Golf resort

The Portuguese golf resort that’s surprisingly good for wellness

The golf resorts of the Algarve are not the first destinations that come to mind when I think of “wellness”. Training camps in Los Angeles? Yes. Austrian clinics? Certainly. Thai detox spas? One hundred percent. But the south of Portugal and its famous fairways? Not really.

Golf has feel-good elements, sure — sport, the outdoors, and all that walking — but its myriad benefits are often countered by sausage rolls on the ninth hole and G&Ts on the 19th. By itself, I’d bet golf isn’t a guaranteed passport to optimal health. Therefore, as a lover of healthy vacations, my instinct has always been that the feel-good idea of ​​a golf resort goes all the way to the L in a BLT.

Vale do Lobo, however, has other ideas and has begun to expand its offering beyond golf, which has paved the way for it to become a favorite with British couples over the years. Founded in 1962, this luxurious 1,235-acre vacation and second home destination on Portugal’s main southern coast claims the crown as the country’s first upscale resort. Its success led to the opening of Faro Airport in 1965. Yet Vale do Lobo’s purist approach to golf means that, for non-golfers like me, it seemed like an expat playground with minimal appeal.

It seems like I might have missed something, though, as this resort – beautifully located and blessed with an incredible climate – has been stealthily upping its wellness game, perhaps thanks to stats like those cited by the Global Wellness Institute, which estimates that by next year the global market will reach £694 billion. Nowadays, Vale do Lobo would like us to see it as a place to invest in your body, nourish your soul and calm your mind – not just to improve your handicap.

Magdalena Osmola, Director of Marketing and Communications for the resort, says: “Year on year we see more and more young couples over the age of 45 making the decision to move here and we see more and more requests for spas, not bars, in new homes. .” I decided to see for myself.