Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa

Hotel in Algarve

Beach Resort and Thalassotherapy & Medical Spa

Think of the Algarve and you might not necessarily think spa, but the Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa, reclining in 11 hectares of manicured gardens that sweep down to a gorgeous bay, Praia das Gaivotas, is changing all that.

Voted one of the five best thalassotherapy centres in the world by Condé Nast Traveller magazine, this resort now plays in the premier league of spas – and the reason why becomes clear the minute you arrive.

Situated in a beautiful clifftop spot just south of Porches, on the Algarve's southern coast, this is a resort that shrugs off the typical resort feel. The expansive gardens that stagger down to the crashing Atlantic are manicured and lush year-round with palms, fig and cork oak trees, hibiscus, dragon flowers and bougainvillea. Footpaths weave discretely through them to saltwater and freshwater pools that command big ocean views. Nestled discreetly amongst these are low-rise villas, so cleverly placed that you barely see a soul as you move from suite to secluded cabana bed.

The holistic spa approach has been cannily applied here. Besides a full array of medical spa services and treatments drawing on the healing properties of the sea, this is a place that revives tired spirits and makes you feel healthier because of its natural location. Part of the experience here is simply to allow yourself time and space for mindful moments – to watch the sunshine dapple the waves, to wander in contemplative silence along the beach, breathing in the tang of Atlantic air.

Vilalara Longevity of course also comes with all the luxury five-star trimmings. Bright and roomy, my junior suite is decorated in soothing muted tones and high-quality natural fabrics – it is minimal but not clinical, elegant but not fussy. There are nice extras like the garden-facing day bed on the balcony, where you can lounge and listen to the birds twitter, and a plentiful supply of herbal detox teas and alkaline water. It gets the important things right – the bed is properly comfortable, the lighting just right and the suite well aired and incredibly quiet.

The spa combines thalassotherapy treatments, based on mineral-rich, detoxifying marine mud, seawater and seaweed, with a full range of health and wellness services courtesy of Longevity Medical Spa, a specialist in the field of anti-ageing and predictive and participatory medicine. Prevention is better than cure is the ethos here. Specially tailored packages, therapies and treatments address everything from weight loss and nutrition to postural realignment, cardio health and stress resistance.

I'm impressed to find that the doctors and therapists here really are experts in their field. A lifestyle and wellness assessment reveals how I might boost flagging energy levels and improve sleep through proper diagnosis and supplements. While a manipulative osteopathy session with Ricardo Rosa, who has the light, assured touch of an angel, leaves me feeling new born. After an invigorating seasalt scrub in the gentle heat of the tepidarium and an intuitive massage with lavender oil, I leave glowing, relaxed and walking on air.

The spa concept is bolstered by the Longevity Vitality plan – a programme of daily exercise and activities, with everything from power hikes and beach walks to Pilates, yoga and mindfulness and healthy living workshops.

My package included five low-calorie meals a day and the food was uniformly superb – from the generous breakfast buffet served poolside in the morning to beautifully prepared, well-seasoned lunches and dinners enjoyed on a terrace overlooking the sparkling Atlantic. Fresh fish, vegetables and salads were given the lightest of creative touches – be it smoked tuna tartar with pea and ginger coulis or perfectly cooked fillet of red mullet with Provençal vegetables. Snacks of nuts and fruit, juices and smoothies broke up the day nicely.

Longevity means 'long life' and a fitting name it is. Two nights at Vilalara feels like two weeks. My senses have been reawakened, my body has been fine-tuned and all that ocean air has done me the power of good.

Kerry Christiani is an award-winning freelance travel writer, author and MA-qualified translator

Photographs courtesy of Vilalara Longevity Thalassa and Andy Christiani

Reviewer's Rating
Beach / Sun
Services Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool, Health Spa
Dress Code Casual
Cost Expensive
Ambience Quiet
Number of Rooms 104 junior suites and 7 suites

Room and Suite Categories

Junior Suite Garden View; Junior Suite Pool View; Junior Suite Sea View; Junior Suite Emotion and Junior Suite SPA.

Additional Price Comments

2-night Discovery Package €610 to €1,045 (single), €993 to €1,407 (for two); 5-night Wellness Booster Package €2,489 to €3,576 (single), €4,411 to €5,445 (for two); Longevity Active Detox €3,447 to €4,968 (single) and €6,100 to €7,547 (for two).

Last updated on 02-10-2015

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