All senses are elevated to an incredible level when arriving in Douro Valley, a place referred to many times as the enchanted valley. Douro is located in the north-eastern region of Portugal. It is hard to put into words why this is an enchanted place but the truth is that each visitor will find its own enchantment…
The local landscape has been astonishingly transformed throughout the centuries in a perfect fusion with the original nature. It is the birthplace of the worldwide famous Port Wine and Douro wines; Douro being one of the world’s oldest wine demarcated regions, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To arrive in this ‘enchanted valley’ takes less than two hours driving from Porto’s airport. After leaving the highway, you are immersed in scenery so rich it feels as though you were living inside a painting, especially in the fall with the vibrant colours of the vine leaves.
Driving slowly and breathing the pure air prepares you for the splendours ahead. Or perhaps you have the deeper pleasure to be arriving by river from Porto in a tailor-made yacht journey, on one of the glamorous river cruises. Or you could make this escape even more intense and choose to travel on the Spirit of Chartwell – used during Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Spirit of Chartwell offers passengers an experience worthy of its royal heritage.
Another alternative to reach Vale Abraão, is through a journey of the senses on a train from another era – the magnificent Presidential Train. This crown jewel of Portugal’s railway has hosted Kings, Presidents, Heads of State and Popes for over a century. Built in 1890, it served the court of King D. Luis I as the Portuguese Royal Train. Renamed The Presidential Train at the turn of the century, it proudly carried Portugal’s Heads of State until 1970, when it was officially retired.
In 2010 this emblematic train was magnificently restored to its luxurious look, maintaining the original furnishing and style that made it iconic, and has since been showcased at the National Railway Museum as the most important piece of Portuguese railway history. Revived from the past, the beautiful Presidential Train is moving again.
The award winning Presidential Train is Portugal´s unique luxury train, and each season it brings the world´s leading culinary talents to present to its guests the most amazing gastronomic experience to enjoy. It is the Gold Winner – Best Public Event in the World 2017 at the Bea World International Festival of Events and Live Communication.
For an exciting arrival why not try a sky experience and fly to Douro in a helicopter. There are tailored programs to suit your unique needs, and at your own pace or according to your own interests.
The magnanimous beauty of Douro Valley with its colours and textures that differ over the seasons can be truly appreciated on board of a Helitours helicopter. Enjoy the views, landscapes and sensations that you will make lovely memories. To see the Douro Valley from the sky is to discover a lucid dream.
All your senses will start to feel the energy of the Valley even before arriving at one of your most memorable escapades ever – Six Senses Douro Valley.
The opulent mountains and the gorgeous landscape surrounding it, the dark green strong character of Rio Douro, the silence, all make it the perfect spot in which to escape and indulge in a luxurious sensory experience.
It is amazing during the daytime, and is unforgettable at night. Seeing a full moon summer night here will live on forever in your heart and soul.
This is the place and atmosphere that Six Senses chose to create a new hospitality heritage: Six Senses Douro Valley presents a superbly renovated 19th-century manor house (then known as Quinta Vale de Abraão) set high on a hill overlooking the vineyards and the Douro Valley.
The resort’s design project by Clodagh Design, New York, addresses all the senses and incorporates elements that give the resort local flair and authenticity, showcasing recycled local features in line with Six Senses sustainability values; its contemporary interiors reflect both this rich heritage and Six Senses’ design values.
Six Senses Douro Valley looks out to vine covered rolling hills and the River Douro below. This 5-star hotel offers a unique experience to their guests with a spa, a selection of 41 guest bedrooms, 9 suites and 7 villas, some with private pools and gardens; with sweeping panoramas, restaurants, wine library, swimming pools and organic garden.
Specialty Villas are a private retreat with vineyard setting, an idyllic setting for romantic getaways or longer stays. These contemporary villas feature a loft bedroom, living room with integrated kitchen, a dining room plus a private pool and garden.
The Award Winning SPA
A harmonious blend of nature and Portuguese tradition wedded to the elements of water, stone and wood, is represented in the spacious Six Senses Spa Douro Valley 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 combining holistic and healing benefits with the surrounding environment.
