When most people think of Vilamoura, Portugal, they picture golf courses, a popular marina and a plethora of beaches. And while this isn’t wrong (the area boasts five world-renowned golf courses, a marina that has won several awards and some of the finest beaches in Europe), it’s home to a charming hotel with spa and wellness activities that compliments the Vilamoura lifestyle. Always ones to champion wellness, I went along to Longevity Cegonha Country Club, where she learned the word ‘luxury’ belongs less to material things, but more to your mind, body and spirit.
The word luxury means different things to different people. But here at Longevity Cegonha, it’s you, your mind and body that is integral to the word ‘luxury’. Everything is tailored to make the client feel special as a person in their own right in the form of a wellness programme that has been designed with just them in mind. Everything else is secondary. This was evident from the moment I stepped into the boutique hotel nestled in the tranquil green surroundings of the Vilamoura protected area. And there was no rush to check myself or the group in. As it was lunchtime and we had had an arduous journey thanks to a delayed flight, we were whisked off to the dining area. All else put on hold, like pressing the pause button. I liked this place already.
The complex has 32 rooms circulating the bosom of the spa and wellness facilities area. My room was more spacious than any one-bedroom apartment I’ve ever known, complete with a bedroom, bathroom, living room come dining area and a kitchenette. The balcony overlooked lush green gardens and beyond, where I found myself beginning and ending my day staring out into for a while at a time, for the duration of my stay.
Most guests arriving here will have some indication of the programme (there is a choice of 16 programmes which can range from 2 – 7 nights) that they would like to embark on but a wellness evolution with resident nutritionist Melanie Navalhas can further help determine what programme is suitable for you. As we were only here for a mere few days, we decided to sample a little of everything – including a full day of a liquid diet. It sounds worse than it was.
I am pleased to say the trip started off on a good foot – not least because of my lunch consisting of an amazing watermelon soup (watermelon, cucumber, purple onion, oregano, melon, salt) followed by a veggie burger, but because my consultation with Mel revealed I have a metabolic age of someone 10 years younger! That put a spring in my step and I was ready to reduce it even more.
There’s a plethora of activities to get involved in here from yoga and meditation to pump and jump to TRX. But it’s certainly not a bootcamp. There is no screaming or shouting to push yourself to the limit but more of an encouragement to do your best and listen to your body and give it the best rather than punish it. The jump (a trampoline class) took us right back to your childhood days as we laughed through the entire 30 minutes.
Cooling off and cooling down can take place in a number of areas here such as in and around the outdoor swimming pool and heated hydrojet pool, a detox and wet circuit, or by the grassy area by the small lake complete with mini tortoises. Due to the hotel’s location, there is a small humdrum of traffic in the distant, but you soon get used to it and still feel that sense of calm and peace expected at a place like this. In fact, that is what makes this place real and less like an ashram hidden away from the rest of the world.
Further relaxation can be found in the spa area with a wellness menu sounding like a sweet shop. I wanted them all but had to settle with their signature Flor de Sal and Sweet Orange Body Scrub, a Japanese sauna and a facial lifting treatment. Now that certainly felt luxury for my body from inside out.
Most of us sadly associate healthy food with boring but the cuisine here couldn’t have been any tastier. I couldn’t fault any of their dishes including the detox juices (think concoctions like rice milk, protein, chia seeds, spinach and soups consisting of spinach and avocado). There were no hunger pangs on detox day and rather than feeling sluggish, we all felt rather energised. But life is about balance and when food did turn up on our plates it was deliciously moreish washed down with organic wine.
Admittedly it’s hard to tear yourself from this place when you’re feeling so relaxed but Longevity Cegonha Country Club is the perfect base to sample the Algarve lifestyle with its world class golf courses, fine sandy beaches, and walking and bike trails. We took leave to have a meander around the bustling Loule Market (the market is around 100 years old and attracts over 10,000 on a Saturday) and feel like a real local. The food is as fresh as you can get with farmers proudly presenting their produce to the crowds. In contrast, Vilamoura Marina, just a short distance away is geared more towards the tourist but is as equally pleasant to have a walk around. With plenty of bars, restaurants and boutique shops to walk around it’s easy to while away hours. Having completed our liquid diet day, we took refuge at the News Café overlooking the marina. We clearly learned something from our few days at Longevity Cegonha Country Club, we all made healthy meal choices. There wasn’t a chip in sight.
Where and how?
Longevity Cegonha Country Club (http://www.longevityvilamoura.com ; +351 289 300 850) offers a Classic Room from €130/£114 on a B&B basis, based on 2 people sharing.
Tags: bootcamp, detox, exercise, fitness, fitness blogger Sabi, fruit. healthy eating, health body, health retreat, health spa, healthy food, liquid diet, Longevity Cegonha Country club, luxury health retreat, mind body soul, protein, relaxation, yoga retreat
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