VILA VITA Parc has been recently considered one of the Best Resorts in Europe by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller.  

Condé Nast Traveller, the luxury lifestyle and travel magazine from the North American publisher Condé Nast, launches every year a readers survey for the Readers Choice Awards, to distinguish the best of the best in tourism, at a worldwide or regional level. This year the voting took place from the 1st April to the 1st July, and gathered more than 300.000 votes from the magazine's readers, revealing the best within several categories such as: Best Hotel, Best Resort, Best Cities, Best Restaurants, Best Islands, amongst many others. 

VILA VITA Parc has been distinguished as one of the Best Resorts in Europe, with a score of 89,98, in a total of 100.

Food is never an afterthought at VILA VITA Parc.

The dining experience at VILA VITA Parc is a grand adventure for both resident and non-resident guests, made even more memorable by the exquisite Portuguese hospitality. With a total of 10 restaurants, ranging from casual beachside dining and rustic, regional Portuguese plates to one-of- a-kind gastro-creations at the two Michelin-starred restaurant and clean Japanese cuisine, diversity is key to the resort’s culinary philosophy. Herdade dos Grous, VILA VITA’s own country wine estate and farm supplies fine vintages and freshly harvested organic produce, and an impressive on-site wine cellar stocks some 11,000 bottles. 

Discover below the 10 restaurants that are part of VILA VITA Parc's gastronomic world to chose which one you'll visit soon!

 

The Restaurants at the Resort 

 

Ocean Restaurant

Ocean is VILA VITA Parc’s signature restaurant, serving freshly caught seafood with inimitable flair, its excellence marked by a Michelin star awarded in November 2009 and the second awarded since November 2011. Austrian-born Chef Hans Neuner is the genius in the kitchen, where the focus is on the catch of the day from nearby Sagres. The elegant dining room offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Subtle changes have added exquisite tabletop details, including elegant Italian cutlery from Sambonet and stylish new table service. Breads are home-made, produce is organically grown at the resort’s own farm, and cheese selections include specialties of the region, like the buttery Borba cheese from the Alentejo. Desserts are enchanting, with unexpected combinations like chocolate and lime with a hazlenutsabayon. Dinner ends with a flourish, with a delicate selection of petits fours.

Reservationsinfo@restauranteocean.com | +351 282 310 100 | menu website

 

Mizu-Teppanyaki Restaurant

Mizu-Teppanyaki, with a Zen and relaxed atmosphere, a decoration inspired by Japanese culture and tradition mixed with a sophisticated and modern style, high quality ingredients, innovative culinary techniques and a privileged view over the Atlantic Ocean, is the resort´s new contemporary fine dining Japanese restaurant. The amazing food menu is accompanied by an exceptional selection of beverages with more than 20 different types of Premium and Super Premium Japanese Sakés, whether enjoyed as sparkling, sweet, cold or warm. Open for dinner only, it also has an outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean.

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 310 100 | menu website

 

Bela Vita Restaurant

Bela Vita, located in the Main Building, is an à-la-carte restaurant with a warm and inviting space, a sleek and urbane retro-chic décor, soothing pastel furnishings and a distinctive chevron wooden floor. The menu at dinner is a variation of delightfully delicious classic creations reworked into mouth-watering modern dishes.  Enjoy some of the tastiest modern twists Bela Vita has to offer whilst savouring one of the great old or new world wines from VILA VITA's Wine Cellar. The outdoor terrace, with its intricate Portuguese calçada, is a favourite spot to enjoy the view at breakfast or dinner time.

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 310 100 | menu website

 

Adega Restaurant

Adega is VILA VITA Parc's typical Portuguese restaurant. Occupying a rustic, whitewashed building and boasting a spacious sunny terrace with views over the swan lake, Adega channels the rustic romance of the Mediterranean. Punchy Portuguese tapas plates and regional specialties from the likes of Madeira and Azores introduce authentic local flavours, while live music courtesy of traditional Portuguese guitarists and Fado singers bolsters the atmosphere at dinner. 

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 310 100 | menu website

 

Whale Restaurant & Pool Lounge

Whale Restaurant & Pool Lounge is a poolside casual dining with magnificent views of the Atlantic. The Whale restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy dining any time of day, while celebrating coastal-inspired cuisine from around the world. Lunch features a light and airy atmosphere—both indoors and on the terrace by the pool.  At night, Whale transforms into an inviting and family-friendly restaurant.

