A new dawn: The very last virgin plots, an upcoming high-scale hotel and a revamp for Victory Village are some of the projects revealed
CEO of Quinta do Lago since 2016, Sean Moriarty has been focusing on updating the resort’s traditional image from golf resort into the most exclusive, sustainable, luxury lifestyle destination in Europe.
Quinta do Lago began with a vision of a high-quality, lifestyle destination that dates to 1971, when founder André Jordan created the masterplan for a low-density residential area, inspired by the natural landscape, which is still being upheld today. Only 9% of the area may be used for housing construction, leaving the rest green and untouched.
Located within the protected nature reserve of Ria Formosa, Quinta do Lago has resisted the concrete trends and kept the low-height, low-density, ecologically driven essence.
“We’ve now got the final virgin plots to be developed, facing the North Golf Course, between the 2nd and the 4th holes. It’s called The North Grove,” says Sean Moriarty. There are 13 plots, with areas ranging from 1,500 to 1,700 square metres. “We might develop one or two plots ourselves, and sell the other sites, as we’ve got a very high demand for them.”
Future owners can build two-storey, over-basement luxury homes with construction areas up to 20% of each plot site. There are no architectural or design limitations, aside from respecting the essence of the resort.
“This is an architect’s dream, they can do traditional and modern hybrids, but they still must respect the rules. That’s the tradition, and the landscape has never been broken. And for golf lovers that’s quite unique. The sights are high up so you’ve got a nice view heading back towards Faro and the hills of Loulé, which is unusual. That’s probably our most immediate project with quite a bit of infrastructure to do on that,” Sean Moriarty reveals. The plots have just started being marketed. “We think now is the right time,” he adds.
Further plans for immediate expansion go back to the very beginning of the resort. “Sticking to real estate, we bought nine large plots, around 9,500sqm of build-ability down at Victory Village. That was one of the first condominiums built in Quinta do Lago. These were taken over by the banks a few years ago. It’s not something we particularly had interest in, but we’ve seen a lot of people thinking of developing there. And we were quite worried about protecting the masterplan. So, we stepped in and purchased that land. Now we’re going to develop a nice scheme that will really enhance Victory Village,” says the CEO.
The goal is “to maintain a community, to create a new one, and to give it a whole new heart”, just as they did with the Reserva development, “which was a big success”. Indeed, the new project will include apartments, townhouses, and spacious independent villas, all leading up to 39 new-build properties. But that is not all. Another new project down the line (AL1) is expected to be a tourist development with 200 bedrooms, in a 47,000sqm site, right at the entrance of the resort.
“And that’s also on the masterplan. We might do a five- or six-star aparthotel. That’s certainly part of our plans for the next couple of years, to put in our own hotel. We’re speaking to some high-end international brands that are very keen on partnering up with us to run it. So far, we are looking at designs that are not typical of here,” Sean Moriarty reveals.
Regarding golf, which is “busier than it has ever been”, he says that over the past five years Quinta do Lago has been developing new initiatives to improve sustainability, save water, and reduce its carbon footprint. Through the redesign of the South Golf Course, recently completed, Moriarty’s team worked closely with the Golf Environment Organisation to launch a strategy to foster nature and conserve resources. A state-of-the-art irrigation system was installed, nurturing nature trails and watering the resort’s own farm-to-table Q Farm.
“We changed all our grass types, and we now use 60% less water than we used to. If you come to visit us now and see all the fantastic flower beds, that’s all-reusable water. All recycled. Now we’re looking at both a micro and a macro plan and we’re willing to invest into that ourselves, reusing water as much as we can.” As for the fire that hit the boundaries of the resort in July 2022, there are no scars left. “It recovered quite quickly. In the aftermath, we brought the authorities together to work on a much-needed plan to prevent it from happening again and, to at least, react even faster. We got some heavy fundraising for the civil defence so that they could buy equipment to detect heat and to prevent fires in advance. We’re going to continue to support that.”
According to Sean Moriarty, the resort’s strongest markets are still the UK and Ireland, but there is also an increase in demand from a domestic audience and the USA.
Quinta do Lago is also becoming increasingly interesting to younger audiences. Portugal’s tax benefits for foreign investors and the local range of sports facilities, such as The Campus multisports complex, which is used by professional sports teams as well as residents, are also very appealing assets. “It’s something that we take quite seriously and we’re very proud of. I think there’s now a separation of really who’s who across the world, and in that regard, I think our clients see us as leaders,” he points out.