It's hard to believe it’s already December! With the holiday season fully underway, we’re featuring some of our favorite places to unwind in front of a fireplace this winter—hopefully with some of your favorite people. Speaking of winter, we’re highlighting a recent trip to the Scandinavian Arctic, complete with a viewing of the Northern Lights. Beaches more your speed? We’ve got the lowdown on some of the best hotels in Anguilla. From all of us at First in Service, we wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year. Cheers to 2019!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Planning your next golf getaway? While Italy might not be the first place to come to mind, the Rocco Forte Verdura Resort in Sicily may just move it to the top of your list. Whether you’ll be hitting the links with your buddies, your dad, or your whole family, this Italian coastal resort, part of the Rocco Forte Hotels, offers first-rate golf—the resort is listed among the top golf resorts in continental Europe, according to Golf Digest magazine—plus lots more to do off the course, from relaxing at the spa to taking a dip in the infinity pool.
For golfers, there are two 18-hole courses, the East Course and the West Course, which offer, “the best of inland and seaside golf courses,” says Tom Foster, director of golf instruction at the resort. The links-style courses, designed by Kyle Phillips, have stunning views, with a few holes right down by the Mediterranean. Along with these courses, there’s also a 9-hole, par-3 course that circles the hotel, which is often used for beginners or juniors.
If you are a beginner—or traveling with kids who are just taking up the sport—the Verdura Golf Academy is a great way to learn from a pro, with lessons available for kids as young as 4 or 5. For adults, Foster recommends a lesson, at least at the start, to get a feel for the basics. He also encourages students to get on the course as soon as possible.
For more experienced golfers, a coach is still valuable, and can evaluate your game and hone in on areas to improve. To help, there’s an on-site, indoor performance institute that utilizes the newest technologies, like 3-dimensional game analysis. Plus, the resort has hosted the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, bringing together top players from throughout Europe. And though it hasn’t officially been confirmed, there are plans to hold the event again next year, according to Foster and Antonio Castelo, the resort’s golf director.
Looking for off-the-course activities? Sports-lovers can try their hand at tennis or water sports like jet skiing. When it’s time to unwind, Verdura Spa offers everything from yoga classes to massages and body treatments. You can even try your hand at cooking classes. And if you head outside the resort, you’ll find wineries, quaint villages, and of course—the rest of Italy right at your fingertips.