The Conrad Algarve
If there was ever a time when I was looking forward to a luxury, 100% chilled out stay, it was after all the craziness of Lisbon. I adore Lisbon, in fact, it’s now one of my favorite cities. But thunderstorms, getting robbed and then not being able to rent a car (due to lost credit cards) did not exactly keep my stress levels in check. So, was I looking forward to heading south to Algarve? Oh, you betcha!
Thankfully, when my taxi pulled up to the Conrad Algarve I could literally feel my shoulders release down, my breathing go a little deeper and my stress float away. The palatial entrance is nothing short of movie spectacular. And when I stepped inside, into the grand lobby and was instantly greeted with an abundance of warmth, friendliness and impeccable service, I knew everything would soon be right with the universe again.
Sleeping on Clouds
That’s what it felt like for two of the most restful nights I think I’ve ever had in any accommodation. Yep, it would be a massive understatement to say “the bed was comfy” when it delivered 8-9 hours of the deepest, most rejuvenating, REM-loving sleep. In fact, I meant to sneak a peek at the mattress label to see who made it and totally forgot. Though odds are I won’t be able to get it in the US, right? Hmm, another reason to head back.
With a chaise lounge and chic reading chair the bedroom was spacious enough for sleeping, working (which, shocker I didn’t do for two days!), relaxing and getting ready. But let’s talk about the bathroom for a sec, where I probably overused my allotment of water. The culprits? A waterfall shower head that made me feel like I was literally chilling under a Hawaiian waterfall (the only kind I know)…and a bathtub that came complete with a TV and chandelier!
So many spa treatments, so little time
When the Conrad Algarve booked me a 2-hour spa treatment I was over-the-moon. I mean, I do love my massages! But what I didn’t expect was everything I would get during those two hours and how ridiculously refreshed, rejuvenated and revived (all the R-words!) I would feel. Can two hours make you feel like an entirely new person? 100% yes! My therapist, Andrea, was a total gem and in those two hours (for the Conrad Fire & Ice Signature Treatment) I received dry body brushing, exfoliation, warm mud, aromatherapy massage, face masks and a lymphatic facial massage for the most holistic experience imaginable.
After my treatment, when I felt like complete jelly, I was thankful for the spa’s gorgeous relaxation and private pool area. Needless to say, I took full advantage of lounging around and doing absolutely nothing!
But the cherry on top of my spa treatment was my “nourish me” lunch. A nutritious, tapas-style lunch where I picked 4 items from a list of “can’t I just have one of everything?!” This included prawns and avocado, chicken and cucumber, asparagus and smoked salmon, and hummus with gluten-free bread (they always took care of my gluten-free needs!). To drink, I had a hydrating juice of cranberry, pear and apple.
When eating gluten-free is a delight
Traveling gluten-free isn’t nearly as difficult as you might imagine, as long as you focus on whole food ingredients that each country does best. For Portugal (and specifically Algarve), that’s fresh fish, seafood, almonds, oranges and farm-fresh vegetables. The bonus though, when you stay in a luxury resort like Conrad Algarve, is that they ensure all your dietary needs are met. And they do so with a smile!
I informed the resort ahead of time via email that I was gluten-free and throughout my stay every item I was served was free (or modified to be free) of gluten. Of course, I double and triple checked with every meal (something I always recommend) as mistakes do happen when several staff are involved (waiters, servers, chefs, etc).
But the food, wow, the food at Conrad Algarve was top-notch, unique and seasonal. Everything I love! And I’m talking fresh, delicious, Portuguese-inspired dishes. Things like monk fish wrapped in Iberian ham, Algarvian salads, and for dessert, a medley of orange sorbets, granitas and creams (I’m in love with Algarvian oranges!).
You can relax or you can adventure
With only two days at the Conrad Algarve before I embarked on my driving adventures, I opted for much needed wellness and “downshifted” time. In addition to eating and spa-ing (can we make that a verb?), I took a yoga class, chilled out at the pool and relaxed on my patio. It was two days of utter bliss.
On my last night I was invited to the closing party of their 1/3/5 program. A totally unexpected, cool and edgy party in their underground parking lot to celebrate this brilliant program. So what is 1/3/5? In short, it’s a curated list of unique, local experiences that you can do in 1, 3, or 5 hours. And heads-up, these aren’t your traditional guidebook museum or monument tours. These are cultural, inspiring and vacation-defining experiences. Things you’ll talk about long after your trip! For example, one of the experiences available at Conrad Algarve is clam picking in the Ria Formosa Natural Park (Danielle Peazer has a great video of this on her site).
The 1/3/5 initiative is led by Peter Lindberg, Conrad’s Director of Inspiration. Not only does Peter have the coolest title ever, but after chatting with him all night long, I couldn’t be more supportive or loving of this program. As an off-the-beaten-path explorer, I’m a huge advocate for authentic, local, behind-the-scenes experiences. That’s what travel is all about.
So, whether you’re visiting Algarve for a long weekend (if you’re from Europe) or a few weeks, Conrad Algarve serves up luxury accommodations, wellness, relaxation, nourishment…and yes, a little adventure. A perfect stay in my books.
For more information on Conrad Algarve, their spa treatments, world-class restaurants and 1/3/5 program, please visit their website. You’ll be glad you did!
Huge thanks to Conrad Algarve for inviting me as a guest. And an extra special thanks to Joachim Hartl and Peter Lindberg for making my stay memorable. As always, all opinions are my own.
Clothing provided by Athleta.