The developers behind the project, which is located in plush Quinta do Lago – part of the Algarve’s famed Golden Triangle, and home to some of the world’s best golf courses – are Portuguese real estate firm, Green Jacket Partners, and Brazilian asset management company SPX Capital. One Green Way represents SPX’s first project outside of Brazil and has been driven by the friendship and relationship it has with Green Jacket Partners.
The company, where loving golf is a must (clue is in the name), is run by João Fonseca, a Partner and CEO at the firm, who picks us up from the hotel we’re staying at and whisks us to One Green Way’s HQ. Once there, he articulately and passionately lays out the vision for One Green Way, which – once completed – will include 89 contemporary, luxury residences, in the form of both villas and apartments, which are ‘distinguished by their striking design and sheer grand dimensions’.
Like all Algarve schemes, it points to the region’s 300 days of sunshine a year as a big draw for buyers (ironically, on the day we visit, it’s one of the few days of rain!), as well as the quality at play with the residences. Fonseca talks about how the residences have everything an investor or buyer could need, from Italian-designed kitchens to wine cellars, home offices (increasingly important since Covid), smart technology, electric car chargers, heated swimming pools, and optional cinema rooms.
Construction began in the week we visited (mid-September), so it was hard to see the vision in person, but the impressive presentation Fonseca gave us highlighted just how special the apartments and villas will look once completed – beautifully furnished, contemporary, lovingly designed.
There is also a big emphasis on shared outdoor spaces and community. This perhaps isn’t always the case with luxury schemes, which can sometimes feel a little individualistic.
The feeling of an all-in-one experience for buyers and investors is further backed up by the facilities and amenities on offer, ranging from a reception and concierge to a business centre, on-site restaurant, rooftop bar lounge, communal pool and bar, high-tech gym, kids area and padel court.
The partnership behind the development updated the previously outdated masterplan to bring it in line with current standards. Fonseca says there is no specific focus on sustainability, because that should just now be built in to all new developments. It’s a given, he says.
“We hired Paul Cracknell to do all the landscaping – he knows the area, he knows the region, he knows what people want,” Fonseca said.
He added that, during a global cost of living crisis, Portugal is a relatively cheap country, with a favourable tax regime for overseas investors.
“The cost of living in Portugal is still cheap relative to the rest of Europe. It’s also easy to get to – only two and a half hours away from London,” Fonseca went on. “The Algarve continues to be an attractive and compelling prospect. The weather, the food, everyone here speaks good English.”
Only 3% of buyers are domestic Portuguese, he said, which will lend One Green Way a very international flavour – in line with the rest of Quinta do Lago.
He also points to the Algarve’s increasing appeal to investors – with good air links, international schools, more international hospitals. There are also an increasing number of Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury shops.
But Fonseca also highlights Portugal’s more relaxed luxury offering when he talks about the residences being ‘modern, durable, high-quality – but not in your face’. The scheme is also keen to offer the same service and experience for all residences.
He says the size of the apartments comfortably compete with other offerings in Quinta do Lago. “This is an apartment on steroids,” he says, and the visuals back that up.
What’s the latest?
The scheme is set to be delivered by December 2024 and is currently around 50% sold. Sales were only opened in April this year and, according to Foncesa, soon sold ‘super-fast’.
He insists the prices won’t be changing despite this strong early demand. Most of the buyers, as is the case for most of Quinta do Lago, hail from the UK and Ireland, and Fonseca insists Brexit was actually good for the scheme as it encouraged people to buy so they have access to the Schengen Zone.
Fonseca aims to create a flawless sales experience, welcoming most guests and would-be buyers himself.
“We don’t rush them, we’re not in a rush. We want them to take their time, look at floorplans properly, get to know the area, before they buy."
We are kindly put up in the five-star Quinta do Lago hotel for a two-night stay, to help us get a feel of the local area. The hotel overlooks the Ria Formosa nature reserve and sandy white beaches, and provides plenty of excellent walking and cycling opportunities.
There are a number of top-quality restaurants in the vicinity, which are pleasingly relaxed and non-pretentious. On one night, we head to Bovino Steakhouse, which sort of appears in the middle of a quiet, residential area, but is packed to the rafters with diners on a Sunday night.
The whole thing is informal luxury, the waiting staff are terrific, the food excellent and artfully presented, and the experience an exemplary one. Even if you don’t like steak or meat in general, there are plenty of options on offer. We both opted for fish of the day, accompanied by generously-sized sides.
As well as Bovino, there is Restaurante Casa Velha (fine dining) and the recently opened Umami (an Asian grill and cocktail restaurant which offers great views and live music). Casa do Lago and The Shack are other good options, with equally good views on offer.
While there could certainly be an argument that Quinta do Lago is not true, authentic Portugal, it is now in its fiftieth year and has fully established itself as arguably the jewel in the Algarve’s crown when it comes to luxury living.
It also sits close to the likes of Loule, Faro, Olhao and Tavira, which all provide Portuguese charm and grit in abundance.
One Green Way is only likely to improve QDL’s reputation further among international investors, especially if the team’s clear and passionate vision is fully realised.
Brief history of Quinta do Lago
As mentioned above, QDL celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year - but where did it all start?
The resort's founder was André Jordan, who is generally considered to be the father of luxury tourism in Portugal, and who in the early 1970s had a vision to create a destination inspired by nature. With this in mind, he put forward a masterplan where only 9% of the overall area was built on, with the rest being maintained as natural spaces and green areas - and this masterplan and vision remains in place to this day.
Born in Poland, the entrepreneur found himself in Portugal fifty years ago in search of a new project to invest in. Following a bumpy ride to view a 300-year-old property near the Ludo nature trail, 'he walked to the top of a hill and looked out to the sight of pine trees, sloping grassy hills and meandering paths leading down to the Ria Formosa and overlooking a dune into the ocean'.
This gave him his vision and, in 1972, Jordan’s masterplan began to take place in the shape of a golf course - now the North Course. A private club in the restored farmhouse was created that would eventually become the fine dining restaurant, Casa Velha.
Sean Moriarty, the current CEO of Quinta do Lago, said: “The history of Quinta do Lago is one that lives on in every corner of the resort today; a legacy of lifestyle firmly rooted in health, family and connection to nature. As an award-winning, world-renowned destination for luxury lifestyle, we are proud to be a place of constant inspiration, where quality of life is measured by proximity to nature, an active, outdoor lifestyle and treasured family moments, and with a commitment to nature, our sustainable approach protects our environment and secures the future for generations to come."