House Hunter: 'I want to practise my swing in the sun'

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Mike Harcourt writes: "I've been thinking about buying a Mediterranean bolt-hole for some time.

THE PROBLEM

Mike Harcourt writes: "I've been thinking about buying a Mediterranean bolt-hole for some time. Originally, I'd planned to buy something close to the coast, but after a recent golfing trip to Portugal, I'm now looking to buy somewhere where I can indulge my new-found hobby.

"I played some years ago, but this time enjoyed it so much that I want to start playing regularly. Because many of my trips will be for long weekends, I would like to buy somewhere that is very easily accessible, preferably with a maximum flight time of three hours, and, of course, we want somewhere that has lots of sunshine.

"Unfortunately, my wife does not share my enthusiasm for golf, so we would need a location that has plenty to amuse her. Preferably it would be good to buy on a development rather than in an isolated spot and, ideally, somewhere that has a restaurant, clubhouse or hotel on site so that my wife and I can get to know the other residents.

"We would like to be within a short drive of a town or city so that she can enjoy shopping and sightseeing while I'm off improving my game. It would be great to find somewhere that has tuition so that I can improve. Who knows - perhaps my wife may decide to give it a try.

"I'd prefer a reasonably new house or large apartment - I'm hoping to take friends who also play golf with me - and we do not want to worry about having to repair or decorate.

"One thing that is very attractive is the idea of renting out the property, perhaps to people like myself who enjoy short golf breaks throughout the year. If we could find a company who would handle the lettings, that would be ideal."

THE ADVICE

Laurie Hughes replies: "Developments on golf courses sell very well and can also bring great rental returns. The first one I've chosen for the Harcourts, El Jardins del Golf, lies just 4km from Girona. It's a brand new development in a fantastic location, and is easily accessible from Perpignan or Girona airports. The properties are very spacious and have landscaped gardens with views to the Gavarres Mountains and the Pyrenees. Girona has lots of good shops and restaurants, and many buyers are now choosing it over Barcelona as it has such a great buzz particularly in the older parts of the city.

"El Jardins del Golf has its own golf course, but there are also lots of others in the area and it's not too far from the beach, so it's easy to go on day trips. There is a full on-site management service so, if Mike is thinking of buying to let, it could not be simpler.

"The second development, Mosa Trajectum in Murcia, south-east Spain, has a great range of properties, is very up-market, and the course is suitable for beginners like Mike.

"The final development I've chosen, Praia D'El Rey in Portugal, has a superb location. The cliff tops are crowned by the five-star Marriott Hotel, which has around 180 rooms, and a health club with sauna and spa, which I'm sure Mike's wife would appreciate, two restaurants, a conference centre, indoor and outdoor pools, bars and a business centre. It's the first five-star hotel in the region.

"The par-72 course, designed by American architect Cabell B Robinson, has a stunning layout set amid pine forests and undulating dunes with spectacular views of the rugged Atlantic coast and the Berlenga Islands, which is an environmentally protected beauty spot famed for its diving. The course has been voted number one in Portugal and it also won best golf development in the world at the Homes Overseas Awards.

There is a golf academy and pro shop, all based around the social hub of the club-house, which offers a restaurant and golfers' lounge. There's also a tennis academy, run by a professional coach, with seven all-weather courts. You can even walk to the beach, which is the perfect location for walking, fishing or horse-riding."

Laurie Hughes is sales director at World Class Homes (0800 731 4713, www.worldclasshomes.co.uk)

THE SOLUTION

Property one: El Jardins del Golf, Girona, Spain.

Price: Prices from €446,000.

Agent's details: 68 detached and semi-detached villas are being built within the grounds of an 18-hole golf course. The villas are large (up to 350sqm) and come with modern, high-quality fixtures and fittings such as Bosch appliances and Roca bathroom ware. The spacious living areas have fireplaces, and cable TV is fitted as standard, as are telephone points upstairs and downstairs.

Property two: Mosa Trajectum, Murcia.

Price: One-bedroom apartments from €180,000 up to €4.5m for luxury mansions. Agent's details: Buyers can enjoy an ecological 27-hole championship course built to the exacting standards of the PGA and USGA. The course is at the centre of the resort and the properties are built to the highest standards, with 24-hour security systems. The larger villas have their own pools and a beautiful outlook over the golf course.

Property three: Praia D'El Rey, Portugal.

Price: Two-bedroom apartments from £130,644; three-bedroom apartments from £170,525; three-bedroom villas with garden and pool for £350,000.

Agent's details: The development has a selection of villas, townhouses and large apartments. Buyers can choose from magnificent views over the ocean, pinewoods or the golf course, and properties range in size from one- to four-bedroom apartments, two- or three-bedroom houses up to 1,700sqm villa plots.

THE VERDICT

"These developments all sound wonderful and we would definitely like to find out more about them. Having discussed them with my wife, who I'm sure will have the ultimate decision on where we buy, she likes the idea of being near a city such as Girona. Neither of us has been there but, if it's anything like Barcelona, I'm sure we'll love it. If you buy near a city then you can never be bored and it is also near the coast, which would be good for us and also may attract people who would like to rent the property. The Portuguese development also sounds interesting and seems to have a reasonable starting price, considering you would get all the benefits of a five-star hotel. Needless to say, my wife loves the idea of being able to pop out to a sauna and spa for the day. "

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail with full details: househunter@independent.co.uk

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