Experiencing the Unforgettable at EPIC SANA Algarve, Portgual

The Algarve is one of the most beautiful areas in Europe with stunning sandy beaches flanked by rich red cliffs. Nestled on the coast with a prime position overlooking the Mediterranean, you’ll find EPIC SANA Algarve. This five star luxury hotel is the perfect haven if you’re looking for some rest and relaxation, yet it also offers a great range of workout and wellness retreats.

The good first impressions actually began as soon as we arrived at Faro airport. We were collected by a lovely driver whom EPIC SANA use regularly, and it made for a great start to our trip. Pulling up outside the hotel at night, you definitely get the wow factor. It’s a triumph of modern design, with a huge open-plan lobby decorated with contemporary artworks.

EPIC-SANA-Algarve-hotelIt actually looks out onto the sea, as we’d discover the next morning. The friendly check-in staff suggested an in-room check-in, an excellent idea as he also showed us how certain features worked and answered all our queries about breakfast time and more.

One of the joys of travelling for me is staying in places that have elements you’d like to incorporate into your own home and this was definitely the case. The innovative bathroom had sliding walls to ensure complete privacy. However, if you left them open, the already sizeable bedroom appeared even larger.

EPIC-SANA-AlgarveThe terrace added to the overall impression of spaciousness, and was well-equipped with side screens, a table, chairs and a sun-lounger. The views towards the swimming pool and beyond it, the azure sea, were fantastic.

Our room had all mod cons, including air conditioning, a large flat-screen TV with integrated sound system, complimentary WiFi, a safe and a coffee machine. In the bathroom, there were Aromatherapy Associates toiletries, fluffy bathrobes and slippers plus green toilet paper – this place is anything but boring!

It was the little extra touches that really made this hotel stand out though. From the welcome note sent by the General Manager to guests, to our name appearing on the TV screen, it was very thoughtful. As for the turn-down service, there was the customary chocolate on the pillow, but also a bedtime story each evening, all based on Andalucian legends. As we arrived so late on our first evening, there was also a welcome tray of cheese, grapes and chocolate waiting for us, together with an excellent bottle of Portugese red wine.

On our last day, we were treated to some delicious Portugese tarts and sherry, a lovely souvenir of a wonderful stay.

EPIC-SANA-Algarve-reviewWaking up fresh as a daisy the next morning, we headed down to breakfast in the light and airy dining room. There’s also plenty of outside seating with ample shade. The choice is phenomenal with fresh fruit, cured meats, salmon, cereals and hot dishes. The chef can also rustle you up an omelette if you prefer.

We then explored EPIC SANA’s grounds, which are beautifully maintained.  There are several outdoor swimming pools, with one being reserved for adults.

EPIC-SANA-Algarve-swimming-poolDotted around the pools, there are sun loungers, day beds and funky swinging chairs.

However, my favourite relaxation spot has to be the wooden day beds overlooking the sea.
They’re next to the Love Tree, a charming feature with red and white wood hearts gently fluttering in the breeze. Guests can purchase a heart, write their inscription and add it to the tree.

EPIC-SANA-Algarve-love-treeClose by, steps lead down to the crowd-free beach, with its golden sands.

EPIC-SANA-Algarve-beachThe cliff face is really striking, with incredible shades of orange, yellow and red.

One of the most interesting features of the resort is its wellness programs. With a variety of options including a yoga retreat, pure detox, luxury de-stress, ultimate reshape and bootcamp, they’ll help you tone up and make lasting nutritional changes. One of the guests that we exercised with had come all the way from Dubai to participate since in her words, their retreats are unique in Portugal. We sampled a yoga session with the Epic Vitality program. Paul is pretty good at yoga and qigong, whereas I’m most definitely not. We were both impressed with the yoga teacher who was so patient and it was a great work out.