Guests can meet SPA’s experts in alternative medicine that offer physical and spiritual therapies to help address health concerns, achieve a better state of mind and enjoy a more fulfilling life. The Spa team also help guests ahead of their visit to plan a relaxing experience. The spa has been honored with the Gala Spa Awards 2017; Innovative Spa Concepts – Condé Nast Traveller Spa Awards 2016; Most Indulgent Escape – Spa Finder wellness travel awards 2016; Best Spa in Portugal; Best New Spa & Wellness Property.
The Dining Experience Options
Dining options at Six Senses Douro Valley are a celebration of the region with much of the produce coming from the verdant valley and surrounding countryside. An organic garden of vegetables and herbs is located right on the estate. Fresh ingredients are harvested only as needed, assuring ultimate freshness and flavour.
Chef Ljubomir Stanisic introduces and showcases the best of both culinary worlds by balancing healthy eating with the occasional indulgence for both healthy and delicious dishes at the newest dining venue now open at Six Senses Douro Valley.
The Vale de Abraão Restaurant
Seasonal menus of regional dishes – Relaxed fine dining with an historic ambiance. Classic decor creates an intimate atmosphere with seasonal market-inspired fare incorporated in the best regional cuisine showcasing local ingredients and seasonings presented along international gourmet trends. Open throughout the day and featuring local and regional dishes. This venue combines three distinct areas, the Open Kitchen, the Dining Room and the Terrace.
Open Kitchen and Chef’s Table
A very personal journey of food and wine. An open cooking station is complete with a wood-fired oven for bread baking and a Josper Grill. Join a small group at a meal that is prepared and hosted by the Chef, right before your eyes. Follow the process and complete the experience with selected pairing wines.
In a beautiful stone paved courtyard, tables surround a water fountain overlooking the landscape of vineyards that surround the resort.
Quinta Bar and Lounge
An intimate sanctuary for a light bite this is the ideal spot to meet friends for a quiet drink and some tapas, afternoon tea and some wonderful cheese of the region. In the bar there is also a pool table and table games.
Wine Library & Terrace
Authentic Douro Valley ambiance – Discover exclusive wines from the Douro Valley. The Wine Library & Terrace is an ideal spot and pre-dining rendez-vous furnished with an eclectic decor to create a truly local experience, with tapas and wines on hand. An interactive and educational Wine Library presents leading wines from the area where guests are guided in the varieties and styles by prestigious winemakers from the surrounding valley and the resort’s sommelier.
Meet the Chefs
Ljubomir Stanisic (Consulting Chef)
Originally from Sarajevo, Ljubo studied pastry, bakery and international cuisine before specializing in food chemistry at the Belgrad Culinary School. His 20-year career included stints with Michelin-starred chefs in Portugal and Spain, and his own restaurant where he earned recognition as one of the most creative chefs in Portugal. He has been a Masterchef Portugal judge and written several books about cuisine and cocktails. He became a consulting chef for Six Senses Douro Valley in 2016, dividing his time between his restaurant in Lisbon (100 Maneiras, considered by Monocle as the 2017 Best Restaurant in the World) and the Douro Valley.
Luis Borlido (Head Chef)
Luis Borlido comes from the beautiful coastal town of Viana do Castelo in Northern Portugal. After completing his culinary studies in 2007 he worked in several five-star hotels in the region, among which were Porto Palácio, Aquapura Douro Valley, Intercontinental Porto and Vidago Palace, where he was Head Chef of Rui Paula fine dining restaurant.
Some Highlights of the EXPERIENCES
Six Senses Douro Valley offers a variety of wine-influenced activities including ‘wine and dine’ Douro River cruises, wine certificate programs, visits to the nearby historic wineries where guests meet with the winemakers, having the opportunity to be a winemaker for the day, or during harvest season, participate in the traditional stomping of the grapes.
Douro Valley Wines
A selection of wine-influenced activities.
Visit some of the oldest wineries in the world producing vintages from the valley’s vine-filled terraces; join the fascinating wine certificate program, unique harvest activities and more.
The Historic Valley
Discover a diverse range of attractions and activities, from prehistoric rock art sites to excursions by foot or vehicle to picturesque villages, historic churches, castles and river cruises.
So much to do, or not
Get away and spend precious time with someone special. These exclusive adventures are your key to a fascinating holiday and include treats for all your senses.
The beautiful Douro Valley region has many activities that can be enjoyed as a family. For example, turn back the clock and share the youthful exuberance of tree climbing. The river also offers the opportunity for canoeing and water skiing, with boat trips being a highlight. Perhaps take a leisurely outing with the family on a cycling excursion or an even more leisurely picnic in the woods.
