If, like me, you’re a lover of port, then travelling to Portugal’s Douro Valley is a type of pilgrimage. If once you get there you keep on the Six Senses Douro Valley, you’ll assume you’ve died and gone to port-induced heaven. Actually, it’s a paradise even when you’re teetotal.
The resort opened solely in summer time 2015, however at its core is the Quinta de Vale Abraão, a 19th century manor home in a spectacular location overlooking a bend within the Douro River. Vineyards encompass the property, regionally produced wines dominate the cellar, and a dramatic, cavernous room is given over to port tasting.
Two sorts of tourists come to this Six Senses property: port lovers, desperate to style, odor, contact and see the merchandise of the Douro Valley’s well-known vines; and people attracted by the chain’s well-earned fame for combining luxurious and wellness. It’s a resort the place even the smallest element has been thought of, and whether or not you wish to chill out within the magnificent spa, have a session with an skilled therapist, or go on a guided tree climbing expedition, there can be one thing on the programme which appeals.
It’s uncommon that I stroll right into a resort room and it takes my breath away, however on the Six Senses that’s precisely what occurred. It’s not a lot the interiors – although these are indisputably beautiful – however fairly the way in which through which the architect has created an area which appears to be each inside and outdoors without delay. All the exterior wall is a panel of glass, so you may’t assist however be transfixed by the view. A glass panel within the lavatory, which is cleverly positioned at a better stage to the bed room, ensures which you could stand brushing your enamel, searching throughout the room and out into the good outside.
Within the room itself the king sized mattress has crisp white sheets, and the furnishings are tastefully monochrome. It’s a high-tech area, the place the whole lot from the temperature to the music to the blinds might be managed from a smartphone, and the identical gadget supplies all the knowledge you’ll want in regards to the resort, in addition to the choice to make therapy and dinner reservations. Cosmetics within the lavatory (the identical as these within the spa) are regionally produced and odor completely divine.
Six Senses has created what might be the best spa in Portugal. There’s a big infinity pool, sauna and steam rooms, and glass-sided therapy rooms overlooking the resort’s gardens. In case you’re feeling a bit extra energetic, you may be part of a yoga or Pilates class within the health studio.
Wine lovers ought to head to the Wine Library, well-stocked with books, because the title suggests, but in addition with ports and different Portuguese wines. Wine tastings are hosted at lengthy, wood benches, accompanied by tasty morsels of ham, cheese, and crackers.
Meals and Drink
Don’t come to the Six Senses in case you are on a eating regimen. Not solely do you have to take part in at the least one wine tasting, however you’ll additionally wish to gorge your self within the restaurant at meal occasions. Lots of the dishes, together with a number of the finest octopus I’ve ever tasted, are impressed by conventional Portuguese recipes and produced with regionally sourced elements, however the cooks have a creative aptitude, leading to up to date, fairly stunning, presentation. If you’re focused on the place your foods and drinks comes from, you may take a stroll within the resort’s kitchen backyard, the place most of the herbs and greens are labelled, or go to one of many neighbouring quintas (see beneath) to look at the wines and ports being made.
What’s Close by?
The closest metropolis to the Six Senses Douro Valley is Porto, a vibrant place full of historical past and, in fact, the world-famous port homes. You’ll nearly definitely route by Porto in your strategy to the resort, and may ideally cease an evening or two to go to the Warre’s or Dowe’s port homes, stroll alongside the quayside, and to go to the historic cathedral.
When you attain the resort, make sure to go to at the least one of many neighbouring vineyards and take a tour of its quinta, the Portuguese equal of a chateau. Though extra modest in dimension than their French counterparts, you’ll be capable of see all of the steps of wine manufacturing, together with visiting the cellars, and inevitably ending your tour with a sampling. The encompassing hillsides supply effective mountain climbing routes, and boat journeys on the Douro River will also be organized by the resort.
Wi-Fi is accessible all through the resort.
Rooms from €250.
Worth for Cash
Even when rooms on the Six Senses Douro Valley have been twice the worth, I’d don't have any hesitation in paying it. It's, fairly merely, the most effective resorts I’ve ever stayed in, and while the pound is doing effectively in opposition to the Euro, you may as effectively reap the benefits of that reality.
British Airways flies instantly from Gatwick to Porto, after which it's a brief switch by highway or rail into the Douro Valley. The resort is by itself property, so when you’re travelling by public transport you’ll solely get as shut because the neighbouring city, however the resort can gather you from there.