France’s 5-Star Terre Blanche Resort Is the Ultimate Golf Getaway
Set on 750 acres in the heart of Provence, the luxury resort boasts two 18-hole championship golf courses and a golf academy.
Provence is well known for its glorious weather, picturesque villages, delicious food, and even more enticing wine. But did you also know that it’s also a mecca for first-class golf?
The five-star Terre Blanche, set on 750 acres in the heart of Provence, is home to a world-class resort with both posh suites and private villas; four restaurants including the Michelin-starred Le Faventia; an infinity pool overlooking the estate; a two-story luxury spa with indoor and outdoor pools; competition-level tennis courts; two 18-hole championship golf courses; a state-of-the-art golf academy; and more.
Located a short drive from St. Tropez and all the other attractions of France’s Côte d’Azur, Terre Blanche, which was formerly a Four Seasons—the French luxury property was also once owned by Sean Connery, who began the initial work of plotting the golf links—is a member of the prestigious The Leading Hotels of the World, as well as a European Tour Destination, which designates the finest golf resorts on the continent. In 2012 following the end of Four Seasons’ management deal, it became an independent luxury resort.
Transforming the estate, originally owned by French aristocrats in the 18th century, into a world-class golf destination, reflects the vision of billionaire German tycoon and philanthropist Dietmar Hopp, who acquired it in 1999, and whose incredible sculpture collection adorns the grounds.
“In the heart of the magnificent landscape of Provence, I fulfilled a dream,” as Hopp says. “The dream of three hundred sunny days, the dream of tranquility, which for me represents absolute luxury. Terre Blanche is like an oasis and staying here is soothing for the soul.”
Terre Blanche’s architectural and interior design is inspired by its surroundings, “combining the best of nature” and “focusing on space and serenity,” with most architectural elements locally sourced, including the stone used throughout the buildings, carved from the quarries of Provence. Its stately avenues have the feel of a Provencal village, and the classical Mediterranean style of their design lends an overall air of timeless elegance.
The chief attraction for sporting gentlemen like Hopp himself is of course the two 18-hole championship golf courses, Le Château and Le Riou,’ designed by Dave Thomas. Le Chateau stands out for its “spectacular water features; ravines; vast, rapid greens; and great bunkers of white sand,” while Le Riou, with its “steep fairways and elaborate greens,” is reserved for hotel guests and Terre Blanche club members only.
Terre Blanche has been awarded “Number One Golf Resort in Continental Europe” three consecutive times by Golf World Magazine, among other honors.
The resort also features a one-of-a-kind Albatros Performance Center, the only European Tour Performance Institute certified in Europe, home to the cutting-edge Terre Blanche Golf Academy, which launched in 2019.
The academy offers golf lessons, basic training courses, (2-5 days), and intensive training (4 or 10 weeks), for both experienced amateurs and professionals. Nor is it all just practicing your swing. Each course involves an “unparalleled combination of biomechanical analysis and physical and mental coaching.”
When it’s time to relax, there are 115 spacious suites and villas on the property, ranging in size from about 650 sq. ft. (suites) to 3,200 sq. ft. (villas), all with private terraces. Billionaires and celebrities favor the top-class villas, including the Méditerranée Villa with a private pool, the Estérel Villa and the Provence Villa with private Jacuzzis, and the Terre Blanche Villa with both a private pool and Jacuzzi.
Interior design reflects the natural surroundings, with a palette of warm neutrals and terra cotta. Baths are suitably luxurious as well and each accommodation has a full suite of luxurious amenities.
Want to stay longer? Within the 750-acre Terre Blanche estate one can purchase plots of land of varying size to construct a private residence with privileged access to Terre Blanche’s golf and resort facilities. The Golfers Houses , located near golf academy, offer turnkey villas as well.
A standout feature of the property is the 34,500-sq.-ft., two-level spa, surrounded by gardens, which has been awarded World’s Best Luxury Golf Resort Spa and Western Europe’s Best Luxury Hideaway Spa. Terre Blanche Spa has numerous treatments suites and rooms, as well as personal fitness trainers offering classes including aqua fitness, aquabiking, yoga and pilates.
The spa has a 65-ft. indoor pool and an outdoor “vitality” pool with water jets and air beds, as well as indoor and outdoor terraces. The gorgeous facility also houses a sauna; a steam room; a laconium (dry sweat room); a hammam; a steam shower; a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment; and a relaxation room with a tropical shower and ice fountain.
The 6,500-sq.-ft. main infinity pool is Terre Blanche’s most striking feature next to its golf courses, with panoramic views over the stunning countryside of southern France.
The pool area also has a Jacuzzi and cocktail bar, as well as Le Tousco Grill, highlighting fresh fish and local produce, sourced locally of course. In season there is a buffet offering organic salads, grilled meat, fresh fish, and a variety of desserts.
There are also a number of poolside cabanas offering more private lounging, including VIP cabanas with a private terrace where guests can enjoy lunch from Le Tousco or cocktails around a private table.
The cabana experience also highlights Terre Blanche’s partnership with Château d’Esclans, the iconic vineyard nearby which produces the most expensive rosé wine in the world, as well as the famous Whispering Angel (the resort can also arrange a tour of the winery).
Terre Blanche prides itself on its gastronomic offerings as well, with four restaurants overseen by Executive Chef Christophe Schmitt, working in conjunction with Terre Blanche’s Chief Sommelier, as this is of course some of the finest wine country in the world.
That’s in addition to features like the resort’s in-house bakery, which produces 17 different kinds of freshly-baked bread for a true Provencal boulangerie experience.
The restaurant lineup is headed by Le Faventia, which has received a coveted Michelin star, where “art and gastronomy create a fusion for the senses enhanced by the sweeping views over the Pays de Fayence villages below” as well as the infinity pool. Set to re-open in 2022, Schmitt and his team have a number of culinary initiatives planned to delight and entice.
Le Gaudina meanwhile offers a more casual, “modern and informal” atmosphere, and is home to the property’s main bar. While Le Faventia was temporarily closed during the pandemic, Le Gaudina stepped up to offer a seamless and elevated dining experience on its attractive terrace. The menu is focused on Mediterranean and Provencal classics. Diners can even select their own lobsters from the restaurant’s live tank—either Blue or Spiny according to your preference.
Situated at the clubhouse, Les Caroubiers restaurant and bar is a favorite lunching spot for golfers, spa-goers and guests alike, with large bay windows offering views of the greens.
A house specialty is of course the club sandwich, this one a gourmet take made using free range chicken and bacon. There’s also a Buddha Bowl with crispy king prawns if you want a healthier option. And quaffing rosé at lunch is de rigeur.
Terre Blanche’s wine cellar is of course a sight to behold. Showcasing over 3,000 different wines, from local offerings to some of the world’s most famous labels and vintages, when available, guests have the opportunity to book wine tastings hosted by the property’s star sommelier Aurélie Deharbe.
Wine tastings can be paired with homemade tapas to enhance the experience, whether you’re sticking to offerings from Provence or casting a wider net, viniculturally speaking.
Either way, indulge to your heart’s content—just don’t miss your tee time the next morning….