A week of pampering in Portugal. A wellness weekend with lots of treatments, great hotel-accommodations, sardines and white Port. Enjoy the sunny landscape and the sympathetic local population. Who doesn't want that ... During my wellness from Lisbon to Porto I meet with the very versatile spa treatments in this region. Vinotherapy, cures in sulphurous thermal water, treatments with all the good out of the ocean, energetic massage from Bali and a Swedish sport massage after the golf ... TAP Portugal flies as a reborn me six days later back to Amsterdam - full of impressions, with a baby-soft skin and with a really long list great resorts in the bag…
Day 1 – Lisbon
The plenty of summer shines as my busy travel starts in Lisbon. Before I will have my first treatment in the Sheraton, stray me first what by the dreamy old quarters of Alfama and Bairro Alto with the nostalgic trams, traditional eating House from which the Fado sounds, and everywhere the air of grilled sardines. It is warm and calm in the city – my wellness has started. The contrast with the cold Dutch summer cannot be greater.
"We are starting your program today with a relaxing aromatherapy". Susana Antines takes me to the Spirito Spa of Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa. "It is important that we pay a lot of attention to our customers in order to create true rest. Here is 80% businessman and relaxation is very important for this group ". Susana provides that for me a massage with lavender oil is best. And indeed, an hour later my mild headache completely gone. "We use only products of aromatherapy(R). That are 99% natural and pulling very quickly and completely in the skin. For a busy businessman (and also for a wellness-journalist) is that very pleasant ". She is right: I usually have after a massage shiny from the oil to my next appointment ... I enjoy the warm environment again and the sleek design. A delicious Cup of tea and a steam bath make my first day off in Portugal.
For more information and pictures: Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa
Day 2 – via Esteril to Cascais, Villa Italia
Strictly on time the next day my rental car delivered to the hotel. Riding along the banks of the Tagus I pass the huge suspension bridge and the monument to the old sea-heroes and leave Lisbon in a westerly direction. Esteril nearby makes me strongly reminiscent of Côte d'Azur: winding road along blue sea, pine trees and cypress trees, beautiful villas in white and terracotta colors, combination of rocks and sand beach, tennis courts, trimmende oldies. Here lives the chic of Lisbon. My destination that day is Cascais – a kind of Saint-Tropez but in the delicious quiet years 70.
"Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa is now 3 years open and it is a unique resort ", tells Vanessa Travel. "It's built in and around the historical villa in which the last Italian King spent his years in exile". The 5-star resort looks very friendly and luxury. It has a unique atmosphere, that the uniformity of the large chains. An open architecture with multiple villa-type buildings and terraces, domestic, quiet, very comfortable, overlooking the sea. The public consists to a large extent of Portuguese and Englishmen with sense of style. Table covers of black leather and black satin, unique local marble obtained, and a spa in ancient Roman mosaic style.
"We are one of the four resorts in Portugal with Thalasso-therapy", Cristovão tells Silva, spa manager of the hotel. "You're going our signature-treatment experienced: a chocolate-Orange scrub followed by a Vichy shower with sea water and oil, and then a large facial massage of Phytomer(R)”. Delicious. And for the first time I lie during a Vichy shower not on a plastic tarp but on a soft towel. Not good for the environment, but be nice for my skin! When I get back walking in my suite with personal gym, already I am delighted at the dinner with white Port, delicious fish and coriander.
For more information and pictures: Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa
Day 3 – via Sintra to Campo Real Golf Resort
Over the hills to the Northwest of the rising sun shines upon the romantic town of Lisbon Sintra. I arrive before the tourists come, and enjoy on a Azulejo-bench of the pursuits of the first sardine smoker of that day. I'm heading to Turcifal, 25 minutes north of Lisbon. Between the vineyards and away from the ocean is there the 18 holes Campo Real golf course with the 5-Star Golf Resort & Spa. The grape harvest is in full swing. This is not comparable to the golf courses on the Algarve: What a rest, how rural! The white windmills which I from the terrace of the clubhouse see, There are already centuries. Many of the Portuguese and English guests have a private residence on site.
"This is the place to your first Vinotherapy Arôms's Nature to enjoy", says Laura Correia. She leads me around in the compact Divine resort's Spa. "We have here many sports people, so all our employees of the spa have a physical therapy-background, with additional spa- and beauty courses. I'm going to give you a Swedish massage with the most expensive oil that there is: pressed from grape seeds, and by the antioxidants the best oil to prevent skin ageing ". Laura has as physiotherapist flawlessly in the holes that my shoulder that day must have extra attention. No ge-aai, but a solid sports massage is the result.
In the setting sun at hole 18 do I have a moment of this special location.