Learn Traditional Tile Painting with acclaimed ‘azulejos’ artist Helena Ferreira
Six Senses Douro Valley has set up an atelier with workshop where guests can learn and produce personal works of ceramic art to take home, under the guidance of this celebrated restorer and artist.
Best Times to Visit
High season is through June to July, with peak season in August, during the Harvest period in early September and in the New Year.
The Douro ecosystem includes roughly 3,500 different botanical species. Being classified as an UNESCO World Heritage Site means all of the stakeholders in the region have the duty to respect the environment. Six Senses Douro Valley has a protected four-hectare woodland in the property with old grown trees keeping with the commitment to being part of the sustainable environment. There is an on-going pledge to improve the ecological and carbon footprint from activities associated with the resort and spa operations.
Six Senses standards have put in place sustainable and environmental policies and procedures that are renewed annually to ensure compliance. For example, Six Senses mineralized water is produced on-site so as to reduce the carbon footprint associated with packaging and transporting quality water, an organic vegetable garden has been planted, composting became routine, and a curing centre for meat and fish has been created. Preference of employment is given to people living in the Douro Valley region, local products and services are used as much as possible, in order to not adversely affect the resort’s operational activities, viability and environmental and social impacts. Recycling is part of the Six Senses operations separating organic garbage, plastic, cardboard and glass, with a certified green refuse collector coming to the resort twice a week to collect it. They monitor on a daily basis the water consumption, gas and electricity. A plan has been put into place to convert all lighting to LED. They are also self-sufficient when it comes to firewood, which, is obtained, from pruning and cleaning their trees.
Bagos d’Ouro Association’s objective is to support underprivileged children and youngsters from the Douro Valley region, by monitoring their school careers and creating opportunities for the development of successful life projects. Bagos d’Ouro receives funding from the water bottling initiative. Guests may donate to the sustainability fund, which is already funded with 50 percent of Six Senses Water sales.
Best Of The Best
This top rated hotel is the recipient of many awards including being recognized in 2018 by Virtuoso, the international network of luxury travel agencies, for Outstanding Achivement in the category of Sustainable Tourism Leadership, rated number one in AFAR magazine’s Traveliers Choice Awards in the category of Best Vineyard Hotel, the only Portuguese resort featured int he nominations list. Selected as #1 Best Hotel in Europe and #2 in the World according to Condé Nast Traveller UK and Virtuoso – presented Six Senses Douro Valley with the Best Achievement in Design, at the 11th Annual ‘Best Of The Best’ Awards.
Eugénia Sousa Rosa has been developing investment projects in several business areas including health, innovation, private equity investments, wine industry, luxury tourism and off-the-market real estate. Working with long established international investors, she is excelling at luxury real estate and luxury tourism, sustainability and innovation, eager to keep up to date with the surprising luxury world of tomorrow. Her experienced professional path has been driven by values and results, as senior international executive director in retail fashion, interior design objects and jewellery. She is passionate about luxury, fashion, travel, tourism and fine food, is a lover of design, interior design and architecture and she has collaborated with several architects and interior designers to develop and upgrade retail concepts including work on the interior decoration of the Penha Longa Hotel Golf Resort’s suites. She continues to be involved in philanthropy, fundraising and corporate sponsorship management, interests that she developed, early in her career, when working at the Belmiro de Azevedo Foundation, Founder of Sonae Group. (email@example.com)
Cidália Gaspar has a career spanning diplomacy to high technology to working with the Queen of England’s Canadian representative. Her professional scope has always been international. Ever keen to expand her knowledge, she is resourceful, motivated, focused, and has a taste for luxury destinations, gastronomy, arts and culture, and sustainable fashion. She encourages social responsibility; humanitarian causes and philanthropy. Passionate about her home country, Portugal, Cidália thrives on promoting and showcasing all of its diversity, the hospitality, the wines that have made it so famous, and the treasures it has to offer to visitors, investors and future residents. Her portfolio includes tailor-made tours and off-the-market real estate properties. With an extensive network and the patronage of international investment companies catering to those looking to discreetly invest in the country; her mission is to share the unique beauty, heritage, cutting-edge innovation and connoisseurship with those looking for luxury living and upscale travel experiences. (firstname.lastname@example.org)