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Our review : Longevity, Portugal’s benchmark medi-spas

Longevity is to Portugal what SHA Wellness Clinic is to Spain: the country’s benchmark for luxury detox and wellness treatments. The brand operates several medical spas in the Algarve region. The most famous of these is located at the Vilalara Thalasso Resort a true 5-star hotel by the sea, while Longevity Alvor is a wellness clinic dedicated entirely to health. Pascal Languillon, Director of Luxe Wellness Club, went on site to investigate. Here’s a detailed account of his stay.

Detox cures and health programs in the Algarve region

Vilalara Resort beach and pool (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

I don’t know about you, but I love Portugal! For its climate, of course, with a sunshine rate almost unrivalled in Europe, but also and above all for its relaxed atmosphere thanks to the kindness of its people. Numerous customers had spoken highly of their stay at Vilalara Thalasso Resort, so it was high time for me to go and try it out for myself, so I could tell you all about it.

I was there with my family at the end of October 2021, and it was still summer in the Algarve, or almost. Outside temperature: 25 degrees. Water temperature: 23 degrees. Just perfect! Who said the sea was cold in Portugal?

Women and children enjoy the magical setting at the foot of the resort (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Vilalara Thalasso Resort is about 45 minutes from Faro airport. When you arrive, you’re immediately struck by thehotel’s spectacular setting, overlooking one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches, with its red sand and cliff-like cliffs planted in the water. It’s practically a private beach, as the Vilalara shares it with only one other hotel.

The pool with the best view (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

It’s worth noting that the Vilalara was formerly a Sofitel, so much of the staff speak excellent French. The resort was the first 5-star in the region some forty years ago, and the gardens are sublime as the trees have had time to grow over a few decades. The resort’s superb vegetation is a real highlight in my opinion.

A resort with a truly splendid wooded park (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

While Vilalara boasts a medical spa run by Longevity, it’s also a kid-friendly resort that welcomes many families, with a heated pool dedicated to children, a waterfall and a Kid’s Club. So you can enjoy the spa while the kids have fun. Those looking for absolute peace and quiet for their detox will undoubtedly prefer the Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel, located a 30-minute drive away in the small town of Alvor.

Pascal in front of the Longevity Alvor infinity pool (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The Longevity Alvor is very different from the Vilalara resort, in that it’s a brand-new building located in a fairly built-up and not particularly beautiful area, 2 or 3 kilometers from the sea, which can be seen from a distance however. So access to the beach isn’t so easy. Children are not admitted to this wellness clinic, which offers a wide range of cutting-edge programs. Another difference: the restaurant serves only healthy cuisine, unlike Vilarara, which mixes genres.

Personally I much prefer the natural setting of Vilalara and its real vacation atmosphere, but if I really wanted to lose weight I’d probably go to the Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel in Alvor to cut myself off from the world for a few days and immerse myself in a detox program without temptations.

Spacious, comfortable rooms

At the Vilalara, I stayed with my family in a comfortable, very spacious room with a lovely view over the gardens. I particularly appreciated the calm of the place, and the charming style of the rooms, with their alcove terraces. The resort may not be brand new, but it’s by no means old-fashioned.

Our room at the Vilalara (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)
Our alcove terrace (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

As for Longevity Alvor, the rooms are much more modern, and I found them pleasant and bright. The decor is sober and unassuming. All-glass bathrooms are quite unique. But beware of privacy! Many rooms offer distant sea views, although again, the immediate surroundings are not particularly beautiful. It’s a hotel that offers good value for money, with room rates starting at around 150 euros per night – a real rarity in the small world of luxury medi-spas.

A room at Longevity Alvor (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Longevity fitness cures

Whether you go to the Vilalara Resort or the Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel, you can take the same fitness cures, which is why I’ve grouped the two hotels together in this article. Every wellness program begins with a short diagnostic phase and a medical consultation, which allows you to take stock of your current state of health.

Body composition analysis (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

First essential step:Body composition analysis, which allowed me to confirm what I already knew: I have no excess body fat, and particularly little around the organs (“visceral fat rating”), which is a very good thing. On the other hand, I need to make an effort to put on some muscle mass, as my results are a bit lacking in that area, so a few extra kilos wouldn’t do me any harm in the end. It’s always good to have science confirm intuition 🙂

Whatever your morphology, this kind of diagnosis will help you understand what you need to work on to reach your ideal weight .

Diagnostics also include blood glucose and gluthanion tests (this is ultimately quite similar to the 3GL method developed at Euphoria Retreat), and may also include blood tests for certain cures.

The indoor pool at the Longevity Alvor spa (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

The Longevity Alvor fitness center uses many state-of-the-art facilities, including Japanese infrared saunas and photo-biomodulation, and also offers some specialized detox and weight-loss treatments such as colon hydrotherapy.

The most surprising moment of my stay was the session with the in-house osteopath, Ricardo Rosa, who is truly exceptional. One of my clients told me that he was “the best osteopath she’d ever had”.

I myself was blown away by her diagnosis and her in-depth knowledge, which enabled me to see my body in a whole new light. He gave me exercises to do and I think what he told me will have a long-term impact on my life.

I also did a session of craniosacral therapy, which was very relaxing. This gentle therapy aims to assess and improve the functioning of the craniosacral system. Thanks to a very delicate touch, the therapist felt my “primary respiratory movement” and allowed me to enter a kind of half-sleep.

The spa at Vilalara Thalasso Resort has a medical section (managed by Longevity) and a thalassotherapy section, with a wide range of seawater treatments. He uses marine cosmetics from the French brand Thalion.

Finally, both hotels offer a varied activity program, with regular group classes (several times a day) in yoga, stretching, sound healing, meditation, guided walks…

Healthy, delicious food at Longevity Alvor (Photo: Luxe Wellness Club)

Finally, a word about food. At Vilalara, you can either eat healthily if you follow a dedicated program, or sample more traditional, but still tasty, Portuguese or international cuisine. The breakfast buffets were full of good things: my daughters pounced on the chocolate pancakes while I ate small fruit salads and smoked salmon…

Many ingredients are chosen for their local provenance as well as for their bioactive, anti-inflammatory and alkaline components.

My best culinary memory, however, is undoubtedly lunch at Longevity Alvor, where the starter was a delicious avocado mousse with shrimp and a sprinkling of fresh fruit (pictured above).

Our feeling

If you’re dreaming of getting back into shape in sunny Portugal, you’ve come to the right place: Vilalara Longevity and Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel (Alvor) are the two most cutting-edge establishments in the country today. They offer well-supported programs by a competent medical team and an internationally renowned osteopath, with entry-level prices more affordable than most of their competitors. Choose either Vilalara for its natural setting or Longevity Alvor for its all-round health focus.

Luxe Wellness Club

Book (with exclusive Luxe Wellness Club benefit)

Rates: From 125 euros per night in low season at Longevity Alvor, more like 200 euros at Vilalara in low season. Double the rates in summer. Wellness programs start at around 2,000 euros per person. Contact us for a personalized quote with a free treatment or spa credit as an exclusive benefit.

Call us for the USA: +1 (646) 980 6652 or for the UK: +44 20 4577 3258 to discuss your holiday plans.

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