Many people assume the oldest demarcated wine-growing region in the world exists in Greece, France, or Italy. Those same folks are usually quite surprised to learn UNESCO-listed Douro Valley actually holds that title. A trip to this historic and pastoral part of northern Portugal promises rolling vineyards, world-class port, storied quintas (wine estates), and boat rides along its namesake river. Proximity to the country’s second-largest city, Porto, means visiting the birthplace of port just entails a scenic train ride or drive—so a day trip is totally doable. Though, it’s definitely worth planning an overnight (preferably a weekend getaway) just to have the chance to recharge at the Six Senses Douro Valley.
At first glance, as you wind up the road towards the 19th-century manor house, the hotel looks quite stately and plucked from a bygone era. But upon arrival, it becomes abundantly clear that no expense has been spared in the quest to bring exquisite modern amenities to guests.
The cutting-edge and contemporary yet cozy wine library is a major highlight. Thirsty visitors can taste some of the best vintages from Douro Valley. The setup allows guests to sip at their leisure on comfy couches or join in for a sommelier-led crash course in local vino held at the long central table below a glimmering chandelier. To pair with the palate-pleasing pours? Tasty tapas.
Inspired by natural elements—namely water, stone, and wood—and designed for holistic relaxation, the 23,700-square-feet spa is equipped with both a hydrotherapy pool, hammam, both a Himalayan salt and classic dry-heat saunas, igloo, chromotherapy, and a cool bucket shower. The treatment menu includes everything from grape-infused facials and hot stone massages to biohacking oxygen therapy and consultations with the in-house sleep doctor. While the alchemy bar workshop allows vacationers to play apothecary by mixing up mind, body, and spirit cures with healing plants. There’s also a state-of-the-art gym, plus fitness classes and personal trainers.
An umbrella-shaded lounger on the deck of the outdoor resort pool is a blissful spot to catch rays, dive into a good book, or take a midday nap. Active travelers will enjoy playing tennis, badminton, and pétanque in between tastings and self-care time.
Rooms and suites are remarkably comfortable and photogenic with clean lines, cloud-like beds, and wine fridges (because it’s Douro Valley, after all). Large windows and terraces allow guests to soak in the beauty of their surroundings at all times.
Even with all the improvements and upgrades, the hotel still retains a really rich heritage and sense of place. Just looking over the rows of sun-kissed grape vines and river, it’s very clear that you’re in Douro Valley. Walks through the 100-year-old forests and vineyards reinforce that fairytale fact. Immersive activities such as cooking classes in the open kitchen, pickling workshops, and tile painting give guests the chance to experience local culture.
The delicious offerings at Vale de Abraão read like a love letter to the region. It’s impossible to have anything short of a splendid day when it begins with the abundant breakfast buffet that’s brimming with housemade pastries, granola, meats, cheeses, and fresh fruit. You can’t go wrong with any of the dishes on the à la carte menu either. Lunch and dinner bring the flavors of Portugal to the plate in thoughtful, creative ways. Guests have the option of eating in the dazzling dining room by the large fireplace or on the panoramic terrace. If you’re in the mood for a nightcap and a game of billiards, pop over to the atmospheric bar.
The staff treats every guest like a VIP. Dreaming of a helicopter ride to a remote quinta or a gourmet riverside picnic? Just ask the concierge to set it up. And, of course, no matter where you are on this endlessly picturesque property, a glass of Duoro Valley wine is never out of arm’s reach.
Location: Lamego, Douro Valley, Portugal
The Vibe: A modern, wine-fueled fantasyland with all the bells, whistles, and aerators.
Food + Drink: The signature restaurant, Vale de Abraão, serves elevated takes on regional fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in romantic indoor and outdoor dining areas. The wine library is the perfect spot to enjoy a sommelier-led tasting or a glass of wine before dinner. For a cocktail (or more wine), head to the bar. In the summer months, there’s a seasonal pop-up in the garden.
Amenities: four restaurants, spa, wine-making activities, Earth Lab, tile-painting workshops, tennis and badminton courts, table tennis, pétanque, boutique, library, vineyard walks, Alchemy Bar, cooking classes
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: Sommelier-led tastings in the wine library.
Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? Besides the big-name producers, there are many smaller wineries such Quinta do Tedo that deserve a spot on the itinerary. For a fantastic dinner with exceptional food and a lovely waterfront location, make a reservation at DOC.
Rooms: 71 guest accommodations, including nine suites
Pricing: Rooms start at $854/night
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