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 310 100 | menu website

 

Aladin Grill Restaurant

Aladin Grill is an elegant grill room with a distinctive Moroccan-inspired décor and an open grill kitchen taking the centre stage, focusing on prime meats and market driven seafood, alongside an award-winning wine selection.

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 310 100 | menu website

 

Atlântico Restaurant

Atlântico offers a Mediterranean cuisine with a French and Portuguese flair. This oceanfront fine dining with magnificent views of the Atlantic and the infinity pool below features seasonal, local, regionally and organically grown products. Views from the terrace that will literally take your breath away.   

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 310 100 | menu website


The Restaurants outside of the Resort

 

Arte Náutica Restaurant

Arte Náutica is an elegant beach restaurant with a large terrace, located less than 2mi/4km from VILA VITA Parc at the neighboring town of Armação de Pêra. By day, it is a charming spot for a carefree bite by the beach, while at dinner, the romance factor rises as the sun sinks over the ocean. The menu is made of a selection of fresh fish straight from the market, plus grilled meats, salads and snacks.

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 314 875 | menu website

 

Praia Dourada Restaurant

Praia Dourada is a casual beach restaurant with a breathtaking view of the sea’s sparkling blue shades from the beach at Armação de Pêra. It offers a fresh and modern young atmosphere, as well as a vibrant menu made of freshly made dishes like mussels, prawns in aioli sauce, beef tournedo, homemade burgers, artisan pizzas, spicy spareribs, wraps and bites and tasty desserts. More than 15 special gin drinks, med cocktails, coffees, shakes and cold press juices natural juices complete the menu. During the sunny summer days, barefoot on the golden sand, enjoy the chill-out vibe of its sunset live DJ parties.

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 314 230 | menu website

 

VILA VITA Biergarten

VILA VITA Biergarten, at the nearby village of Porches, is an authentic Bavarian beer garden offering traditional specialties including Erdinger beer, sausages, “schnitzel”, herring, pretzels and “Apfelstrudel”. All meats originate from the Herdade dos Grous and are prepared in VILA VITA Parc´s own butchery. The resort also produces its own artisanal beer, the Porches Craft Beer(Pilsner, Brown Ale, Indian Pale Ale), available both at the resort and at the Biergarten.

Reservationsfb@vilavitaparc.com | +351 282 381 177 | menu website

The visits to the barber shops were, for many years, part of a weekly (and sometimes daily) male routine, almost all around the western world. 

This was a place where men got together, not only to take care of their beard and hair, but also to socialize and create bonds. This was the place where an important male ritual took place, and as such, every detail was taken into account: from its usually classical decor and high-quality products, all the way to the manner in which the staff addressed the clients and treated them as members of a small neighbourhood family.

Over time, the daily fast pace and the innovations in term of self-shaving techniques and products (who’s not familiar with Gillette nowadays?), contributed to the gradual disappearance of this ritual. Recently, however, we have been witnessing the emergence of new Barber Shops, some leaning towards a more classical and elegant style, a sort of revival of the old barber shops, and others with a more modern twist.  

Recently, VILA VITA Parc decided to incorporate the classical Barber Shop service in the list of services available to its resident and non-resident guests. Leading the Barber Shop is André Pereira, a sworn devotee to the art of shaving since early on. He started at home, with a friend. After a while, certain of his passion for the art, he decided to invest in his education and did a specialization course in Loulé. He worked at local hairdressers and barber shops where he acquired important experience and a faithful client portfolio, which would one day allow him to open his own shop

It’s at his shop and at VILA VITA Parc’s Barber Shop that he puts into practise everything he has learned throughout the years, and where he surpasses the clients’ expectations with a classical and elegant style that characterizes his way of shaving and cutting hair. Hot towel shaves, “the old-fashioned way”, and classical square haircuts that enhance the typical male head shape, are his speciality. 

André gives a specialist’s advice to his current and future clients: “Plenty of hydration, especially for men who wear long beards. Beard eventually accumulates bacteria, so it’s necessary to pay a deeper attention to its cleaning and hydration.” 

At VILA VITA Parc’s Barber Shop, where he may be found every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm, he uses the world-renowned Depot and Musgo Real products. From after-shaves to lotions and moisturizing creams: every product used is of the highest-quality so that the end result is flawless.  

