EPIC SANA ALGARVE
ALBUFEIRA, PORTUGAL 

BEST FOR: A FAMILY BEACH HOLIDAY
NOT FOR: THOSE LOOKING FOR A BOUTIQUE ESCAPE

A new addition to the buzzing Algarve, this stylish laid-back resort will make you instantly relax.  Overlooking the rich red cliffs of Alburfeira’s Falésia Beach, it’s preened to perfection with everything  you could possibly want and super friendly staff to boot.

The low-rise architecture blends seamlessly into the landscape with  immaculately kept gardens, heady with the scent of pine from the surrounding forest. It’s fresh, sleek and spacious here. The lobby sets the scene – all white,  decorated with giant sculptures, funky lights and columns wrapped in mosaic tiles. The 160 rooms, 43 apartments (perfect for families) and 24 garden suites radiate serenity: cool, comfortable and contemporary with natural wood and light streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows – a European take on zen architecture. And colour abounds – full-on lime green from the king-size beds right down to the loo paper. Ask for a suite in the main building with a terrace overlooking the Atlantic.

The sprawling Sayanna Wellness spa is as good as it gets. With nine treatment rooms, Turkish bath and Vichy shower, spoiling Oriental-inspired treatments are the name of the game  with delicious Aromatherapy Associates products. Go for the Deep Kincho massage (in the outdoor pavilion) which relieves tight muscles and will lull you into the most blissful state of relaxation. Fitness fanatics will love it here, too, with a humungous sports field plus tennis and volleyball courts. Work up a sweat during an intense workout in the 24/7 gym, zig zag your way down the wooden walkway for a run on the beach or take the slow lane and contemplate  life on a walk through the forest. There are also excellent morning group classes – don’t miss yoga with the deeply knowledgable Joao, whose style is so perfectly pitched that it works for total newbies to the most experienced. For those looking for an added dimension, plump for a retreat instead – Bootcamp, Ultimate Re-shape, De-stress, Yoga and Anti-Aging… Finish by curling up on one of the chunky daybeds and chair hammocks beside one of the six pools. There are kids and baby clubs so you’ve got no excuse for not taking time out for yourself. Plus  the clever thing is that even in the summer holidays, the resort feels like there’s enough space for anyone who wants a private retreat.

Go for lunch in the poolside restaurant and tuck into one of the giant salads (the tuna nicoise is excellent). Then there’s the buffet restaurant Abyad (perfect for little ones) packed with the freshest of  seafood and top notch innovative Portugese fare at Al Quimia, where every plate looks like artwork – the chestnut soup, served with truffle, whole mushrooms and an egg yolk on a nest of noodles is a must. Ask head chef, Luis Mourao, for a cooking lesson and learn the secrets of his zingy citrus risotto. Enjoy a cocktail beforehand in the BLUUM bar,  the  place to see and be seen with a vibe worthy of London or New York. And that’s just it – Epic Sana has life down to a sophisticated fine art. A resort worthy of all the fanfare.

PRICE: Health and Fitness Travel (0203 397 8891; www.healthandfitnesstravel.com) offers 7 nights at Epic Sana from £995pp or £1,335 for single occupancy. Price includes full board, a choice of programmes, return flights and transfers.
NEAREST AIRPORT: Faro
TRANSFER TIME: 30 minutes

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First-Hand Visit Write-Up By: Harriet Compston

 


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