Six Senses Douro Valley
Six Senses Douro Valley is the quintessential modern boutique hotel - a tasteful and contemporary renovation of a classic 19th-century manor house offering all the mod-est cons in elegant surroundings.
Set on a hill overlooking the beautiful terraced slopes of the Douro Valley, this Six Senses property has 57 guest accommodations, made up of rooms, suites and villas all designed with clean lines and contemporary furnishings. Some of the villas have a private pool with beautiful views of the river.
Douro Valley is renowned for its great selection of fine wine, but also delicious local cuisine. Dining at Six Sense Douro Valley serves a real essence of the rusticity of Portugal's produce, blended with artful creation by the luxury hotels' chefs. An organic garden of vegetables and herbs is located right on the estate, where fresh ingredients are harvested only as needed, enhancing any menu. The Wine Library & Terrace is perfect for light bites and regionally sourced tapas delicacies, and for those who fancy a tipple they may find the wine tasting here tempting. The Restaurant features a seasonal menu and has laid back atmosphere with an open cooking station, where guests can also enjoy a cookery class or two. The Dining Room is a more elegant affair compared to other eateries in the hotel. The décor is traditional and the menu is market-inspired. The latest restaurant at the hotel is Terroir, based around the notions that the very earth in the exact spot that food is grown in is crucial to its taste. The restaurant focuses on wholesome, healthy food with the occasional indulgences. Carefully sourced, organic vegetables take centre stage and are supported by a select few organic wines. If that wasn't enough food-spiration the hotel has secret pop-up dining experiences with tables set up in secret destinations with a surprise menu to follow in suit.
The Spa is archetypal Six Senses occupying 23,700 square feet comprising of 10 treatment rooms, a heated indoor pool with water jets, a heated outdoor pool and refreshment bar, plus a gym with the latest exercise equipment and professional guidance. There is a range of locally-inspired therapies, which also include grape and wine based specialities. For the (slightly) more active, there is a tennis court in the heart of the vineyards, a large outdoor heated pool overlooking the river and yoga or pilates classes.
Further afield, the hotel can arrange boat excursions along the river, cultural tours, wine and cheese tastings, golf, riding and private visits to local quintas or manor houses.
Why We Love It
The wine list at both restaurants includes 200 wines with - naturally - Douro wines making up to 50% of this list.
We at Original Travel have known about Porto as a perfect Big Short Break destination for years, but always baulked at recommending it due to one crucial factor - the lack of a decent hotel. No more.
The Yeatman, owned by the family behind Taylor's port, is in Vila Nova de Gaia, the area packed with port warehouses that also happens to offer the most iconic panorama of the river, bridge and old town. As a result, every room and suite has wonderful views, and even from the bathrooms when the ingenious shutter wall is opened up. Breakfast on your private balcony is a must, and the award-winning chef at the hotel is seemingly single-handedly determined to belie any reputation Portugal might have for uninspiring cuisine.
The whole booze theme even continues in the spa thanks to the Caudalie Vinothérapie treatments that use the restorative by-products of the wine making process as at another firm favourite of ours - Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux. Other activities on offer include - funnily enough - wine and port tastings, tours of the warehouse region and talks on the port-making process itself.
Why We Love It
Teetotallers should note that the alcohol theme is all pervasive here, from the wine glasses in the hotel logo to the decanter shaped pool and the bed in one suite made from an enormous port wine barrel.