A noticeable trend in Mediterranean resorts over recent years has been the development, and ascent into luxury, of purpose-built resorts, often based around sporting facilities, where the plan is for most of the properties to be bought by the guests either for their own use or as rental investments. Perhaps the most prominent early example is La Manga Club in Murcia, which for a generation epitomized a playground for the prep school brigade to improve their tennis and transpose Chelsea to southern Spain for a few weeks every summer.
This was followed by others, such as Quinto de Lago in Portugal and more recently Costa Navarino all of which have the formula of sun, sand, golf courses, tennis and football academies and restaurants and bars. Pretty hard not to like, other than prices which seem to start in seven figures.
A relatively recent entrant to the market is Infinitum, which stays true to the core concept but which while of at least equal quality, has two interesting points of difference – the prices, which are very reasonable as compared to their competitors, and the location, which offers for more than their competitors.
First, on the basics, Infinium is near Tarragona, on the Costa Dorada, an area known for its scenic sandy beaches and warm Mediterranean climate without the raw heat found further south. The development has a fantastic beach club (with a separate but reduced annual fee) and three beautiful and challenging golf courses with a Club House and all you would expect from a top-end Golf club, including driving ranges and putting greens, experienced pros and a well-stocked shop. The golf courses also meet the Audubon International Certificate for Sustainability and Infinitum Residential is designed to save more than 92 per cent in global emissions and 89 per cent in energy.
Indeed the golf facilities facilities have been voted the best in Europe at a recent World Golf Awards, making them perfect for both experienced players and budding beginners alike.
The homes themselves are modern, airy and light, with idyllic settings close to the beach. The design was by the prestigious architectural firm Batlle I Roig and was made to offer peaceful and high-quality spaces while integrating with the natural surroundings. You can choose between two, three and four-bedroom apartments and villas, the latter often with private pools.
All feature terraces or balconies, high spec fittings and can be tailored to your requirements. The homes are also equipped with a world of services, including high-level private security. Each group of buildings has access to a communal pool, as well as private access to the beaches themselves, the perfect place to get away from it all. The homes are also built to exacting environmental and energy-saving standards.
Wondering through several of them, quite how high-end these residences are is very clear, while the space and light afforded makes them the perfect places to relax and enjoy life. They genuinely have been constructed with an attention to detail and aesthetics and a consistent focus on quality of materials and design is often aspired to but rarely have I seen it succeed as does here.
At the Infinitum Lakes location, there is also a protected nature reserve, La Sequia. It’s a beautiful and tranquil wetland, with gently waving rushes, trees and willows, providing a home to local wildlife. Perfect for a relaxing walk, or some natural photography this is a unique natural space and is the largest in the local area.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy; picturesque golf courses suitable for all levels and abilities, with private Club Houses fully equipped with state-of-the-art golf academies, gyms, and restaurants. There are lots of outdoor pastimes to enjoy, which make the most of the natural surroundings, from hikes to bike trails and beachside activities. The restaurants and bars are second to none, bringing together the best dishes of the region along with delicious wines, cocktails and coffees. Each in its own beautiful setting, you can enjoy feasting while overlooking the sea and enjoying spectacular sunsets from your terrace.
With a beautiful poolside setting, Gusto Mediterranean Tapas offers the finest tapas dishes and is perfect for families, while the Hills Clubhouse offers a range of enticing meals with an emphasis on healthy fresh food and The Terrace at Hills offers a large airy space with the enticing smell of pizza from its enormous wood-fired oven. You can enjoy three wonderful courses with dishes like local Gazpacho to start, and slow-roasted stuffed lamb for main. With many more restaurants throughout the locations, there is no shortage of places in which to indulge. We spent a very relaxing day at the beach club with lunch at Flamma Beach Foodhouse, set by the sea in the beach club, was perfect, with crisp fried squid followed by the local seafood version of Paella.
The resort is well equipped for families, with an International School nearby, and several language institutes are within easy reach. The beach club itself has family zones, and babysitting and kids clubs are available to residents.
