Samodães, Portugal

Photo: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Photo: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

You’re undoubtedly a wino. You travel to Burgundy for elegant Pinot Noirs and the Napa Valley for bold Cabernet Sauvignons. You’ve tasted Shirazs in Stellenbosch and the Barossa Valley. You’ve even explored emerging wine regions like the Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico. So why haven’t you been to the Douro Valley yet?

Portugal’s Douro Valley is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Yes, the entire world. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the place where grapes—like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, and Tinta Barroca—are grown. The gorgeous valley is home to picturesque villages and grand castles, Baroque churches and historic monasteries, winding rivers and vineyard-filled hillsides. Still need convincing? Six Senses recently opened their first European resort in Samodães.

If you were to create your ideal wine-region hotel, it would look pretty similar to Six Senses Douro Valley. Located 90 minutes from Porto’s airport or a four-hour drive from Lisbon, the small hotel is secluded but not too remote. The original manor house was built in the 19th century. It sits on a hill surrounded by vines and woodlands. Panoramic views overlook more rolling hills, the Douro river that flows from Spain, and clay-tiled roofs. A long pool, organic gardens, a vertical herb wall, and a yoga pavilion surround the house. You’re in love with the property before you even step inside.

Photo: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Photo: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Not that you’re disappointed once you enter. The hotel is spacious, modern, and minimal. Your bedroom features a full window wall and a daybed instead of a desk. The screened-in bathroom is decorated with gray Portuguese limestone. Plus a pebbled terrace looks out over the vineyards, of course. The view extends to the treatment rooms in the spa, which also has a heated indoor pool and citrus and grape-based therapies.

While the dining spaces have a farmhouse-chic vibe. Vale de Abraão serves seasonal food by a wood-fired bread oven. Tables surround a water fountain on the adjacent terrace. Afternoon tea and tapas dishes—be sure to try the local raw-milk cheeses—are served in the Quinta Bar & Lounge. And the Wine Library has a large wooden table and a huge wine fridge. It also offers a great introduction to the Douro Valley’s wines.

You have winery visits, tastings, and a river cruise that serves port planned for tomorrow, but there’s no way you can wait that long. It’s about time you finally start tasting the reds that made this area famous. Saúde.

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