Six Senses Douro Valley
Douro Valley, Portugal
- Family Friendly
- Fine Dining
- Going Solo
- Thermal Facilities
- Pool – Indoor
- Pool – Outdoor
Six Senses Douro Valley presents a superbly renovated 19th-century manor house set high on a hill overlooking the vine covered rolling hills of the Douro Valley and the river below.
A spa, a selection of rooms, suites and villas, restaurants, wine library, swimming pools and organic garden are but a few of the many features offered.
Six Senses Spa
A union of nature and Portuguese tradition wedded to the elements of water, stone and wood, the spacious Six Senses Spa Douro Valley offers 10 treatment rooms. There is a heated indoor pool with water jets, an outdoor pool and refreshment bar plus a gym with the latest exercise equipment and professional guidance.
Six Senses speciality treatments and multi-day programs are featured together with locally inspired therapies, some of which are grape and citrus fruit based.
The spa menu includes locally-inspired wine based treatments which use grape based products from the Douro region. There is also a Visiting Practitioner programme which features over 100 of the world’s best wellness healers, practitioners and experts. The group’s popular Yogic Detox and Yogic Sleep Programmes are also offered appealing to different levels of yoga practitioners.
- 10 treatment rooms
- Heated indoor pool with water jets
- Steam room
- Nail bar
- Gym with the latest exercise equipment and professional guidance
- Yoga studio
- Organic Pharmacy
- Six Senses own brand
57 guest accommodations range from Quinta Superior, Quinta Deluxe and Quinta River rooms to spacious suites, apartments and villas with one, two and three bedrooms.
The Vale de Abraão Restaurant is open throughout the day and features local and regional dishes. This venue combines three distinct areas, the Open Kitchen, the Dining Room and The Terrace.
The Dining Room serves up seasonal market-inspired fare incorporating the best regional cuisine, showcasing local ingredients and seasonings presented in a global manner.
Facilities and Activities
- Outdoor pool
- Wine tasting
- Visits to local vineyards
- Douro river cruise
- Bird watching
- Helicopter tour
- Mountain biking
- Tree climbing
- Water skiing
- Canyoning The Cabrum
For the Kids
- Tree climbing
142 kilometres (88 miles) from Porto International Airport.
Helicopter arrivals are catered for at the nearby Porto de Lamego helipad.
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 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 decor is an uber-stylish mix of country retreat meets streamlined modern, all in soft sage, slate grey and fawn.
Six Senses Spa
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.
Six Senses is world-renowned for its focus on spas and wellbeing. The therapists are mostly local as befits the company’s ethos of integrating into the community, and they have been thoroughly trained by Six Senses. Book on arrival because, although there are 10 treatment rooms, you will want to be in one of the four that look into the gardens. It’s a tonic just to feel the power of nature.
The Schist Stone and Almond Body Soother massage involved deep-tissue massage with some much-needed stretching. Melanie, my therapist, began with donging the singing bowls, which resonated into my body; then the stones were placed in my hands, to connect me to the earth. I felt lasting benefits – relaxed, yet energised – the perfect combo.
For the Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial, Sandra massaged in a multitude of Organic Pharmacy products, containing rosehip, seaweed, honey, jasmine and collagen. She used three masks to decongest, brighten and hydrate my skin, while massaging my hands, feet, neck and shoulders to relax me all over. It’s a thoroughly pampering and uplifting facial.
A discreet, linear, modern extension houses many of the rooms and suites so that they benefit from the spectacular views over the gardens and across the sweeping river valley. My river-view room was a simple box with floor-to-ceiling windows entirely covering the fourth wall.
Apart from one large picture of the Douro, the decor is quite plain – muted tones of grey, with smoked glass, and little soft furnishing apart from the sofa. The view takes centre stage, though I missed having a balcony – I wanted to throw the windows wide and breathe in the delicious country air.
Even the well-travelled will remark on how spectacularly comfy the bed is (by Naturalmat of Devon), and I loved the tiling in the walk-in shower – designed to echo the strata of the schist stone that characterises the vineyards of the Douro; it was playful and stylish at the same time.
The in-room products are rich, herbal potions from The Organic Pharmacy – simply heavenly – and (hoorah!) simple light controls that all go off when you leave. It was the quietest hotel room I’ve ever had – no hum and no noise of any kind.
Fresh, healthy, tasty is the Six Senses way, and the Douro Valley is famous not only for its wines but it also grows an abundance of olives and almonds. For lunch and dinner on the restaurant’s secluded terrace, or inside by the open kitchen, go light with Atlantic fish and seafood from the Portuguese coastal waters; or hearty dishes come in the form of local stews with pork, sausage, white beans and rice.
The test of a good restaurant is if the locals keep coming back, and the chefs need to be on their game to please the local winemakers and vineyard owners who have feasted on delicious home cooking all their lives. The menu always includes an authentic Portuguese dish of day, from oven-baked cod, with cornbread crust, tomato and migas; to sautéed pork Alentejana style, with clams, potatoes, coriander and lemon; or octopus, with baked potatoes, sautéed turnip tops and olives.
Homegrown organic herbs, salad leaves, fruit and veg are tossed into quinoa tabbouleh or accompany regional cheese and charcuterie as homemade pickles.
Facilities and Activities
Deep into wine country, where six generations have been making and exporting port to the world, the resort gamely offers guests the chance not only to try some of Portugal’s crisp and aromatic whites and bold, fruity reds, but to learn a little more along the way. Wine-tasting trips out into the vineyards to visit the traditional white-washed quintas are a fun way to explore the region.
A boat-ride up river immerses you in the landscape as you sail the morning away en route to lunch at one of Portugal’s most highly rated restaurants, DOC, on the riverbank. The new visitors’ centre at Quinta da Roeda is housed in the old farm buildings and, as well as tasting the famous Croft ports (est. 1588), at harvest time you can join a group and tread the grapes by foot as they still do up and down the valley.
Back at the resort, if you can tear yourself away from the pool terrace, explore the forest – either on a guided walk or by yourself, or on a forest meditation, or simply book an organic picnic in one of the three Nestrests – pods with a view.
If you have a head for heights then the tree climb activity in the forest is exhilarating. Over in the spa, they have launched their Integrated Wellness consultation. Just a few minutes with their ‘wonder machine’ and it produces a flood of data for the spa director to analyse.
It’s not certified medical, let’s call it wellness, but I found his consultation fascinating. The data lets you know what, in your body, is in the normal range and what’s over and under that mark – so my BMI and hydration, for example, are spot on, but I should take a closer look at my nutrition and perhaps get a thyroid check. I’d love to go back in a year and see how the lifestyle changes that I make have taken effect.