From strength to strength

Iconic Al­garve golf­ing re­sort Quinta do Lago cel­e­brates its 45th an­niver­sary this year. Liz Rowl­in­son as­sesses its le­gacy

Country Life Every Week - - Quinta Do Lago, The Algarve -

Forty-five years ago, in June 1972, the re­sort of Quinta do Lago opened on a pinecov­ered piece of coast in the cen­tral Al­garve. Back then, golf was in its in­fancy in the re­gion, but a 27-hole golf course, restau­rant and 20 apart­ments marked the start of what was to be­come europe’s top re­sort. How did Quinta do Lago be­come— and re­main—so suc­cess­ful?

‘The dis­creet, un­showy na­ture of the the place has pre­vailed’

the vi­sion­ary be­hind its cre­ation was An­dré Jor­dan, a Brazil­ian who had ar­rived in Por­tu­gal in 1970 af­ter hear­ing that the Al­garve was the next big thing. ‘it was so vir­gin and beau­ti­ful. there wasn’t a house in sight—we had to mark the pine trees so we didn’t get lost,’ says the en­er­getic 83-yearold en­tre­pre­neur. ‘Al­bufeira was the only tourist town at that time, a hip­py­ish place with a few dis­cos.’

Mr Jor­dan had seen the po­ten­tial of res­i­den­tial golf re­sorts in the USA and a low-den­sity re­sort was planned with world-class cour­ses be­tween forests, lakes and two miles of beach­front. the re­sort soon be­gan at­tract­ing the in­ter­na­tional elite—plots went for $50,000—and the first villa was fin­ished in 1974 to a big party.

How­ever, that same year, a mil­i­tary coup in Lis­bon, the Car­na­tion rev­o­lu­tion, brought Quinta’s progress to a halt for some eight years. ‘i thought that was the end and re­turned to Brazil,’ ex­plains Mr Jor­dan. ‘i was sur­prised when i got the call to re­turn in 1982.’ By 1987, the Quinta do Lago re­sort was back to win­ning ways.

Since then, it’s grown to en­com­pass three cham­pi­onship golf cour­ses. it’s hosted eight Por­tuguese opens and is home to more than 500 villa own­ers and var­i­ous other con­do­mini­ums over 1,594 acres, priced from €250,000 to €24 mil­lion. the lat­est launch, reserva, lux­ury apart­ment res­i­dences, with a new pri­vate res­i­dents’ club, of­fers 26 prop­er­ties priced from €2 mil­lion next to the rio for­mosa na­ture re­serve.

over the past six years, in­vest­ment of €50 mil­lion has en­sured that the re­sort re­mains top of the list for many of europe’s high-net-worth in­di­vid­u­als. A new sports cam­pus is to open this sum­mer.

‘We couldn’t sit on our lau­rels. We worked hard to lower the age de­mo­graphic [from an av­er­age of 76 to 62] and make our­selves a life­style re­sort for fam­i­lies and the glob­ally mo­bile,’ says Jamie robin­son, Quinta’s Di­rec­tor of Sales. ‘We have many more own­ers re­sid­ing full-time now. it’s a safe haven in terms of in­vest­ment, but also a se­cure en­vi­ron­ment in to­day’s un­pre­dictable world.’

Mr Jor­dan de­scribes Quinta’s suc­cess with one word: ‘nat­u­ral’. He elab­o­rates: ‘i mean that with re­gards to its re­spect of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, but also in the dis­creet, un­showy spirit of the place that has pre­vailed, in con­trast to re­sorts else­where. Peo­ple are still very happy to be there.’

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