Puerto Rico's Royal Isabela Makes Lodging Debut

Puerto Rico's Royal Isabela Makes Lodging Debut

» Featured Columnists | By Scott Kauffman | August 24, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Royal Isabela, the $100 million golf community and private membership club perched on the dramatic bluffs of Costa Isabela at the northwest edge of Puerto Rico, has opened "Las Casitas," reserved for guest stays, and "La Casa," the main hospitality center that houses the property's signature restaurant.

Last year, the Golf Links at Royal Isabela, designed by Stanley and Charlie Pasarell and golf architect David W. Pfaff, opened to great praise. GOLF Magazine named it among the "top new courses to watch for" in the 2013 edition of the World's Top 100 Golf Courses.

Located 90 minutes from San Juan International Airport and just 20 minutes from Aguadilla International Airport, the Royal Isabela community stretches along 426 oceanfront acres from ocean side to the tops of cliffs that range in elevation from 150 to 350 feet above sea level.

Guests at Royal Isabela have their choice of 20 beautifully designed one-bedroom Casitas, with expansive indoor and outdoor space, ocean views and close proximity to the golf course and other amenities. Each Casita has an outdoor patio with an ocean view, and a private terrace with its own plunge pool.

An experienced hospitality staff at Royal Isabela oversees every detail, including a courtesy call before arrival to determine transportation needs, in-room amenities, dinner and golf reservations, room service, concierge and complimentary transportation around the property.

The founders of Royal Isabela are Stanley Pasarell, president, and Charles Pasarell, both descendants of Dr. Manuel Zeno Gandia, a celebrated Puerto Rican literary figure. The brothers, who were born and raised in Puerto Rico and in the 1960s, were dominant in American tennis at the junior, college, and national levels, bring their love of the local culture and hospitality, as well as a great passion for golf and nature to the property.

Edwin Perez, a well-respected business leader in Puerto Rico, also is a partner in the project.

Casitas rates range from $609 to $1409 per night depending on season, which includes breakfast and golf for two each day of the stay. Members receive preferred pricing.

La Casa--the community's "home" and nerve center--sits at one of the region's highest points, so it is cooled by ocean breezes while offering panoramic views over land and sea. Besides check-in and other resort functions, La Casa is where guests will find The Restaurant, the comfortable Library, and the Croquet Bar, which looks over the 18th hole. In keeping with island traditions, La Casa has been designed in Spanish colonial style, from its stone tower to century-old roof tiles, as well as wrought-iron chandeliers, antique furniture, and artwork.

The Restaurant at La Casa has been created under the guidance of award-winning chef David Pasternack of New York City's famed Esca Restaurant and noted restaurant consultant John Sergi. The restaurant offers the freshest in farm-to-table dining with the majority of the fruits, vegetables and herbs literally grown in the soil of Royal Isabela.  The intimately sized Restaurant at La Casa features eight tables inside, seating for five at the pizza oven bar, and more tables outside on the terrace.

With the benefit of Royal Isabela's River Canyon Farm and Organic Gatehouse Garden, the executive chef can combine locally sourced ingredients with traditional European and Puerto Rican cooking techniques.  Daily menus include fresh, line-caught, local seafood such as lobster, grouper, snapper and dorado (mahi-mahi), as well as homemade pastas and an array of traditional Puerto Rican dishes.

Ernie Els Design Breaks Ground on Malaysian Resorts

British Open champion Ernie Els and his namesake golf course design firm recently completed detail designs and is now in the construction phase for some of Asia's largest golf projects. These developments, announced during the 2012 China Golf show in Beijing, are located in two major leisure destinations in Malaysia: eco-resort Teluk Datai, Langkawi and the integrated luxury destination Desaru Coast, Johor.

The 27-hole golf course will be one of the main attractions at Desaru Coast, a 17 kilometer beachfront integrated destination on the west coast of Johor that features an array of luxury resorts, hotels and golf residences, complemented with differentiated leisure and entertainment offerings to include signature golf courses, retail mall and theme parks.

All of these are easily accessible with just a short drive from the Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru and Changi Airport, Singapore.

These courses will represent a new benchmark of excellence and sustainable design on behalf of their client, Destination Resorts. Destination Resorts is the investment holding company established by the Malaysian Government's investment arm, to develop and manage world-class premier destinations, resorts and hotels within its Leisure and Tourism portfolio.

Els and his design team recently completed their second site inspection of the 27-hole golf course at Desaru Coast during construction at which time Ernie approved the first set of holes. Meanwhile in Teluk Datai, Langkawi, the 18-hole course at The Golf Club, Datai Bay is underway and will be completed in 2013.

"As a course designer, I feel so fortunate to be working with Destination Resorts and to be awarded with some of the most beautiful terrain in Asia, and we are well on the way now with construction across the country," Els said. "Our clients and I share the same vision; and am confident our work here will set a new standard, leaving a lasting legacy for Malaysian golfers and the region as a whole".

In addition to the courses mentioned, Els' design team is also providing technical services for another golf course at Desaru Coast, an 18-hole for Vijay Singh. The earth movement for Vijay's course will begin in June 2012. This brings the portfolio of Ernie Els Design to a total of 63 holes under development in the country.

"As we began discussions with Ernie, we realized that we share the same vision to build distinctive and superior golfing havens that will further enhance the golfing experience of both professional and leisure golfers," said Nadziruddin Basri, the Managing Director of Destination Resorts. "It became clear to us that Els' highly regarded course designs and international Hall of Fame career were the perfect fit."

"As the catalyst of integrated lifestyle destinations and luxury tourism products in Malaysia, we have brought together a powerful collection of premier brands such as Ernie Els Design, Shangri-La, Amanresorts, Sheraton, The Datai and others that represent the best in the business and these partnerships will create a highly sought-after tourism and leisure offerings within the region".

In addition, Ernie Els Design and Destination Resorts are also working together to develop Els Residences, the Els Performance Academy as well as an Els Club in Desaru Coast, which will be exclusive for the region.

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