Six Senses Douro Valley – Vegetable garden & Room terraces

designed by /

Location: Portugal / Type: Resorts / Built: 2019 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on October 25, 2021


Six Senses Douro Valley is a luxury hotel & spa in the historic wine estate of Vale Abrãao, in the Douro River Valley. The bonding valuable historical and cultural resources of a 19th century Douro farm are merged with new vibrant contemporary outdoor spaces that transmit both serene and exciting experiences to the guests, engaging all their senses.

The landscape design was inspired by the strong character of the ancient estate, reflecting a land of tradition and culture, organically bound to history, religion, and agriculture. Also, by the amazing UNESCO’s world heritage surrounding landscape of the ‘Alto Douro Vinhateiro’, where the hills contiguous to Douro River are hand sculpted terraces lined with grapevines.


The garden design aimed at balancing traditional and contemporary features. It is traditional in the way that maintains the original structure, as is the case of the upper terraces that have always been the formal gardens of the house. The contemporary part of the design relates to the reinterpretation of the formal garden expression using different vegetation display, and the creation of a vibrant vegetable garden on the lower terrace, replacing the former tennis court.


Topiaris integrated traditional elements, as the old tank and the schist walls, and new materials for the vegetable garden, as the corten steel in the planting beds’ limits, combined with a contemporary layout and with an ever-changing planting scheme. It is a vibrant, living, organic space that strongly appeals to the senses. It is mutable as it changes every day with the harvests, and with the seasons, and it is deeply connected with the Hotel and SPA daily life.

The 1st phase of the renovation project was challenging, especially due to timings. It took only 9 months since it started until the end of the construction works.

In a second phase of the project, the former business center was adapted to hotel rooms. As such, adjacent outdoor areas that previously were not used were reformed to become the suite’s private gardens, separated by flower boxes, carefully planted with native vegetation. Two upper rooms have small private bridges that give access to ‘secret gardens’, which consist in very intimate wooden deck terraces framed by the carefully planted vegetation in the surrounding hillslopes.

Topiaris joined an amazing project team that included the award winning firms Clodagh Design, Rebelo de Andrade Arquitetos, Margie Ruddick, Enescoord, G2J design Inc., among others, having the full support of the clients (Six Senses and Explorer).


Landscape Architecture: Topiaris

Project homepage:

Other designers involved in the design of landscape (architects and landscape architects):

Landscape Architecture: Topiaris

Project coordination and Interior Design: Clodagh Design

Architecture: Rebelo de Andrade Architects

Engineering: Enescoord

Light design: G2J Design Inc.

Photography credits: João Morgado (phase 1 – vegetable garden) & Ivo Tavares (phase 2 – room terraces)

Project location (Street, City, Country): Quinta Vale de Abrão, Lamego, Portugal

Design year: 2014 – 2017

Year Built: 2015 – 2019

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