Quinta do Lago is an exclusive and affluent resort, the destination of choice for those seeking privacy and luxury. A popular choice among celebrities wanting to get away from it all, the resort is often referred to as the ‘Beverley Hills’ of Portugal. With a beautiful setting beside the Ria Formosa (nature reserve) it’s all you need for a sophisticated holiday.
Covering an expansive, ocean-front area, Quinta do Lago is luxurious living in a natural setting. Acres of pine-trees, pristine golf courses and miles of fine sandy beach, where you can enjoy endless summer days, are all part of the package. So too are several outstanding restaurants and top-tier sporting facilities. All this by the amazing Ria Formosa, a natural park with sandbanks and lagoons. Even the resort’s own lake is usually home to dozens of wild flamingos. There are boardwalks and trails that are perfect for biking, hiking, and exploring. Some of the most striking and prestigious properties in the Algarve are found here.
Located at the main resort entrance is Quinta Shopping, a boutique mall offering an array of trendy shops, eateries and bars. Fabulous restaurants are scattered throughout the resort, from Michelin recommended fine dining at Casa Velha, modern Japanese cuisine at UMAMI, tender steaks at Bovino and relaxed family fun at KOKO.
Sports facilities in the area are superb – The Campus is the sporting (and social) hub of the resort offering padel, tennis, biking and fitness with Dano’s sports bar on site for a cold drink post-workout. And the resort is home to award-winning golf courses as well as the renowned Paul McGinley Golf Academy and Taylor made Performance Centre.
Within and adjacent to the resort there are several wonderful developments with beautiful holiday homes. Valverde is just a short walk to Quinta Shopping with all its facilities and yet is private and tranquil, ensuring peaceful days by your private pool.
Encosta do Lago, Quinta das Salinas and Lakeside are within the resort itself. All close to the ocean and lake, and the wonderful Ria Formosa. Quinta Verde, also close to Quinta Shopping, has a reception, 24-hour security and a private Gym for guests only. Everything you need for a fabulous holiday is close by but doesn’t intrude.
In 2022, Quinta do Lago marked its 50th anniversary. Over the years, the resort has become a place where the quality of life is a testament to the proximity to nature, and an active, outdoor lifestyle. Recently, following a €7 million upgrade, the South Course was crowned Best Golf Course in Portugal at the World Golf Awards. The unique history of Quinta do Lago is one that lives on in every corner of the resort today, promoting health, family, and a connection to nature. An award-winning and world-renowned destination for luxury living, the resort is a fabulous destination where families can enjoy life in a secure environment.
The story began in 1972 inspired by Brazilian property developer, André Jordan. It was his vision, that cemented the future of the Algarve’s leading resort. “It was a day I will never forget,” Jordan recalls. “I sat on the hill, looked across the marshlands and I had a vision of what would become the Quinta do Lago Master Plan.” That hill is now the home of the refined Casa Velha restaurant. Back then it was just a crumbling 300-year-old farmhouse, inhabited by Maria and her husband José. “Sometimes when you look at a property you have an instant view of what you are going to do,” Jordan says. “There was no road access to Quinta do Lago, so I had to drive along trails and through pine woods until I came to a high point overlooking it, with the ocean on the horizon. Within 10 minutes I had the concept for the whole project in my mind. I wanted to create a high-quality resort that reflected local character and style.”
As he went about making his plan, Portugal was about to enter political turmoil. Seemingly not the right time to invest in a huge golf and real estate resort, however, he continued with his dream. The initial and successful phase, from 1972 to 1974, saw the opening of a resort’s first facilities and accommodation: Casa Velha; 20 timeshare two-bedroom apartments, the Pony Club disco, a tennis club, a horse riding centre, a bridge across to the beach, the manmade lake and the completion of 27 holes of golf. During this time the resort welcomed the first guests, quickly gaining a reputation as ‘the’ place to be and featuring in several international publications. As the resort began to boom, the military coup of April 25 1974 resulting in revolution started a chain of events that stopped any further development. Following the nationalisation of the banks, the resort was taken over by the state and Jordan returned to Brazil. With very few visitors and no sales, the resort was left in the hands of the works committee (around 300 workers with very few resources and low wages). Their efforts helped keep the resort going, ensuring its golfing reputation was upheld.
From the beginning, golf was the vision and didn’t disappoint. The William F Mitchell’s initial 27-hole layout (today’s South Course and part of the current North Course) paved the way for the first golfing accolade when it was chosen to hold the Portuguese Open in 1976. The tournament and its success presented an unrivalled achievement for the resort. At the time the future of the tournament was uncertain, however, with the efforts of the resort and the Portuguese Golf Federation it was able to go ahead. At the time the course had no facilities, and as a result was forced to improvise, using military tents to accommodate the players, media, and visitors. Between 1976 and 2001 Quinta do Lago hosted the Portuguese Open a total of eight times.
The nineties saw the resort solidify its position as one of Europe’s premier destinations, cementing its role as a flag bearer for luxury tourism in the Algarve. This period also saw the resort retake control of its golfing assets, with its 36 holes, now North and South, back in its full ownership.
In 1998 Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien took over ownership of the resort. To date, O’Brien’s leadership has ensured the resort’s position as the leading golf and real estate resort in the Algarve. The resort goes from strength to strength, with ongoing improvements in facilities and amenities. There is now a third golf course, new restaurants, children’s playgrounds, the Paul McGinley Golf Academy, and a Mini Golf course. Under O’Brien’s ownership, the resort has developed into a truly successful example of luxury living and tourism.
In 2016 Sean Moriarty became Chief Executive of the resort, promoting more of a family and healthy lifestyle-oriented resort. The opening of The Campus in 2017 has made the resort a destination for international sports stars as well as a favourite location for health and fitness enthusiasts, and active families. Its state-of-the-art facilities, include a high-performance gym, tennis and Padel courts, aquatic centre, a bike shed, fitness classes, and rehabilitation clinics. The Campus has made Quinta do Lago’s one of the finest wellness and lifestyle resorts in Europe.
Restaurants/bars located in Quinta do Lago include Tucanos, The Shack, Casa do Lago, 2 Passos, The Bold Octopus, Bovino, Casa Velha, Gigi’s, Umami, KOKO, Limoni, Dano’s, Thai Bistro, Florian, Gusto, The Cheeky Pup, Melting Pot, Bamboo and Alambique. Having tried most of them, we can use our experience to talk you through them