Review: Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal

Six Senses Douro Valley is the new-ish 57-room spa resort in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Douro Valley. It’s a world-class spa combining wine and wellness. Situated in picturesque vineyards overlooking the majestic River Douro, the property dates back to the late 19th century and is located around an hour from Porto in northern Portugal. The resort is the first venture of its kind for Six Senses in Europe and marks a period of rapid expansion for the company.

Six Senses Douro Valley - The Spa Man

Most of the guest rooms have impressive river views and the wine library and restaurants fully embrace the viticulture of the region. As well as the organic garden the 19-acre property offers a large outdoor pool, walking tracks through the vineyards to the river, and its own forest.

Six Senses Douro Valley - The Spa Man

The spa at Six Senses Douro Valley is vast and was the European launch pad for the brand’s new Integrated Wellness Programme.

The spa reception area is a fresh, open space with minimalist surfaces, grey wooden floors and polished concrete walls, complemented by the light grey and sandy tones of the upholstered chairs and cushions. Off to one side is a modern nail bar with industrial lighting, which offers wine, tapas and cheese tastings during treatments.

Six Senses Douro Valley - the Spa Man

The wet area on the lower ground floor is where you will no doubt spend most of your time. It is complete with relaxation beds surrounding an indoor pool backed by an eight-metre high water wall that offers floor-to-ceiling views of the forest. Off from the pool area there are more relaxation areas and a thermal suite that features a laconium, a herbal sauna, steam rooms and two experience showers. The 11 treatment rooms all have windows looking out over secret gardens and water features or stunning views of the river valley.

Six Senses Douro Valley - The Spa Man

Schist stone treatment

Using local stone which are warmed and placed on various points under the body to provide warmth and relax the muscles, this treatment is a soothing, relaxing massage that begins and ends with the Six Senses singing bowl ritual plus a little foot cleanse. The stones aren’t used as tools to massage and manipulate the body. It’s a manual treatment, but the warmth from the stones, which are gathered from the vineyards is a nice touch and it was a totally soothing treatment for the senses.

Six Senses Douro Valley - The Spa Man

Detox ritual

A total body overhaul using the Organic Pharmacy products, the therapy begins with a vigorous body scrub using lemon and eucalyptus scrub. This is showered off for the next phase – a cocooning body wrap of seaweed. Left to relax whilst wrapped lightly in plastic wrap, the body heats, sweating begins and then to are unfurled for another shower.

The final stage includes a light application of body oils, no cream, which you are advised to leave on for the rest of the day. It’s enlivening and renewing and hydrates and smoothes the skin.

Six Senses Douro Valley - The Spa Man

Integrative Wellness check

Combining some questions and a full analysis using a variety of techniques, this predictive wellness check is much more comprehensive than I expected.

It uses an Electro Interstitial Scan-Galvanic Skin system and bioelectrical impedance analysis to check heart, blood pressure, levels of minerals through to levels of serotonin, I was impressed with its range and detail. It’s designed to determine a range of health markers, which are said to show well you are and what areas could do with some improvement.

The wellness practitioners at Six Senses Douro Valley use the results to guide and advise on programmes, treatments and fitness and wellness regimes when are at the spa.

Six Senses Douro Valley - The Spa Man

The best bits at Six Senses Douro Valley

Wine tasting – obviously

The healthy options on the menu

The schist treatment in the room overlooking the Douro Valley

The position of this property is second to none.

Six Senses Douro Valley - The Spa Man

Room to improve

The robes in the spa are quite small and had quite short sleeves. I didn’t feel particularly cosy or comforted.

The room robes were more luxurious, cosy and cocooning.

A little more signage wouldn’t go astray. I found the spa layout confusing and I got lost every time I was in the spa.

Adapt the forest bathing to include one-to-one guides and meditation or breathing exercises in the forest for a more authentic experience.