New Homes Garden Award 2007


A fifth award in just two years has just been won by Desert Springs, Europe’s only luxury family resort and championship desert golf course in the Almanzora region of Almeria in south-east Spain.

Despite its desert microclimate – unique in Europe, with annual rainfall of less than 200 mm – the resort has won the New Homes Garden Award 2007 in the category Best Garden/Landscape – Overseas Development – Gold Award".

The accolade is one of 30 presented annually in a bid to raise the standards of design and construction of the thousands of gardens and landscapes built around new homes each year.

At the heart of Desert Springs, its 18-hole USGA Indiana golf course  –  designed by former Great Britain and Ireland Golf Team Captain Peter McEvoy, and inspired by the desert courses of Arizona and California  –  comprises a  dramatic series of lush fairways, irrigated by desalinised water drawn from artesian wells and set in a landscape of cactus, rock and flowering desert with springs of saline water.

The resort’s developer, the Anglo-Spanish Almanzora Bay Group, has planted over 11,000 cacti of over 200 species on the golf course and in the gardens of the apartments, townhouses, cottages, villas and country houses in the 300 hectare (750 acre) resort.

Bridget Rosser, sales and marketing manager of The Almanzora Group, the main UK agent for the properties at Desert Springs, says that landscaping and irrigation has encouraged massive re-population of wildlife in the resort.

“We have seen many exotic birds – bee eaters, golden orioles, hoopoes and flamingos – as well as other wildlife, such as the world’s smallest non-poisonous snake, monitor lizards and the endangered Moroccan tortoise,” she says.

Planting has been overseen by Desert Springs’ resident chief naturalist, Joel Lodé, who has created and manages  one of the most important and largest collections of succulent and cactus plants in Europe. He has personally propagated many of the 15,000 plants in his nursery, using seeds collected from locations as far apart as South America and the Middle East. 

The New Homes Garden Award is the latest in a series of trophies won by Desert Springs in the past two years.  In 2005 the resort won the Daily Mail Best Almeria Award and the Bentley International Property Awards for the Best Spain Development and Best International Architecture.  In 2006 it was awarded the Spanish National Madera Verde (Green Wood) prize for Environmentally Sensitive Development presented by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment’s Association for the Promotion of Socio-Cultural Activities and The Royal Spanish Golf Federation.

Earlier this year the resort’s El Torrente Restaurant received the New Millennium International Gastronomy Award for the Tourist, Hotel and Catering Industry. This award was created by the Trade Leaders Club with the aim of distinguishing companies from all countries for the outstanding quality of their products or services.

The New Homes Garden Awards 2007 are presented in association  with Express Newspapers and supported by the NHBC, HBF, New Homes Marketing Board, Landscape Institute and the Society of Garden Designers and Garden Design Journal.


The award-wining lush landscape of Desert Springs, Europe’s only luxury desert resort and golf club in the Almanzora region of Almeria in south-east Spain.

Additional background information:

The resort
More than 300 apartments, townhouses, cottages, villas and country houses have been completed and sold at Desert Springs where work now is underway on new phases of the development.

Facilities already completed and in use include:

  • a 72 par 18-hole USGA Indiana golf course designed by former Great Britain and Ireland Golf Team Captain Peter McEvoy who was inspired by the desert courses of Arizona and California;
  • a golf academy whose PGA qualified teaching professionals cater for several international teams, the Ladies Golf Union of Great Britain and Ireland, and most of the English County Union’s elite squads;
  • two hard tennis courts, two paddle courts, beach volley ball and two football pitches – one is a full-size grass pitch; the other is designed for five-a-side games;
  • a Spanish colonial style Golf Club House with a lounge, bar, restaurant, locker rooms, TV and reading rooms, and a Ralph Lauren Golf Boutique;
  • The Crocodile Club which provides family fun at the heart of the resort with pools, equipped sand play areas, a kids’ battery powered John Deere Gator Circuit and a games room as well as a jacuzzi, sun lawns and a pool bar;
  • a health and fitness club and spa.


The Almanzora region enjoys a desert microclimate – unique in Europe – with the warmest winter weather on the continent, an annual average of more than nine hours daily sunshine, and maximum daily temperatures of between 16C (60F) and 30C (86F) throughout the year. Annual rainfall is less than 200 mm.

Getting there
The Almanzora region is easy to reach, thanks to three international airports and growing motorway networks. The current journey time to Desert Springs from Almeria International Airport is around 50 minutes by road. Other international airports are at Murcia, 75 minutes away by toll motorway, and Alicante, a two hour drive.

Scheduled and charter flights from the UK take around two and a half hours.

To avoid confusion, please note that this document refers to two organisations with names which are similar but different. They are The Almanzora Bay Group [THE DEVELOPER] and The Almanzora Group Ltd [THE AGENT].

  • The Almanzora Bay Group, named after the Almanzora region of Eastern Andalucia where it has been active since 1985, is an Anglo-Spanish sister group to the award-winning Cheltenham-based developer, the Robert Hitchins Group. Established in 1958, the Robert Hitchins Group specialises in large-scale strategic land planning and commercial development in the West of England and South Wales.
  • The Almanzora Group, which is a subsidiary of the Robert Hitchins Group, is the main European sales agent and acts exclusively for the development companies which comprise the Almanzora Bay Group, marketing new properties developed by The Almanzora Bay Group in resort, village and beach locations.

Please note that none of the above have any connection with the
Spanish development known as The Almanzora Country Club.

Reader Enquiries Media Enquiries
UK Republic of Ireland  
The Almanzora Group
The manor, Boddington
Gloucestershire GL51 0TJ
Property Partners Ltd
Tuam Road Centre
Tuam Road
Tim Stanley
Tim Stanley Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 1242 680299 Tel: 091 735850 Tel: +44 (0) 117 9625658
  Fax: 091 735851  
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