There is also another key factor to this superb development – its location. The development is just outside the city of Tarragona, an hour’s train ride south of Barcelona. Known as Tarracco in Roman times, it was the largest city on the Iberian peninsula and is now designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This heritage can be seen throughout the city. The main square, a wonderful spot for dinner, has an elongated shape that betrays its origins as a hippodrome. Indeed the buildings surrounding it are constructed from or on the spectator stands, an architectural heritage that is both wonderful and visible.
Older still, part of the bases of large Cyclopean walls near the Cuartel de Pilatos are thought to pre-date the Romans. The Cuartel de Pilatos itselt just mentioned, a prison in the 19th century, is said to have been the palace of Augustus.
Perhaps the most immediately visible area is the second century Tarragona Amphitheatre near the seashore was extensively used as a quarry after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and but few vestiges of it now remain. A circus about 450 m long, was built over in the area now called Plaça de la Font, though portions of it are still to be traced. Throughout the town Latin, and Phoenician inscriptions on the stones of the houses mark the material used for buildings in the town.
An ancient monument, a little distance from the town has fared even better – Les Ferreres Aqueduct, which spans a valley a few kilometres north of the city. It is 217 m in length, and the loftiest arches, of which there are two tiers, are 26 m (85 ft) high. Further out from the city there are also the famous vinyards of the Priorat region, wet in spectacular and sparse mountains. I can particularly recommend Buil & Gine, which in addition to making excellent wine also runs a superb restaurant with epic views over the hills and vineyards.
Tarragona today is now an interesting town over and beyond the ruins. There is a clear, and honestly unattractive, oil and shipping complex between Infinitium and Tarragona itself. But once there it has a delightful setting over the sea, elegant avenues for an evening stroll, great shopping and excellent restaurants. Among them is El Terrat, a famous restaurant owned by chef Moha Quach. In his dishes, he highlights his Moroccan roots as well as his love for Tarragona and, of course, the essence of Mediterranean multi-culturalism. There are also wonderful seafood restaurants such as Llop de Mar.
However, the restaurant that blew me away was AQ, a gem of a place tucked away opposite the side of the cathedral. The eponymous chef-owner team of Anna and Quentin have re-invented regional specialities in an utterly beautiful modern manner while if anything enhancing the flavour. A simple dish such as patatas bravas was not only delicious but utterly beautiful, sculptured as if a Roman wall.
Tradition and modernity also hold sway in the great local fiera, held during September, in which schools of human tower building compete against each other – a breathtaking sight utterly unique to the area.
For children, or even grown-up kids like me, there is the attraction of Port Aventura theme park, one of the largest in Europe which hosts three million visitors annually, which is just next door to Infinitium and from which some of the taller rides can be seen. Port Aventura is huge, so just as well it’s been divided into six manageable themes. These include the Far West section, where you can take a white-knuckle whitewater raft along the Grand Canyon – and the Mediterranean section, where you can try the Furios Baco, the fastest rollercoaster in Europe. It’s not all high-adrenaline rides though – you’ve got can-can shows, fireworks displays and acrobatics, too. It also includes Ferrari Land, which doesn’t mess around when it comes to speed. This 70,000-square-metre park opened in 2017, adding a shade of racing red to PortAventura. Red Force is the headline grabber, rising higher than Big Ben and travelling up to 110mph – making it the continent’s tallest and fastest coaster. There’s even a scaled-down version in the brand new kids’ area. Elsewhere, authentic trattorias, classic landmarks and themed shows celebrate Ferrari’s Italian heritage.
And if all of that fails to keep you entertained, then the very regular hour-long train services to Barcelona provide a way to enjoy that wonderful city without having to cope with its overcrowded, overbooked and overpriced accommodation.
So all in all, if you are considering moving abroad to pursue a new life in the sun or choosing a holiday home then Infinitum should be on your list to consider. Those in search of a slice of real estate in any of the world’s most popular sunshine destinations will know that it’s not just about the property you buy, but about everything that comes with it.
Here you have superb apartments and villas, at prices that are very reasonable considering the quality, surrounded by superb beach facilities, excellent transport links and a wealth of interesting sights, restaurants and experiences on the doorstep. It’s hard to see what could be better.