Portugal: EPIC SANA Algarve, Albufeira

EPIC SANA Algarve at Falesia Beach, Albufeira is the first resort for Portuguese hotel group, SANA Hotels, and situated just 30km from the pretty, historic town of Faro.

As you enter into the spacious hotel reception, you are transported from rural countryside into a spacious, ultra-modern world.

What's on offer?

The spa is set over two floors, and treatments use Gerard’s products. There are seven treatment rooms, including a Vichy shower room, and a beauty parlour with outdoor terraces.

The thermal suite had a lovely large and hot sauna, an equally large and gorgeously steamy hammam, a dipping pool with powerful swan pipes, and loungers to one side. Sadly the ice fountain was decidedly lacking in ice when we were there.

The outdoor pavilion will appeal to couples looking for treatments together where they can enjoy a private garden and an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the sea. 

The Fitness Centre has a gym with state-of-the-art cardiovascular and bodybuilding equipment. The dance studio holds aerobics and yoga classes. Next door to the dance studio is an indoor swimming pool for laps, complete with windows in the retractable roof. Very swish.

The treatment rooms were some of the biggest I’ve experienced and were warm, light and airy. Rattan blinds shielded some of the daylight but the light didn’t affect the treatment in any way.

Outdoors, there are five swimming pools, two of which have been specially designed for children and families. Around all pools were plentiful sunbeds, chairs and parasols around the edges, and pool towels in abundance.

The long sandy beach is a five-minute walk away, and a new direct path is in the process of being built. Here you can take part in a number of water sports. Golf enthusiasts will find refuge in one of the various golf courses that are close to the resort. There’s also a multi-purpose sports field for sport lovers.

Relaxation Room

What were the treatments like?

I had the Abhyanga Massage (60 minutes, 80 Euros). Ana, my therapist, advised that this treatment had been designed for inducing relaxation with long flowing strokes and light to medium pressure. No music played throughout, but that didn't bother me. My favourite parts of the treatment included the hand and arm massage where Ana took the weight off my limbs and really massaged into my muscles. The foot massage hit the spot, too. The treatment ended and I was taken to the relaxation room, and brought a cup of slightly sweet and refreshing strawberry and peppermint tea.

The following day I had the Skanda Back & Neck Massage (40 minutes, 45 Euros). Light music played as my therapist cleansed my feet with hot towels. Hot cinnamon oil was drizzled down my back and then massaged in, which felt divine. Ana worked her way from my lower to upper back using tiny circular movements followed by a flicking motion and then back down again. The smooth, long flowing strokes over my back were very soothing. Ana really got to work on my shoulders. She cupped the ball of my shoulder with one hand and worked into my knotty rhomboid muscle next to my shoulder blade, before repeating this on the other side. Ana worked into my neck somewhat, too. I was left wanting more! 


The accommodation

My resort suite was huge and complete with an outdoor table to seat six and two sun loungers. My peaceful view looked out across the lawns, trees and out to sea. Inside, my suite included a kitchen fitted with all the mod cons, a living room area and dining area, too. The large, high-spec bathroom had a cubicle rain shower, an egg-shaped bath, toilet and large dressing mirror. My king-sized bed was gorgeously comfy.

Food facts

The impressive breakfast buffet spread included hot and cold plates, freshly cooked cakes and pastries, yoghurts, fresh fruit, and omelettes or eggs cooked the way you want. For lunch we dined outside under the dappled shade of the pagoda. Seared sea bass served on a bed of citrus risotto was fresh and tasty, and the carob and coconut mousse was a beautiful dessert. Dinner was taken in Al Quimia, the resort’s fine-dining restaurant, headed by Chef Luis Mourao. Each tasty dish was served with a perfectly paired Portuguese wine. The Bluum Bar was very trendy, with plenty of seats and creative lighting. It’s a nice bar to sit in at night after dinner if you are wishing to hang out somewhere a little more lively with a coffee or cocktail.


Don’t miss

  • A dreamy yoga session on the beach.
  • From Faro, take a boat trip to The Island, a tiny unspoilt island with white sandy beaches complete with a restaurant serving freshly caught fish.
  • Dining at a traditional Portuguese restaurant (we went to Paixa in Vale de Lobo) for a delicious and authentic experience.

Want to go?

We flew from London Gatwick to Faro with easyjet (3 hours), and then took a private car from the airport to EPIC SANA Algarve (30 minutes).

  • Author

    Shy Spy

  • Age 37
  • Skin type Combination

Spa Likes

"Instant results; jasmine and frangipani scents; hot steam rooms; a good selection of magazines; modernist decor."

Spa Dislikes

"Whale noises (on CD, not in the pool hopefully); hard massage beds; tiny toilet cubicles; being spoken to like a child; lukewarm pools."