Opening times: every Wednesday, from 10am to 1pm (open to resident and non-resident guests) 

Appointments: +351 282 310 100 

There are few things better in life than spending quality time with your family. And for those moments to be absolutely perfect, it's important that every family member can truly enjoy their experience together.

VILA VITA Parc makes sure that your children are entertained throughout your entire stay. This way, there's a guarantee of pure relaxed moments for you and plenty of fun for the little ones!

Open from 10am to 6pm, Natalie's Crèche and the Annabella's Kids Park welcome every child aged 6 months to 11 years old. The smaller ones, from 1 to 3 years old, are welcomed at Natalie's Crèche with plenty of educational and playful activities such as doing a giant puzzle, a musical instrument or a puppet which is afterwards used in a play where they take part, amongst many other activities. Children from 4 to 11 years old are welcomed at the Annabella's Kids Park where they can chose from a wide range of activities such as a Nature Foto-Safari inside VILA VITA Parc's premises, outdoor activities such as football, frisbee, mini-golf, basketball or tennis, sack races, origami, face paintingsor obstacle run. The professional and experienced team at the Crèche and the Kids Park will do everything within their reach to make sure your children meet you at the end of the day with a wide smile on their faces.

Teenagers from 12 years old are not left forgotten. At the Teen's Club they are welcomed with several daily exciting activities (supervised), inside and outside the resort, such as karting, handball, badminton, tennis, football, volleyball, basketball and paintball, so that they are always entertained and make the most out of their family vacations! 

And why not taking the little ones to VILA VITA Vital Spa to be pampered with treatments based on organic products from Organic Pharmacy, suitable for children's sensitive skin, without any use of preservatives or additives?

Also worth highlighting are the special activities related to Halloween, on the 31st October, such as pumpkin carving, themed paintings and, of course, the traditional and very fun "trick or treat" activity throughout the resort!

On the last 21st September, in Óbidos, Portugal, VILA VITA Parc was awarded with the distinction of Best Resort Hotel in Portugal at the Publituris Portugal Travel Awards 2017 Gala.

These awards, also known as the “Tourism Oscars”, are an initiative of the Portuguese newspaper Publituris aiming to award the best in Tourism in Portugal. The award takes on an even more special meaning by being given in the year when VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa celebrates its 25th Anniversary.  

Open in 1992, VILA VITA Parc is located in Porches, in the Algarve, with a privileged location over the cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean. It spreads over 54 spectacular acres/22 hectares of gardens, which provide a lush sub-tropical setting for its distinctive Algarvian architecture of Moorish design. Designed with stylish flair, the 170 luxury guest rooms, suites and villas at VILA VITA Parc have been configured for maximum viewing of breathtaking seascapes and beautifully landscaped gardens.

The resort is immensely proud of its diverse and high-quality gastronomic offer. With a total of 6 bars and 10 restaurants, ranging from casual beachside dining to rustic Portuguese plates to one-of- a-kind gastro-creations at the two Michelin-starred restaurant, diversity is key to its culinary philosophy. Flavours span the globe, from sun-drenched Mediterranean produce to clean and crisp Japanese cuisine. And Its impressive wine cellar – stocked with more than 11,000 bottles – ensures the perfect accompaniment wherever you dine. 

2017 ended up becoming the best year in the resort’s history, which is currently practically entirely renovated, following strong investments in the quality of its offer and facilities.

For many years, the Algarve was a very rich region in terms of arts and crafts.

According to João Ministro, from the TASA Project (Ancestral Techniques - Modern Solutions), with whom VILA VITA Parc collaborates on a regular basis, only in the small Cachopo village, located in the mountains in Monchique, there were records of about 70 women in the 1950s working in the art of weaving. Nowadays, there is only 1 or 2 to be found. In the city of Loulé, which once had about 15 working potteries, there is only one working pottery and of the 4 ancient coppersmith shops, none has survived. The arts have been replaced by fast-profit activities, such as tourism, which forced the younger generations to leave the inner Algarve (where most of the arts & crafts were from) and move to the coast.

