Europe’s Most Romantic Resort of 2018 has a fresh new look
When Monte Santo Resort opened its doors in August 2008, there was a lot of curiosity about the all-suite development behind the gates. Sprawling over a vast eight hectares of manicured and now mature gardens, the salmon-coloured collection of 113 suites and luxury townhouses have set themselves into the landscape and look as if they’ve always been there. In early 2018, the resort’s restaurant and spa underwent some exciting new changes.
The newly refurbished restaurant has been thoughtfully named Aroma, a word conveniently used in several languages with the same meaning, fitting for a resort with an international clientele. The à la carte menu has been put together by executive chef Miguel Lourenço and features a selection of emotive dishes that tell a story of his culinary journey and highlight his Alentejo roots and a big sprinkle of inspiration from the other key figures in the Monte Santo team, including a dish that was developed from a special codfish dish by the general manager’s mother. Then there’s Ms Goretti, who handpicks the herbs from the herb gardens spread throughout the grounds.
Chef Miguel Lourenço has a selection of à la carte menus that change twice annually along with some special wine pairing options. You can even opt for a romantic dinner by the love bridge in the centre of the main lagoon area of the central pool, or if you’re staying at the resort, he will personally provide private catering in the suites. Chef Miguel told us that he has been at the resort from since early 2018 and aims to use “local influences and ingredients to create dishes that guests will find interesting and ultimately, delicious”.
Aroma has been decorated in a light, yet warm colour scheme and features a large glass terrace that overlooks the beautiful main pool area. It’s a great venue for outside guests and is suitable for couples, families or groups of friends alike.
In addition to the new restaurant, Monte Santo Resort also added a stand-alone spa called Alma, in July. The new spa is located next to the sauna and indoor pool area, which is perfect for those looking to enjoy a thoroughly relaxing morning or afternoon. The décor is calming, soothing and elegant. They have a great variety of Thalgo skin-care products that are inspired by the ancient practices of using marine and natural elements and extracting their therapeutic benefits.
The spa menu has all the usual massages, nail treatments, cosmetic, therapeutic and holist treatments along with excellent little touches like the hot-water pillows used in the 90-minute Spirit of Polynesia ritual that will leave you feeling relaxed, pampered, soft and overall very zen. The space is small and therefore each spa visitor gets the full attention of the therapist, making it a memorable experience.
As for accommodation, the suites are all fitted out with a fully equipped kitchen, full-sized lounge, bathrooms and bedrooms with either a private balcony or a large terrace, depending on the location. You’ll find an ample supply of Rituals toiletries in the bathroom and some charming, romantic gestures on arrival.
Monte Santo was named Europe’s Most Romantic Resort for the fourth consecutive year at the 2018 World Travel Awards, and although it is a family resort, they do go out of their way to make sure that special occasions are given extra attention. The new management took over earlier in 2018 and have been pushing full steam ahead with programmes to attract and please old and new guests alike. Chef Miguel is always working on new menus and theme nights to keep Aroma working all year.
You will be surprised by the prices, and outside guests are welcome, so you could easily add it to your Carvoeiro restaurant list. The facilities are primarily for the residents of the resort although they are putting together some great packages for winter, where anyone can use the spa and enjoy a healthy meal. Events like their wonderful New Year’s Eve parties are quite spectacular with a fully catered, themed party including fireworks, live acts, a DJ set and buffet. This year’s theme is the mystical Alice in Wonderland. Be prepared for some special guests and magical memories.
The resort is just outside Carvoeiro, and also has a lounge bar that offers a selection of 30 original cocktails. With the glazed terrace, it’s a fantastic spot to enjoy a meal during the winter months when you’ll have a five-star experience without breaking the bank.
Text Mia Wallace