The Cliffs Resort & Spa Stay & Play Review
It just doesn’t get much better in Texas than a weekend enjoying the stay and play at The Cliffs Resort on Possum Kingdom Lake. We spent an Easter weekend at The Cliffs Resort and here are just a few of the reasons we think you should consider staying with them for a golf outing, romantic weekend, corporate retreat, or fun social or family reunion:
- you can play some of the best 18 holes of golf in Texas
- you’ll find a variety of accommodations to suite your needs and budget
- you can munch on some good food at reasonable prices
- the resort is on one of the best lakes in Texas
- a beautiful marina has a boat ramp, guest boat slips, and boat rentals
- there is a spa to get you loose for a round of golf or to relieve the kinks and workday stress
- and there are plenty of other things to see and do during your stay
The Cliffs Golf Course
The Cliffs Golf Course is one of the major reasons for heading to the Cliffs Resort & Spa on Possum Kingdom Lake – the golf course offers a unique, picturesque, very challenging, and fun golfing experience. Rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest, The Cliffs is also a Texas Outside Favorite and rated 9.3 stars out of 10. The course has a well deserving reputation as being one of, if not the, toughest courses in Texas. But don’t let that stop you from scheduling a tee time on this “must play” Texas golf course. The Cliffs Golf Course is:
- one of the most scenic courses in Texas with deep ravines, rolling hills, beautiful homes, and unbelievable panoramic views of Possum Kingdom lake
- very challenging and requires both course management, accuracy, and strategic shot making
- a course with a layout where every hole is unique and throws something at you to keep you on your game
The Cliffs course is also home to some fantastic par threes, for example, #9 runs along the edge of a 200 foot cliff above Possum King Lake offering unparalleled views of this clear blue water, some huge homes, and the rolling terrain and #15 sits 40 to 100 feet above a small green in a deep ravine with a pond protecting the right side. Playing these two holes alone is worth the green fees. Bring some old balls to drive off the cliff and into the lake on #9 and on #15 I know you’ll want to take at least a couple attempts at trying to hit the green.
Not only is this course one of the most scenic in Texas but it’s also one of the hardest with a slope ranging from 124 to 143. You need your A game to score well as you try to hit the narrow fairways lined by berms, bunkers, ravines, or trees; go for the risk reward shots; try to select the right clubs to manage the wind, elevated tee boxes, or to carry the ravines – and then the need to nail the approach shot to hit and hold on the small well protected greens. We found that the secret when we play The Cliffs is to forget about trying to score well (or move up a set of tee boxes), take a few mulligans or extra shots, relax, and enjoy the scenery. So load up with a few sleeves of balls ($1 balls are a good investment here or you can count on finding about as many balls as you loose), hit the range and practice hitting them straight, take a few putts to get a feel for the greens, and then be prepared for a fun and memorable round of golf. I’ll guarantee you will want to play this course twice and keep coming back at least once a year for the experience. Read our review of The Cliffs Golf Course to learn more about why we love this course and why it is one of our Top 25 Texas Courses.
The Cliffs Resort Accommodations
One of the many things that we like about The Cliffs Resort are the options for lodging – based on your budget or number of people you are traveling with, you can choose to stay in:
- well appointed hotel type rooms at The Inn at The Cliffs
- comfortable one bedroom Villa Suites
- two bedroom two bath Condos
- a full hook-up RV site if you want to camp and golf
The Inn and the Villa Suites are a minute walk to the pool, restaurant, spa, and pro shop. The Inn sits on a bluff 200 feet above Possum Kingdom Lake and offers spectacular panoramic views of the clear blue water of Possum Kingdom Lake, some huge beautiful homes, and the surrounding hill country.
The rooms are large, well appointed, and have all of the amenities that you would expect:
- satellite TV
- cushy king or queen beds
- sitting area
- work desk with Wi-fi access
- hair dryer, coffee maker, ironing board, and more
The Elite Rooms at the Inn also include a mini fridge, a separate garden tub and walk-in shower, and some have a gas fireplace. Treat yourself and stay in an Elite lake-view room – it just doesn’t get much better then donning the supplied robe, grabbing a cup of coffee, plopping yourself down on the private balcony, and watching the beautiful sunrise over Possum Kingdom Lake. And the sunset with a cold drink is equally spectacular!
If some of your friends or the kids are joining you for a weekend at The Cliffs, then the one bedroom Villa Suites may be the way to go. The recently renovated Villa Suites have a sleeper sofa in the living room, kitchenette with a microwave, mini-fridge, and coffee maker. From the back balcony you can watch the duffers loose golf balls off the 10th tee and the front balcony is a good place to watch the kids enjoying the playground. The Villa Suites are adjacent to the tennis courts, playground, and swimming pool. The spa, restaurant, and pro shop are a loft wedge away from your room.
Over Easter weekend, we stayed in one of the Condos and it was perfect for our family and grandkids. The Condos offer everything you need for a fun weekend – two bedrooms and two bathrooms; large living area with a fireplace, TV, and a comfy sofa and chairs; dining area; washer and dryer if you need them; and a well stocked kitchen with a full refrigerator. After our round of golf, we enjoyed sitting on the front patio and watching the golfers struggle with the tough approach to a small circular green surrounded by a deep ravine and tall mounds on the 14th hole. Then we would move to the back patio and watch them try to carry the wide and deep ravine off the challenging 16th tee box. It was refreshing to know that my golf balls in both of the ravines had plenty of company.
