January 27, 2018


October 29 will be forever kept in my memory and in my heart. The day I joined this unique piece of Art: The Presidential. Welcome aboard.

The feeling of making part of the history of this exquisite train is indescribable, sounds cliché but it is a dream come true. 
Gonçalo Castel-Branco, the dreamer behind The Presidential, felt it love with this train...and no wonder why. As soon you see this remarkable blue train it is love at first sight. It is magical, it is beautiful, it is Portuguese heritage coming to life

The Presidential contemplates the best that life can offer: traveling, magnificent food and precious moments.

Fernando and I were very curious about this train and to experience it overcome our expectations. As soon we had arrived to São Bento Rail Station you could had heard a "Wow" and a long sigh from my part. What a beauty. To think that this 1890's train had transported key figures - Queen Elisabeth II or Pope Paulo VI to name a few - and in 2010 was restored becoming more beautiful than ever. 
A big Thank You to Gonçalo Castel-Branco for that, for believing in his little daughter wonderful idea: to create a moving restaurant and he did it. In The Presidencial we are delighted with the most memorable Chefs in each edition. 

In the Harvest Edition of that October sunny Sunday we had the pleasure to attend the gastronomical weekend of the "Rising Stars" with Chef Vasco Coelho Santos from "Eskalduna Studios" and João Oliveira from "Vista" who recently won his first Michelin star. What a superb Menu, which you can discover while seeing our personal coverage in the pictures below. A warning for foodie lovers: your mouth will start watering. 
At the same time you can delight yourself with Niepoort wines while contemplating the most stunning landscape in the world: Douro. My roots are from Douro as I had grew up in this Portuguese region with my grandparents, parents and siblings...to me it is idilic. To be able to admire the vineyards in those rich Autumn shades alongside the river. Priceless.

After a few hours enjoying a perfect meal with the nicest couple who sat in our table we had arrived to "Quinta do Vesúvio" from Dona Antónia typically known as "Ferreirinha", an incredible strong woman who made this place and herself a Portuguese legend. Gonçalo Castel-Branco told us the story of "Quinta do Vesúvio" in the most passionated way, in the same way he did when he presented us the train as soon we had sat on our carriage. Phenomenal speaker and host. Same to Vera who so kindly received us, Marta and everyone in the organization. Congrats to the brilliant team.

Nowadays "Quinta do Vesúvio" is owned by the family Symington who had deeply believed in this project and who opened the doors of their house in which we could had a cup of tea or coffee, taste private label vintage Port wine (probably one of the most delicious I have ever had) and had long conversations in the terrace watching some guests smoking cigars and sharing laughs...in that moment we wished that time could stop. Stop for a little longer...

Coming back to Porto was a feast for every sense with live music and numerous surprises along the way which I am not going to reveal so you can personally discover. A magnificent personalized and autographed book is included. 
The late dinner included smoked meats, a delicious bread selection from "Gleba", cheeses such as azorean "São Jorge", pâtés... finishing with sweet treats and caldo verde with a modern twist. Ah, and more Port wine of course. 

The Presidential was the Gold Winner of the Best Public Event in the World of 2017. We couldn't be more prouder and even before that price was announced, The Presidential was the Gold Winner of the Best Event of our lives

Save the date: the magic of The Presidential is back again on April 7 and you can be part of it.

The Presidential Menu 
by Chefs Vasco Coelho Santos & João Oliveira

Appetizer: Prawn, Oysters, Orange, Gazpacho

Hot Appetizer: Boletus, Bacon, Trumpets of Death, Beans
Fish: Squid, Grain, Curry, Fennel
Meat: Milk Veal matured 45 days, Charcoal, Celery, Marrow

Dessert: Citrus from North to South

For Reservations:
+351 915 725 300

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November 11, 2017


From Guimarães to Quinta do Vale de Abraão we had found our slice of heaven: Six Senses Douro Valley.

I already had the privilege to stay in some of the finest hotels and this first Six Senses in Portugal is certainly in the top of my list. This renewed century XIX mansion offers you the sense of escaping reality...

During the all weekend that was what I felt, that I was living on a dream of autumnal colors and did not want to leave. 
A weekend is definitely not enough to stay at this paradise on earth, however if you only have a free weekend like us, you should book your getaway right now. In case you are lucky to book for a week you can experience so many different and unique activities on the luxurious Hotel. Curiosity: on the room you can find a serie of programs to do during the all week such as Yoga, painting tiles with the renewed talented artist Helena Ferreira, discover the organic garden where the vegetables and aromatic herbs are produced. We had a Wine Tasting booked on the Wine Library where you can find more than 750 wine vintage references, however as time flies we went to discover the interior and exterior magical spots of the Hotel and the Spa

Six Senses is brilliantly recognized for their Spas and when heading to this Spa you enter on a journey of reconnecting with yourself and of pure well being. I enjoyed a ginger and mint tea while recharging batteries and simply breath. Breath in, breath out. At the Spa and in other several places you can find some allusions to alchemy..."pegasus pills" that claim to make you fly were tempting or what about some "scorpio drops" to smell good? Fun and irresistible at least. 

Six Senses respects mother Nature like no other, in which sustainability is one of their key words. Natural materials such as wood or stone decorate the different spaces and the decoration is really spot on, elegant, refined keeping an alliance with the tradicional

Dining at Restaurant Vale de Abraão was a real experience in which all of our senses are awaken feeling the freshness of flavors and genuine ingredients. The oysters were simply incredible and for dessert Fernando and I shared a cheesecake with the appearance of the typical Queijo da Serra. On a first glimpse it seemed that we had ordered a real cheese to the table. Congrats to the Chefs for their creativity and beautiful dishes. 

The breakfast is full of colors, vibrant, rich...being breakfast my favorite meal of the day I definitely enjoyed some of the most amazing delights. On the breakfast you can count with a Chef 's suggestion of the day. On that Sunday was egg omelette filled with vegetables and we also had the pleasure to try one of our favorite classics - Eggs Benedict - and by the pictures you certainly would not resist...on point.

Sunday morning was joined by a resplendent sun, how wonderful was to wake up on our beautiful room, open the windows and be kissed by the sun in our eyes with a breathtaking view. Followed by a long bath on the tub inside the room and getting ready for a long and exciting day ahead of us. The loveliest Joana Van Zeller, Public Relations Director, kindly showed us the Hotel through her knowledgeable eye and made us feel even more in love with the Hotel, if that was possible as it was love at first sight.

A perfect getaway for every month of the year and for every season. We discovered the Autumnal charm at Six Senses Douro Valley and we hope to comeback on those long Summer nights enjoying the outdoor cinema joined by a glass of wine and Douro flawless view.

Six Senses Douro Valley
Quinta Vale de Abraão, Lamego

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