The golf paradise, set in the west of Hungary, was designed by 83-year-old American Robert Trent Jones Jr., who has masterminded more than 250 golf courses globally. The grand estate, stretching 160 hectares, is home to one of the best golf courses in the region. The 18-hole golf course stands out because of its tidy golf greens, teeing areas and picture-perfect driving range. The picturesque valley of the Zala river surrounds the idyllic golf course. The estate owner is Hungarian entrepreneur Gabor Szeles, who renovated the nearby Batthyány Castle and transformed it into a hotel. The Zalanscany destination thus became a tourist destination created for luxury tourism and, at the same time, the most alluring Hungarian golf destination. Considering the vicinity of Lake Balaton and the spa destination Hévíz, the location is perfect for exploring this diverse part of Hungary. The region hides captivating wine routes, excellent cuisine and stunning nature.
Should you decide to arrive in Zalascany from Budapest by car, you will need another half-hour drive from the highway across a picturesque road after turning at Zalakaros. The path across the romantic and sloping Pannonian countryside is a glimpse into the winemaking land, where you will see forests, barley, corn and sunflower fields as you whizz by. The trip from Budapest takes around two hours, as does the path from Vienna or Bratislava. The way to the hotel is marked appropriately, and there is enough parking space for all guests. In addition, there are electric charging stations for EVs. Unfortunately, there are no sustainable mobility options to arrive at the Zala Springs Golf Resort. Therefore, guests can either drive by car or arrange a shuttle with the estate team.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
Alongside the exceptional golf course, the adjoining infrastructure is awe-inspiring. Zala Springs Golf Resort features a clubhouse and restaurant next to the lake with a fountain and two slick buildings boasting spacious and modern apartments. Not to forget, the boutique wellness area is equally impressive. The plans are far from complete, however. Soon, the estate will feature a luxury hotel, a natural swimming lake, a shopping centre and a slew of deluxe villas. Even now, the resort appears magnificent, boasting modern minimalistic architecture, numerous glass walls and serves stunning views of the golf course. The apartments come in three styles: white, memory, and glamour. All combinations include apartments fitted with top-tier furniture and designer pieces of furniture. The investment, worth more than 250 million EUR, shows the ambitiousness of the project.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
We visited the resort in the low season. Nevertheless, the kindness of the staff was above average. Professionalism is one of the core values of receptionists, who are used to demanding requests of golfers and thus ensure every guest leaves satisfied. Similarly to the tidy and flawless golf course, the entire infrastructure is world-class. The estate’s main restaurant, the Zala Springs Bistro, is a breakfast hall in the morning that transforms into a restaurant during the day. There are several Hungarian classics on the menu. Among them, the delicious duck pâté is their signature dish. The minimalist menu revolves around local ingredients, and we only have praise for the culinary creations. The beverages and the accompanying wine list are just as impressive. Still, the hotel breakfast was more generic and did not exceed expectations. There is still room for improvement in terms of gastronomy.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
We stayed in the white hotel apartment, which greeted us with a spacious room and a large terrace. The wooden flooring combined with bright walls, pastel curtains, and select furniture seems incredibly elegant. A hidden kitchen unit behind a glass wall is an ingenious solution within the apartment. Although it does not offer proper kitchen equipment per se, guests can still use the microwave. The bathroom boasts timeless and modern white-and-grey marble tiles that will surely stay in fashion for some time.
The top-of-the-line hotel cosmetics are impeccable, as is the lighting in the apartment. However, the lighting control system is outdated. Considering the total-digitalisation era we live in, the old-school switches seem obsolete in such a modern apartment. Otherwise, the room is convincing and above average.
The clubhouse will amaze any event organiser, serving spectacular views from the first-floor terrace. More importantly, the smaller conference centre is fitted with modern equipment and can be divided into several smaller rooms. The exclusive and one-of-a-kind venue can capacitate 110 attendees.
DESSERT – The extras
Aside from the countless services at the disposal of golfers, the resort is suitable for corporate and business events, such as team buildings, culinary tours etc and also weddings. There is more than enough space.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
Although spectacular, the wellness centre can quickly fill up in the winter. In the summer, there is enough room, yet with the planned expansion, the capacities will soon be too small.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The boutique and exclusive wellness centre was designed by Archikon Architects from Budapest. They succeeded in creating a beautiful and classy facility, offering a diverse selection of special offers. Guests can enjoy the healing thermal water, which can be found throughout this region of Hungary. The staff deserves extra credit, particularly the personnel at the reception.
We did not encounter any sustainable endeavours or initiatives by the hotel during our visit, apart from charging stations for EVs.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
With its tidiness and confidence, Zala Springs Golf Resort swiftly earned recognition among event organisers. Although hotel capacities are currently limited, meeting planners can still organise mid-sized events for up to 110 attendees in the hotel and the nearby Batthyány Castle. Golfing is a reason on its own to organise corporate events here. The resort has set the bar high for other golf resorts. It boasts numerous eye-catching elements that event organisers appreciate. The golf course combined with the existing facilities is, in fact, a special venue – one of the most sought-after categories of event venues recently. Zala Springs Golf Resort is a wonderland for corporate events, celebrations and other commemorations. As the resort is booked for months in advance, event organisers are advised to reserve a date for their event soon.
FINAL GRADE: 4.85 GOLD Boutique Meeting Hotel
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60