The Algarve Resident spoke with Longevity CEO Nazir Sacoor, whose new five-star health and wellness hotel, developed in alliance with the HPA Group, opens this summer in Alvor
First and foremost, it is important to clarify concepts: “I feel that oftentimes there is still some confusion between medical tourism and wellness tourism,” starts Nazir Sacoor, CEO of Longevity Wellness Worldwide.
“In the first case, people have a specific health issue and look for a solution abroad due to prices or when the medical specialty doesn’t exist in their country. It’s a reactive tourism,” he states.
“Wellness tourism, however, is much more proactive. It’s aimed at people who are healthy but suffer from an imbalance and look to add to their vacation some sort of prevention. Almost like an annual reset to strengthen their immune system, purify the organism or even lose a few kilos,” Sacoor explains.
This is precisely the strategic positioning of the new unit in Alvor, Portimão, which the brand plans to open in the third trimester of 2019 in partnership with the HPA Health group. “It was always our ambition to open a new flagship, a new structuring project which also offered different services in a five-star unit created from scratch,” assures the CEO. “We were looking to do it between Cascais and Sintra when we were approached by HPA Health. The president, Dr João Bacalhau, told us he had a plot in Alvor and that he wanted to develop a unique hotel project linked to health,” he recalls. “We had a meeting, discussed ideas and realised we shared the same vision, which is a crucial factor in a successful, long-term partnership. The marriage of institutional and financial capital, along with the knowledge and experience from HPA and Longevity, is the foundation of this alliance,” Nazir Sacoor underlines.
The business model is similar to that of most international hotels. There is a proprietary entity, whose main shareholder is HPA, and Longevity will provide the brand and manage the hotel. “In cases where our guests require additional healthcare content — besides those available in the hotel’s own medical spa, through diagnosis, specialty consultations and certain distinct therapies — the HPA group offers hospital support. This is crucial in order to compete with the top international benchmarks,” he says.
According to the CEO, Longevity already works in the medical field, with a complementary approach to conventional medicine. “In summary, the hotel will work independently but, when necessary, it can call on HPA’s specialised services,” Sacoor explains.
As one would expect, the hotel is mostly targeted at adults and seniors. “The bulk of our clients are people between 40 and 70 years old, some with high stress levels, who lead very busy lives and have poor food and lifestyle habits, and even have emotional and interpersonal issues.”
There will be 70 accommodation units available, including standard rooms, junior and themed suites, along with a premium suite.
Across two floors, the hotel will also offer an area dedicated to relaxation, wellbeing and health, with spa, fitness, beauty, detox, weight-loss and body- and face-reshaping services, among other treatments.
Two restaurants have been planned according to Longevity’s philosophy, serving healthy and fresh food.
Two indoor pools, a Turkish bath, an infusion room using Epsom salt (a mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulphate with many health benefits), a fully equipped gym and a rooftop pool complete the offer for all hotel guests, whether they are on a leisure holiday or integrated in specific offers from health and wellness programmes.
“Clients will range from couples who come for a weekend getaway, for example; to what we call ‘light-wellness consumers’, who want a simple three- to five-nights retreat with spa, fitness, detox, mindfulness or beauty treatments; as well as an assortment of guests seeking more intense and specialised programmes.
“Detox, weight-loss and reshaping [therapies] are the leaders in this segment worldwide,” Sacoor reveals.
But there is more: “We will have others (programmes), with stays ranging from seven to 28 nights. There will be a programme dedicated to sleep disorders and another for obesity, which, much like diabetes, are major issues affecting today’s society. Finally, we will offer anti-ageing treatments, premium check-ups and cosmetic surgery (at HPA). All within a five-star boutique hotel,” he highlights.
Once open, the unit will be Longevity’s third operation in the Algarve, where Nazir Sacoor believes it is still worth investing. “It’s the best region in Portugal for this type of offer. It has an excellent climate, a major factor in wellness tourism, easy accessibility, beaches, golf, nature and safety, which is very important.”
The new Longevity hotel will offer standard prices starting at €220 per night, for two people, including breakfast.
By BRUNO FILIPE PIRES