We also tried the Ultimate Reshape, which involved 3 hours a day of physical training with cardio, strengthening and balancing exercises. On this program, your meals are carefully controlled and no alcohol is allowed. Staff will even empty your mini bar if you need to avoid that temptation but you won’t go hungry as you’ll be served 5 meals a day. If you’re with friends or family who don’t wish to do a retreat, they don’t have to! As we did, they can enjoy all the healthy buffet and unlimited house beer or wine, which is very drinkable. I don’t know of any other places where you can get fit whilst your less virtuous friends simply relax and eat what they want 😉

The gym is very well equipped and there’s also a separate fitness classroom and indoor swimming pool. It’s part of the wellness centre which also houses a beautiful spa with its own upstairs pools and some lovely treatment rooms with natural daylight.

EPIC-SANA-Algarve-treatmentI tried two of the spa treatments, the Gold Facial, which delivers a moisturizing and lifting effect. The gold particles in the cream left my skin feeling very silky and luminous. Paul sampled the men’s facial, which really unclogged his pores and softened his face. My second treatment was body transdermal mesotherapy which is included in quite a few of EPIC Sana’s wellness programs. The electric current acts effectively on fat cells to eliminate the dreaded orange-peel effect, yet is mild enough that I fell asleep. My therapist massaged my skin with powerful movements and I was surprised to find it incredibly smooth afterwards. The treatments will purportedly also assist weight-loss though several sessions would probably be required.

EPIC-SANA-Algarve-relaxationPerhaps our favourite treatment of all was the Sayanna couples’ ritual, taking place in an entirely private area of the spa. You have your own treatment pavilion with a relaxation lounge, changing rooms and showers plus a treatment room. This aromatherapy relaxation massage removed any tension and regenerated our sun-sensitive skin. The highlight was the private outdoor jacuzzi, with its panoramic views over the gardens and to the coast beyond.

We enjoyed several meals in Abyad, the hotel’s casual restaurant with its huge variety of fresh, healthy food.

The desserts here were hard to resist…

At lunchtimes, meals are served in the Open Deck beside the pool – great for salads, steak and fish dishes.

For my birthday, we dined in Al Quimia, the fine dining restaurant. It has a lovely terrace overlooking the gardens.

It’s also open to non-guests so a must visit if you’re in the area.

Specializing in seasonal Portugese cuisine, it’s highly innovative and beautifully presented.

The wine selection is second to none and they have a unique decanting system invented by a surgeon, enabling you to enjoy a really high quality glass of wine without being obliged to drink the whole bottle.

Chef Luís Mourão clearly takes great pride in his work, and no doubt a Michelin star beckons.

The combination of flavours is unusual, as with this pairing of meat and fruit, yet it works perfectly.

They even gave me a chocolate cake for my birthday.

There’s also the BLUUM Bar nearby for inventive cocktails based on molecular gastronomy.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to relax with a coffee in the outdoor lounge area near the pools. There was a very talented singer and guitarist duo performing on one of the nights we were there.

As you can probably guess, we were sad to leave EPIC SANA. This place really goes above and beyond and we’d definitely return though perhaps to experience a full fitness program, as in the words of Oscar Wilde, “I can resist anything except temptation”!
Have you been to the Algarve?

EPIC SANA Algarve Hotel, Aldeia da Falésia, 8200-593 Albufeira, Portugal


  • Amazing, amazing, amazing. I am so loving these photos of Portugal. And you look absolutely beautiful in red Suze. And we won’t even discuss how much I love the food. Beautiful post.

    Kia / KTS

  • “The desserts were hard to resist” – Why would you even try to resist, Suze why?!!? I’d just bellyflop into that assortment, mouth open 😀

  • Ellie Adams

    I’ve been considering visiting the Algarve for years now but this has totally convinced me that I need to go. Beautiful pictures Suze, what a stunning place!


  • Wow Suze. That hotel looks so fancy! And the food! Never been to the Algarve. But really want to visit Portugal. It’s not even that far away. They say the food is incredible.

