Serenity at Pine Cliffs Resort: The art of wellbeing

By Sarah Todd


By Sarah Todd

23 November 2020

One of Europe’s pioneering luxury lifestyle destinations, Pine Cliffs Resort is located overlooking the beaches of the Algarve coastline in southern Portugal. Owned by United Investments Portugal, part of Talal Investment Group consortium, the property is managed by Marriott International, Inc. as part of The Luxury Collection.

Its whitewashed properties spread across 178 acres of manicured gardens where accommodation includes a 217-bedroom hotel, 154 Residence apartments, 84 Gardens apartments and 148 Ocean suites.

At the heart of Pine Cliffs Resort is the 1,100sqm Serenity spa and a 414sqm Technogym-equipped fitness space, lined on two sides with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide stunning sea views.

Development of the €4m (£3.6m) spa was led by its director Maria d’Orey, who conceived Serenity’s lotus flower logo as a representation of the purity on offer and the spiritual awakening that awaits guests. European Spa talked to her about how the spa’s operations have changed since it reopened after the recent lockdown.

Sunset yoga overlooking the Atlantic Ocean

When did you reopen the spa and what has been the reaction from guests?

Serenity reopened in June and the response has been very positive. Guests have been following all our guidelines and are reporting that they feel safe in our spa. A set of very strict and specific policies and protocols has been created to guarantee the health and safety of all our guests and team.

Did you adapt your treatment menu in any way?

We had to redefine our offer and reduce our treatment menu as well as removing elements such as the therapeutic baths because hydrotherapy was not allowed at the time of reopening. Our Thermal Oasis was also closed until the beginning of August, in line with the Portuguese Health Authorities’ guidelines, but now it is operating with limited capacity.

“I think that the wellness and immunity of each individual will be a priority going forward and consequently we will be able to engage with guests in a way that is truly focused on their health and wellbeing.”

Maria d’Orey

Director of spa and fitness, Serenity

On the other hand, we’ve created our new Lockdown Recovery Treatments specifically to support and nurture our guests’ emotional and physical state after the events of the past few months.

How else have you adapted your business to suit the post-lockdown landscape?

All guidelines for the use of the spa are visible at the entrance, such as wearing a face mask, and there is also signage on the floors to help our guests maintain social distancing. Hand disinfectant is available on every corner for guests to use.

Capacity has been reduced in the spa's hydrothermal areas

We’ve reduced the capacity of the Thermal Oasis and limited the number of guests allowed in each facility at any one time. We’ve also had to remove some furniture and decorative items to guarantee distancing and effective disinfection, and we have swapped all our paper menus in favour of a digital format. Our self-service drinks that were previously available to guests have been replaced with individual ones and all product testers have been removed.

What are your most popular treatments now?

At the moment, our new Lockdown Recovery Treatments are very popular. We have a facial that uses rose quartz crystals to strengthen the immune system and provide balance, calmness and serenity. There is a Kundalini Back Treatment to balance the dormant energy at the base of the spine, as well as our effective Immunity Boost Full Body Massage. Finally, we offer an Ionizing Body Ritual that comprises a foot scrub, a full-body massage and foot reflexology to help relieve stress and exhaustion.

How have you settled into the ‘new normal’?

We know these are challenging times for everyone and we’re all learning every day. We try to make communication of the new policies and procedures as simple and transparent as possible so that our guests know exactly what to expect when they visit us.

A Serenity Rose Bliss bath

What were the main issues you faced?

I think the biggest challenge was – and still is – to guarantee that we have guests in the resort and that we have tourists in Portugal. Some of our borders are still closed or limited and this brings about fear and anxiety as some people still feel that it is not safe to travel, but we can assure potential guests that Portugal is a safe country and Pine Cliffs Resort and Sheraton Cascais Resort are committed to providing a luxury experience in the safest way possible.

How has your team responded to the challenge?

My team have gone far beyond what was expected. Every job description has been updated, as everyone has new obligations in terms of the cleaning and disinfection of their workspace. All staff members also had specific training before they started working on sanitary procedures and self-protection measures.

What positives have you taken from the experience of the past few months?

This time has reinforced the importance of wellbeing in our lives. I think people are realising, now more than ever, what it takes to make them feel well and how to achieve it. I think that the wellness and immunity of each individual will be a priority going forward and consequently we will be able to engage with guests in a way that is truly focused on their health and wellbeing.

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