LIVING was invited on a wellness break at Four Seasons Fairways in Quinta do Lago. Nancy Emery lifts the lid on this exclusive Algarve resort
The Algarve community of Quinta do Lago on Portugal’s southern coast is well known for the golfing prowess of its visitors and the prestige of its hotels and spas. And as you drive through the gates of this exclusive development, one third of the Algarve golden triangle, you definitely get the sense of something special.
Championship courses cover the countryside left and right and designer shops and boutiques fill the shopping malls. But is there more to this stunning setting than working on your handicap and striving for an eagle?
The answer is: absolutely. Sure, golfing is a big part of Quinta do Lago, but it isn’t everything, and LIVING was invited to see just what’s on offer beyond the fairways.
An idyllic setting
The beautiful Quinta do Lago district is just 20 minutes from Faro airport, but a world away when you get there. Large exquisitely-kept, white-washed hotel and apartment complexes, palm trees and landscaped green spaces create an exclusive feel much like that of a Hollywood residency.
A wonderful unspoiled beach stretches for miles and a 11.6-hectare lake provides a perfect place to try your hand at water sports like kayaking. Walking trails, cycling routes, yoga and, of course, golf all help to fill up the days of those holidaying here.
Quinta do Lago is part of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, so wildlife is a huge part of the experience from birds to butterflies. And the preservation of the surroundings is paramount and evident as you explore its beauty.
Add to that the golfing heritage and a thriving gastronomy scene and you will find yourself in one of the most sought-after holidays spots in Europe.
Home from home
Quinta do Lago is certainly about health and wellness, and you can see why many choose it as a place to live out retirement, but it’s big on families too. Many of the residents have been coming since they were young, and now they return with their own children and grandchildren to experience it all too. This is especially true of Four Seasons Fairways, our home for a week in this idyllic setting.
A discreet and elegant private resort of 132 colonial style villas and apartments set in beautifully landscaped gardens with each featuring its own pool or jacuzzi, terrace or garden area and outdoor BBQ/cooking station.
Home from home (I wish) is the vibe they are striving for at Four Seasons Fairways , which has undergone an extensive multi-million pound refurbishment. The newly-renovated spaces are luxurious and comfortable, packed with every essential you could possibly need from the kitchen to the bathroom, and a far cry from the dishevelled chaos of my family home.
Take a look inside one of the newly refurbished apartments at Four Seasons Fairways
Our spacious apartment had a contemporary interior design with Portuguese influences and all the home comforts you’d need. Fresh blues and greens bring the beauty of the outdoors into the living space. Designer furniture, granite bathrooms, bespoke artwork and custom interior fittings personalise each one.
Two good-sized en suite bedrooms and another separate shower room provide ample facilities for all. A laundry room with washer and dryer (very handy for the swimsuits), lounge area with sofa bed, and an six-seater dining table and chairs make this an easy place to settle in to.
The kitchen was decked out with Miele appliances and Bosch accessories, and a welcome basket can be arranged to tide you over when you arrive. The huge private terrace had a neatly-placed hot tub, gorgeous flora and fauna to decorate, sun beds, dining table and chairs and private barbecue. The views over the horizon were pretty spectacular, as were the flying birds giving us a show at dusk. And we were particularly happy to have this outdoor space to unwind in after the children were in bed.
A beautifully presented clubhouse brings guests together in an informal setting. A clever inside-outside poolside bar is a neat place for a pre-dinner drink or daytime tipple. Charismatic staff curate fancy cocktails to order and a relaxed restaurant serves good food suitable for all. A handy take-out service means you don’t have to cook if you don’t want to. And with the more intimate Amara restaurant – which only opened in 2018 and is already creating a buzz on the local foodie scene – completing the dining offering, it’s a great place to spend your evenings.
Regular ‘welcome drinks’ are hosted by the management in the lobby of the clubhouse to give residents the chance to socialise and build lasting friendships, which I’m assured many have done and still do. There’s a schedule of live music events to keep the social vibe going throughout the year.
The clubhouse is a centre for leisure activity too. A fantastic heated outdoor and indoor pool provides plenty of spaces for children to splash about and adults to relax. Plus, you can enjoy a Turkish bath, jacuzzi and sauna if the weather outdoors plays up.
The complex boasts a gym, tennis courts, snooker room, golf shop, mini-mart, hairdresser and beauty salon all on site. And with views of the spectacular golf courses in every direction, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to keeping active.
An upside-down themed children’s club open during the school holidays for four – 12-year-olds (and a creche for babies aged 6 months and above) is a great addition to Four Seasons Fairways, and it had rave reviews from my two little boys (aged four and seven) when they spent the morning there.
With an indoor play area, kitchenette for baking activities and loads of enthusiasm from the staff, children will have a blast. The team also regularly organise trips out for children to local water parks and attractions.
It gave us some well deserved quality time to spend as a couple and not just as mum and dad. We jumped at the chance to explore the area while taking advantage of the bike hire available to members and guests. We headed down to the beach – an easy 10-minute cycle ride – and took one of the routes down through the Ria Formosa spotting various species of birds along the way and riding alongside the serene lagoons and salt marshes. It was lovely.
Note: The beach at Quinta do Lago is about a 20-minute walk or 10 minute cycle. But you can also enjoy a free shuttle service from the resort which will take about five minutes. The hotel runs other shuttle services to other parts of the Algarve too, and if you don’t want to hire a car, this comes in handy.
There’s no denying that golf has been a significant part of Quinta do Lago’s success, but after spending seven glorious days there as a family of four, there are so many other parts to its appeal. Four Seasons Fairways is a relaxed way to enjoy luxury and we cannot wait to return.
Four Seasons Fairways offer 7 nights in a two-bed hillside apartment with Jacuzzi from €1200/£1,035 in low season and €2800/£2,410 in high season. Membership opportunities are also available.
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