Quinta do Vale Abraão is more than a complex of buildings. Besides having inspired creators such as Augustina Bessa-Luís or Manoel de Oliveira, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important point of reference in the Douro Valley region. Dating from the early twentieth century, at the peak of modernism and futurism, the quinta boasts architectural features in different languages. Nevertheless, the result brings with it no cacophony. The River Douro and the vegetation covering the surrounding hillsides are the identity marks of the region and lend the quinta a romantic air.
The grandeur of the quinta contains its own fragility. Its location in a valley and its omnipresent visibility were the great challenges in the intervention that was carried out. The project to rehabilitate and extend the buildings to house a luxury hotel involved enlarged the constructed area from 4.000 sq. m. to 22.000 sq. m. and with it the risk of forever destroying its original aura. The solutions adopted always included the optics of invisibility: vertical gardens covering walls, gardened terraces with lines of vines, the spa and technical areas entirely hidden underground. Even the aim behind the use of the unusual brown of the façades – inspired on native materials such as schist and trees – was to camouflage the constructed structure.
The result perfectly expresses the founding idea of the project. The traditional aspect of the quinta and its underlying aura are untouched, and harmoniously integrate the contemporary features that make Quinta de Vale Abraão the best spa hotel in the world.