Editor Sophie Ritchie heads to Portugal for a stay of spa-filled serenity at Longevity Cegonha Country Club
Tucked away within the Algarve’s idyllic landscape awaits Longevity Cegonha Country Club, a wellness-focused hotel found just outside the coastal town of Vilamoura.
With a pampering spa, 32 classic Portugese-style rooms and relaxing facilities, Longevity Wellness Worldwide aims to offer something for everyone on the wellness spectrum.
Guests can dabble in the world of well-being for a weekend or book one of its room for three weeks of serenity, fitness and healthy eating – it’s entirely up to the individual.
With my best friend and bags in tow, I visit the hotel to sample its tranquil effects for myself with a short three-night stay, during which I’ll try a liquid detox.
Detoxing has never been more popular – we’re obsessed with cleansing, energising and invigorating our bodies. I’m a foodie by nature, but I’m still intrigued to give it a try and see if the short cleanse will reap any benefits.
Day One: Arriving in the Algarve
We fly into Faro’s little airport and find ourselves rocking up at Longevity’s gated entrance before it’s even lunchtime – the two-hour flight from London Gatwick is shorter than most Southern Rail trips.
The journey to Longevity was fairly smooth (other than our pre-booked taxi driver misreading our baggage amount). He mistakenly thought we were bringing an impressive 22 bags with us, so turned up with a small bus. But extra leg room is never a bad thing.
I wander into Longevity’s airy outside reception building where, after a short wait, I’m greeted by a duo of friendly staff. A few health questionnaires later, we chat briefly about Longevity as they describe its mission to push the boundaries of innovative wellness.
My welcome also includes a schedule of group classes taking place throughout the week. Guests are able to try everything from group yoga to astrology workshops on a daily basis, as well as cycle trips and pilates.
My liquid detox doesn’t officially start until the following morning, so today is centred around settling in rather than sipping.
I’m shown to my room, which consists of a spacious suite filled with elegant white furniture, its own basic kitchen and a private terrace that looks out across the adjacent nature reserve with a sweep of forest.
Unpacked and ready to unwind, we angelically sip water out on the balcony and watch a farmer lead a procession of goats through the trails nearby.
The distinct lack of noise is very peaceful, the hotel’s slow pace acting like a buffer to the stress I felt earlier in the day. Already, I can feel my mind starting to ease up as we stare out at the horizon.
Day Two: Commencing Consultations
My eyes flit open to the Algarve’s famous sunlight glimmering through the windows, waking us (and my stomach) up for the day. Breakfast is served at PURE Café, the hotel’s healthy restaurant found perched by the pool edge. We wander across the grass, rubbing our eyes at the bright morning light like two nocturnal bats.
It’s a chic, glass-wall affair filled with simple wooden seating and a small kitchen counter. For those that aren’t trying the liquid detox programme, PURE Café serves up a range of carefully balanced meals – including a hearty breakfast tray each morning.
My detox doesn’t technically start until after my consultation at 10am, so I’m handed the usual healthy fare. The offering differs daily, but today’s large plate is piled with eggs, sliced fruit, quinoa porridge, cottage cheese, juices and even fresh bread (and it’s not even made from vegetables).
By the time I finish eating, it’s time for my consultation with the hotel’s in-house nutritionist. She asks me a few questions and gives me a personal wellness evaluation, inputting a range of data into a ‘Body Composition Analyser’ machine which provides a reading on my body’s overall health.
As well as bone and muscle mass, the machine also shares feedback on body fat, water percentage and “metabolic age” – the rough age of your body in terms of health rather than birthdays.
From this, she uses the readings to discuss nutrition plans and exercise tips for both my stay and beyond. Her friendly rather than formidable nature makes her easy to chat to – perfect if you’re a little nervous about trying a health-based break for the first time.
She also hands across my liquid-only meal plan, a set menu of five daily fresh juices and soups. I try the latter shortly after, sampling a hot bowl of brown five-bean soup back in the sunshine at PURE Café.
It’s surprisingly filling, and keeps me going throughout the tough afternoon of treatments at the spa, where I’m given a full-body detox massage that leaves my limbs feeling thoroughly relaxed.
Post-relaxation (and two more frothy juices), I spend the evening watching movies in our room and trying out a light workout in the gym, a small but well-equipped building filled with weights and a trio of cardio machines. Then it’s time for a soup again and before I know it, the cozy king-size bed.
Day Three: Detoxing and De-stressing
Today, the breakfast porridge’s been replaced with a large glass of green ‘milkshake’. A blend of vegan protein powder, greens and soy milk, I finish the glass quickly whilst enviously observing the others around me devouring their platters of healthy dishes.
Within PURE’s gleaming glass walls, there’s a wide mix of people slowly sipping from mint-hued glasses and those dining a la carte. My own liquid detox is very short, but I’d definitely struggle to watch a room of people tear chunks of fresh bread and enjoy spoonfuls of oats around me if it wasn’t.
Sun shining on my back, I wander across to The Feel SPA by Longevity where a range of different rooms await to be explored. It’s surprisingly empty, so I spend the morning testing out the facilities with my friend.
We bask in the steam room with a duo of peppermint and orange aromatherapies before enduring the piping hot sauna with a glass wall front and special infrared panels.
As well as an enormous bowl filled with ice, there’s also an intriguing Epsom Salt Room, which involves sitting on a deckchair whilst staring at an enormous wall of pink salt.
Better suited to warmer days, the nearby outdoor swimming pool and heated hydrojet pool also look inviting – but the thought of icy lengths leaves me quickly retreating back to the sauna.
It’s soon time for my lunchtime soup fix, before I wile the afternoon away back in the spa with another treatment, this time a delicious-smelling honey, fig and carob body scrub. There’s a peaceful nature about the hotel that’s generated from its quiet atmosphere – other than mealtimes, I hardly spot other guests.
My evening’s very much the same as before – an unwinding session of movies and soup, as well as a leisurely stroll around the grounds whilst the vibrant pink sunset matches the colourful buildings down the road perfectly.
The Wordrobe Verdict
If it’s nothing but adagio-esque tranquility you’re after, Longevity Cegonha Country Club is ideal for restoring balance in both the body and brain. However, those that prefer holidays with a more action-packed or ultra luxurious edge might find it a little repetitive, even with the group activities.
Whilst the experience is very simple, it works. By my third night, my frazzled mind is firmly switched off, thinking only about juice combinations and whether or not I can squeeze in another sauna session before check-out rolls around. Emails, schmemails… for now, at least.
Make it happen
Cost: Longevity Cegonha Country Club offers double bedroom stays starting from €98/£86 per room per night.
How: To find out more and make a booking, please click here or phone +351 967 108 244.
PLUS: Longevity Cegonha Country Club will be welcoming celebrity wellness expert, Jasmine Helmsley for an exclusive ‘East By West’ Ayurvedic Retreat from 4th-8th April 2019. To find out more, click here.