Autumn sun and a taste of luxury at Quinta do Lago, Portugal

·5-min read
Autumn sun on the Algarve at Quinta do Lago (Quinta do Lago)
Autumn sun on the Algarve at Quinta do Lago (Quinta do Lago)

With the dark evenings rolling in, and winter coats calling from the back of the wardrobe, I made a break last week for some last-chance autumn sun. After a British summer that seemed to last all of three overcast days, and the last 18 months spent lusting over summer holidays lost, a long weekend in a luxurious Portugal resort was just what the doctor ordered.

Where?

The Quinta do Lago resort is situated just 20-minutes drive from Faro airport. Benefiting from the Algarve’s year-round mild temperatures, the resort is surrounded by 2000 acres of the Ria Formosa Natural Park and a 3.5km-long sandy beach.

Style

Once the preserve of golf enthusiasts with its three award-winning courses, the resort has now opened up to a whole host of activities for couples, families, athletes and golfers alike. For me, that meant an even mix of outdoor sports in the Algarve’s beautiful sunshine, and top-rate dining to indulge all those calories burned. All of this is set on a sprawling site housing hotels, holiday lets and private residential properties; all on wide, perfectly manicured, palm-lined streets.

Quinta do Lago is surrounded by 2000 acres of the Ria Formosa Natural Park (Quinta do Lago)
Quinta do Lago is surrounded by 2000 acres of the Ria Formosa Natural Park (Quinta do Lago)

Activities

We began our stay on a pair of mountain bikes rented from the well-stocked Bike Shed, situated just a short ride from the Ria Formosa natural park. Full to the brim with wildlife, walking trails and a direct, off-road cycle route to Quinta’s vast beach, our self guided tour through the coastal park was a highlight. Keen cyclists, we could have spent the whole trip on two wheels, with high-end road bikes, long distance tours and all-level group rides departing from the Campus.

The resort’s sport hub, the Campus is also home to a wealth of tennis courts, football pitches, a gym, swimming pool, and a range of exercise classes. It’s here I enjoyed a sun-dowsed hour of outdoor yogalates, followed by an indulgent spa session including a sauna, plunge pool and outdoor swim.

With two watersport centres, Quinta also offers stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, kayaking and much more at either its lake or beachside location. After enjoying a cocktail at The Shack - Quinta’s lakeside bar and restaurant - watching braver souls than us struggle in their pursuit to windsurf, we opted for a gentle meander on one of the centre’s electric boats. Drifting slowly across the water we were treated to a full view of Quinta, eyeing up dream homes, the luxurious Quinta hotel and the unbeatable coastline.

Quinta’s lake offers watersport activities for all levels, just moments from the beach (Quinta do Lago)
Quinta’s lake offers watersport activities for all levels, just moments from the beach (Quinta do Lago)

Food and Drink

With twelve restaurants to choose from, there’s a spot for every kind of meal in Quinta.

Worn out from a day of cycling, on our first night we restored our energy with suitably large, dirty burgers at Dano’s - the resort’s sports bar. Named after the proprietor’s diving-enthusiast father, the relaxed restaurant is adorned with photos, and an impressive central sculpture of the man mid-dive - a thoughtful family theme which runs throughout the resort.

The next day, feeling rejuvenated from yogalates and a spa session, we opted for a different kind of lunch at PURE - arguably the most health-conscious of the resort’s dining options. Offering an impressive range of plant-based dishes, fresh juices and expert barista coffee, the wholesome cafe looks over one of the resort’s perfectly manicured golf courses.

From a relaxed cafe, to waterfront fine dining - the Casa do Lago is a vibrant and sophisticated waterside restaurant which serves up some of the region’s finest seafood. Using ingredients grown just moments away on Quinta’s own farm, the food at Casa do Lago is topped only by the gorgeous views.

And if you’re looking for ultimate luxury - nowhere does it better than Umami - the resort’s stunning new restaurant specialising in Japanese robatayaki cuisine. Nestled within one of Quinta’s most exclusive areas, Umami overlooks the Ria Formosa park and benefits from unbeatable sunset views. I can honestly say the meal I ate here, prepared by head chef Diogo Martins is one of the best I’ve ever had. Packed with flavour, flare and exquisite attention to detail, Martins has created one of the most exciting menus around. Even preparing a custom vegan menu for me, while my husband nearly shed tears into his “life-changing” wagyu beef - the quality of food at Umami is mirrored by it’s impeccable staff.

Umami - Quinta do Lago’s latest restaurant opening - can’t be missed (Quinta do Lago)
Umami - Quinta do Lago’s latest restaurant opening - can’t be missed (Quinta do Lago)

Which room?

After jam-packed days of sport, sun, and decadent food The Magnolia Hotel is where we collapsed. A colourful, boutique hotel around ten minutes drive to both the Campus and the beach, The Magnolia pays homage to Palm Spring’s iconic motels.

Packed with character in the public spaces, and built around a pool which catches near all-day sun, the Magnolia offers 74 comfortable, but basic rooms. Offering most necessities, the Magnolia suits well those looking for no-frills accommodation with a price tag to match, within a resort that is otherwise frill-full. We stayed in a standard double, but for a little more luxury, larger suites and two-bedroom cottages are also available.

The Magnolia Hotel (Quinta do Lago)
The Magnolia Hotel (Quinta do Lago)

Best for…

Quinta do Lago truly offers something for everyone - from sky-high greedy burgers, to wholesome salads or the finest of dining; relaxing by the pool - cocktail in hand, to 100km guided bike rides through the Algarve’s hills. Whether a family, couple, or pro-athlete looking to improve one’s backhand, Quinta has catered to almost every need, and surrounded it all in impressive natural beauty and comfort.

The Magnolia Hotel (themagnoliahotelqdl.com ; +351 289 005 300) offers a Standard Double Room from €97/£82 on a B&B basis. The Family Cottages are available from €239/£201 per night on a B&B basis.

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