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Six Senses Douro Valley, perhaps the best hotel in Portugal

Six Senses Douro Valley, talvez o melhor hotel de Portugal - Algarvist - Portugal's best restaurants, Portugal's best hotels, Portugal's best spas, Douro Six Senses

Those who have followed me over the last few years know that I have recently been to several luxury hotels and resorts in Portugal and beyond. Of all the places I’ve visited recently, the Six Senses Douro Valley was the one that impacted me the most. It’s worth booking a weekend or a longer getaway in the Douro just to check out this luxury hotel, estate and spa. You don’t even have to leave the resort, because in this idyllic place there is everything you can imagine and need during a dream holiday.


First, the location. Or rather, as they say in real estate: “the location, the location, the location”. The Six Senses is situated in a piece of heaven next to the River Douro, in the mythical Quinta de Vale de Abraão, a few kilometres from Peso da Régua. From the wide windows of the hotel, you can contemplate the serene beauty of the river with its changing colours between blue and jade-green. The old Portuguese building is surrounded by a dense and secular wood. In addition to the leafy trees, there is a well-kept garden, a natural landscape enhanced with thick lawns, flowering shrubs, fruit trees and a kitchen garden of aromatic herbs, small organically-grown vegetables and greens used with mastery by the hotel’s kitchen.

Six Senses Douro Valley

First Impressions

As we reach the bend of the winding road at Samodães, we are surprised by an iron sculpture which charismatically announces the presence of the resort. Then comes the descent of a steep slope, flanked by perfectly arranged vineyards which will rend the geography of the cliffs. And there it appears, sumptuous, on the banks of the River Douro and with its walls painted flaming ruby to contrast with the intense green of its exotic garden: the Six Senses Douro Valley hotel building.


If you know the Douro Valley well, you will recognise here the former Aqua Pura hotel. But this is a mere mirage. Of the old hotel and its heavy, Thai-inspired interior spaces, all that remains is the memory, some photographs and the building’s infrastructure. Everything else has changed. The social spaces are now very comfortable and “open-space”, with a modern decoration that respects the Douro wine tradition and the history of this place, but introduces new design elements. In general, one breathes tranquillity. The choice of decorative elements such as wood, brown, earth, copper and gold tones make the atmosphere warm and involving.


The reception is an open space with a wonderful golden hemp wall, a banister of lighted candles and an imposing table made of centuries-old tree trunks. On arrival, check-in is quick and efficient, almost private. I am served a glass of port and a cold towel scented with essential oils. Two giant windows open wide and let the trees into the hall.


Then they accompany me to the lift. Surprise. When the door of the panoramic lift opens, the scenic landscape of the Douro valley swallows me up. The lift slowly descends as if floating on the postcard of the Douro Valley until it reaches floor -2. The intense light of the water mirror and the viney and green hills is now replaced by the intimacy of a dark and enigmatic environment. The wooden doors of the rooms are lit up with numbers reflected on the floor, a kind of kaleidoscope of the senses.

The room

The door opens and I am unable to contain the “ahhh” of admiration. A spacious, bright room, with the bed in the central space and a big, fluffy two-metre wide mattress…. “yupieeeee”! A huge, wall-to-wall window brings the landscape into the interior space. On the side, the bathroom decorated in dark and sober tones, a shower with galactic dimensions and the perfection of detail in the composition of the amenities, candles, aromatic oils dispensers and towels. A treat.


The ample space of the bedroom is divided with an upper level, where the living room is located with a view to the canopy of trees and a mysterious shade of the Douro River. The decoration is sober and elegant. Using dark and vintage woods, beige and earthy tones, we feel like we are in an organic space. A fabulous welcome basket with fresh fruit, a personalised card, chocolates and a crystal bottle of port awaits us on the small table in the living room.

Six Senses Douro,

Next to the bed, I find the room’s home automation system, from where you can personalise the lighting, blinds, temperature and privacy. In addition to the room controls, the tablet also offers apps with hotel services, spa, catering and weather information.



I found a lovely little booklet, with leather covers personalised with the menu of experiences. From wine tastings to thematic walks through the gardens’ trails, there are several proposals of activities to spend leisure hours. My attention was drawn to the wine tasting, which I booked immediately and, as it was raining, I booked a massage in the spa.