For years, the arts survived by being passed from generation to generation. Nowadays, most of the artisans connected to the art of basketry, for example (one of the few surviving arts), are all aged 70 or more. This means that without a younger generation that shows some interest in the craft, it will be doomed to extinction, after the disappearance of the last artisan. And this is where the TASA Project comes in: a project based in the city of Loulé, aiming to “bring strategic innovation to the local arts and crafts, positioning it as a promising career”. Through a number of initiatives that join design and tradition, TASA is looking to attract a younger generation to the Algarve’s arts and crafts, adding more value to it and thus contributing to its survival and the avoidance of an almost certain extinction.

The Project goes in search of the last artisans, often “hidden” in the recesses of the mountains in the Algarve, to study their art and to find a way to develop functional and useful objects, produced according to the traditional arts and often inspired in local existing objects, that can be made profitable. Another activity looking to promote the traditional arts consists on small workshops that include visits to the artisan’s shops and the organization of “Residências”: events that last for a minimum of 1 week joining artisans of several arts and even nationalities. During that time, they work together towards a common goal. The goal of the last “Residência” was to organize a dinner which was called “Helped Table” that involved the collaboration of a group of local and Scottish artisans. The participants had to build all the objects and furniture that would be necessary for the dinner experience: table, chairs, cutlery, pots, amongst others. The need to develop one particular object - the pot - ended up reviving a long-lost art in Loulé: the coppersmith art.

Analide Carmo, a local artisan, 70 years old, tells us how after so many years he was brought back to the art in which he worked since he was 16 years old, before being forced to abandon it to guarantee his livelihood as a worker in a cement plant. He learned the art with a master coppersmith at 12 years old. Nowadays, his grandchildren show no interest in the art, but he has found in the TASA Project a way to pass along his knowledge to whomever may one day proceed with the art. Two trainings have already taken place, resulting in at least 2 apprentices actually working on the art as we speak. Analide Carmo himself is back to working on it regularly in a shop kindly offered by Loulé’s Town Hall.

VILA VITA Parc, always passionate about Portugal and the Algarve in particular, is immensely proud to be able to be considered an impeller for the local arts, by incorporating several elements of the Algarve’s soul and culture into the Resort. In the rooms, guests have access to traditional Algarve straw baskets to transport their belongings to the beach or the pool; at the restaurants, the salt and pepper shakers are made out of cork and ceramic; at Café Bica, coffee is served in artisanal cups and all over the resort there are local Porches ceramics which give a unique touch to an overall elegant and sophisticated atmosphere.

Recently, VILA VITA Parc has acquired a very special artisanal piece: a “cataplana” with a 90-cm diameter, made entirely of copper and produced in an extremely traditional way by the still agile and talented hands of the artisans in the only existing coppersmith shop in Loulé: the shop currently headed by artisan Analide Carmo and supported by Loulé’s town hall and the TASA Project. The production process took about a month to be completed, resulting in the largest “Cataplana" ever made by them, which will be proudly used by VILA VITA Parc to cook the traditional Algarve dish with the same name.

At a time when most of these objects are produced industrially and therefore in an impersonal way, this “Cataplana” represents the preservation of an art that is part of the local culture and soul of the Algarve and that as such should never have been allowed to disappear. The “Cataplana” was officially delivered on 15 September by the artisans themselves to Óscar Correia and Paulo Fortes, F&B Director and Executive Chef at VILA VITA Parc.

From 22 to 24 September, between 7pm and 9:30pm, Japanese restaurant Mizu-Teppanyaki, at VILA VITA Parc, in the Algarve, will welcome Asami Tasaka, one of the world's best sake sommeliers and the Executive Director of World Sake Imports in the UK. 

Asami will be present at Mizu with the goal of interacting with customers during dinner, offering them a in depth understanding of the world of sake and sharing her intense passion for this beverage, intrinsic to Japanese tradition and culture.  She aims to help more people “discover the beauty of sake and to become true fans” and believes that “the correct information and understanding of sake are essential for a deeper appreciation of the drink”. 

During this period, the chefs at Mizu will also create special dishes as well as a special Teppanyaki menu which will be paired with a selection of sakes by Asami Tasaka. 

