Located in Portugal’s beautiful UNESCO world heritage listed Douro Valley, the 20 acres (eight-hectare) estate of Six Senses Douro Valley is touched with the romance of 19th-century architecture wedded to contemporary interiors reflecting the inimitable Six Senses style. With the River Douro winding its lazy way through this oldest wine-producing region in the world. Golden by name – Douro – the sun-kissed valley is also golden by nature, with the River Douro flowing through amber-hued vine-filled terraces. The region, which comprises three world heritage sites, offers unforgettable experiences in this unique natural landscape.
A generously proportioned Six Senses Spa presents a décor of ecologically friendly materials with the feeling of soft and trendy; a meeting between nature, Portuguese tradition, and the elements of water, stone, and wood. The spa offers Six Senses specialty treatments and multi-day programs plus a range of locally-inspired therapies, which also include some that are grape and fruit-based. There are 10 treatment rooms, a heated indoor pool with water jets, an outdoor pool and refreshment bar, plus a gym with the latest exercise equipment and professional guidance.
Sustainability is top of the resort’s agenda, with numerous practices to minimize negative and embrace positive impacts. All embody the Six Senses environmental commitment. Locally sourced and environmentally sound products are favored, with suppliers encouraged to reduce packaging and deliver in bulk to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
Six Senses Douro Valley addresses all the senses and incorporates all the elements in the arrival pavilion. The entry driveway winds down through working vineyards leading to a cypress flanked entry courtyard with a jaw-dropping view of the Douro River. Traditional small-scale cobblestones pave the yard and vines cascade down from the hill that rises above. Two massive wood and metal doors are set in a glass façade banded with a slatted metal stand wide open to welcome travelers to the resort entry. Transit on over a massive stone threshold to an entrance lobby where a gigantic table stands in front of a textured art wall bisected by a horizontal niche filled with flickering candles.
A welcome glass of Port wine or herbal tea completes the arrival experience. A sweeping chandelier reminiscent of bundles of curling grape vines spatters light on the half-vaulted ceiling and a glass balcony cuts through the massive walls so guests can walk out with their welcome drink and enjoy the panoramic view. There is no paperwork, no computers, and friendly hosts whisk the luggage to each guest room using a tablet. This Portuguese oasis artfully combines cutting-edge technology with one of the most beautiful locations in the world.
A pattern of light and shadow is projected on each guest room floor and greet you upon arrival. Authentic materials gathered from the Douro Valley area, spacious bathrooms lined with a dove gray Portuguese limestone, comfortable seating, and wide luxurious beds add to the room’s appeal. Sleep and rest-inducing colors have been chosen to ensure a secluded retreat. The beds and mattresses supplied by Naturalmat are handmade in Devon, England using natural materials including organic lamb’s wool from local sheep. And they are still made in a remote factory surrounded by green fields and mooing cows. A minibar is pre-stocked and includes some hard-to-resist local offerings. Like a village square, the Wine Library is the heart of the resort – the place where everybody goes, that offers all-day fun and joyful indulgence.
Local artist Jesper Anderson gathered a collection of local iron tools and embedded them in plaster creating two art walls that anchor the room. Two monumental ceiling fixtures made of wine bottles banded with a frame of oxidized metal further define the multi-use space. A large table with an integrated lightbox in the middle of the area is where wine tastings occur, and tapas are served daily. The tones are soft and warm; recycled wine crates cover some of the walls; leather upholstered sofas and shelves filled with books about the region and its wines beckon guests to slow down and unwind.
On the spacious outdoor terrace, the Six Senses signature Cinema Paradiso happens during the Douro hot summer evenings. Vintage films from past eras are featured while guests relax on comfortable cushions. Two long wooden tables with ice buckets mounted in the center and set under a vine trellis are also the perfect spot for guests to share wines and stories about their day of adventure.
Massive wooden doors slide aside to reveal a huge fireplace flanked by walls of 18th-century blue and white tiles at The Dining Room. A chandelier made of a wood beam with wood and crystal suspended below lights hangs above a communal table on axis with the fireplace. A stone floor and a ceiling covered in cork with a structure of authentic oak beams show the relaxed formality of a genuine Quinta dining room. The walls are plastered in terra cotta red inspired by local potters. A long ledge topped by a mirror acts as a linear service station. Outside, a narrow stone terrace with small tables looks out over the organic garden and under a nearby tree a barbecue area is flanked by a traditional wood-fired barbecue and enlivened by the sound of running water trickling down on a granite fountain.
Six Senses Spa Douro Valley is entered down ceremonial stairs flanked with incised bronze plaster and a wall covered in squared shelving where candles are lit throughout the day. The walls are covered in a concrete textured finish and the textiles of the upholstered chairs and cushions are all in light gray and sandy tones. The reception area is a lively place to interact, here guests can peruse a selection of glamorous caftans, spa, and yoga clothing for males and females, jewelry, swimsuits, robes and T-shirts, art and objects as well as a wide offering of beauty products and fragrances. At the Nail bar, guests can sip wine while they enjoy manicures and two secluded pedicure stations have ledges to hold a glass as well. The 10 treatment rooms all have windows looking out over secret gardens and water features or stunning views of the valley. Relaxation pods have huge collar cushions to support the back and neck and a lovely little amenity pantry.
The enormous indoor pool and Vitality Suite area are unparalleled in both size and indulgence. One’s worldly troubles float away when contemplating the expansive view of the river valley. On the other side, the fitness area is concealed behind frosted glass walls offer an amazing view and a generous area for stretching and cooling down.
An organic herb and plant garden provides key ingredients that are used in spa treatments. In addition to the external pool, a large outdoor yoga deck blends beautifully with nature and is ideal for individual sessions and group training. A truly sense full experience, which CovetED had the opportunity to enjoy and recommend as one of the top hotels in Portugal and Douro region to visit. A peaceful retreat.
♦ SEE ALSO ♦
CONSERVATORIUM: A LUXURY LIFESTYLE PALACE IN AMSTERDAM
BACCARAT NEW YORK LUXURY EXPERIENCE
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