My trip to Pine Cliffs Resort was my first ever solo trip, a much needed getaway to unwind and indulge in the world-class Serenity Spa at the resort, a far cry from the fast pace of life in London. An international clientele, unlike other resorts in the Algarve, added an air of sophistication to the already extremely luxurious surrounds.
A solo getaway felt like a world to navigate all of its own but as soon as I arrived in the bright and beautiful hotel lobby with gorgeous hints of Portuguese heritage in the Moorish-style courtyards, countless lemon trees, lazuline patterned tiled and fountains, I realised I had indeed entered a world all of its own, right here at the five-star resort.
I was swiftly shown to my stunning room (pastéis de nata waiting for me on the huge plush bed) with sweeping views of the ocean from the balcony, lush gardens and expansive grounds. Pine Cliffs is open throughout the year and boasts world-class facilities including SPA Serenity – The Art of Well Being, the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy; a nine-hole golf course with its infamous signature hole that is known throughout the region, sensational dining options (11 to be exact), eight swimming pools and direct beach access.
O Pescador was my port of call for dinner after I had explored the stunning resort and enjoyed some lunch-time people watching at Zest which offers a selection of freshly squeezed juices, ginger shots from the 'Zest Pharmacy', smoothies, light salads and healthy meals and brunch options. At the centrally located seafood restaurant, O Pescador, I chowed down on garlic, coriander and white wine clams followed by local sea bream which was one of the best dishes I have ever tasted in my entire thirty years.
A focus on delicious flavours runs deep at Pine Cliffs. The central square, peppered with fragrant lemon trees and water features holds host to MIMO Algarve, a cookery school offering relaxed classes that also acts as an event space with wine tasting and tapas.
The next morning started blissfully with a delicious buffet breakfast in Jardim Colonial, eating al fresco and sipping on fresh coffee with sweeping views of the sea and this continued with my wellness experience at The Serenity Spa. This wellness experience was a complete highlight of the stay and the 13 treatment rooms and the beautiful Thermal Oasis are the jewels in the crown at the resort. I was treated to a 80 minute signature treatment 'Senses of Algarve' which uses the best ingredients that the Algarvian region has to offer. The treatment started with a scrub of Fleur-de-Sel from Ria Formosa and sand from nearby Falésia beach. Skin is then prepared for the carob wrap (which looked good enough to eat), an ingredient that is recognised for its health-giving properties. The treatment ended with a full body hydration with sweet smelling essential orange-oil from the Algarve and then I relished a moment of zen in the relaxation room, with a lemon-grass tea, another product from the region. In addition to the spa, Pine Cliffs also boasts the Studio Active fitness studio, two gyms and the Bootcamp Active circuit training.
Pine Cliffs Resort is just above the Falésia, the longest stretch of sand in the Algarve, running almost four miles along the edge of the majestic Atlantic. Maré at Pine Cliffs is located at the end of the wooden boardwalk from the resort where guests can enjoy lunch and dinner in the sun with menus featuring light snacks, fresh salads, ice cold rosé and catch of the day dishes, caught earlier that morning. Guests lounged outside the restaurant in the bright sun with shady umbrellas, cocktails and good books, overlooking the rolling waves with only the choice of which freshly caught fish to pick at dinner on their minds.
After reading my first book of the year on the stretch of salty golden sand (the 21 year old English graduate in me would be very alarmed), Anya Hindmarch's 'If in doubt, wash your hair' stated some life advice, 'if you accept that you will never be satisfied, then you will be very happy indeed.' I left however feeling completely and utterly satisfied, mind body and tummy and was happy to return to the big smoke, with all its failings, energised, happy, and ready to narrate every last morsel of my stay to friends!
And after a final dip in the sea, a send off from the gracious staff and a quick taxi straight to Faro airport, I absolutely needed to wash my hair.
HOW TO BOOK:
Rooms from £170.00 per night based on two adults sharing a deluxe room resort view, including breakfast. Flights with easyjet: www.easyjet.com, from £75.00 from London Gatwick to Faro.