For more information and pictures: The Hotel Campo Real
Day 4 – via Thermas de Monte Real to Porto
Hundred kilometres further north and nine kilometers from the ocean, the Palace Hotel Thermas de Monte Real. This september-morning is the road up to it hung with patches fog and mist. I smell a hundred kilometers long the scent of eucalyptus trees that takes off from the lush green. "The Palace Hotel is now 1 year open", Marcia tells Viegas on arrival. "Before one could here cures, but there was no luxury accommodation. The Palace Hotel offers a Masterful blend of a stately neo-classical Palace and modern stainless steel design portions with a chic black-red-gold décor ". After a delicious lunch with local Portuguese dishes as we visit 500 metres away the thermal baths. I can smell the sulfur fumes from far away. "Thermal baths and the spa are always strictly separated in Portugal", Marcia tells. "In the Roman baths is cured, so there is always a doctor responsible ". It's Sunday, the doctor is not there, and I should not even a SIP of the sulphur water try ... Marcia: "Central Portugal has multiple baths. Since the Romans treated here. Important indications in Thermas de Monte Real are intestinal problems ". I can relax in the spa, that in a separate building. A fun novelty is the Tropical Storm – an experience shower with varying degrees of cold and hot water, flashes of light, Storm sounds, etc. Completely automatic.
Then on to Porto, 300 km north of Lisbon and the Centre of the global Port industry. When I arrive in Porto, I want to but one thing: the promised Balinese Massage at the spa of ' my ' Sheraton hotel. Mark Ferreira explains: "I'm the only one who gives this special massage. It's a very energetic massage, with little force but with smooth and graceful movements stimulate the energy points of your body. I hope you enjoy it! For myself as a therapist feel almost like dancing ". During the massage I see her move with outstretched arms and indeed very graceful Oriental and fingertips turned out. "My colleagues find it but strange, This massage. But for me it feels very well, very harmonious ". And there she just now the main point of a successful and really relax treatment: the ' chemistry ' between therapist, therapy and client. If that is not good, it becomes a ' protocol ' that is handled. That to me is not relax. But Lola has it at all. Can I then relaxed to dinner in the Ribeira on the banks of the Douro River, overlooking the most famous port houses and the bridge designed by the famous Gustav Eiffel.
For more information and pictures:
Palace Hotel Thermas de Monte Real, Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa
Day 5 – Porto
The weather is beautiful, but I also have on my last day a busy schedule, that mainly within set. I visit for I terugvlieg three more Wellness hotels, and of course I'm going to try them! A stately taxi just buzz me to the left bank of the Douro, to Gaia, where all the port wine houses are located. "Gaia is the quiet brother of Porto and a great base for a city break". Victor Martins is the manager of the NeWell Spa & Tea at the 4-star hotel Melia Gaia Porto. "After a day in Porto you can relax here". In the NeWell Spa starts each treatment with 60 minutes in the hydro-space. Victor: "After that, the guests truly relaxing. Our facility and our treatments have an Oriental character. For example, we have ayurvedic massages. A relaxing start is very important, ". I especially enjoy the rest and take another Cup of green tea…
My taxi is already ready. I'm going to 15 km south of Porto to the 5-star hotel Solverde Spa & Wellness. The sea and the beautiful Palm Grove near Felix da Marinha. give me the feeling that I am in North Africa. "Our outdoor- and indoor swimming pools are filled with sea water,' tells José Ramos, "... and the treatment that we have for you is the Mémoire Océane treatment, with an algae peeling, a scrub with sea salt and oil, and then a zelfverwarmende bubbling algae foam wrap of Terraké(R) by Thalgo ". The hotel has its own atmosphere I could call ' modern English '. FC Porto is frequent guest in Solverde – at a safe distance from the city, which is easily accessible for customers is via the free shuttle-service. My Terraké(R) treatment ' Mémoire Océane ' is excellent, Although I actually Terraké(R) treatments sometimes contrived find. Recently I found even a hotel that a number of treatments for that reason in the ban had done ...
And then a surprise awaits me! Just before my return flight with TAP Portugal brings me my taxi to a dream of a Pousada! "Portugal has 40 Pousadas", tells Henrique Figueiredo, sales manager of Pousada do Porto Palacio do Freixo Hotel. "They are all monumental palaces and castles that have been converted into a hotel. You can find them across the country and they are 51% owned by the State, but are operated as private luxury hotel ". I am impressed with how much one the original character of the baroque palace on the banks of the Douro has retained. The building still has all the original ceiling paintings, high Windows and floors. Henrique is special to me from Lisbon come drive and tells at lunch how difficult such a ' restoration ' is: "Placing the elevator alone, without affecting the character of the building was almost not doing. But we did it ". Pousada do Porto has a small quiet spa with a swimming pool on the banks of the river. "Bookings for a treatment walk through the hotel reception: a single point of contact is the best for our guests ". But: a stay at this Pousada is even without treatment in the spa al ' wellness ' enough ... What a great end to a luxury pamper week!
More information and photos:
Melia Gaia Porto, Solverde Spa & Wellness, Hotel Pousada do Porto Palacio do Freixo
Diary-report by Arjan Mulder
- Fly to Lisbon and Porto: TAP Portugal
- See also the sites of the Portuguese Tourist Board: VisitPortugal, VisitLisboa, VisiteEstoril, RT-Oeste, VisitCentro, PortoCVB
- View the locations on the map