Six Senses Lands in Europe at Douro Valley, Portugal
At last, Six Senses has arrived in Europe with its first resort and spa on the continent, and they couldn’t have chosen a more beautifully tranquil, picturesque spot. “Remote yet accessible” is the Six Senses motto, and the Douro Valley is just that.
You fly into the Unesco World Heritage city of Porto (spend a few days here if you possibly can, exploring the cobbled lanes and squares on both sides of the mighty Douro river), then it’s a 90-minute drive up-country, enjoying spectacular views of the valley, as the river banks become increasingly steeper and the vineyards more numerous.
The resort has just 50 rooms and six garden villas in a former late-19th-century mansion surrounded by gardens and woodland, with commanding views. Ask for a river view room, or a terrace. The décor is an uber-stylish mix of country retreat meets streamlined modern, all in soft sage, slate grey and fawn.
Already a destination spa of 2,200 sq metres, the team has lots of new ideas to lift it even more out of the ordinary. You want to explore. Grab your swimming gear and head to the indoor heated pool for some relaxing lengths. It’s spacious and full of light.
The sauna is bigger than most, too, and the steam room, at 100 per cent humidity, is just perfect. It’s all part of the resort’s Vitality Suite, which comprises two additional rooms – the herbal chamber and the laconium – and two ‘experience showers’. They didn’t excite me, but they suit people who don’t like too much humidity or intense heat. A mani and pedi bar has just opened, with a fun vibe – it’s the place for a chat, some bubbles and tapas to share.
The new ‘Alchemy Bar’ welcomes guests for workshops on making your own products to take away, such as body scrubs. Naturally there’s a fully equipped gym, and a yoga studio that’s kitted out for aerial yoga, to help you stretch while supported off the ground.
The 25m outdoor pool isn’t heated but has expansive views, sun loungers and a bar, and is next to the pretty kitchen garden – idyllic.