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It has been a long time since I last enjoyed some proper sunshine with blue skies and the sound of sea splashing against the rocks, but now my passport is calling and it’s time to pack. Without realising, I’ve already filled up one suitcase with just my clothes, never mind the extras – toiletries, accessories, and shoes. I’ve ended up with three bags in total, which is so typical of me, but I am thinking about the photo opportunity and, when you know the background is going to be absolutely jaw-dropping, it’s important I feel the same.
Portugal is one place I have never been, but now I have been invited to go and visit the exclusive Pine Cliffs Resort in Algarve, with three influencers for the next four days. It’s always fun to try a new destination, with its own unique culture and experience – one more thing to cross off my list. The resort curls around the clifftops, encompassing a fabulously scenic golf course. Guests descend to Falesia Beach via the hotel’s lift or a footpath that cuts through the distinctive orange-red cliffs. The area around the hotel is relatively urbanised with the lively town of Albufeira nearby and Faro airport is a 30-minute drive away, which can be arranged by a private chauffeur. The hotel, which is part of Starwood’s A Luxury Collection, draws inspiration from the region’s Moorish history and the use of Portuguese tiles throughout evokes an authentic Algarve vibe.
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On arrival, we all immediately check into one out of eight properties: our one-bedroom suite at Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites, a Luxury Resort & Spa. The resort itself offers spacious, open plan contemporary rooms, with a bathroom boasting a luxurious free-standing bathtub in the middle of the floor and a relaxing décor of mostly white with occasional soft purple splashes. Guests can ask for an ocean view with balcony or, for added privacy, a deluxe garden or courtyard suite. I could easily get used to this when the room itself has an enormous bed with deep goose feather pillows, plush pillowcases and exclusive toiletries by Byredo products, all adding that special touch of luxury.
Fast forward to sunset hour, one of my favourite times of the day. Golden dusk meets the sea with a breath-taking view which is almost like looking at the cliffs of the Grand Canyon. The beach is part of a continuous stretch of sand almost 7 km in length and flanked by a line of high cliffs in deep tones, ranging from reds to a surprising variety of whites, contrasting with the green of the pine groves above. We are all living the moment like there’s no tomorrow, sharing a bottle of bubbly, a few jokes, a few memories and the embrace of Mother Nature. One of the best therapeutic experiences you can get is to watch the sun sinking away into the ocean.
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Dinner is calling and time to change into evening attire. Yes, I’m making the most of all my outfits during my stay, probably changing three times a day as in the golden era where there was a completely different dress for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including the beach look too. It’s nice to keep that part of the tradition, where you get to feel so good about yourself and perfect for those who adore fashion. The restaurant itself brings an elegant, yet relaxed atmosphere. O Pescador offers a wide range of seafood specialties and its “al fresco” signature really speaks for itself, with fresh daily seafood and daily specials such as the Crustacean platter. The whole menu looks invitingly delicious, just perfect for those who seek a romantic night out.
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When you are looking for somewhere warm, sunny and close to home to fire up a healthy new lifestyle, this Pine Cliffs Resort on the cliffs above Falesia beach ticks all the right boxes. If the knockout setting isn’t motivation enough to get you packing your bags, the purse-friendly prices are a deal sealer. The five or seven nights stay is perfect to escape the city lifestyle, with six options to choose from, including results-driven fitness, re-shape and yoga – all costing less than many setups in the UK. And of course, here you get an almost guaranteed feel-good sunshine fix, plus early morning runs along the 7km stretch of sand, mountain biking through the woodland trails and a private golf course. To complement this battery-charging break, you get to dine in one of their healthy restaurants, Zest, and sample their fresh home-made juices with a leafy decoration.
We now have the perfect excuse to try the healthy DIY lunch with Sous Chef Gustavo da Silva, where he will be demonstrating a few healthy and straightforward dishes at the Ocean Suites rooftop terrace, surrounded by the vast panorama of ocean and pine groves. These dishes are to die for, especially as they look so easy to cook at home, even with all the peeling and chopping which I’ve always avoided where I can, usually opting for prepared ones from the supermarket. This is one thing I need to change as part of my new healthy lifestyle, and my commitment to the environment, by reducing my own plastic waste at home.
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One of the most important parts of this trip is the spa Serenity – The Art of Well Being, famous as a luxury wellness retreat and a world’s best resort and spa. There is something special about the spa here at Pine Cliffs and I’ve been invited to try one of the signature treatments, Senses of the Algarve. The treatment starts with a scrub of Fleur-de-Sel from Ria Formosa and sand from Praia da Falésia. Carefully prepared by the Serenity team, these ingredients all work together to purify your skin, letting the pores breathe and preparing the skin for the next step – the carob wrap. This is one of the most famous products of the Algarve, recognised for its health-giving properties.
Naturally rich in selenium, carob also contributes to a balanced thyroid, and its gallic acid and tannins. It is well-known for its antioxidant and antibacterial features, especially important in the treatment of oily and damaged skin. To finish, you will be able to enjoy a full body massage with essential orange-oil from the Algarve, which enhances the carob advantages. The antioxidant properties of the orange are a great contribution to the prevention of premature aging by fighting the free radicals. After the treatment, taking a little more time to relax in your room and enjoy a lemon-grass tea, also a product of the region, is the perfect end to your tranquillity sensation. This is truly one of the best spa treatments I’ve had in ages and has made a big impact on my transformation. It’s given me an opportunity to disconnect from the everyday world, I think I’ve spent my bona fide Portuguese healing in an extraordinary spa. It was a pure bliss!
The beauty of this place is that it cleverly combines a happy-go-lucky holiday vibe with a serious roster of programmes to help you get fit while having fun with families, friends and couples getaway. Thank you, Pine Cliffs Resort, for a wonderful winter getaway and Oliver Travels, a luxury holidays specialists for transportation. I’ll definitely be coming back for another wellness and healthy lifestyle break in this dreamy setting once again.
Photos by Victoria Metaxas