Late one afternoon, we took the grandkids on a hike down the hill in front of our Condo and we followed an old cart path to the top of the 15th hole which is a 162 yard downhill shot to a small green with a pond and rock wall. We took a couple shots from the tips and low and behold, one actually stuck on the green – why couldn’t I do that when I was playing that hole for a margarita! On the walk down and back up to the condo, we found 15 golf balls, but none of the ones I lost on this outstanding hole!
Over the past few years, we have stayed in all three units and found them all to be clean, well appointed, and very comfortable. If we want to cook our meals, the Condos are perfect but you can’t beat the convenience of the Villas or Inn – you can walk to the first tee box, the restaurant, the spa, pool, and tennis courts. We have also stayed in the full hook-up RV park for a “Camp & Play” weekend.
The Condos are timeshare units and they may or may not be available as a part of the Stay & Play options. And keep in mind, you’re not here to spend much time in your room, regardless of how nice you think they are – you’ve got to get out and golf as well as enjoy all the amenities that The Cliff Resort has to offer.
The Cliffs Resort Amenities
Just staying in some great accommodations on a beautiful lake and playing one of the most scenic and challenging courses in Texas should be enough to get your juices flowing, but there’s even more for you to enjoy when you stay and play at The Cliffs. One of the reasons that we really enjoy and highly recommend The Cliffs is because it offers something for everyone to enjoy, even if you don’t golf. In addition, to being one of our favorite golf courses, The Cliffs Resort offers:
- For the Athletic – enjoy a few sets of competitive tennis on two lighted courts, work out in the fitness center, take a few laps in the lake or pool, go water skiing or boarding, hiking, jogging, or on a power walk. Head to the marina and rent a pedal boat to work the legs. Or take a walk or go jogging and enjoy the scenery – just watch our for the golf carts and wildlife crossings, getting run over by a golf cart or getting hit by a deer while jogging is not a good thing. Across the lake from The Cliffs Resort is a fantastic hiking and biking trail (the Possum Kingdom Trail) with over 5 miles of trails with stunning scenery and strenuous levels for everyone.
- For Kids – the new playscape will keep them entertained and smiling for hours. And they are sure to enjoy splish splashing in the pool. And the kids are sure to enjoy a fast and thrilling ride on a waverunner or a turn at pedaling one of the pedal boats or paddling a kayak – all are available for rent at The Ship Stone at the marina.
- For Boating Enthusiasts – Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the best in Texas – clear water, beautiful scenery with towering cliffs and beautiful homes, sandy beaches, restaurants, and a great party cove. If you don’t have a boat, The Ships Store at the marina rents pontoon boats, Sea Doos, and Hurricane deckboats for skiing, knee boarding, or tubing. If you have your own water toys, the Cliff Marina has a wide ramp, ample parking, a ships store with all the basics (gas, ice, bait, staples, and more), and overnight guest slips so you don’t have to pull your boat out of the lake each day. Read our review of Possum Kingdom Lake and check out this Possum Kingdom Lake Map to find one of the best party coves in Texas at Hells Gate.
For the Hunters or Fisherman – during the season, there are several places to go hunting and Possum Kingdom Lake is excellent for fishing white bass and good for large and hybrid bass and catfish. One of these Possum Kingdom fishing guides would be happy to help you land a big one or enough fish for a fish fry.
For Those Wanting Pampering – or for the tired, sore, or stressed out, the Spa at The Cliffs Resort offers a fantastic array of services to work out the kinks, refresh the mind, or beautify your body. You can enjoy massages, body treatments (mud wraps, seaweed body wrap, water lily wrap, chocolate wrap, and more), facials, salon services, and waxing. After the “Golfer Retreat Massage” you’ll be ready for another 18 holes of golf – but will it help your game?
For The Hungry – don’t fret, after a fun day golfing, boating, swimming, and playing tennis, you’ve built up a real appetite and you are not going to go the bed hungry. In fact, eating at the Cliffs may be one of your best dining experiences in a long time. The Chaparral Grille serves three hearty meals a day and everything that we sampled was excellent and not at your typical outrageous resort prices. For dinner, some of what our group particularly enjoyed was the Duck Breast Mignonette appetizer (seared duck breast dressed with a delicious cane syrup chili sauce with vegetable compote); steak mushroom soup; classic Caesar salad; grilled ribeye with Texas butter; chicken fried venison cutlets with roasted jalapeno gravy; and Crawfish, andouille sausage with penne pasta, all in a spicy cream sauce. The service was great and the staff is very friendly. And the items on the Easter Brunch menu were unbelievable – smoked salmon appetizer, Belgium waffles, omelets made to order, oven roasted prime rib, honey baked ham, roast leg of lamb, turkey breast with wild mushroom Beurre Blanc sauce, duck and wild mushroom quiche with cheese and green chili tomatillo sauce, and lots more – what a feast, my mouth started watering as I was writing this! During the warmer weather, the outside deck at the Chaparral Grille is the place to dine and listen to good music – in fact, 2010 American Idol’s Kasey James played and sang on the deck several times a month during 2009.
The Cliffs Resort is one of the best in Texas for a romantic weekend escape, a golf outing, or a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. There aren’t many places in Texas where you’ll find such an excellent combination of fantastic golf, great accommodations, good food, one of the best lakes in Texas, friendly service, and a spa to work out the kinks and stress. The meeting room is perfect for strategy or planning sessions and The Cliffs can provide all the services you need for a fun and productive corporate retreat.
On one of our visits to The Cliffs Resort, our good friends loved it so much that they bought an outstanding lot overlooking the ravine and the approach to the 14th green. Lots are still available, so if you’re interested, stop by the sales office and sign up for a tour. Or book a tour on their website. You’ll be impressed with all The Cliffs has to offer property and home owners.