Relax by the inviting pool

Sitting amongst the olive groves and carob trees of a sprawling nature reserve near the historic town of Ragusa, Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa boasts an award-winning spa, sun-drenched golf courses and fine wines. We sent golfing guru Kevin Nash to check out the Sicilian 5-star resort.

First impressions

With so much space, it was pleasing to see the mock baroque accommodation was low-level, pastel-coloured and uncluttered. The spacious, immaculate and cool reception and lobby area set a suitably classy tone, while the welcome was friendly and check-in efficient by the smartly-attired staff.

Ideal for...

Couples or small groups of like-minded friends in search of some seriously Sicilian sophistication.

Donnafugata roomUnwind in the spacious rooms
Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa


The room

My Double Classic room was… well, roomy. Even the smallest of Donnafugata’s 192 rooms come in at an impressive 38sq m (410sq ft), while the suites (there are 10 of them) are double that.

I enjoyed the feeling of space in my room, and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the just-right pillow. But most of all, I loved the ultra-quiet and calm feel to the place, unlike some hotels where fellow guests and bustling staff can be a royal pain in the you-know-what.

If you’re after home comforts and mod-cons, you’re in luck. The room (as with all rooms here) came with a flat screen satellite TV and Wi-Fi access, while the bathroom boasted a power shower, super loo and more high-end toiletries than you could shake a stick at.

Best room

For added value, ask for an upper floor Deluxe or Superior room, which may cost slightly more than a Classic, but will come with better views over the golf courses and a terrace instead of a small garden.

The suites, naturally, are pricier, and I wondered whether you’d actually spend that much time in your lounge area or private terrace when there’s so much you could be doing elsewhere in the resort, and indeed the region. This really is the sort of place that will bring out the social animal in you.

Donnafugata restaurantsSample local delicacies in the various restaurants and bars
Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa


Eating and drinking

Executive chef Salvatore Pullara makes full use of the abundant local sea life (including snapper, scorpion fish, octopus, tuna and prawns, all bought daily at local markets), as well as cheeses and vegetables, including aubergines and Pachino cherry tomatoes, typical of the Ragusa region.

Il Carrubo (The Carob) is the gourmet restaurant option; The Golf House offers simple Mediterranean cuisine and a relaxing terrace area for post-round drinks; while breakfast is taken in Fico d’India (The Prickly Pear). The Wine Bar, meanwhile, is ideal for sampling cold meats and local delicacies washed down with some of Sicily’s finest wines, such as a bold Marsala, fruity Moscato or full-bodied Nero d’Avola.

As a keen (if ability-challenged) golfer, I can highly recommend the burgers and club sandwiches for after-round sustenance, best taken on the terrace as you, ahem, gently ‘massage’ your scorecard.


Conde Nast Traveller readers voted Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, which is part of the NH Hotels group, their ‘Favourite Overseas Day Spa of 2010’. In keeping with the rest of the resort, it was spacious and included six treatment rooms, and was filled with a warming natural light. The giant sauna, in particular, was airy and sunny, overlooking the 18th green of the North course – but don’t worry, the golfers can’t see you.

Donnafugata golfPlay a round of golf or take a dip
Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa


Donnafugata has two golf courses – the Parkland Course (North Course), designed by Gary Player, which features a 6th-century B.C. Greek necropolis on the front nine; and the Links Course (South Course), less forested but just as much fun. If you need evidence of its credentials, the Sicilian Open, a European Tour event, was staged here... it really is that good. I took the buggy and was soon glad I did, as both courses were substantial, with undulating terrain.

There are also outdoor and indoor pools, a private beach just a short transfer away, and opportunities for horse-riding, cycling and trekking. Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa also offers a 24-hour concierge service, kids’ club and state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Room for improvement?

The buffet breakfast was plentiful and healthy, ideal for honed gym bunnies. However, golfers are well known for their fondness for pre-round bacon butties and hearty fare.

The resort is staunchly eco-friendly, not lit up like a Christmas tree, so you may want to pack a wind-up torch.

There is also usually a small additional charge for using the spa, although some packages now include free access.

Donnafugata ragusaTake time to explore historic Ragusa
Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa


Out and about

Ragusa, about 30km (20 miles) away, was devastated by an earthquake in 1693, but was rebuilt on a limestone outcrop in the early 18th century. It features some of the finest baroque buildings in the whole of Italy, including magnificent churches, such as the Cathedral of St George.

There are fabulous beaches at Camarina and Punta Secca, about 5km (3 miles) and 10km (6 miles) away respectively, and the resort can also arrange trips by yacht and helicopter, including a visit to Malta. Further north, the snow-capped cone of Mount Etna (the tallest active volcano in Europe), dominates the eastern side of the island, and is clearly visible from the historic and picturesque tourist trap of Taormina.


Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa
Contrada Piombo, 97100 Ragusa, Italy
Tel: +39 0932 914 200.
Price: Classic double rooms from €198 (£155) per night. Green fees for hotel guests: €50 (£39) for 18 holes; €30 (£24) for 9 holes.

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