The Handbook
The Handbook

Well we are now in summer. Supposedly. When the sun shines, London really comes into its own, with the roof tops, terraces and parks bustling, but when the weather is like this, sometimes you just need to get out of London and find the sun.

Situated just off Falesia Beach, Albufeira and within in easy reach of Faro, set in a spacious 8 hectares of land, the hotel is the newest  in the SANA collection and is aptly named Epic, because 1) it is and 2) it is one of their 5* hotels (the hotels range from SANA style to Myriad). With clear views of the sea beyond a canopy of trees, and soon to have direct access to the beach, Nuno Leónides  is the architect behind  the huge, but unimposing hotel.

All white walls, straight lines and splashes of emerald and gold, the immense hotel lobby is a spectacle in itself: with giant flower pots, numerous chairs to sink into, and a large terrace which gives stunning views across the hotel over to the beach.  This theme of white with dashes of colour continues throughout the hotel, the rooms which there are 162 of, are white, brown and lime green – sounds like a throwback to the 1970s, but fret not, it isn’t and it definitely works.

There are also 24 suites and 43 apartments (brilliant for families) with separate kitchen and living areas, and two bathrooms.  The rooms are unfussy, uncomplicated and minimalistic, and yet they still have all the finishing touches, canopy king sized beds, chocolates on the bed at night, huge baths that are too tempting to resist, large walk in power showers, flat screen tvs, state of the art coffee machines, free WiFi and professional hair dryers which aren’t attached to the wall so that you have to dry you hair in awkward positions.  Oh and every room also has its own private terrace or balcony perfect for having drinks on before dinner.

The resort boasts 5 pools including a separate heated indoor pool and two outdoor pools for children they also have a children’s club separate to the main pools, meaning the children can make noise and play around the corner whilst you lounge under the parasols. But if you can muster the willpower to leave the poolside then there is the beach 2 minutes away, tennis and volley ball courts, a fitness studio and a gym. But we say forget the gym routine, you are on holiday, and when you can do yoga on the beach or take a golf lesson a little further out, suddenly a treadmill seems less appealing.

Once you have exercised then a visit to the spa is a must before evening drinks (we say go all out and have a full body massage). The Sayanna Wellness Spa has two floors of treatment rooms as well as a jacuzzi, Wellness Bar, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and its own roof top where you can treat yourself to massages outside.

After early evening drinks, you have a choice of three restaurants for dinner: the more formal Al Quimia, where you can indulge in Portuguese gastronomy prepared by the head chef, the Open Deck which offers lighter snacks by the pool and Abyad Restaurant, with its open terrace. The food is a mix of traditional and modern Portuguese, think a lot of fresh seafood, salads, olives, bread and crisp fresh wines. Breakfast had everything from salmon and cheese to watermelon and hash browns but there is only one thing you really should be eating: the traditional Portuguese tarts, Pasteis de Nata. They were just too good.  And for a night cap, then the Bluum Bar, (the second of the hotel’s bar, the other being in the spa) serves up cocktails to the backdrop of live music.

SANA wanted to create a hotel that was family friendly but aimed at couples wanting to get away for a luxurious and high end break, from experience, we can say they have done just that. Fabulous welcoming staff, beautiful views and facilities, delicious food and most importantly a lot more sunshine than London.

Rooms from €130