In 2001, after moving to New York, Asami decided to get more involved in Japanese culture and the world of sake. She visited many producers all over Japan, which allowed her to acquire a deeper knowledge on the subject. In 2002, she started her career in the sake world at World Sake Imports (WSI) New York as a sake specialist. She ended up playing a key role in the growth of sake sales in New York. In 2008, she moved to London to launch the company in the British market as Executive Director, which nowadays supplies more than 100 high-end restaurants all over the UK.  She has also been a part, since 2010, of the prestigious IWC Sake Competition (International Wine Competition) and is a qualified WSET Sake Level 3.

 

About Mizu-Teppanyaki restaurant

Mizu restaurant is VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa’s latest gastronomic addition. It is characterized by a zen and relaxed atmosphere, a decoration inspired by Japanese culture and tradition mixed with a sophisticated and modern style, high quality ingredients, innovative culinary techniques and privileged views over the Atlantic Ocean. The amazing food menu is accompanied by an exceptional selection of beverages with more than 20 different types of Premium and Super Premium Japanese sakes, whether enjoyed as sparkling, sweet, cold or warm. Mizu restaurant has capacity for up to 70 people and is open from Thursday to Monday, from 7pm to 10pm. 

For more information and bookings, please visit: https://vilavitaparc.com/restaurants-bars/mizu-restaurant  

 

This year, VILA VITA Parc is bringing Cuba and Miami’s warm rhythms and sweet flavours to its Christmas and New Year celebrations.

From the 24 to the 30 December, each of the resort’s bars and restaurants will have a special Christmas offer to help you enjoy the festive season with your family and friends.

From a cinnamon buns station at breakfast, to a special Bock beer edition at the VILA VITA Biergarten, family moments by the lobby’s fireplace accompanied by hot chocolate, tea and Christmas cake, to the elegant Christmas Dinners at Bela Vita, Ocean and Japanese Mizu (including sake pairing) restaurants: everything has been carefully prepared so that all you need to think about is spending quality moments with your loved ones. A special highlight goes to the Traditional Christmas Roast at the VILA VITA Biergarten in Porches and the Christmas Lunch at the Praia Dourada restaurant, located at the beach in Armação de Pêra, taking place on Christmas Day, 25 December. From the 26 to the 30 December don’t miss the Cuban cocktails, sweets and cigars, available at the Oasis Bar, offering a special “caliente” twist to this season.

Next, salsa your way into 2018 with the Cuban rhythms of VILA VITA Parc’s New Year Package, which includes VILA VITA´s Grand New Year’s Eve Ball “One Night in Little Havana”, a black tie 6-course gala menu, live entertainment and dancing, as well as the Brunch on New Year’s Day, on the 1st of January.

Alternatively, on the 31st of December, you’ll be able to choose from a special 7-course menu at the 2 Michelin star Ocean restaurant, or the special 5-course Mediterranean menu at Atlântico restaurant.  At midnight prepare to celebrate 2018 with the Grand Firework Display in VILA VITA Parc’s gardens.

Or, if you always longed to celebrate New Year´s Eve on the beach, with your feet in the sand, the Arte Náutica and Praia Dourada restaurants, both located at the beach in Armação de Pêra, will also be offering a special cocktail and 3 and 4-course New Year menus.

Take a look at the detailed programme below:

 

Another special Christmas offer is the one promoted by Herdade dos Grous, VILA VITA's farm near Beja, in Alentejo. Take the opportunity to spend Christmas surrounded by those you love the most, in the natural and breathtaking scenery of the vast Alentejo plains. 

Besides 3 nights of accommodation with VIP treatment (one free night), the Herdade dos Grous' Christmas Package also includes a Welcome Cocktail, a meal at the Herdade's restaurant, horseriding, a dinner at the Wine Cellar, free use of the available bycicles, a visit to the Wine Cellar with wine tasting and tapas and a birdwatching tour with lunch in a typical restaurant. We guarantee a very special Christmas, filled with tranquility and unforgettable moments.

For more information please contact Herdade dos Grous at +351 284 960 000, info@herdade-dos-grous.com, or www.herdade-dos-grous.com.

Idyllic landscapes, mountain views and Moorish influences form the dramatic backdrop to one of the Algarve’s most popular golfing destinations: the award-winning Amendoeira Golf Resort.

Its two 18-hole championship courses, designed by golfing legends Sir Nick Faldo and the late Christy O’Connor Jnr, nestle seamlessly in an area of outstanding natural beauty in stunning countryside near Alcantarilha. Blessed with world-class resort facilities and a year-round temperate climate, Amendoeira is unquestionably a golfers’ paradise.

