Focusing on weight loss and improving quality of life, Solar Alvura Health Hotel in Moncarapacho is the brainchild of a Finnish doctor who had a dream
There is a new holiday concept in the Algarve since the opening of Solar Alvura Health Hotel, an elegant boutique hotel set amongst orange and almond orchards, overlooking the sea and mountains. Open since June, Solar Alvura is a haven for total relaxation and tranquillity, with the sole aim of providing guests with a chance to recharge, rejuvenate and lose weight.
The idea of creating a unique concept focusing on health tourism had been on Dr Eva Orsmond’s mind for 20 years, ever since she founded her clinics in Ireland – one in Dublin and another in Galway – specialising in weight loss and reversing type 2 diabetes.
Having already published several books and participated in TV shows, there was still one dream left to fulfil. She looked into countries like Italy and France, but it was in Portugal, more precisely in Moncarapacho (Olhão), in the Pés do Cerro area, that she fell in love after coming across some ruins in a farm dating back to 1868.
Construction work began in 2017, whilst the project represented a €3 million investment. “It was a challenge, but the result is amazing,” says the doctor who believes her hotel has brought a new perspective of tourism to the Algarve, and the country.
And how did the idea come about? “Most people report good results with prescribed diet plans and medical monitoring. However, there are also those who face personal challenges, feelings of frustration and anxiety, and need all temptations to be taken away from them. I always thought that these types of people needed somewhere outside their usual environment, almost like a world apart, to be able to retreat for a while.
“I wanted an elegant place where you could eat healthy food, cook and exercise. Above all, I wanted to be able to provide an option that was available immediately and all year round,” says Eva Orsmond.
Spanning across over four hectares, the hotel includes 21 rooms, a gym, an outdoor pool, a heated Moroccan-style pool, spa, treatment rooms, beauty salon, yoga tent, a terrace for meditation, library and even an olive oil press. There is a whole range of experiences that starts right at Faro airport, as soon as guests arrive.
“I want this space to be a source of inspiration. Even if someone decides to do the retreat alone, regardless of where they’re travelling from, we will pick them up at the airport if they want us to. The service is included in the package because I want people to be stress-free from the moment they land in the Algarve. Arriving at a new destination has always made me feel a bit tense, so I want to avoid that here,” she explains.
Upon arrival at the boutique hotel, the first step is the initial assessment with each guest, which Eva Orsmond carries out herself. The idea is to get to know each client better, understand their goals, if they have any comorbidities, allergies or dietary restrictions. After the evaluation, the team will advise on the best treatment programme, dietary plan and exercise regime, thus providing a personalised and individualised service.
Aside from the usual routines at Solar Alvura and the rejuvenation programme, there are three programmes available, with different dietary plans focused on different guest profiles. The first is dedicated to rapid weight loss, lasting a minimum of seven days, and the guest can lose between 2.5kg and 5kg.
The progressive weight loss programme, with the same minimum period, can see a weight loss between 0.5kg and 3kg. The programme designed for weight maintenance, on the other hand, includes a three-night stay and a diet without calorie deficit. “The idea is, for example, to come with your partner and you each have a different plan. It’s a new holiday trend, which is even more important after a lockdown. Of course, the client can also stay here just to relax. Each person sets their own goal,” explains Eva Orsmond.
Prices vary according to the programme chosen. For seven nights, the price is €550 for two people. On the other hand, programmes with longer stays cost around €1,925 per person. And even with such different programmes, all guests can enjoy a varied food offer for breakfast, lunch, dinner and three snacks. There is just one catch: alcohol is strictly forbidden at Solar Alvura: “How could I prescribe a diet to someone who, on holiday, is in a hotel with a bottle of wine on the table? That doesn’t happen here. The evenings are quiet and relaxing, but we also have moments of relaxation with mocktails,” which can even be accompanied by a pianist playing live.
During the day, there are set times for sports classes, such as water aerobics and HIIT, yoga, meditation, walks, trips to the beach, rounds of golf and even cooking classes with the hotel’s chefs, Samuel Gabriel and Edgar Pereira.
Solar Alvura is also planning to have animals at the property and also a vegetable garden. “This project is my dream, and these are just the first steps,” concludes Eva Orsmond.
By Maria Simiris