Set in a Unesco World Heritage Site, Six Senses Douro Valley is a serene getaway for wellness and wine lovers alike. The best time to visit is during the fall harvest season when the 19 acres of vineyards and olive gardens turn blazing shades of orange and red. While the hotel is replete with 57 guestrooms and suites, an outstanding spa, gym and swimming pool, workshop, bar, wine library, and three restaurants, it is the sustainability efforts that are seriously impressive. It is not just a trend here, but a way of life deeply ingrained in every detail: Slippers are wrapped in recycled paper; toothbrushes are made of bamboo; leftover soap in guestrooms is recycled and donated to a charity that gives it to those in need. The hotel is chic yet homey, but you’ll be forgiven for not spending too much time indoors as exploring the valley is a must.
Quinta Courtyard Suite
– Size 1,237 sq ft
– Nightly rate from $1,460
If you want total privacy, the Quinta Courtyard Suite is the one to book. There are two one-bedroom courtyard suites available; one is 904 sq ft and the other is 1,237 sq ft. Both are located in their own wing of the hotel on the fourth floor, so you can be sure of serene views over the valley (and also enough privacy to enjoy a soak in the granite tub, situated at the foot of the open-plan bedroom). The decor is sublimely understated; think neutral colors and natural materials. We love the cozy nooks strewn with lime-green cushions — they’re ideal spots to grab a book and a glass of wine for a lazy afternoon.
The spa is excellent — it has 10 treatment rooms with gorgeous views out over the valley. Treatments vary from a rose-crystal lymphatic facial to a rejuvenating full-body grape exfoliation and vineyard Six Senses Douro Valley is surrounded by 19 acres of vineyards wrap. The Alchemy Bar uses ingredients that have been grown on-site to create natural scrubs and masks; you can make your own if you wish. After your treatment of choice, grab an anti-inflammatory cinnamon tea, and snuggle into one of the comfy pods that overlook the swimming pool. There’s a salt room, sauna, infrared sauna and steam room. The gym is well equipped and there’s an outdoor yoga pavilion — try yoga nidra; it’s an ancient practice that puts you into a relaxing pre-sleep state.
While you can always choose à la carte, there are a number of wellness programs that include nutrition plans. Eat with Six Senses is a program developed by highly respected doctors that utilizes the ingredients grown on-site to create delicious cuisine that not only tastes good, but will leave you feeling good. The sleep program is specially designed for those who are struggling to get shut-eye; it offers excellent advice that you’ll use long after you leave and a meal plan that has been created to regulate sleep patterns. Even if you don’t sign up for one of these programs, the dishes on the menu all show which program they belong to, so if you’re jet-lagged, order oysters for a good night’s sleep. Of course, this is the Douro Valley, so all wines are dangerously delicious. The wine library is stocked with bottles from the valley for you to check out whenever you wish, and daily wine tastings are hosted in the library with a selection of nibbles and an interesting insight into ports from the local area and beyond.
Head on a leisurely hike through the vineyards and olive gardens, with the hotel’s friendly dog, Aqua, as your guide, or hike up through the surrounding forest to find an enchanting waterfall as well as excellent views — stop off for a swing on the large hanging cocoon. There are also bikes available for your use, or go on a wine-and-dine cruise down the River Douro. If you visit when the weather isn’t at its best, there are a range of classes and workshops: Learn how to brew your own kombucha, kefir or apple cider vinegar — each one is amazing for gut health and immunity, but are acquired tastes!
Nick Yarnell, general manager, email@example.com, +351 254 660 600, sixsenses.com