A collection of published features ( from The Times, Tatler, The Mail, You magazine, Life Magazine, Vegan food and Living, Londoncalling.com.) Some shots from fashion shoots, travel, food and lifestyle articles. All features written by me - Sara Colohan. I work in London as a writer and producer
Discover the Future of Wellness Travel in the Algarve
In an era where well-being takes centre stage, Longevity Hotel and Spa in the coastal town of Alvor, Portugal, is a beacon of comprehensive health and wellness. More than a traditional spa holiday, this flagship luxury hotel redefines the concept of a well-deserved retreat by creating a sanctuary for anyone taking steps to regain control over their physical and mental well-being.
We are all more in tune with our health these days and the wellness holiday industry reflects that. It is a fast-growing industry, valued at over 4 billion pounds in 2023, and is estimated to double by 2033. But medical or wellness holidays have long been associated with cosmetic procedures like botox, fillers, and non-essential enhancement surgery and it’s commonplace to hear of people travelling for discounted dental procedures, but there’s another healthier and more holistic side to these kinds of holidays.
Getting something as simple as complete blood tests, checking heavy metal and mineral levels, or even having some realignment sessions with a skilled osteopath all while relaxing in a holiday environment and enjoying some warm sun can really give us a sense of control over our well-being and future health. Longevity Wellness Worldwide already has two other clinics in the Algarve, but the clinic located in Alvor is their flagship clinic, not least because it’s one of the only hotels to have an official associated partnership with the hospital located next door. This means you get test results quickly, can have top-level treatments with 5* hotel service. The building is an impressive curved, art-deco-inspired construction and boasts a team of experts led by osteopath Ricardo Rosa and Dr. Joanna Santos, making it one of Portugal’s most advanced clinics dealing in preventive, regenerative, and personalised medicine, featuring state-of-the-art technology.
This was my first personalised wellness holiday so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I don’t speak a word of Portuguese so I was relieved that everyone in Longevity had perfect English and all staff were so friendly and helpful without exception. My stay began with a biophysical, where my general health was assessed, then a very simple but detailed heavy metals and general cardiovascular evaluation, a thermographic and vertebral dysfunction evaluation, a fitness evaluation, and an integrative medicine evaluation. If weight loss or cholesterol lowering is part of your goal, a meal plan can be tailored by the nutritionist and a programme worked out by the doctor.
I spent four nights on what I called ‘my mid-life body checkup." I hadn’t been feeling unwell; I just wanted to take more control over my physical health. Getting comprehensive blood tests done and getting my vitamin and mineral levels checked felt like a mini mid-life MOT. I’ve always been one of those people who rarely visits a doctor unless I feel sick, so this holiday was about taking control and addressing anything I could do now to prevent major issues later on. It turned out there was plenty to work on!
While the Longevity clinic offers a wide range of cosmetic procedures, I stuck to the more holistic procedures like active scrubs and body wraps, vitamin IV drips, ozone therapy, infrared sauna treatments, and lymphatic drainage. I also scheduled two sessions with their osteopath Ricardo (All the medical staff are on first name terms in Longevity, which is a nice touch). I had recently fallen and hurt my back, and after a few months of rest, it still hadn’t reset. Within minutes, Riccardo had found the problem: I had whiplash and had shifted my line of vision to the right to accommodate my new posture. He worked so quickly that I joked with him that he was more like a witch doctor. During the session, he told me he had worked for years in Park Lane, London, treating many high-profile clients, but he missed the sound of the waves and the relaxed pace of life in Portugal, so when the offer to work with Longevity arose, it was too good to miss.
Over my stay, my treatment plan was carefully scheduled to give me time to get to the beach to enjoy a swim (it’s about a 15-minutes from the hotel but so worth the walk). The sea temperature in October is a blissful 20 degrees, but if you prefer a dip in a pool, Longevity has a stylish rooftop pool area. Pure Café in on the same floor, and offers a good range of healthy food all day. The menu is based on a light Mediterranean cuisine, inspired by functional foods, rich in bioactive compounds, anti-inflammatory and alkaline components. There’s a great choice including highlights like the veggie lasagna, tuna tataki, and fresh scallops.
Guests can have meal plans tailored to their needs by the nutritionist, but I went freestyle and really enjoyed eating healthily for the few days. Breakfast is a vast colourful buffet with yoghurts, fresh fruits, cheeses, and eggs to order. Just don’t expect a full fry-up. You will not find that here! Wine, unlike in some health clinics, is available, and I experienced my first delicious glass of electric blue wine (which is a Portuguese white, naturally coloured by flower petals).
The spa facilities are excellent, with several different indoor thermal pools. Cryotherapy, cool sculpting, and the Iyashi Dôme sauna are all offered to help with a detox programme. There is also colonic hydrotherapy, ozone therapy, hyperbaric medicine, body scrubs, a detox clay ritual, and an anti-cellulite and reshape massage. Aesthetic treatments including facelifts, and hair transplants, dental treatments, and holistic therapies are also available.
This stylish retreat stands as a testament to the evolving appeal of wellness travel, offering a great range of services designed to empower guests who want to take control of their physical and mental well-being. With its state-of-the-art facilities, expert practitioners, and personalised approach to wellness, Longevity sets the bar high for holistic travel. Whether you're in pursuit of preventative measures or seeking rejuvenation, this place will help you embark on a journey towards a healthier, more vibrant you. Now, who could say no to that?
Wellbeing Travel Specialist, Wellbeing Escapes, offers a 3-day Relax and Detox package at Longevity from €595 per person for double occupancy and €795 for single occupancy. For details on exclusive offers such as free spa credit and further discounts, contact the Wellbeing Escapes website at wellbeingescapes.com.
Longevity: Cruz da Bota, Estr. de Alvor Lote 27, 8500-322Portimão, Portugal.