Quinta do Lago’s new facility, The Campus, officially opened in October 2018 after being built in two phases. Designed by Essência Criativa, the first phase – finished in summer 2017 – included tennis and padel courts and a cycling hub, The Bike Shed. The second phase added a high-performance sports and fitness training centre.
Explaining the decision to create this multi-sports fitness facility, Sean Moriarty, chief executive of Quinta do Lago, says: “Since its founding 46 years ago, Quinta has been encouraging an active, outdoor lifestyle at the resort, and we’re committed to providing the very best experience to every person who spends time with us – from the family here on holiday to the champion athlete here to rehabilitate.
“The Campus is part of the evolution of that – it’s an exciting new facility that adds a unique lifestyle experience for our regular guests, but that will also attract a completely new audience to the elite training venue.”
The sports and fitness training centre has certainly been designed to appeal to the professional athlete. The centre encompasses a stadium-quality DESSO GrassMaster hybrid pitch, high performance gymnasiums, dedicated studio space, a recovery suite with hot and cold plunge pools, and sports medicine and rehabilitation facilities.
“We went to a lot of grounds,” says Moriarty. “Football grounds and rugby grounds throughout Europe and other parts of the world. We spoke to nutritionists, physiotherapists and health and wellness professionals and asked them what’s good and what they’re missing. We captured all of that and tried to get it all in here. We got as much as we could. We always have a big wish list though!
“When we’ve got big football teams visiting, the ground floor gym is usually closed off for them. We’ve got two dressing rooms for home and away teams or for males and females. Then upstairs we’ve got another gym with a view of the pitch. The pitch is the very same pitch they use at Manchester City or Aviva or Twickenham.”
Indeed, the team seems to have hit the mark with The Campus, which has already been utilised for specialist training by the British Paratriathlon Team, footballers Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, padel champion Diogo Rocha, athletes Lily Partridge and Susie Chan, as well as football teams Beijing Sinobo Guoan, the Croatian national team, S.L Benfica, Olympique de Marseille and Wolfsberger AC.
Sport for all
Moriarty stresses, however, that the elite facilities are not aimed solely at professionals, and that the centre is just as much there for visitors of any fitness level or sporting ability.
“The philosophy at The Campus is to be elite, whatever your level,” he says. “It’s a very inclusive place.
“I think what’s special about Quinta do Lago is how everyone is treated the same. Whether you have an ordinary job, like the rest of us, or you’re a superstar. The Campus is no different. During your workout you might notice a professional football team training on the pitch, or an Olympic athlete recovering in the spa, but we’re all here for the same things, so it’s very relaxed.”
Not only does the centre welcome adults of any sporting level, it also welcomes kids. Families are an important target audience for The Campus, and the team are encouraging them to come by offering a wide range of sporting programmes and experiences.
“We’re committed to inspiring and educating young people, and creating the superstars of tomorrow,” says Moriarty. “Young people are a big part of our vision here. We run coaching experiences for children, such as Soccer Camp with Rio Ferdinand, Tennis Camp with Judy Murray (see boxout on p64) and Rugby Camp with Brian O’Driscoll, as well as Junior Performance tennis, which coaches children up to professional tournaments.
“These camps are an incredible opportunity for children to learn from their heroes, make friends and get on a positive path with activity and sport.”
This family focus is a relatively new evolution of Quinta do Lago, and one Moriarty is keen for visitors to embrace.
“For quite some time, Quinta do Lago was seen as a very elite, wealthy retirement home for golfers,” he explains. “But it was also a hidden gem for a lot of people that wanted to enjoy an exclusive leisure experience. What we’ve been doing now over the last couple of years is trying to bring in more families and make it more open.
“We’re trying to make The Campus a ‘fly-to destination’ for anyone who loves sport and the outdoors.”
Onwards and upwards
So far, Moriarty says, visitors have been enjoying the new facilities. “We’ve had a very positive response since opening The Campus. It really is a beating heart within the resort. What’s great is that the whole family can spend time here, whether for a family padel tournament, studio fitness class or bike ride. They can be active together or each person can go off to do their own thing and then meet up afterwards.
“It’s a real hub of activity. We’ve had resounding positive feedback from the athletes who have joined us too.”
Going forward, Moriarty says he plans to keep evolving the centre and continue growing the membership base.
“The Campus is still very new, so we have a lot of evolving to do, but we’re nimble and plan to move ahead of the times. We like to set the trends, not follow them.”
For more information, check out The Campus at: www.quintadolago.com/en/the-campus/