A podcast conversation with Carlos Quereda.

Two beautiful properties in Portugal and three in Spain – all family owned and each unique. Carlos and I talked about the highlights of each property and the fun things you can do nearby.

PORTUGAL
Sublime Comporta is nestled in the countryside yet just 10 minutes from the beach. They have their own beach club on a 60km stretch of white sand on the coast, known as the Hamptons of Portugal. The style is natural chic and understated with contemporary touches. Sublime is a perfect destination for adults or families with teens.

A special experience is enjoying a private dinner, located in the middle of the garden at the 12-seat chef’s table – enjoying a glass of cool, crisp Vinho Verde, watching the chef prepare your meal, and then dining under the stars.
Horseback riding, surfing, biking, hiking, stargazing, shopping in boho-chic boutiques in Comporta are all an option during your stay.

São Lourenço do Barrocal is located in an ancient small farming village that has been in the owners’ family for over 200 years. Surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, and ‘barrocais’ (stone formations). The area is also a designated Dark Sky Reserve. São Lourenço is a wonderful family destination – they have a dedicated family pool and a separate adult pool, they have 1-3 bedroom casas and lots of activities including pottery workshops for the kids.

Enjoy horseback riding, spa treatments, family picnics, bike rides, and archaeological visits. Or go the simple route with a walk around the beautiful property or read your book by the pool.

If you’d like an over the top experience, charter a hot air balloon to pick you up from the grounds, and feel the thrill of flying above the hilltop village of Monsaraz, the glimmering Alqueva Lake, and the cattle grazing in the fields.

SPAIN
The sleek and contemporary Mediterranean vibe of SHA Wellness Clinic hosts 65,000 sq. ft. of wellness space and 90 treatment rooms. With only 90 guest rooms, that’s the highest ratio I’ve ever heard of for a spa. Their focus is on well-being and health not just as an absence of disease, but as an optimal state of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Carlos mentioned many professional soccer players stay at SHA. I asked if Ronaldo or Marcelo were on the list and he gave me the tip that one had been recently and it’s on his Instagram. So I had to look it up. After first looking through dozens of photos of Ronaldo with his shirt off (likely his favorite pose) I switched over to Marcelo’s feed and there he was at SHA. I happen to think Marcelo is a much more fun personality than Ronaldo, so I’ll take that as a good endorsement.

If you want to go OTT, book the Penthouse at the Residences with a private infinity pool. It’s a favorite of professional athletes and top models.

You would be happy staying on property for your entire stay, but if you do want to venture off, walk to the light house to view a spectacular sunset.

Puente Romano and Marbella Club are owned by the same family and they are just down the beach from one another. How to decide which one is the right place for you? Of course, you can ask me. Or read on for some tips that will help you figure it out. Both properties are beach front in Marbella. They share access to their private Marbella golf course, which is open all year round. Puente Romano is built in the style of an Andalusian village – the guest rooms and suites are spread in 27 three story villas, scattered around lush, landscaped gardens. They also have a huge tennis center that occasionally hosts concerts too.

Puente Romano is known for their bar that is open until 4a. It is the place to be seen in Marbella in the summer. Note – if you are not planning to stay out until 4a, don’t opt for a room next to the bar.

Marbella Club oozes European charm and elegance with Andalusian touches. It has one of the most extensive kids clubs in Europe, housed in the heart of the gardens, offering supervised activities from sports, gardening, and wildlife experiences to science experiments and dance lessons.

While staying at either place, there are many adventures off property – some near and some far. Take a trip to the hilltop town of Ronda an hour away (one of my personal favorite towns in Spain) – it has a stunning location overlooking a gorge. Nearby is an over the top activity – driving a F1 out of the collection of sport cars at Ascari, a professional racetrack circuit. The driving age is 18 in case your teens are interested. Or you can get a guide and hike the Caminito del Rey, known as the “most dangerous walk in the world.”

A simple, close by favorite activity is one I’ve done with my family several times – walk the boardwalk next to the beach, people watching, checking out the beach restaurants, observing the sardines that are being grilled on open fires, and enjoy some refreshing ice cream. Often there are places for kids to play, like a bungie trampoline.

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