If, like me, you’re a lover of port, then travelling to Portugal’s Douro Valley is a type of pilgrimage. If whenever you get there you keep on the Six Senses Douro Valley, you’ll assume you’ve died and gone to port-induced heaven. In reality, it’s a paradise even for those who’re teetotal.
The resort opened solely in summer season 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, scent, 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 need to chill out within the magnificent spa, have a session with an skilled therapist, or go on a guided tree climbing expedition, there might 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 somewhat the best way wherein the architect has created an area which appears to be each inside and outdoors directly. Your complete exterior wall is a panel of glass, so you possibly can’t assist however be transfixed by the view. A glass panel within the rest room, which is cleverly positioned at a better degree to the bed room, ensures which you can stand brushing your tooth, searching throughout the room and out into the nice outside.
Within the room itself the king sized mattress has crisp white sheets, and the furnishings are tastefully monochrome. It’s a high-tech house, the place the whole lot from the temperature to the music to the blinds will be managed from a smartphone, and the identical machine offers 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 rest room (the identical as these within the spa) are regionally produced and scent 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 little bit extra energetic, you possibly can 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 additionally with ports and different Portuguese wines. Wine tastings are hosted at lengthy, picket benches, accompanied by tasty morsels of ham, cheese, and crackers.
Meals and Drink
Don’t come to the Six Senses if you’re on a food plan. Not solely must you take part in a minimum of one wine tasting, however you’ll additionally need to gorge your self within the restaurant at meal occasions. Lots of the dishes, together with a few of the finest octopus I’ve ever tasted, are impressed by conventional Portuguese recipes and produced with regionally sourced substances, however the cooks have a creative aptitude, leading to modern, fairly lovely, presentation. If you’re eager about the place your foods and drinks comes from, you possibly can 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 under) 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 virtually actually route via 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, you should definitely go to a minimum of 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 to 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 nice mountain climbing routes, and boat journeys on the Douro River may also be organized via the resort.
Wi-Fi is on the market all through the resort.
Rooms from €250.
Worth for Cash
Even when rooms on the Six Senses Douro Valley have been twice the value, I’d haven't any hesitation in paying it. It's, fairly merely, the most effective motels I’ve ever stayed in, and while the pound is doing nicely towards the Euro, you may as nicely benefit from that reality.
British Airways flies straight from Gatwick to Porto, after which it's a quick switch by highway or rail into the Douro Valley. The resort is by itself property, so for those who’re travelling by public transport you’ll solely get as shut because the neighbouring city, however the resort can acquire you from there.