In Site Inspections, Venue visits

Laura recently visited the Algarve courtesy of the Sana Hotel group – here is her blog ……

In September, I was lucky enough to attend a FAM trip to the Algarve hosted by the Sana Hotel group. We arrived in the evening to the beautiful Epic Sana Algarve Hotel and headed to the Open Deck, their outdoor terrace restaurant which serves traditional Portuguese cuisine.

Our welcome dinner was a 3 course sharing style table buffet which is a great concept as it allows you to try a bit of everything. We met the chefs who are clearly very passionate about their cooking and that is reflected in the presentation and flavours. The food was of course best accompanied by a glass (or two) of the hotels own branded white wine.

When the night drew to an end I headed back to my room to sink in to the cloud-like pillows and recoup for another day of eating, drinking and relaxing (it’s a tough life).

Epic Sana Hotel

Following a tasty breakfast, we had a show around of the hotel. The property has 229 bedrooms, 67 of which are suites; they are all very spacious and incorporate the theme of bringing nature in with green colourings in the walls and furniture and by each opening up on to a large terrace or balcony.

The Convention Centre has its own section of the hotel away from the bedrooms and public restaurants; it also has a separate entrance to increase privacy.

The Atlantic Floor and Pacific Floor give a grand total of 1800sqm in events space, both levels offer incredibly flexible spaces with the sliding walls providing multiple configurations, the largest of which can seat over 1000 theatre style.

Across the resort there are 5 outdoor swimming pools plus 2 indoors, 1 of which is only accessible with Spa use. In addition, there are a number of treatment rooms, a sauna and a steam room.

The hotel is also lucky enough to have its own private walkway to a beautiful beach; we had to check this out of course!

The walk to the beach

Following our tour of the hotel, we met on the Terrace of the fine dining Restaurant for a Masterchef Competition where we were tasked with making a seafood cataplana.

We watched the expert at work before splitting into two teams to recreate the dish ourselves. Everyone got involved taking on different roles and the pressure to make it tasty was not only to win but we would also be eating it for our lunch! My team took the crown and it’s safe to say we enjoyed the taste of victory!

The afternoon involved relaxing in the spa and sitting in the pool bar with a cocktail in hand followed by a Yoga/Wellness experience to clear and relax our minds.

We were picked up at 7pm and transferred to Quinta do Lago, a gated community just past Villamoura. Firstly we visited the Shack Bar and enjoyed Sangria and Tapas with views across the lakes before heading to Bovino Restaurant for a 3 course meal with different cuts of their famous steaks.

It’s safe to say we were absolutely stuffed by the end of the evening, my bed was most welcoming when we arrived back at the hotel.

The winning dish - Prawn Cataplana

The next morning it was time for a Jeep Safari tour hosted by DMC ‘Portugal No Limits,’ the drivers were amazing, they really knew their stuff. We stopped off at multiple places to try the local delights and learn about the history and the foods grown in the area.

The weather wasn’t on our side this day but we didn’t let a bit of rain dampen our spirit, we still picnicked outdoors as intended, we are Brits after all!

Dinner on this evening took place at Restaurant Veneza whose concept back in 1998 was to merge the contents of their Cellar with the Dining Hall itself.

They now display over a thousand bottles of wine across the walls that can accompany your meal or be purchased to take home. We enjoyed a huge spread of traditional dishes from the Algarve.

Jeep Safari

Much to our sadness, we headed home the next morning. I found that during my stay that even at the 80% occupancy rate the Hotel was when we were there, you wouldn’t know it at all as it was still so peaceful and exclusive, a real resort break.

I will take many things away from this trip; the main thing being how welcoming everyone was, both in the Hotel and at the other venues we visited. They truly pulled out all the stops to give us the best experience of Portuguese and Algarve hospitality.

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