When I was little, the sailing instructor at a summer camp, that my grandmother owned and ran, was a Brit abroad. This young chap taught all of us how to navigate a sunfish, all the while entertaining us with stories of living in Europe. He did this with an accent that seemed wildly exotic, at least to a bunch of 13 year olds girls from across the Northeastern states of America. He also regularly spoke of a coastline of unparalleled beauty, one on which he walked with his family as a child. He would tell, what seemed like, tall tales of jagged cliffs and dusky pink skies. He was speaking of Portugal and to us, as teenagers, it might as well have been Mars. Only finally, at the age of 37, I got my chance to walk on the beach, beneath the tall cliffs during a pastel coloured sunset, and I felt as if I was always destined to have this moment, 24 years in the making. However, this wasn’t just any Portuguese adventure. This was a getaway to the one and only Pine Cliffs, A Luxury Collection Resort, along the coast of The Algarve.
Just a short flight from any London airport, there exists a beach goers paradise. Perched atop the steep cliffs of The Algarve, Pine Cliffs is perfectly placed for a view that will leave you quite literally breathless. But, one doesn’t come to Pine Cliffs for the view alone. Whether you are a health nut looking for a yoga retreat, a golfer, a spa fanatic, a foodie or simply a sun worshiper, Pine Cliffs will deliver a holiday that will leave you feeling refreshed, re-energised and ready to book your return visit!
For me, Pine Cliffs was always going to be about the beach. Clean beautiful sand, littered with the most stunning seashells and dotted with only a handful of people, made this one of the most relaxing beach moments that I can remember. Even at sunset, when the beaches are usually at their most crowded, we practically had the whole stretch of sand to ourselves. Granted, it was February (hardly bikini season), but it was still surprising to see such a beautiful expanse of coastline almost entirely empty. It was as if the sun was setting for our enjoyment and our enjoyment only. Every morning that I was in residence I went down to the beach to meditate and start my day and every evening I said goodbye to the sun in the same place. I can’t tell you what that does for the soul. Note: Pine Cliffs have installed an elevator that will take you down to the beach – just in case anyone was panicking about having to contend with stairs on their holiday.
But, the beach was just the beginning of the experience in Portugal. Usually I find it’s the food on holiday that has me most excited and relaxed as I don’t have to worry about preparing a thing. I’m a total foodie so naturally I’m excited about the prospect of sampling any chef’s talents, and Pine Cliffs certainly did deliver. The resort itself has 12 bars and restaurants. Only a handful were open, as we were there out of peak season, but the offering was still plentiful enough to feel as if you had a wide variety of options at your fingertips. The room service was top notch and the breakfast in the room was perhaps the best I have had yet in a hotel. The basic breakfast, which was more or less the price equivalent of buying two take away breakfasts from McDonalds, was a banquet feast. When it was delivered I even stated, “I did only order for one, didn’t I?” I was reassured that no mistakes had been made and this was in fact all just for me.
We ate healthy in the new Zest restaurant, a location filled with healthier alternatives for those looking to keep their holiday on a health and wellness slant. We popped into the Clubhouse and indulged in club sandwiches overlooking golfers setting off for a round on Pine Cliff’s legendary course. We even stepped into Corda Cafe for a light bite before returning to the UK, where the menu featured everything from pizza to chicken fajitas. This is all just to say that even in an off peak month, the offering is more than you’ll need for even a ten day holiday at the resort (incidentally, we were there for only three days).
For dinner, we ate in O Pescador, a seafood specialty restaurant. While the food seemed decadent in nature, it was also incredibly clean and beautifully mixed and presented. We left with full bellies, yet without that rather annoying feeling of being sluggish after a meal. I was wildly impressed with this. We all know holidays can sometimes leave you feeling worse off than when you arrived – depending on how debaucherous one is with their food and alcohol intake. Pine Cliffs left me, on the whole, feeling like a new person, weightless and free. However, this had a great deal to do with the activities available in resort, as well as the spa that left me feeling as if I didn’t have a care in the world.
Serenity- The Art of Well Being Spa at Pine Cliffs is perfectly named. In fact, I’m pretty sure I threw the word ‘serene’ out at least a dozen times to describe the experience, without taking note that the name of the spa already reflected it perfectly, no help from me needed. While in residence, I was booked in for an eighty minute Ila Crystal Healing Face Therapy Facial. I went in relaxed already and came out a marshmallow. No really, I could barely move and felt as if I had been put into a trance. My skin glistened and a calm smile spread across my face that I couldn’t get to budge for days. I blame the treatment, the incredible spa facilities- indoor pool, outdoor jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, rainforest shower and more- and my general surroundings throughout the course of the stay. So this is what true happiness feels like.
We’ve hit on the food, the spa, the beach…. what have I left out here?!
Aw yes, the rooms and resort itself! In general, you will find that the entire resort is designed with a quietness in mind. It is constructed to reflect the surrounding beauty. Instead of trying to compete with the design talent of mother nature, Pine Cliffs highlights the beauty with perfect arches that frame exotic trees, whitewashed walls on balconies that allow for the landscape to take centre stage and pools that have the swimmers aesthetic eye in mind. You’ll find every turn on this property is a picture opportunity, so make sure the digital cameras are well charged before entering. The rooms themselves are exactly as you’d imagine in your perfect beach resort. They are light and airy, with decor that is mainly white with hints of different colour palettes, depending on what room you are booked into. The apartments come with full kitchens, stocked with absolutely anything your heart could desire for utensils, including a juicer! They also feature a spacious living room, two adjoining balconies, which are displayed through floor to ceiling windows, and a sizeable bedroom and bathroom that will leave you thinking that a bathtub in your bedroom is just about the best design idea ever.
I could quite feasibly write another fifteen paragraphs about the beauty of Pine Cliffs, the variety of food and activities on offer and the way in which you’ll feel as if you can finally breathe the minute you arrive. But, I’ll simply leave you with this thought and this thought alone in closing. Pine Cliffs can be reached by London in under four hours. I do believe it only takes two days here to restore you to a place where you can completely relax and forget that your city life ever existed at all. But, if you have the means to stay longer, I can only imagine the health benefits, both mentally and physically. Pine Cliffs is the place to find peace. It’s where I found mine, at a time when I truly needed it most. I will be returning, family in tow, come Summer. For now, I will fall asleep dreaming of the dusty pink sky and the tie dye cliffs. I’ve finally visited and I want more…
For more information: Pine Cliffs Website.
A massive thank you to Oliver’s Travels for helping us get to Portugal for this amazing adventure.
Now, it’s time for the picture slideshow….
Let’s start with the rooms at Pine Cliffs.
While every single corner of this property is spectacular, the beach will truly take your breath away.
If you’re a golfer, you’ll find this to be paradise on earth with outstanding views from all the greens.
The spa is the ultimate relaxation location.
The food at Pine Cliffs is designed for those who wish to indulge or those wishing to have a healthier holiday away.
Around the property there is beauty found with every turn of a corner.
Fashion Foie Gras was a guest of Pine Cliffs in Portugal.