Life & Soul Magazine’s Travel Guide to Eco Spas will whet your appetite for a vacation that brings healing to holidaymakers in accommodations that work in harmony with the planet.
9. Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Portugal’s Douro Valley, listed as a world heritage site, is renowned for its picture-perfect landscapes, steep terraced vineyards carved into mountains, and sprawling wilderness. The region is also home to the Six Senses Douro Valley hotel and spa, with its four-hectare woodland with old growth trees.
The Douro ecosystem comprises roughly 3,500 different botanical species and being classified as an UNESCO World heritage site means all of the stakeholders in the region have a strict obligation to the environment. For that, the Six Senses Douro Valley blends spectacularly well into the natural surroundings without disturbing the environment. Housed in a renovated 19th century manor house, there are no huge, imposing builds that one may expect from a hotel chain.
Instead Six Senses, which is known for its commitment to sustainability, has created a hotel which is doing what it can to be self-sufficient. The hotel features an organic vegetable garden, and has teamed up with a local farmer to use the land for a vegetable patch and fruit orchard. It also produces its own mineralised water on-site so as to reduce the carbon footprint associated with packaging and transporting clean water.
Set high on a hill overlooking the vine covered rolling hills of the Douro Valley and the river below, one of the many highlights at Six Senses Douro Valley is the spa with an inviting blend of the “water, stone and wood” elements. Simple and minimalist in design, the spa lobby is decked out in natural stone walls and wooden floors. A sensual and relaxing blend of oils, which are infused with locally sourced grape and citrus fruits are housed in glass bottles which sit in the spa area like a traditional apothecary.
The spa offers locally-inspired massages and treatments, and there’s an indoor pool with water jets, as well as an outdoor pool area. But the spa’s uniqueness is in its other offerings which include Alchemy Bar Workshops, where guests can learn about local herbs, fruits and spices, sourced from the hotel’s organic garden to create homemade beauty products and potions.
While the facade pays homage to the original manor house’s years gone by, the elegant yet unpretentious interiors at Six Senses Douro Valley is encased in nature – stone, floor and wood feature throughout – with contemporary furnishings. Many of the rooms also have stunning views of the Douro river, woodland, or vineyard.
Famous for producing some of the country’s best port, the Douro Valley is one of the oldest demarcated wine regions of the world. Six Senses Douro Valley, with its proximity to historic wineries, is likely to appeal to wine buffs as much as it is those looking for a wellness retreat whilst acquiring some herbalist skills too.
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, music and arts. Rosalind also works as a psychic, counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com