Augas Santas Balneario & Golf Resort
The venue for the OCA Augas Santas International Ladies Open, the Augas Santas Balneario & Golf Resort, is one of only a few destinations in Spain offering hotel accommodation, an 18 hole golf course and spa facilities. The resort is situated in Panton, south of Lugo (Galicia), in the middle of the region known as “Ribeira Sacra”.
The resort is part of the OCA Hotels Group, which has a chain of hotels with twelve different locations in Galicia (Spain), Portugal and Brazil and the only resort in the chain with a golf course. This group is completely funded by local Galician capital investment and the hotels are based around the spa and the concept of health baths for the guests, which is their speciality.
The hotel in Brazil, Grand Oca Maragogi Beach & Leisure Resort, because of its location and the weather, has more of an appeal towards a beach holiday destination. Due to the climate in northern Spain and Portugal, where the hotels were founded, the beach holiday was only limited to the summer months. Therefore, the owners realised that this season could be extended by providing the service of spa and health treatments.
Antonio Freire, who specialises in medical hydrology and hydrotherapy and manages the spa at the resort, explained its history and the health benefits. “There are currently 21 spas in Galicia, the region in Spain with highest number with this type of facility and the main reasons are the existing spring mineral medicinal water and the popular tradition to use this type of water, which has been happening since a long time ago. Also, the political support has been a key element. That’s why we are currently the leaders in Spain in this business area.”
The remains of the original bath spa
“The reason the OCA Augas Santas Balneario & Golf Resort is based here in Panton is because it is near a source of rich mineral waters ideal for spa treatments. The original bath spas were founded here in the 19th century, which is known as the golden era for natural mineral baths. From the 19th century until the 1930’s, the baths were used as a very common holiday destination for all social economic backgrounds. It was a simple set up where people could come and take mineral baths for health reasons and there was no hotel or accommodation, just purely a health retreat. The spa area then closed down in the 1930’s when Spain went through the civil war."
"This is when a gentleman called Mr. Leiro, who was originally from Galicia and running a similar hotel with a golf course in Cataluña, visited and found the mineral source and decided to develop it again."
An advertisement for the original bath spa at Augas Santas
"The spa was reopened in 2006 along with the golf course. The OCA Hotel Group then took over the resort in 2010. The special aspect of the water source in this spa, which comes out at a temperature of 26 Celsius degrees, is that it contains sulphur which is anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant. It is mainly used for skin treatments, rheumatism therapy and pulmonary treatment. The resort generally receives two types of guests; those who visit for the weekend to relax and guests that stay for longer periods for medical recovery therapy."
There are 105 spa hotels in Spain but only a few have golf courses, too. The hotel guests interested in both aspects will be very specific about finding a destination to combine both and this is one of our strongest points. Therefore, the golf course has now an added value to the spa resort, which is helping us stand out from our closest competitors in the sector. We now have many groups that travel for golf and spa during the weekends.”
On behalf of the Ladies European Tour Access Series, we would like to thank Augas Santas Balneario & Golf Resort and all the staff for their wonderful hospitality and we look forward to visiting again in 2015.