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Fall in love with the Douro Valley, one of Portugal’s most romantic corners, and sigh at the views and feast on exceptional food and wine as you succumb first to the seductive old school glamour and elegance of Porto before taking a luxury great train ride on Portugal’s most historic and indulgent train, The Presidential, to pitch up at a celebrated wine estate and the renowned Six Senses Douro Valley. To make your luxurious holiday even more special, we’ve suggested truly stunning accommodation where you can indulge in serious pampering while putting gourmet experiences, great wine and gastronomic indulgence at the heart of your trip; in the course of the train journey, a succession of Michelin-starred chefs from Portugal and beyond are serving gourmet lunches to travellers, their multi course meals partnered with prize-winning Douro wines. This unique combination of wine and wellness operates only seasonally, with departures in Spring (April-May) and Harvest (September-October).
Following a chauffeur-driven transfer to the airport and opportunity to let the anticipation build over a glass of something chilled in the lounge, fly to Porto. On arrival we’ll arrange a private driver to meet you and act as your guide to this vibrant and varied city. Explore the city’s mercantile past, wander the narrow medieval streets and soak up the atmosphere. To help you explore deeper, we’ll set up a private tour of Serralves, Portugal’s premier modern art museum, and the Casa de Musica, the country’s most celebrated music hall.
Come evening we’ll whisk you to your luxury hotel in the heart of the historic city. We’ll reserve a table for you at Pedro Lemos, one of just a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city where you’ll enjoy an inspired dining experience. Finish your day at the hotel with a nightcap or something from the list of local Port wines.
Next, we’ll pile on the old-school elegance and timeless glamour with a trip on the classic Presidential train. Step around the corner from your hotel to the impressive Sao Bento Station, a temple to the golden age of rail, and feel yourself being transported by the beautifully tiled panel walls depicting scenes of historical heroics, even before you glimpse the gleaming regal blue livery of the train. Board your carriage and settle into your private cabin for the day. With passengers aboard, the Presidential pulls out, rumbling under Porto’s uptown Batalha district to emerge in the countryside. The railway rolls through the Douro Valley, following the river as it meanders through bucolic rolling greenery, the hillsides above and around you cut with terraced vineyards. The historic train ride is rewarding of itself but the real attraction is the culinary experience and gastronomic indulgence available; lunch on board is a multi-course tasting menu prepared by a Michelin-calibre chef, paired with perfect wine and vintage port.
Arriving at the end of the line, at aristocratic Quinta do Vesuvio, descend from the train at a rural station and immerse yourself in the wine estate. A grand, rustic winery with a matchless reputation for producing remarkable wines, Quinta do Vesuvio is usually closed to the public. Make the most of your exclusive access. Join a wine tasting directly from the tonels and try vintage port. Authentically experience the almost lost art of winemaking by taking part in a foot treading ceremony and trample the grapes. Smoke a cigar on the terrace and toast your exquisite good taste. Satiated, we’ll carry you to the attractive Six Senses Douro Valley, a decadent 19th-Century manor house dedicated to wine and wellness where you can relax, recharge and reconnect.
Ease into the morning with a sensational spa treatment, Pilates class or even try aerial yoga. Soak in the spa pool and take in the scenery through enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. Stroll the trails through the hotel’s grounds stopping at a meditation spot. Spoil yourself once again with an indulgent lunch, sitting al fresco in a pretty courtyard overlooking the expansive valley views.
Later, a short hop will bring you to the train station where you will board the Presidential again to retrace the route through the Douro Valley. Climb back aboard the time-warp train. Relax in your cabin or take a seat in the bar car for cocktails and live music performed by a pianist and troubadour strumming a traditional 12-stringed Portuguese guitar. Once you’ve arrived in Porto, we’ll treat you to a final fabulous dinner at O Gaveto, an historic eatery within spitting distance of the sea that has been wowing the locals for three decades. After dining it may be time to experience Porto’s nightlife or simply stroll the atmospheric side streets near your hotel.
Following a leisurely start and a final morning sauna session, your private driver will collect you and return you to the airport, where you must regretfully board your onward flight home.
"This itinerary is ideal for those wanting an indulgent long weekend or romantic mini-moon in the spring or autumn months. Enjoy the elegance of Porto before taking a luxury train ride on The Presidential and relaxing in the stunning Douro Valley. You’ll be treated to gourmet experiences, great wine and spa pampering throughout."
Year Round from: £3,995 pp
Valid for travel: selected dates through September and October 2020
Departure dates: 25 Sep / 02 Oct / 09 Oct / 16 Oct / 23 Oct 2020