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