The resort recently scooped the Best Golf Course in Portugal Award at the prestigious annual World Golf Awards, which rewards excellence in golfing tourism; Portugal itself was named the World’s Best Golf Destination, so there is plenty to celebrate. Owned by the Oceânico Group, Amendoeira is in easy reach of Faro Airport and close to magnificent sandy beaches, charming towns and villages and local culture. Golfers from all over the world and of all levels holiday here or visit from other locations across the Algarve.

Lush fairways and greens and a plethora of indigenous trees - almond, carob, cork and olive - flank the gently ascending approach road to the impressive clubhouse and reception, which sits majestically over the Oceânico Faldo and Oceânico O’Connor par 72 courses. The terracotta tones and arched features of the clubhouse and nearby properties emanate a distinct Moroccan vibe. Much of the architecture has been heavily influenced by Amendoeira’s proximity to the historic town of Silves, the former Moorish capital of the Algarve.

All golfers arriving at the resort enjoy a valet check-in service: if you bring your own clubs, simply hand them over to staff on arrival; they will tag your bag and have it delivered directly to a waiting buggy. Tees and water are provided for your game, plus cold towels and club-cleaning at the end.  Before and after play, players and visitors can indulge in the clubhouse’s top-class facilities including restaurant, bar and lounge areas, luxurious locker rooms and the Pro-Shop with top-of-the-range brands. The spacious Garden Deck terrace is definitely a place to chill, with incredible panoramic views of the golf courses.

Statues of Amendoeira’s famous golf course architects, Faldo and O’Connor Jnr, have been strategically placed near their design triumphs: Britain’s Sir Nick Faldo, six-time major champion and former world number one, stands in a familiar pose overlooking his desert-style course; Ireland’s European Ryder Cup hero Christy O’Connor Jnr welcomes players coming off the 18th hole of his lush oasis.

Sir Nick’s eponymous 6958m Oceânico Faldo Course was created by his own Faldo Design team and has been dubbed a strategic masterpiece with memorable challenges for all levels of player. Cacti, wild herbs, ancient native olive trees and desert scrub bunkers spread across the undulating terrain producing an Arizona-type feel. The back nine is quite hilly, but with amazing views. As a perfect complement to the Faldo course, the 6708m Oceânico O’Connor Course, with its wider, flatter fairways and big greens, lies in a fertile valley planted with orange groves and mature palm trees; the many water hazards spread throughout the course test the accuracy of most golfers. The lakes and streams are maintained as a nature reserve, being home to around 50 bird species.

Situated between the two principal courses is Portugal’s only floodlit course: the nine-hole, par three Oceânico Academy Course - perfect for beginners and families or players wanting to improve their short game. Amendoeira’s practice facilities are among the best in Europe, with putting and chipping greens and short and long-game practice areas, including a Faldo-designed undulated chipping green with bunker and a Scoring V for short-game strategy. A spectacular grass driving range, using top-quality NXT Tour S high-performance balls, is maintained to the highest standard.  Lessons for all levels of player, including juniors, are available at the Amendoeira Golf Academy, headed by resort Professional Nelson Cavalheiro. A V1 computer coaching analysis system and Trackman performance-enhancing software are used alongside traditional teaching methods. 

www.amendoeiraresort.com

It all started some 35 years ago, when the late founders of Vila Vita Parc, Dr. Reinfried and Mrs. Anneliese Pohl discovered a unique cliff top site in the Algarve and set about creating a dream.

When VILA VITA Parc first opened its doors in 1992, little of the resort that surrounds us today existed. The resort has evolved over the years, blossoming into what we now see. Some of the most important innovations have in fact been very recent, with last year’s refurbishment of the Clubhouse building representing a major milestone.

Turning back the clock, we remember the opening of the first 60 suites, along with the Clubhouse building, tennis courts and Piazetta. The following year saw the inauguration of the main hotel building, adding another 73 rooms and suites. This was followed later the same year by the opening of the Residence with 29 rooms and suites in a stunning cliff-top location, also housing what is now Ocean restaurant.

From the outset the resort, which became a member of Leading Hotels of the World in 1995, set a standard of luxury and service that saw it immediately recognised as one of the best in the region. But who could have guessed back then that VILA VITA Parc would become one of the finest resorts in Europe?

