Discover Fairmont’s Far Flung Fairways

Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta Canada

The Fairmont Banff Springs is a totemic Canadian resort. (Images: Fairmont Hotels and Resorts)

From Marrakech to Canada’s Rocky Mountains, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has built a portfolio of 15 luxury golf resorts that includes courses by Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Greg Norman and Canadian legend Stanley Thompson.

Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels and Resorts operates 15 luxury golf resorts in some of the world’s most spectacular natural settings. Acclaimed designs by Tom Fazio, Greg Norman, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and other top architects are found on wind-swept St. Andrews Bay in Scotland and alongside the white-sand beaches of Mexico, Bermuda, Hawaii and Southern California. And three classic courses in Canada are the handiwork of Stanley Thompson, one of the legends of golf’s Golden Age.

Elegant hotels. Gorgeous scenery. Bucket-list courses. Read on and consider the possibilities.

Fairmont Mayakoba Resort in Mexico

Fairmont Mayakoba

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

El Camaleon Golf Club, the $23.5-million Greg Norman-designed centrepiece of Mayakoba resort, surely numbers among the world’s most unique golf courses. Aided by a team of environmentalists, Norman used ancient Mayan forestry techniques in carving a tight and constantly demanding 7,024-yard layout that includes two par threes that play to the edge of Mayakoba’s 1.6-kilometre beachfront on the Caribbean Sea. Just offshore is a prime stretch of the Messoamerican Barrier Reef, second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The $2.4-billion resort, which includes Fairmont Mayakoba and three other luxury hotels, plays host every November to the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Fairmont Kea Lani Resort Hawaii

Fairmont Kea Lani

Maui, Hawaii

Set on picturesque Polo Beach on the island of Maui, the Fairmont Kea Lani is considered Hawaii’s premier luxury all-suite-and-villa oceanfront resort. Wailea Golf Club’s three courses are found adjacent to the property. Most challenging is the Gold Course, a robust beauty that architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. routed around lava outcroppings and past rock walls (called papohaku) built by early Hawaiians. Rounding out the roster are the Blue Course, a classically designed layout that has hosted the LPGA Tour’s Kemper Open, and the Emerald Course, a slightly more forgiving track where bird of paradise, bougainvillea and other flowers bloom in tropical abundance.

Fairmont Orchid Resort Hawaii

Fairmont Orchid

Hawaii Island, Hawaii

Fairmont Orchid is a modern, U-shaped hotel that opens pearl-like to a white-sand beach on the majestic Kohala Coast. Running alongside the resort’s tropical gardens and waterfalls are two acclaimed 18-hole courses, Mauna Lani North and South. Prudent golfers pray to Pele, the volcano goddess, before teeing off at layouts chiseled through and around ancient lava rock. The North is characterized by rolling terrain and kiawe (mesquite) groves, while the South is renowned for its panoramic mountain and ocean views. Indeed, the South’s par-three 15th hole, which plays over the crashing turquoise surf to a two-tiered green, is one of the most photographed in the Hawaiian Islands.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar fountain with golf course in the background

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

San Diego, California

Inspired by the palaces of Spain, Fairmont Grand Del Mar is unrestrained in its opulence. Gold, marble and crystal flourishes are seen throughout a 249-room retreat set in the secluded Los Penasquitos Canyon, north of San Diego. But for golfers the prime attraction is Grand Del Mar Golf Club, a brawny 7,160-yard design by the great Tom Fazio that is punctuated by dramatic shifts in elevation as it circles the 400-acre property. Fazio’s course rises to its apex at the 449-yard fourth hole, which offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean coastline.

Fairmont Sonoma Hotel

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa

Sonoma, California

No less a golf personage than Sam Snead called Sonoma Golf Club his favourite course. This otherwise private country club in the heart of wine country is open to guests of the nearby Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, which launched in 1927 on the site of a hot spring. The 7,100-yard Sam Whiting-designed course is set on rolling terrain highlighted by massive oaks, lakes, and vistas of the Mayacamas Mountains and neighbouring vineyards. Like a fine wine, the old course has aged well. Another famous fan, Tom Watson, said that Sonoma’s greens were the closest he had ever seen to Augusta National for speed and condition.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Scottsdale, Arizona

Every February, during the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is the preferred hotel of the PGA Tour stars. The Spanish colonial-style resort overlooks the fairways of the wildly popular tournament’s home, the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, a Tom Weiskopf-Jay Morrish collaboration that illustrates the magic that can be worked on even the most uninspiring patch of saguaro-dotted lowlands. Tee boxes were isolated in seas of sagebrush and cacti, while the architects brilliantly blended large patches of natural desert with just 28 acres of green fairways. In 2015, Weiskopf returned to oversee a US$12-million facelift of a course whose fame has spread the gospel of desert design around the world.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge golf course in Alberta CanadaFairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Alberta, Canada

One masterful Rocky Mountain valley hole flows into the next at Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club, a Stanley Thompson design that startled the world with its brilliance—and made its architect’s reputation—when it opened in 1926. The legendary Canadian architect whimsically patterned his bunkers after the snow formations on distant mountain peaks, while setting three holes on the shores of lovely Lac Beauvert. Close-by is the charmingly rustic main lodge of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge,  an iconic resort that fits quietly into the splendid isolation of Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta CanadaFairmont Banff Springs

