitors take for granted but his masterpiece was, and is, Penina, which is now part of a resort that encompasses a hotel, the Sir Henry Cotton Championship Course, which was the first 18-hole layout to be built in the Algarve, and a nine-hole course. The Penina course has hosted the Portuguese Open on many occasions and it essentially became the gateway for the explosion in interest in the sport that changed the Algarve for ever.  Flanked by streams, water hazards and ditches, it is famous for subtle slopes and raised greens. A par 73, it remains a thing of beauty and offers a terrific challenge to golfers of all abilities.

Cotton introduced thousands of trees and shrubs, transforming the landscape into a vegetation rich, lush land, perfect for playing the game of golf. From this initial build, there quickly sprang another 30 courses across the region - the Algarve had been changed for ever. As the towering pines and eucalyptus trees reached maturity, the course was given a definitive character that remains unmatched across the region even today.  

The course is characterised by an unusual grouping of par fives, with four of the five arranged together in pairs in the beginning and end of the back nine.

The hotel provides a fabulous backdrop to the 18th hole, which is a stunning par five. The ideal drive should be short of the drainage ditch, with bunkers protecting the green to be avoided by your second before a pitch to a magnificent three-tier green. Also worth mentioning is the par-three 13th, which has been voted one of the best 500 holes on the planet. A lake borders the right-hand side, coming into play off the back tee, whilst the sloping green is guarded to the front and left by a pair of dangerous bunkers.

The Resort Course is a testing nine-hole layout that measures 3,267 yards - each hole has two sets of tees, so it can be played as an 18-hole course, measuring 6,522 yards and with a par of 71.

The Penina Hotel is set in 360 acres of stunning grounds. It features 188 rooms and suites, six restaurants, several bars, meeting rooms, a spa, a huge swimming pool and easy access to a beautiful beach. It is a golfer’s paradise but, like so many of the hotels in this part of the world, it is an ideal venue for family holidays. If you don’t like golf, you can go for a swim, crash out on a sunbed on the beach or, for the more active, head out for a game of tennis or football on the full-size pitch.

The Penina is owned by JJW Hotels, who also own Dona Filipa Hotel and the Formosa Park.

For more information and packages, visit Golfbreaks.com.


The Formosa Park comprises 61 luxury apartments and is a four-star resort. It is located within the Roa Formosa Nature Reserve, which is one of the most naturally beautiful parts of Portugal and teems with both wildlife and fauna. Huge pine trees, beautiful water-filled lagoons and exotic birds (of the feathered variety) come as part and parcel of any stay here.

It has to be said that some apartment complexes are not the most welcoming and fail to deliver when it comes to comfort and luxury - Formosa Park delivers in spades. It says much for the resort that a huge number of those who stay here are repeat guests. And you don’t keep coming back to the same place unless it was something special to offer. Each apartment comes with a spacious living area and fully equipped kitchen, giving guests the choice of the sort of holiday they want to have - you can either eat out or decide to cook in your apartment.

The complex features two fabulous outdoor swimming pools, a children’s adventure area, bar and restaurant. And for parents who might want a night out on their own, a professional babysitting service is offered, employing fully trained staff to give Mum and Dad complete peace of mind.

Formosa Park is situated close to Ancao Beach, with an area laid out for the exclusive use of guests, including loungers, chairs and sun shades. And you don’t have to move from there as it also has a beach bar and restaurant. There are two courses nearby - San Lorenzo and Pinheiros Altos

San Lorenzo, designed by Joseph Lee and Rocky Roquemore, is renowned for its outstanding views and large, fast greens. Its undulating fairways meander through pine trees, with holes the overlook the sea and run alongside lakes and lagoons. The 18th, which is played to a semi-island green, is regarded as one of the best finishing holes in golf. Walk off this green with a par and you will surely have a smile on your face. Pinheiros Altos borders the stunning Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, an area of outstanding natural beauty that offers a habitat for many endangered species, a huge collection of birds and plant life.

The course was designed by Ronald Fream of the USA and later updated by Peter McEvoy and Howard Swan. Pinheiros Altos comprises three sets of nine holes, all boasting completely opposing characteristics. The course is played over gently undulating hills bordered with pine trees and lakes. The course also features a state-of-the-art practice area with three putting greens, a practice bunker, a chip shot area and several greens.

For more information and packages, visit Golfbreaks.com.


Dona Filipa, a stunning hotel that features 154 rooms and suites, is one of the best hotels in the Algarve. It has two restaurants, a swimming pool, beautiful bar, spa and beach access and caters for families and golfers alike. Facilities on offer range from a children’s club to tennis courts, with the option of massage and beauty treatments along with an area of beach reserved just for Dona Filipa guests. The hotel first opened in 1968 and In 2013 was the subject of a major refurbishment programme that included all the rooms and suites and a new bar. This is a beautiful, elegant hotel that also gives a nod to tradition and encompasses true Portuguese style. It boasts views across the Atlantic Ocean and rolling gardens.

This is a five-star hotel, so you be certain that the food on offer is going to be of the very highest quality, all made with the freshest of local ingredients. The Kamal restaurant is famous for its mouthwatering buffets, while the Dom Duarte has built a reputation for fine dining. Or you may want to head to Duques Lounge Bar for a snack. Expect outstanding Portuguese cuisine, superb international gastronomy, and a host of carefully selected and locally sourced ingredients.

A mind-boggling array of services and amenities on offer at Dona Filipa include (deep breath): 24-hour business centre, babysitting service, cocktail bar and lounge, billiards, car rental service, currency exchange, 24-hour doctor on call, dogs welcome, disabled rooms and facilities, florist, games room, golf shop, golf courses nearby (San Lorenzo and Pinheiros Altos), kids club, laundry and dry cleaning service, private parking,  pool bar, 24-hour room service, three floodlit tennis courts, valet parking and bellboy service and, of course, wifi.

For more information and packages, visit Golfbreaks.com.

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