RE­SORT

Quinta do Lago

Prestige Hong Kong - - CONTENTS -

There’s something sur­real about Quinta do Lago. Set on the south­ern coast of Por­tu­gal, the re­sort is a 15-minute drive from Faro air­port along a high­way and then back roads, be­fore the route turns to smooth tar­mac. A dis­creet sign lets you know you’ve ar­rived – if the man­i­cured grounds and im­pres­sive vil­las haven’t given it away al­ready. Res­i­dents use the many round­abouts as land­marks – so, for ex­am­ple, you’ll find the driv­ing range at Round­about 4 or Bovino Steak­house off Round­about 6. Al­most 50 years ago, Quinta do Lago, which lit­er­ally means “farm on the lake”, was an iso­lated farm­stead. That was be­fore prop­erty de­vel­oper André Jor­dan trans­formed the area into one of Europe’s most exclusive des­ti­na­tions. Sur­rounded by more than 800 hectares of the Ria For­mosa Nat­u­ral Park, the gated com­mu­nity and golf re­sort has catered to the likes of Ayr­ton Senna and Princess Caroline of Monaco (and speak­ing of which, one of the first things I learn dur­ing my stay is that Quinta is three times the size of the prin­ci­pal­ity). Un­til re­cently, says chief ex­ec­u­tive Sean Mo­ri­arty, Quinta do Lago was recog­nised as a “very elite, wealthy re­tire­ment home for golfers. That’s the way it was for quite some time, but it was also a hid­den gem for a lot of peo­ple. What we’ve been try­ing to do over the last cou­ple of years is to bring in more fam­i­lies, make it more open. “A lot of peo­ple de­scribe Quinta do Lago as a sanc­tu­ary. When they come here, peo­ple don’t tor­ment them, peo­ple aren’t at them all the time.” “Them” pre­sum­ably refers to any of the sports and TV per­son­al­i­ties who’ve made their sec­ond home here. Ru­mour has it that former pro­fes­sional foot­baller and Eng­land cap­tain John Terry has a villa, so I’m on high alert for celeb sight­ings. Is that Lit­tlefin­ger from Game of Thrones in the cafe? If so, he’s look­ing re­mark­ably tan. I walk past Judy Mur­ray on my way to break­fast and find out later that she’s run­ning a tennis camp for kids. I think of all the par­ents hop­ing for the next Andy or Jamie. If you don’t hap­pen to be one of the su­per-rich who own prop­erty here, your ac­com­mo­da­tion as a vis­i­tor will range from self-catered vil­las to ho­tels such as the Con­rad Al­garve and the em­i­nently In­sta­grammable

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