Aquapura Hotel and Resort - Douro River Valley, Portugal :Located in the Douro River Valley, a recently named UNESCO World Heritage site, is the amazing, chic and trendy, Aquapura Resort and Spa. Situated amongst the vineyards with a stunning view of the Douro River, Aquapura has fifty rooms and suites as well as about a dozen villas. Aquapura is full-fledged, five-star, luxury resort which, from my experience, prides itself on not only five-star accommodations but five-star service as well.
First Impression/Lobby: As we drove along the winding road leading to Aquapura, we could see the expansive resort set down among the vineyards. The bright blue sky and the bright lush green of the hillside made Aquapura the perfect spot for a refreshing, romantic and quiet getaway.
After driving down (and then up again) the long driveway we reached the entrance to Aquapura. Entering the lobby I was surprised at how barren yet chic it looked. The window on the end offered an amazing view of the Douro River and let in some badly needed light into the dark lobby.
Reception: The front desk was staffed by sharply dressed young (and stunning) women who quickly welcomed us to Aquapura, offered us a cool cloth to refresh our outsides and cold sparkling wine to cool our insides.
We were swiftly “checked-in” and then escorted, they in their golf cart, us in our rental car, to our villa, Villa #12.
The Suite: Suite #12 was the definition of chic and trendy. Perfectly decorated in hues of purple and lavender with dark wood accents and laminates, it was warm and cozy but still provided a cool and relaxing atmosphere.
Located just off the main entrance, the villa had a full bedroom with bathroom separated by an over-sized sliding door. The bathroom consisted of a deep soaking tub, twin sinks, a standalone glassed shower and private toilet and bidet. The coolest part of the bathroom was the skylight in the ceiling which was under the roof top plunge pool. As the light shown through the pool and into the room, it danced and glowed making the room sparkle like diamonds in the sun.
Down the hall from the entrance were the living room, dining room and small kitchen. The ceiling to floor windows that stretched across the room offering full views of the river and hillside beyond, plus the open design concept made the area feel much larger than it was.
The living room had ample room for sitting and lounging in its two sofas/love seats. The dining room had room for four and against the opposite wall was the wall-mounted flat screen TV and below that, a fireplace that was just calling to be used. Too bad it was June and just too hot to enjoy.
The small but ample sized kitchen had a stove and oven, small refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave oven. Everything you need should you decide to stay in and cook; which we did on more than one occasion.
Located on the roof of the villa is a small plunge pool and daybed large enough for two. If you want a place to escape from the world, this is it. While the pool is not very large, it provides you the perfect, very private chance to cool off. Life really does not get much better. The villa is really a home away from home.
Room Service: One night we had room service help us set up for a romantic “home-cooked” dinner. Candles, beautiful wine glass and decanter, appetizers and desert to accent our dinner were just a call away. The other times when we ordered a meal they were quick and professional, always providing amazing service both before and after our meal. This was truly five-star service.
Housekeeping: Luckily the housekeepers were just as thorough and just as dedicated as room service. As you probably know, cooking your own special dinner can lead to quite a mess. But as you would expect at a five-star hotel or resort, the house keeping staff did a stupendous job and each day we came back to a fresh and inviting villa.
Concierge: The concierge duties were handled by a member of the front desk staff. She efficiently and seemingly effortlessly attended to our every need and made sure our tour and other requests (i.e., finding us a special bottle of wine we had been trying to chase down) were handled flawlessly.
Restaurant: If there was one area that I thought the Aquapura lacked, it was the restaurant. The morning buffet breakfasts served at Vale d'Abraao were uninteresting, boring and disappointing. But so not to judge them solely on breakfast, we dined with them for lunch which is served at Vale d'Abraao as well. We left even more disappointed. The lunch menu was a bit limited for my taste and I am very picky. The quality of the food was well below par for what I expect at a five star hotel or luxury resort.
Based on our experiences we decided not to continue the dining experience at Aquapura and skipped dinner at Almapura, their fine-dining restaurant which specializes in Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisines.
Pool/Spa/Activities:Aquapura has an amazing 80 square meter pool located near the river, along the vineyards. Its location provides for full sun all day and is the perfect spot for a day of relaxing and rejuvenating yourself. In addition to the pool, Aquapura offers a full-service spa and a quiet library ideal for reading or just enjoying the view of the Douro River.
Overall ImpressionAquapura is an amazing luxury hotel and resort in the Douro River Valley. It offers beauty, relaxation, pristine five-star service all in a cool, chic and trendy atmosphere. Aquapura is definitely the type of luxury hotel and five-star resort that I love to visit and it is easily one of the best hotels in the Douro River Valley Region. My rating of Aquapura is an easy and full deserving Bombastic!