    • Yes we were so impressed by the food! The Algarve is well worth a visit

      • My boyfriend is turning 30 this year and we wanted to do something special. We were thinking New York but it’s a bit expensive and we are already planning to go to Thailand. So maybe Portugal is a great alternative?

  • What a fabulous looking place and all the food looks so well presented!

  • Paola

    Wow, great place!

    I have been at Epic Sana in Lisbon, last month, such a lovely hotel!

    Kisses, Paola.


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    • I’d love to visit their Lisbon hotel now I’ve seen how good their Algarve hotel is! Happy Saturday Paola

  • This looks absolutely breathtaking! What a beautiful spot! I’m planning a trip to Europe next year and I definitely have to add this to the list. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • My pleasure, Soraya and I hope you have an amazing Europe trip – there’s so much to see. If you need any London tips, let me know

  • Wow Suze talk about luxury! The EPIC Sana Algarve looks divine and what a way to spend your birthday – Happy belated birthday!! The lobby looks tres chic and the views off your balcony just gorgeous. i love that the hotel has an adults only pool too. Glad to hear that you made the most of the spa treats on offer and your food pictures are fantastic – I definitely couldn’t have resisted those desserts 🙂

    • It was a great place to spend a birthday, and the spa was a real treat! Have a lovely weekend

  • This sounds breathtaking – and beautifully flexible!

  • Everything is so striking and incredible! The treatments you had sound very relaxing and the food looks out of this world! Thanks for your comment on your Paris restaurant, good to know! Looking forward to more of your travels. Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend somewhere amazing


    • Yes we were in Cannes, it was brilliant! Hope you’re having a lovely week so far

  • Looks gorgeous!! I’d love the cheese and wine on arrival!

  • Ahhh can I just have your life?! This place looks heavenly and those treatments sound amazing

    Rachel xx

  • Agness

    Wow, girl! This place looks so luxurious! 🙂 Staying there and tasting such amazing food would be amazing!!

  • Lucy

    Happy belated birthday, wow this looks amazing. The gold facial sounds superb and the food looks divine. I agree with you a good hotel offers something design wise that you would like to take home to where you live Lucy X

  • This place looks absolutely beautiful!

  • This place looks so amazing!!

  • Oh wow, no wonder why you were sad to leave there… I would be the same 🙂 Everything looks dreamy and really relaxing! I haven’t seen a decanting system like that before, definitely a unique one!

    Ela BellaWorld

    • I’m pleased to see that you’re writing again, Ela, you’ve been missed! The decanting was very unique

  • The hotel’s modern lobby is superb, what a fantastic entrance! I can absolutely imagine relaxing by the pool and a crowd-free beach? Yes please! Wonderful review Suze, it feels as though we’re all there with you.

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice | Twitter | Instagram x

    • That’s very kind Gabrielle, it was such a lovely place that I wanted to do it justice

  • The Algarve is a fantastic place and Epic Sana looks wonderful. The chocolate cake given to you for your Birthday looks tasty and the food overall is wonderful 🙂

    A lovely review and has tempted me to re-visit Portugal again, last time we went we stayed in a pretty villa nearby to the sea.

    Hope you’re well 🙂

    Laura xo


    • I’m very well thanks Laura, long time no see. Glad you liked my review and have a sunny week ahead!

  • Coco Cami

    Wow this looks like such a beautiful place, glad you had a lovely time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Camille xo


  • Ellie Adams

    You have completely convinced me with the Algarve, and absolutely stunning place. And I love hotels that go the extra mile with the little touches, so cute!!


  • You’ve convinced us to give the Algarve another try – and the Epic Sana looks like the place to stay. Years ago, we visited the Algarve and were unimpressed. Too crowded. And no real feeling of Portugal. We were far happier in Sintra, Cascais and Estoril. But you’ve scoped out a find that we suspect we’d love!