Charitable Travel’s luxury expert Lizzi Trimble shares her pick of the most sumptuous resorts in Portugal, Madeira and the Azores

Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort

Lizzi says: “This new resort is the first Anantara property in Europe. It offers luxurious accommodation – with families welcome – plus a divine spa and an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course next door.”
Located just outside the glamorous resort of Vilamoura, close to its beaches, marina and buzzing nightlife, this resort has 280 rooms and suites overlooking lush golf greens. You can drift between five pools and the Champagne cabanas or head to the Mediterranean-Asian spa for some pampering. Golfers can spend their days at the three adjacent golf courses, including the Victoria where the Portugal Masters are held. A dine around scheme lets you eat on-site or at one of the partner restaurants, like the trendy Purobeach Vilamour club with its DJs and day beds. Meanwhile, parents can take advantage of a kids’ club.

The Belmond Reid's Palace

Lizzi says: “This hotel, the Grand Dame of Madeira, needs no introduction. Elegance and sophistication, with more than a touch of glamour, are its hallmarks.”

Until 1964 you could only reach this resort by sea and you’d be carried up the rocky cliffs by hammock. It’s a traditional hotel with 158 rooms and suites, but the décor is light and f resh. Choose between four restaurants, including an Italian and the Michelin-star William Restaurant, plus an afternoon tea terrace and cocktail bar. Facilities include three pools (two heated and one saltwater) tennis courts and a spa which is set amongst the gorgeous gardens that are bursting with tropical flowers.

The Cliff Bay

Lizzi says: “Perched on a cliff top with wonderful views over Madeira’s Bay of Funchal, this hotel is renowned for its beautiful tiered gardens.”

Though located up on the cliffs with a spectacular pool, The Cliff Bay has direct access to the sea via its pier plus a salt-water pool and kids’ pool. There’s a great choice of places to eat – various themed world cuisine nights in the Rose Garden, The Blue Lagoon restaurant next to the sea and the two-Michelin-star Il Gallo d’Oro restaurant. The spa offers ESPA treatments, a Turkish steam bath, Jacuzzi, sauna and gym. A f ree bus can whisk you into Funchal in five minutes.

Douro41

Lizzi says: ““A contemporary boutique hotel on the Douro River with lovely views. A panoramic indoor pool, outdoor infinity pool, hydrotherapy circuit and gorgeous spa make it a hit with those looking to pamper.”

This 61-room minimalist hotel has a sharp modern exterior and soft neutrals within. Douro41 is a 45-minute drive f rom Porto and its design is based on the terraced fields that characterise the area. It has a gym, movie theatre, games room, library and two restaurants serving regional delicacies and wood-fired pizza. Take a yoga class, tour the vineyards or rent a kayak.

Hotel Infante Sagres

Lizzi says: ““A sumptuous historical hotel in the centre of Porto and a great base for exploring the city’s colourful buildings, cafes and restaurants.”

Located in the heart of Porto’s UNESCO World Heritage area, this striking 85-room hotel was built in the 1950s but resembles a 19th century manor house, with grand wrought iron staircases, stained glass windows, crystal chandeliers and antique chairs, plus some modern and Moorish touches. The Vogue Café and Bar serves modern European cuisine with cocktails and an extensive wine list.

Hotel Quinta Do Lago

Lizzi says: “Set amidst 2,000 acres of pine forests and lagoons in the Ria Formosa Nature Park, this seaside hotel is for nature lovers.”

With magnificent views over the estuary and the sea, this 132-room hotel has access to several golf courses (four championship standard), as well as scenic bird-watching, nature trails and a beach. Facilities include several pools; a gym and tennis courts; a kids’ club and playground; a spa with a sauna, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi and massage treatments and three restaurant and two bars.

Santa Barbara Eco Beach Resort

Lizzi says: “Looking down on a lovely beach, this eco resort has just 30 contemporary rooms.

Between a black sand beach and the rolling hills of the Azores’ biggest island, São Miguel, this resort has a modern luxury vibe. Its pool and low-lying buildings blend into the landscape, offering 14 studios, seven one-bed villas and nine two-bed villas. An organic farm means farm-to-fork fare but with exotic Asian flavours. The wellness centre offers spa treatments, alternative therapies and yoga.

Six Senses Douro Valley

Lizzi says: “An incredible setting in the UNESCO World Heritage Douro Valley, surrounded by ancient vineyards. It’s perfect for foodies and wine lovers.”

Near the baroque town of Lamego, this 57-room resort sits on a river bend opposite terraced vineyards. It’s a 19th century terracotta-roofed manor with modern décor sporting local touches. The hotel’s organic garden provides ingredients for the holistic spa treatments as well as the restaurant. There is a saltwater pool, ‘wine library’, gym and yoga/Pilates pavilion.

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

Lizzi says: “Being part of Azores’ famous Terra Nostra Gardens, guests can enjoy the natural thermal hot springs and nature walks.”

Also on São Miguel, this hotel is at the centre of the island’s geothermal activity so you can slip into a bubbling hot spring before breakfast. It’s only a 40-minute walk f rom the village of Furnas with its picturesque lake and geothermal cooking holes. With modern but traditional décor, it has plush and spacious rooms, a large indoor pool and spa area with massage rooms and a renowned restaurant serving up the famous local stew.

Vila Vita Park

Lizzi says:  “This well-established five-star family hotel in the Algarve has excellent accommodation and facilities to keep the kids entertained.”

Located conveniently at the centre of the Algarve’s dramatic rocky coast, this 170-room whitewashed Moorish-style resort is built over 50 acres of gardens but close to two beautiful beaches. Accommodation caters for couples as well as big families, with villas, apartments, rooms and suites. There are impressive facilities for sports including tennis, football and yoga, plus bicycle rental, a spa, children’s clubs and playgrounds and ten restaurants, ranging f rom informal family affairs to two Michelin-star restaurants.

Ready to book a luxury family holiday?

Click here to visit our World of Luxury, or call Lizzi today on 020 3092 2558