We really felt spoiled with this culinary vacation! 10 out of 10! From the culinary standpoint, this was a great experience. We elected for "wine" tasting which turned out to be a private tasting of 4 ports paired with imaginative appetizers led by Al Quimia's sommelier. The sommelier was able to get us a bottle of our favorite port to take home. Our second experience was a private cooking class with Chef Luis Mourão and his team making an aperitif and 4 courses which was an unexpected additional dinner. The chef was very personable and patient with us novices. The recipes are challenging, but something we could (and will) make at home. The included dinner at the Al Quimia restaurant was billed as 5 courses, but we ended up with 8 courses and full wine pairings! The restaurant is definitely Michelin star quality. The hotel is great also. We had a fantastic room overlooking the ocean and were welcomed with sparkling wine and chocolates to enjoy it with. Included was a buffet breakfast each morning as well as full use of the exercise area and private Spa pool, sauna, and Turkish baths. The grounds are lovely as are the outside pools, though it was a bit too cold to enjoy at this time of year. It is also a quick 5 minute walk to a very nice beach. The only downside to the hotel is that it is about a 20 minute drive to the towns of Albufeira or Vilamoura for more restaurant choices. Both the team from BookCulinaryVacations and Epic Sana Algarve were excellent in every way. We will use both in our future travels.
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