Although best known for its port production, northern Portugal’s Douro Valley has produced some exceptional, award-winning wines in the last few decades. Six Senses chose to open their first European outpost here, in a renovated 19th century manor house overlooking the Douro river, and liquid pleasures are a key component of a stay. Young winemakers from the region hold tastings in the wine library, and it’s possible to get feet dirty in traditional wine stomping sessions at neighbouring wineries. The hotel also has exclusive access to vineyards not open to the public.
A former Medici villa and summer hunting lodge has been converted into this luxury hotel surrounded by plump vines, a winery and hiking trails. Part owned by multi-Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, it’s a gourmand’s heaven. Most of the 250-plus wines in the hotel’s cellar are local, and can be sipped on terraces looking out to the vineyards. The property is also within driving distance of Petra, a remarkable wine cellar with a hanging garden of olive trees; climb up high to view Elba and Corsica on a clear day.
If ever proof were needed to justify the health benefits of wine, it can be found here. Taking inspiration from the surrounding vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, the first Vinothérapie® Spa was launched on the premises in 1999. Treatments are based on the beautifying properties of the popular French skincare line and include red wine baths in wooden barrels and a wrap made with grape seeds, pulps and stalks. Of course, it’s also possible to drink the stuff at two Michelin star restaurant La Grand'Vigne set in an 18th-century glasshouse.
Looks are everything at this modern, abstract property set amidst the crumbling Romanesque buildings of the Basque country. The haphazard stack of blocks echoes a trend set by architect Frank Gehry at equally futuristic Hotel Marqués de Riscal, and both properties serve excellent La Rioja wines. As part of a special package, learn how to be a wine expert by visiting nearby vineyards and spending time in the hotel’s extensive cellar, followed by a dinner with pairings prepared by Viura’s sommelier.
Although it’s a stretch from any vineyards, this city hotel, built across the river from Unesco Heritage Centre Porto, offers a fully immersive wine experience. Descend a spiralling staircase built within a giant barrel to sample the hotel’s Claudelie spa; book bedrooms dedicated to specific Portuguese winemakers; or swim in an outdoor decanter-shaped pool. The hotel’s gastronomic restaurant holds the city’s only Michelin star, and more than 1,200 Portuguese wines are available on the menu. Twin with a stay in the Douro valley at sister property Vintage House.
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