A Unesco World Heritage site since 2001, the Douro Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in the world, and a mystical land of wilderness that sits surprisingly silent in pace, aside from three weeks of autumnal harvest.
Port is generally one of the lesser understood wines, Tawny? Single Quinta? I had no idea what these were. With port being left to age in Porto’s port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, port lovers just didn’t need to make the visit to the Douro Valley to experience the wines and learn more about the process. Having now educated myself, I have discovered just how delicious Port wines and can’t now understand why they are not more popular.
The Douro Valley’s recent Unesco status has attracted visitors looking to appreciate the stunning views of this unique wine area. Neat terraces of stair-cased vines line every horizon with a mesmerising effect.
Six Senses Douro Valley, a striking terracotta-hued 19th-century manor set atop a lofty hilltop that perches over Portugal’s celebrated wine region, having won a number of awards, is the place to stay. The 19th-century quinta is now home to an interactive wine library where you can learn about local vintages at nightly tastings. The dining room spills out onto a terrace overlooking a large swimming pool and manicured fruit and vegetable garden that provides ingredients for the terroir menu.
The hotel maintains a contemporary feel while retaining the 19th-century character with slabs of heavy granite lining the floors and the region's cork and soft oak adding a soothing palette of browns and creams. Floor-to-ceiling windows create a bright and light feel, bathrooms are filled with organic lotions, while the bedrooms are controlled by the touch of a smartphone. This was without a doubt one of the comfiest beds I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in, along with the softest cotton sheets.
Heading down from the restaurant’s terrace, the outdoor pool stretches infinitely into the Douro River ahead with serene views of the surrounding hills to enjoy from one of the perfectly neat sun loungers that line the pool’s edge.
Polished concrete, lounging sofas and communal tables make the Quinta Bar & Lounge a great spot for an afternoon glass of local wine or a pre-dinner game of pool. Throughout the day your wine card gives you access to the high-class vending machine where you can enjoy a glass from the extensive selection of Douro Valley wines.
Twice daily yoga and meditation take place on an outdoor terrace looking out to the river allowing you to effortlessly surrender to your inner zen.
Setting the hotel apart are the nature trails to enjoy the surrounding areas taking you into the vineyards, down to the river bed and up into the hills behind the hotel, a perfect start to your day.
Six Sense Douro Valley is a relaxing retreat amongst one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions. It’s the place to come to unwind while enjoying the lesser discovered wines of the region leaving you feeling like you’ve found a gem that is still relatively unknown to the rest of the world.