Placing the Algarve as the top international choice for health and wellness tourism is one of the key goals of the new Serenity Spa
Inaugurated in 2016, the Serenity Spa is one of the biggest spas in the Algarve — its menu features more than 100 treatments in 13 different themed rooms. “There is no other spa in Portugal with such a wide and diverse range of treatments as Serenity,” says Maria d’Orey, the manager of this wellness centre located in the heart of the Ocean Suites at the Pine Cliffs Resort in Albufeira.
Originally from Porto, Maria has worked with the resort for 11 years, and saw her work recognised in July 2016, when she was distinguished as the Best Spa Manager at the World Luxury Spa Awards. “I work every day towards turning the Algarve into a spa destination,” she explains. Under the motto “the art of wellbeing”, the spa does indeed boast exceptional conditions and offers, and invites guests to close their eyes, relax and escape reality.
There is plenty to choose from: from the Kneipp pool, the hydromassage pool and the herbal or Himalayan salt sauna, to the ice fountain, experience showers, Turkish bath, outdoor hot tub, and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, as well as the recently inaugurated Hammam room. In the latter, treatments last between 50 and 80 minutes and are carried out in a heated marble room, where the therapist exfoliates “using a Kassa glove, black soap, and applies Ghassoul clay, along with argan oil and shea butter to obtain rejuvenated and revitalised skin”.
Whichever the choice, visitors will find countless treatments available to care for and balance the body, mind and spirit, in a holistic approach that combines three dimensions: relaxation, fitness and nutrition. The offering covers facial and body treatments, massages, an area dedicated to men and special packages for couples.
However, the spa’s calling card is the Aurum Suite. This large private suite, in dark and golden shades, was conceived specially for those in search of exclusive services. It includes a Turkish bath, sauna, Jacuzzi, experience shower, lounge area and double treatment room. “It’s the perfect place to enjoy as a couple, for a special date or to surprise your other half,” explains the spa manager. It is also a popular choice among clients who she describes as “diverse, demanding and well-travelled”: “This is a type of consumer who looks for unique experiences and knows exactly what they want. They are mostly foreigners — English, Russian, German, Chinese and Arabic,” she adds.
For autumn and winter, the spa is focusing on the signature treatments, namely the Senses of the Algarve, which incorporates typical ingredients from the region. “It’s a unique treatment in which clients are invited to get to know and sample the best of the Algarve.” The team of therapists prepares all the ingredients beforehand for the treatment, which begins with a scrub using fleur de sel from the Ria Formosa and sand from the nearby Falésia beach. Then, a carob wrap is applied. Naturally rich in selenium, it helps regulate the thyroid, and its gallic acid and tannins have antioxidant and antibacterial properties that treat oily and damaged skin. The treatment ends with a full body massage with essential orange oil from the Algarve, whose antioxidant properties fight free radicals and help prevent premature skin ageing. After the treatment, the client can enjoy the relaxation area with a lemongrass tea, another typical Algarvean product.
At the same time, to make a visit to the spa even more pleasant, and incorporated into the general concept of health and well-being, clients can also use the bar and restaurant service called Zest, which offers a special selection of invigorating drinks and healthy food.
As we walk along the hallways between the treatment rooms, Maria d’Orey confides that there are good spas in Portugal, but not with an offering of this standard. “This is where we wanted to make a difference. Before accepting the challenge of setting up this space, I travelled a lot, did my research and absorbed the best of what is being done abroad. Serenity is the result of all those factors, and that’s perceptible by those who visit us. I believe this is undoubtedly one of the best spas in Europe.”