Pine Cliffs Hotel Algarve, Algarvist, Essential List, Living in Portugal, Best recommendations

Wellness of the future. The best SPA in the world is in Portugal

The future has arrived. The Serenity Spa is the best spa in the world – according to the World Luxury Spa Awards 2017-, but it looks more like a spaceship that transports us to the galaxy of tranquillity. The avant-garde design combines the latest advances in technology, with holistic body and face treatments enhanced by prestigious cosmetic brands. The Pine Cliffs resort has invested around €4 million in this temple of futuristic hedonism. I spent a morning there and will tell you all the details of this sensory journey worthy of a Star Wars film.



I arrive early. After breakfast in the Colonial Garden, I make my way towards the spa. I pass through gardens paved with Portuguese cobblestones, planters full of colours and flowers, enchanted fountains and a silent pool. There is nobody there. It’s Saturday morning and it’s just me and the cats walking around this side of the hotel. These are the advantages of making a getaway in the middle of autumn. The foreign tourists are already going about their business and the Portuguese take advantage of Saturday to sleep late.


I enter the Ocean Suites wing in search of the Serenity SPA and find a digital panel that swallows me up with the blue of a sea wave. Suddenly the bucolic landscape of the Pine Cliffs garden disappears and I enter a new world, somewhere in the future. The entrance to this spa is vaguely reminiscent of the reception desk of a spaceship: one wall is lined with a large high-definition screen where Atlantic waves undulate. A little background music involuntarily induces us into a state of relaxation, while the illuminated led lines, water paths and an extraordinary chandelier from which metal spheres hang, welcome us. I’ve arrived at Serenity SPA, a technological and holistic temple dedicated to well-being.



A young girl, wearing a uniform that could have come out perfectly from the new Star-Wars, invites me to sit in an armchair. As in all SPAs, before moving on to the treatment area we are asked to fill in a health declaration. But here, in this new world of hight-tech, paper has been replaced by an Ipad. Cutting edge technology in the service of relaxation, interesting.



Having completed the questionnaire, it’s time to discover the interior of this “spaceship” of serenity. I meet Diana, the therapist who will carry out my treatment in the relaxation room, a resort with intimate light, rounded resting beds and views of an interior garden. Here too the decoration makes my imagination travel through the fantastic references of the celluloid world.


I’ve been lucky enough to have visited many spas, but I’ve never had this feeling of being catapulted into a parallel galaxy. We walk down a dark corridor, lit strategically with led lines and water, white stones and iridescent mosaics on the walls. Curiosity kills me. I ask her to show me the other treatment rooms before reaching the Hammam. My eyes widen as I open the door to the Dry-Floatation room. In the centre of a room in beige tones and brown mosaics I find a technological cocoon, specifically an oval bed filled with a mattress with an inflatable system which allows you to perform relaxation treatments and simulate dry-floatation. In the background, a round back-lit circle, it seems as if you were looking at one of the moons of Mars from the window of this spaceship…



But the technological surprises didn’t stop there, further on, I discovered a room with a supersonic bathtub, equipped with several relaxation and hydromassage programmes programmed with a colour system that illuminates not only the water, but the whole room, from the ceiling. The atmosphere is so modern and out of the ordinary, that we enter an alternative world without even noticing it.



The therapist, seeing me so excited with all these modernities, took me, almost in secret, to the golden room, the Aurum Suite. A temple worthy of movie stars, specially designed for couples’ treatments. On one side, a room with two massage chambers and walls covered in gold leaf, on the other, the relaxation room with a giant jacuzzi, sauna, sensory shower, Turkish bath and a lounge with a luxurious sofa with oriental details. I blinked to remind myself that I was still in Portugal, and not in one of those 6-star hotels in Dubai.



The golden suite is so impressive that it’s worth pointing out this little secret, for when you want to give your better half one of those extraordinarily romantic surprises. When they prepare this suite, the jacuzzi is filled with foam, essential oils, bath salts and rose petals and they serve champagne and strawberries… a complete homage to hedonism. To enjoy the Aurum Suite there are several rituals available, such as the “Experience for two”, the “Indocéane Ritual”, or the extraordinary “Polynesian Ritual”, a journey through the waters of the Pacific, with three sensory stopovers in the Polynesian Islands. The price of the suite is 350 euros for 180 minutes of pure pleasure in private, to which the price of the treatment will have to be added. In other words, for less than 550 euros, it is difficult to rent that space, but I can assure you that it is worth every penny.



