Six Senses Douro Valley
What We Love
- Nightly wine tastings featuring vintages from the surrounding vineyards
- The destination spa has an infinity pool, aromatic saunas and arctic showers
- Aerial yoga is offered in the nearby woods
- The beautiful woven baskets for floating in the outdoor swimming pool
What To Know
- It's a 90-minute drive from Porto, Portugal's second-largest city
- The Douro Valley is considered one of the world's best driving areas
- Wines, olive oils and elegant kaftans can be bought on-site
- Vegetarians are catered to, with abundant bounty from the organic vegetable garden
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Set on 20 acres in the heart of Portugal’s UNESCO World Heritage Douro Valley, this Six Senses property features the brand’s signature blend of luxury and wellness. Converted from a 19th-century terra-cotta quinta (farmhouse) by New York–based Irish designer Clodagh, the 57 light-flooded rooms and the jaw-dropping spa have views of mature gardens, ancient woodlands and surrounding vineyards. Dull golds and slate grays, as well as local woods and wool throws, create a peaceful atmosphere, and the inviting open-plan public areas have a kick-off-your-shoes vibe.
Bed and Bath
All of the guestrooms and suites have daybeds. In the standard rooms (Quinta Superior) they might be tucked into a niche in the wall with views of the gardens; in the larger suites, which range from 495 to 1,130 square feet, there are pairs of daybeds with built-in tables facing your 48-inch flat-screen TV. All lighting, telephone and TV controls are run through a smartphone. Floors of bleached Portuguese oak extend into the open or semi-open bathrooms, all of which have oversize rainfall showers (in the suites there are also tubs that allow you to soak with a view of the Douro River). Soaps made from local olive oil, port wine and lemongrass exfoliate the skin, while shower gels and shampoos from the Organic Pharmacy are kept in bespoke pottery containers. Delta or Illy coffee machines round out the amenities.
Vale Abraão is an all-day restaurant that spills out onto a stone terrace in summer (try the refreshing chilled peach gazpacho with sweet basil ice cream). In the winter the cozy dining room lures guests to linger with its open fireplace. The chef’s table at the far end of the restaurant offers ringside seating for six and features superbly smoked local delicacies from a Josper grill. The bar uses organic herbs from the garden in its cocktails, and the Wine Library, with its interactive screens, serves cuts of regional sausage and cheese to accompany nightly wine tastings from the comprehensive cellar. The spa is a destination in itself with 10 treatment rooms, a nail bar with a wine and cheese menu, an indoor pool with jets, a gym and a Pilates and yoga pavilion.
In the Area
Wine buffs should head straight to the fascinating Wine Museum in Regua to learn about the region’s history. Refuel afterward at the neighboring Castos de Pratos to share a plate of petiscos (Portuguese tapas). For a riverside view as well as gourmet food try DOC, chef Rui Paula’s Douro outpost, where he lays the heart of the region’s rural cuisine on a plate. The nearest town, Lamego, is home to the beautiful 18th-century Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies, which is a painful 686 steps up from the Baroque old town but worth the climb for its stunning tiles alone.
How to Get There
We only stayed at the Six Senses hotel for one night, but we were totally wowed by what this place had to offer. Where do I start? The moment you walk in, you already know what you are about to experience, will be truly special. It’s a very tranquil place. The surroundings help, but the hotel has managed to provide a little oasis of serenity and sense of perfection and calmness for all their guests, among the beautiful vineyards. The staff go above and beyond to make their guests’ experiences unique and unforgettable. The rooms are spacious, the views are breathtaking, service is impeccable, food is delicious! And the spa... They were able to fit me in for a treatment the last minute, that I will never forget. I felt like Suzannah Panasian transponded me to a different world, that I wanted to stay in forever. They also offer many activities, that can keep you busy, but if simply basking in the sun with a good book, and a glass of port is your favorite thing, the Six Senses hotel is the perfect place for that. For us, this visit was just a quick taste of perfection, which only made us eager to come back for the full experience.
It's hard not to give Six Senses five stars -- it's a magnificent and unique place -- and we'd happily come again. But for a few reasons we found it a bit wanting. The rooms are fairly plain and minimalist, with a lot of concrete and raw wood and not a lot of softness. The staff are helpful and accommodating but not particularly warm. And though the grounds are exquisite, the property is built vertically, so getting to and from the pool requires at least two flights of stairs. (I don't know what they do for those who need accommodations).
Also disappointing (at least for us): because the Six Senses is so expensive -- not only for the Douro Valley but actually for all of Portugal -- it was the only place we stayed in the country where virtually all the guests were Americans. (And we stayed in some of the best hotels in the country). We sort of felt like we were in an exclusive spa retreat in California rather than immersed in the Portuguese wine region.
What can I say. £600 a night for a moderately soul less room, The hotel is amazing, an old summer retreat for a very rich family which was converted to hotel. The staff, on the whole were friendly and attentive, but the trouble with such high end hotels is that you are Mr and Mrs .., and treated in a way that I don't appreciate. My name is Sarah, not Mrs L!. This 2019 after all. Having said this the design and attention to detail is amazing, but I think it is overpriced. Northern Portugal is beautiful and there are other options.