Alberta, Canada

Working with the natural contours of the spectacular Rocky Mountain landscape, Stanley Thompson routed the Banff Springs Golf Course through tunnels of fir trees, while bringing into play the fast-rushing Spray and Bow Rivers. Most of all, Thompson’s course (the first anywhere to cost more than $1-million when it opened in 1929) is famous as the home of the Devil’s Cauldron, an almost impossibly picturesque par three that plays over a boulder-studded glacial lake. Completing the postcard setting is the 764-room Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, which looms like a fairy-tale castle on the cliffs overhead.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler in Whistler British Columbia CanadaFairmont Chateau Whistler

British Columbia, Canada

Unlike many mountain golf courses, which roll relatively tamely across valley floors, Chateau Whistler Golf Club is renowned as a true alpine design. During the opening three grinding uphill holes alone, golfers face an elevation change of more than 300 feet. Creeks, ponds and other natural hazards confront golfers at a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design a short walk from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, a luxuriously modern take on a European-style ski chalet. But the most fearsome hole of all is the signature eighth. The heroically long par three plays downhill to a green guarded at the rear by a wall of granite notorious for bouncing errant balls into orbit.

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu golf course, Charlevoix Quebec CanadaFairmont Le Manoir Richelieu

Quebec, Canada

Impressively rebuilt a decade ago, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu Golf Club is spectacularly situated on cliffs overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River in the heart of the Charlevoix tourist region, east of Quebec City. Nine new holes, several of them affording commanding views of the river, were added to a layout overlooked by Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, a Normandy chateau-style grand hotel. Other additions included an elaborate practice facility and a cliff-top clubhouse, from which dinners can often view pods of whales swimming in the water far below.

Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Montebello Quebec Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello

Quebec, Canada

Built of 10,000 red cedar logs and billed as the world’s largest log cabin when it opened in 1930, magnificent Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello has always overshadowed the Stanley Thompson golf course carved through its vast grounds. But Le Chateau Montebello Golf Club is nobody’s poor relation. Just 6,300 yards in length, Thompson’s layout bedevils golfers with tight fairways, unexpected encounters with creeks and ponds, as well as rapid elevation changes. Best of all is the almost eerie sense of isolation. Most holes are invisible from the next, and other golfers are glimpsed like phantoms through the branches.

Fairmont St Andrews golf course near St Andrews ScotlandFairmont St. Andrews

Fife, Scotland

Golfers enjoy breathtaking views of the medieval spires of the Auld Grey Toon as they play the two courses at Fairmont St. Andrews, set on high ground just outside the game’s spiritual home. Like the 209-room, North American-style hotel, both the Torrance and Kittocks courses have received extensive makeovers since launching in 2001. Eight holes of the original links-style Sam Torrance design were rebuilt by architect Gary Stephenson in preparation for the hosting of the Scottish Senior Open from 2009 to 2014. Stephenson also revamped the final two holes of the Kittocks, a Bruce Devlin design requiring the steely focus of golfers as they navigate a treacherous string of holes alongside wind-swept St. Andrews Bay.

Fairmont Royal Palm MarrakechFairmont Royal Palm Marrakech

Marrakech, Morocco

Nestled in a century-old olive grove with the snowy peaks of the Atlas Mountains on the horizon, Fairmont Royal Palm Golf and Country Club evokes the romanticism of desert life. Though built just a decade ago, the testing 7,226-yard Cabell B. Robinson design abounds with mature palm, olive and orange trees, as well as a variety of flowers, shrubs and trees that bloom at different times of the year. Holes are routed around five lakes overlooked by the 134-room Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech, a series of apricot-hued interconnected cubes meant to recall the fortified villages of historic Morocco.

Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda (Image: Fairmont Hotels and Resorts)Fairmont Southampton

Southampton, Bermuda

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the grounds of the towering pink 593-room Fairmont Southampton, Turtle Hill Golf Club is one of the top-ranked par three courses in the world. Two-time major champion Johnny Miller holds the course record (an astonishing 49, which included a hole-in-one and two holed bunker shots) at a dramatically hilly and challenging 18-hole, 2,684-yard Theodore Robinson design that every March since 2010 has hosted the Grey Goose World Par Three Championship. Open to amateurs and professionals, the two-day, 36-hole tournament has grown in popularity and prestige with each outing.

Fairmont Zimbali Resort in South AfricaFairmont Zimbali Resort

Zimbali, South Africa

The aptly named 154-room Fairmont Zimbali Resort (Zimbali is the Zulu word for “valley of flowers”) sprawls elegantly across a verdant landscape between the Indian Ocean and a forest reserve. On its doorstep is Zimbali Country Club, a Tom Weiskopf design that numbers among South Africa’s top courses. Water, rapid elevation changes, and more than a few blind shots are the hallmarks of a layout that begins with links-style holes before shifting quickly into wetlands and the coastal forest. But step carefully. A video of a golfer at Zimbali foolishly trying to pet the tail of an enormous rock python went viral a few years ago.

 

Comments

Canadian Golf Traveller does not necessarily agree with the comments posted here. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments entirely. The editors will not correct spelling, grammar or syntax. Read our full policy here: Disclosure, Privacy and Comment Policies

*

One more step! To block spam robots, please complete the following: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.