Investment and innovation has been relentless over the years; in 1998 came the opening of the Cave de Vinhos, the resort’s wine cellar, 2 years after VILA VITA Village, a small resort on the adjacent land with 51 townhouses and supporting facilities. This was followed in 1999 by the VILA VITA Vital Spa along with three suites.

It was around this time that today’s Managing Director Kurt Gillig arrived at VILA VITA, originally as executive chef and later becoming director of food & beverage before taking up the reins as GM in 2010.

Kurt Gillig’s love of food and wine is something that has become imbedded in the DNA of VILA VITA Parc, helping to establish it as a true destination for epicureans. In 2007 he recruited Austrian chef Hans Neuner to take over the kitchen of Ocean restaurant. They aimed for the stars, literally, and the first Michelin star was awarded in 2009, followed by the second in 2011.

2012 saw the start of a major refurbishment project. First came the original phase of suites known as Oasis Parc, which reopened as 1 and 2 bedroom suites in 2013, coinciding with the new Oasis Pool and Palm Bar.

Next came the hotel building with the total renovation of all rooms and suites completed in 2014, followed by the Residence in 2015. With all accommodation in the resort’s three main phases fully refurbished, it was now time to give the restaurants an overhaul.

Kurt Gillig and the owners of the resort decided to take this a great deal further than just skin deep. VILA VITA Parc was already renowned as a destination for gourmets, but the classic style of the restaurants, although loved by many of the resort’s most faithful clients, was not up to the modern design standards expected by today’s most demanding customers. Working with international architects and experts in the field of contemporary restaurant design, a project was sketched out that represented the single largest investment of the overall refurbishment plan.

First to reopen was Ocean, in early 2016, with a contemporary new ocean-themed design concept, a new larger kitchen and enlargement of the dining room onto the old terrace with a retractable glass wall proving stunning ocean views to all diners. This was a taste of what was to come in the Clubhouse building, housing the Aladin Grill, Whale and Atlântico restaurants along with the Manzar Terrace and the original pool area, as well as the Bela Vita restaurant in the main building.

The Clubhouse has been all but rebuilt, with a new infinity pool wrapping around the front of the building. Inside, only the Aladin Grill restaurant is recognisable from the original project. Elsewhere, new restaurant concepts and the new V-Club disco, have been created, keeping only the names of the original spaces and with the addition of the fine dining Japanese restaurant Mizu, replacing the old Aladin Bar.

The final phase of the renovation project, to be competed in 2018 is the complete renovation on the Vital Spa complex, with an enhanced focus on wellness and holistic treatments.

Whilst these physical changes are evident for all to see, it is actually behind the scenes that much of the innovation has been taking place. As VILA VITA Parc reaches this important milestone of its 25th anniversary, there are many aspects of the overall experience for guests that have been enhanced.

Kurt Gillig is rightly proud of all that has been achieved, “Above all, VILA VITA Parc is about people, I am fortunate to have a fantastic team and we have many guests from around the world who return year after year. Like the staff, they are also now part of the VILA VITA family. Times change and we must change with the times, but the core values of what was originally created here, 25 years ago, are stronger than ever.”

With an average of 500 staff, reaching above 700 in the high season, the resort is the largest employer in the local Lagoa municipality. The dedicated staff have helped win many international awards, including World’s Leading Green Resort at the World Travel Awards in 2015, an important recognition of the VILA VITA’s ongoing dedication to sustainability.

The legacy left by the founders, is now in the hands of their two sons, Andreas and Reinfried Pohl. VILA VITA Parc is the jewel in the crown of the family’s investments in Portugal but their love of the country has taken them far beyond the confines of the resort and even of the Algarve. In 2000, the family invested in Herdade dos Grous, a 730-hectare working farm with vineyards and a winery in the lower Alentejo region. Here a small rural resort has been created with 24 rooms furnished in traditional style. Herdade dos Grous is in fact an integral part of VILA VITA’s sustainability concept, rearing much of the livestock for meat served at the resort.

In the north of the country, another wine estate was acquired in 2012, Quinta do Valbom, a magnificent site overlooking the Douro river where high quality red wines and Port wine are produced. Here in the Algarve, other investments include the VILA VITA Collection of luxury villas overlooking the beach in the village of Salema, soon to be expanded to other locations on the Algarve.