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Mary | 17 May 24

Enness Lifestyle FirstEdition Sixty Three

Enness Lifestyle First


A week after returning from Six Senses Douro Valley, a beautifully packaged parcel arrives. Inside is a typical Portuguese tile, atypically showing what looks like a potato on a green stalk. What’s supposed to be a pansy has metaphorically misfired. 


In the current era of experience overload, this 71-key resort, owned by Lisbon-based Explorer Investments, still stands out. Ninety minutes north of Porto airport, arrive at what looks like a typical manor house, with terracotta-harled walls and tiled roof. In fact, it’s at the top of an eight-floor futuristic structure. Even getting to your room on floors four to six of said building is an experience. Which way to turn? Some corridors sport all-glass walls to look into ancient vineyards, apple-green leaves spouting. Occasional sculptures could be ignorantly described as rough-hewn wood blocks haphazardly supporting each other.


A bespoke schedule sadly leaves hillside trekking, kayaking, tree-climbing and more for the next visit. Start, however, with the spa’s Seed To Skin facial, particularly sublime as an all-wall window overlooks an ancient terrace and vineyards. The alchemy bar offers simple chemistry: scrape the zest off an orange and a lemon, add salt and oil and blend for an all-natural body scrub. Biohacking is another success. Wear two unconnected Normatec trousers, set the timer for 30 minutes, and feel compression waves rising from the toes up to the thighs (for more masochism, bedroom supplies include Theragun muscle relaxers).  

Cozinha do Douro.jpeg


Oh, the sheer joy of waking up, say in suite #554, and, via one flip-switch, raising blinds simultaneously for the vista of lush greenery. And knowing, too, that Six Senses’ Quinta Farmhouse Breakfast awaits. Refectory tables in front of working chefs hold detox of the day through to flans, all minutely labelled. Individual wood trays offer yoghurt parfait, slices of chocolate bread, and jars of butter and jam (they’re big on glass jars and wood boxes here). Three daily à la carte may include ‘open toast with creamy labneh, garden vegetables and pumpkin roasted in honey and vinegar’. 


There’s fire cider for immunity, kombucha, and a ‘longevity adaptogenic brew’. There are seven coffees, three teas, one hot chocolate and numerous juices. General Manager Andre Buldini explains that 0.5% of gross income at all Six Senses properties goes to community help. Here in Douro Valley there’s a left-over food initiative.


Try a cooking lesson lunch. Perhaps dine in the Wine Room. A local red, Casa Ferreirinha Barca Velha 2011, with lupin bean hummus, then octopus, with red onion. Perhaps that was what the budding Rembrandt was trying to paint on that unique Portuguese tile. 

Written by Mary Gostelow

Mary Gostelow