Finca Cortesín is in a celebratory mood: the golf course is commemorating its fifth anniversary in October, and the hotel its third. This is a particularly meritorious anniversary, because the company has managed to place its “products” – golf course, hotel and residential development – on the highest levels as far as quality, service and national and international recognition are concerned. And all of this during a period that has not exactly been an economic bonanza.
“Our resort,” says Finca Cortesín president Vicente Rubio, “is a unit that integrates all elements, and we are not only identified with any particularly one – be it golf, hotel or residential – because they all form a part of the unique, distinctive and absolute top-quality concept we offer here.”
- What aspects would you highlight from the past five years?
- In the first place, our positioning in the market. We began – and we have said this many times – with the objective and dream of being a reference point in the world of golf as well as the hotel and real estate industries, and that is what we have become.
We have created a highly renowned and prestigious brand that has been honoured with awards from magazines and institutions. Our hotel has risen to the highest level, and is making its mark in Spain and Europe. We have been named the best non-urban hotel in Spain, which is a significant achievement.
The golf course has the privilege of being the venue for the Volvo World Match Play Championship, and to host an event of this stature means we must have excellent amenities.
In addition, it is also important to note that every year, up to now, our revenue from golf has grown 20 per cent, in a market that has been slipping back in recent years. If we can achieve that, it is because of the quality of the course, the maintenance and the service we provide.
Our staff are fully aware that nothing is more important than the client. That is our motto: pamper clients to the last detail.
A lot of what we have implemented here, as far as service and attention to clients is concerned, is now being undertaken at other courses, which is a clear recognition by the industry of our policies and philosophy. I am proud that, thanks to us, the level of service at other golf courses and hotels in the area is being raised.
- In addition to being a reference point for quality, service, etc., Finca Cortesín is a major company generating wealth in the area and employing a significant number of workers…
- Including the beach club, which we inaugurated in July and has already been a great success, we now have 280 employees, plus an additional 30 indirect positions. Who would have considered providing 310 jobs in these times when the norm is that jobs are being destroyed!
The company is handling the crisis well, and we remain committed to luxury, service and quality, which is providing us with good results.
- What do you believe this hotel represents for the Costa del Sol?
- We arrived at a time when the hotel industry was not experiencing its best moments, especially in the grand deluxe sector, but we came with the aim and firm commitment of filling the gap for a true five-star grand deluxe hotel, where – I would like to stress again – service is the main consideration. We have more than two employees per room, standards which you can find in Asia but which are rare in Europe.
The building extends over 20,000 square metres and the gardens 23,000 square metres, for only 67 rooms, all suites with four-metre high ceilings. The smallest is 70 square metres, which gives an idea of what we have here, and all in an area of very low residential density.
In addition to the 67 suites, we offer the opportunity of staying in a private villa with all the hotel services, and this is working very well for the corporate events held here, and for our clients who come with their families.
I would like to highlight the fact that our villas are also a commercial success. During such low times for the sector, we are continuing to sell properties, and part of this success is due to the fact that we offer the possibility of contracting hotel services.
I would like to add that in order to maintain our standards of service and quality over the past few years it has not been sufficient to just have committed owners. You also have to count on the staff and professionals who run all the units of the business. In the end they are the ones who are familiar with and able to develop the company’s policies.
We have recently incorporated changes to the course, and Carlos Beautell has taken over as manager. He was with us before and we have a lot of confidence in him to raise the level even higher. We also have other key people who came on board three years ago: hotel manager René Zimmer, who was previously manager of the Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg and who has turned around the hotel completely; and as greenkeeper we signed up Iñigo Soto, who has maintained the course in impeccable condition. Proof of that was evident in the two editions so far of the Volvo World Match Play Championship, where Soto’s influence was obvious. With these professionals, Carlos, René and Iñigo, Finca Cortesín’s future is more than guaranteed.
- So just to reconfirm… the Volvo World Match Play will remain at the course next year?
Carlos Beautell - Golf Manager
Carlos Beautell has lived through the birth and development of Finca Cortesín right from the start. He has been associated with the course during two separate periods: the first time as assistant manager in 2008 and 2009, and now as manager.
“During the short time I was away,” he explains, “I noticed an improvement in the course, both maintenance, which has been consolidated and has achieved the desired results, and the perception clients have of the club.
“Since opening,” he continues, “we have grown every year in number of rounds, in revenue and in the number of clients returning. This latter recognition is possibly what gives us the most satisfaction, because that’s what we are working towards: that those who come here receive such special treatment they want to return.”
- Has the Volvo World Match Play Championship had a significant influence on Finca Cortesín’s national and international recognition?
- Without a doubt. A tournament of this stature puts you on the world golf map, gives you fame and prestige, and obliges you to improve even more.
René Zimmer - General manager of the Hotel
“The difference between our hotel,” notes general manager René Zimmer, “and any other one in Spain is, firstly, in the spaces it occupies. The building extends over 22,000 square metres and the surrounding gardens, more than 23,000 square metres. The outdoor pools are enormous; 50 and 35 metres long. We also have a spa, offering total relaxation with a wide and varied range of massage services, as well as a magnificent beach club that we inaugurated this summer.
“We can now also describe ourselves as a beach resort, as we are no longer separated from the sea – albeit by only a few hundred metres.
“The cuisine,” continues Zimmer, “is extensive. Few hotels have so many restaurants, with such different atmospheres, styles and gastronomy. The Shilo is, of course, our flagship restaurant, offering an extremely attractive fusion of Arabic, Asian and contemporary cuisine. The kitchen is open to the dining room, which means that clients can almost have the sensation they are sitting down with the chef and his team! The restaurant is very small, with capacity for a maximum of 45 diners, so the service and quality is first-class, and the wine list is incomparable. Dining at Shilo is an incredible experience.
“We are,” concludes the Hotel Finca Cortesín general manager, “without a doubt the most luxurious hotel in Andalucía, and our aim is to be the same in Spain, as a minimum objective. I believe we are well on the way to achieving that, because after just three years of existence we are already included in the most exclusive schedules of the most exclusive travel agencies.”
Íñigo Soto - Greenkeeper
“Our objective with maintenance is to be at the same level as the hotel service and the golf course itself,” says Finca Cortesín greenkeeper Iñigo Soto. “We want a golfer’s experience to be positive in every way, and for them to recall it as one of their best on a golf course. Golfers are paying more and more attention to a golf course’s maintenance and presentation, and in that respect we are at the level we aim for. Our maintenance is much higher than the normal level at a golf course – and this is noticeable”
- As far as maintenance is concerned, what makes Finca Cortesín stand out: fairways, greens...?
- A bit of everything. We have rectified some small defects we had, such as the bunkers; the greens have been improved considerably over the past three years; and in general everything is better.
- Does a tournament as important as the one you host here demand a lot?
- Yes. Hosting an international competition such as this one requires us to be at the same level, to set even higher maintenance objectives. It’s very positive that we have one date during the year when the course has to be at 100 or 110 per cent, because that means you can’t drop your guard the rest of the time. The tournament is a key incentive in that respect