With our breath still altered, we reach a new pinnacle, the water area christened the “Thermal Oasis”. The space is dominated by a heated pool in blue mosaics, where streams and jets of water wind their way. The waters are separated in a bathing area with jets and hydromassage beds. The pool is virtually connected to the tropical greenery of the garden through a large glazed wall.



In the lounge accessing the saunas and relaxation room is a Kneipp fountain in marble and mosaics. Invented in the early 19th century by the German Dr. Sebastian Kneipp, a specialist in natural medicine and hydrotherapy, this fountain stimulates circulation in the legs and feet, due to the alternation of bathing in cold and hot water.



In this Thermal Oasis, there are not one, but two saunas. The Herbal sauna with a lower temperature (between 70 and 80 degrees) and slightly humid atmosphere and a very special sauna with Himalayan salt, with a drier and hotter atmosphere (90 degrees). The facilities also include a Turkish Bath, an ice fountain, sensorial showers that simulate tropical rains with the sound of thunder and birds, a garden with an outdoor relaxation area and a jacuzzi.

If the spa facilities already left me awestruck by the design and the use of the latest technological innovations, the list of treatments left me impressed. Maria D’Orei, the Spa Manager, has collected an eclectic collection of signature treatments, facials and body treatments powered by some of the best brands in the world: Sensai, Ila, Thalgo, Charme D’Orient, The Organic Pharmacy or Margaret Dabbs. You may not know all these names, but I assure you that we are in the presence of the Rolls-Royce of professional cosmetic brands for SPAS.


Some of the facial treatments that most aroused my curiosity were the “Revitalising Facial Therapy with Ila Crystals” a protocol with the benefit of crystal vibrations, to release tension and revitalise the skin (80 minutes / €160) or the “Ultimate Facial and Sensai Luxury Eye Treatment”, a regenerating treatment that repairs and protects the skin against the signs of ageing (80 minutes / €230). Facials are performed with the products and protocols of the Japanese brand Sensai, known for creams designed with cutting-edge technology and rare ingredients like Koishimaru silk; and also with Ila, a luxury organic brand, whose products contain natural ingredients from plants collected in remote places.




In the massage chapter, there’s plenty to choose from, but I highlight the “Deep Recovery Massage” (80 minutes / €150), an intense, multi-sensory full-body massage that releases tension and relieves stress. There are also Thai massages, Indian head massages, hot stone massages, or the Balinese four-handed massage. It is really difficult to choose. The body treatments are in charge of prestigious brands such as Charme D’Orient, or Thalgo, a cosmetology specialist using seaweed. There is also a specific brand for men’s treatments, the Gentlemen’s Tonic and the pedicures and manicures are done with products of the Margaret Dabbs company brand [which I talked about here, when I tried The Best Pedicure in the World].



If all these treatments already seem extraordinary, hold on. There are even more special rituals, the so-called signature treatments, developed especially for Serenity Spa and that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. One of the most unique is the ritual “Feel the Algarve” where they use ingredients from the region such as salt from the Ria Formosa, the sand from Praia da Falésia, the shell and kernel of Carob and essential oils of Algarvian Orange. Another unmissable treatment is the Hammam, a steam bath with deep skin exfoliation and Rassoul clay mask, signed by the Charme D’Orient brand. This was the ritual I had the opportunity to experience and which I describe in greater detail in a specific post: How is the Hammam ritual at the best spa in the world?




Serenity Spa – The Art of Well Being is an authentic jewel, which combines luxury brands and treatments with designer facilities equipped with the latest technology. Pine Cliffs Resort has invested about 4 million euros in what is now one of the best SPAS in Portugal and in the world. The Serenity SPA opened just over a year ago and has already been awarded at the World Luxury Spa Awards 2017 with several titles, including being elected as the “best design” and “best new Spa in the World” and “Best Spa Resort in Portugal”. With 1100 square metres, this “spaceship” of well-being, is also the largest spa in the Algarve, with 13 treatment rooms.



And because the art of wellness involves much more than body and face rituals, the Pine Cliffs, offers all the conditions for a complete detox retreat: nutrition spaces, active sports and musical yoga activities. In the same building we find the healthy restaurant, ZEST, with super-foods, natural juices, vegetarian recipes and organic products.



The Serenity SPA is, in itself, a suitable destination for those seeking a holiday or a getaway of absolute tranquillity and want to enjoy a memorable experience. And how lucky we are to have it right here, in our Algarve!



For more information and reservations, please visit:

Pine Cliffs Resort


Address: Pinhal do Concelho, Apartado 887 8200-912 Albufeira, Portugal.

Phone: (+351) 289 500 300




Serenity Spa – The Art of Well Being





Photo credits: Algarvist

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