Charming social areas

Let’s leave the impressive room for now and explore the social areas of the Six Senses. The architecture of the hotel is designed so that most of the bars, restaurants, library and leisure spaces are located on the same floor. The spaces follow one another in a fluid movement, which leads us from one area to another without barriers or interruptions. The central theme is the wine produced in the Douro region and so it is not surprising to find a complete collection of books dedicated to the passion for wine. There are also interactive screens where you can read about the brands, the more than one hundred grape varieties, the families and the farms that make up the real history of the Douro. The candles lit all day emanate an intoxicating perfume.



There are several rest and reading areas, comfortable sofas mixed with design pieces or decorative elements tastefully collected. The windows open to the outside, revealing a majestic landscape. I witnessed a moment of extreme natural poetry. To the amazement of all the guests, over the rain and mist of the river, Nature drew an imperial rainbow uniting the two banks of the Douro. The obvious followed, a round of applause of jubilation!

Six Senses Douro
Six Senses Douro
Six Senses Douro Valley Spa

The Spa – A well-kept secret that I will reveal to you in this specific post:

The incredible Spa at Six Senses in the Douro


A new restaurant concept

There are two interconnected restaurants in the Six Senses Douro Valley. In both cases we are facing a cuisine of the senses, which rewards the flavours and authenticity of the products in detriment of aesthetics or technique. The signature of the gastronomic experience is Ljubomir Stanisic, Consultant Chef and Luis Borlido, Chef of the hotel. There is an open kitchen with iron cookers and a robust wooden table, continuously adorned with fresh aromatic herbs, fruit and local sausages. This is also where the breakfast buffet is served in the mornings, which also wins a prize for having one of the most careful presentations in our country.



I had lunch twice in this restaurant, once inside and once on the terrace with glorious views over the hills, the fountain and the sculptures. I tasted simple but very well prepared dishes that tell stories of many journeys. Influences from various parts of the world can be found in this menu, but local recipes made with local products produced in the hotel reign supreme. The wine list, as you would expect, gathers a serious wine collection. On the walls, a profusion of photographs of the Serpa Pimentel family reminds us that this is a genuine place loved by several generations, who have left their marks and personal stories hidden between the centenary walls of the farm.



In an adjoining room, which opens its doors only for dinner, there is a fine-dining restaurant. The decoration is informal and inspired by Portuguese tradition. The large fireplace with its crackling fire invites long evenings with lively conversation in the company of a good bottle of wine. Portuguese tiles and traditional faience give the place an even more Lusitanian touch.

Six Senses Douro

Breakfast for kings

Another reason why the Six Senses Douro Valley should deserve “six stars” and not just five is its breakfast. This is served in the affable dining room of the Vale de Abraão restaurant. The open kitchen becomes a buffet presented with a refinement rarely found in Portugal. There is a tea and tisane station freshly prepared with fresh herbs from the garden, an extraordinary array of fruit and dairy preparations. The cold meats and cheeses area awaits us in the cool and intimate atmosphere of the wine cellar. It is surprising and very pleasant to find the arrangement of the different foods in this interactive buffet with an appetising aesthetic.

Breakfast gallery at the Six Senses Douro Valley.




There are several prestigious national and international organisations that have highlighted the hotel excellence of Six Senses Douro Valley. Recently Conde Nast Traveler chose the resort to integrate the 2017 Gold List. This is an elite list that recognises the 60 most impressive hotels and resorts that have opened their doors during the past 12 months, from Western Australia to Baltimore. The property also won the category of best resort in Europe from Gallivanter’s Guide 2017, UK and best resort in Portugal from TripAdvisor, US, 2017. These are golden times for the Douro region, and this resort is one of the best luxury hotel offerings we have in Portugal.


For more information:


Quinta de Vale Abraão, Samodães, 5100-758 Lamego Portugal

Tel: (+351) 254 660 600




Here are some photos taken with your iPhone that show the unique beauty of this place. Have a nice trip!


Photographic credits: Algarvist and Six Senses Douro Valley

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