World class spas, excellent hotels, an eminently walkable UNESCO protected cityscape to explore and one of Europe's most famous wine regions make the Portuguese city of Porto and the neighbouring Douro Valley the perfect destination for a five-day pampering pit-stop.
Fly to Porto (there are flights from several airports across the
UK) in northern Portugal and collect your pre-booked hire car for
the 20 minute drive into the centre of Porto. Your first port(o) of
call is the delectable
Yeatman Hotel, the finest place to stay in the city, with its
unparalleled views of the iconic old town across the Douro
The hotel sits among the famous lodges where the major port
producers store their wine once it has been shipped down the Douro
from the vineyards upstream, so it's only appropriate that the
hotel has a wine theme, including a spa offering Vinotherapie
treatments using the by-products of the wine industry. This
afternoon we have arranged a merlot wrap (or conventional massage)
for you in the state of the art spa before you enjoy an evening
drink at Dick's Bar, the hotel's elegant bar.
After a lazy lie-in, saunter over to Taylor's port wine lodge
for a private guided tour of the cellars, where you will learn how
the wine is blended and aged. Next it's lunch at the Taylor's
restaurant Barão Fladgate where you can enjoy high quality
After lunch you have a guide for a private half day tour of the city. The tour starts near the Atlantic coast in Foz, where many of the city's finest museums are located, before you work your way back through the Boavista district to the picturesque Old Town, all the while learning about the city's history as one of the wealthiest cities in the world during the Portuguese colonial era.
After a leisurely breakfast it's time to leave the city and head
to inland to the lovely
Six Senses Douro Valley - a stylishly converted quinta or wine
estate manor house overlooking the Douro River.
After lunch it's time to turn the pampering to eleven with an afternoon spent in the superb Six Senses spa, and we will suggest the best signature treatments and, if you like, prebook them. Best in class, in our humble opinion, are the vitamin C and papaya enzyme peel facial, and the schist hot stone treatment.
After breakfast, take a train ride along the river before
visiting one of the best local wine producers for a private guided
tour of the estate, learning about the picking, pressing and
packaging process before a tasting of the estate's delicious wines
and ports and finally lunch on the terrace with spectacular views
along the valley.
After lunch, head back down to the river to board a beautifully
restored 1950s motoryacht for the hour long cruise back downstream,
all the while being served more local wines and cheeses.
After the short transfer back to the hotel there might be time to sneak in another spa treatment, or to have a swim in either the spectacular indoor or outdoor pool before a game of pool and an evening cocktail before another relaxed but excellent supper in the Dining Room.
Depending on what time your flight home is, there might be time
this morning to wander around the lush Six Senses Douro Valley
grounds on trails down to the river, or climb trees (positively
encouraged!) but then again this trip is meant to be all about
R&R so you could just sneak back to the spa for one last Thai
herbal compress massage, or we can pre-arrange for the hotel to
prepare a picnic in the woods.
Sadly it's time to leave now, and after the hour and a half drive back to Porto Airport, drop of the hire car and fly back to the UK a good deal more relaxed, and quite possibly a few pounds heavier.