Romance. Wine. Golf. Gourmet Cuisine. Picturesque Views. Italy. Castiglion del Bosco. Part of a 4,500 acre development, to say that owner Massimo Ferragamo has done it right would simply be an understatement.
On a recent trip to New Zealand, one of the highlights was a flying visit to the fantastic Cape Kidnappers. We arrived at around 2pm after the scenic 2 hour journey from the town of Taupo. We drew up to a rather unassuming front gate that doesn’t instantly suggest you are at one of the best golf resorts in the world. We made our way along the 8 mile private driveway to the “Farm” (as they call it). Note: to call it a farm doesn’t do it justice; as while the building is in a traditional farmhouse style, it is of a very luxurious standard. After check-in we made our way to our private lodges just a short walk from the main building. The rooms, again, are in a homely but comfortable style and each have their own reception area with bar leading into the main large bedroom which have patio doors opening onto a porch and provide a view over the estate and out to the Pacific. The bedroom also has a remote controlled ‘real’ fire and large screen TV discretely located on the wall behind some local photography…as well as a very comfortable king size bed. The bathroom is also of a high standard; a very large spacious area offering a bath with a view out to the ocean.
After unpacking it was down to the course – which is around a 5 minute drive away – for a quick few holes on a course that can only be described as breathtaking. I was there in November just as the better weather is beginning in New Zealand and the course was in great shape. It’s difficult to pick out any one hole as there are so many, but the back 9 played out along the cliff tops with a 500 foot drop to the ocean just yards from the semi-rough and is like no course I have ever experienced. The 15th is a 600 yard par 5 played straight out to the ocean with a sheer drop on the left that leaves no margin for error. The 16th takes you back inland but has the best view from any tee I have ever seen; to your left and right there are views along the coast line and behind you lies the Pacific Ocean. I didn’t play particularly well, but thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the round and was glad of my golf cart with all of the elevation changes on the course.
After golf there was time for a quick dip in the pool, which again has great views over the estate and out to sea…the next thing I knew it was time for dinner. Guests usually get together for drinks prior to dinner providing a warm and friendly atmosphere. During our visit there was a large group celebrating a birthday, so dining was slightly delayed, but this was a welcome problem as we were well looked after by staff with canapés and this also allowed us to sample some of the great local wines in the area. Hawkes Bay is just up the road so there are plenty of local vineyards. We had dinner in the Loggia beside a warming fire and, again, with a view out of floor-to-ceiling windows over that great view.
Dinner was scallops with pork belly followed by beef and a passion fruit dessert – all of which were excellent and a great way to end a busy day.
The following morning was a fantastic breakfast of fruit and Eggs Benedict, again in the Loggia, before our early departure for the flight from Napier airport (approximately 40 minutes away).
By Alastair Niven. Alastair has been with PerryGolf for over 9 years and is one of the members of staff responsible for our South Pacific programs.