Friday, April 23, 2010

Struth! Drinks are off the house

IN his continuing search for the more weird, whacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says a unique new resort opens in Portugal this month – specifically for recovering alcoholics and those overcoming addictions to gambling and narcotics.

The Sober Holidays Renovatio resort is the brainchild of Andrew O'Loughlin who has been on the dry for four years and owns a luxury villa in the picturesque hills of Algarve in the country's south-west. Andrew says he got the idea after fellow recovering alcoholics visited his home and commented on its peace, isolation and serenity in helping them get their thoughts – and their lives – back together again.

So he's converted the villa into a resort with five luxury ensuite bedrooms, has a full-time chef to create meals based on healthy local Portuguese as well as other Mediterranean cuisines, and done deals with local sporting clubs and resorts to make available such activities as mountain biking, hiking, tennis and golf (there are 14 courses in close proximity.)

"One of the worse experiences for recovering alcoholics is taking a holiday," says Andrew. "Alcohol is everywhere, I've had some of the most horrible and stressful experiences of my life while trying to take what should be a restful holiday.

"We're providing a healthy environment, good food, good companionship and a supportive program of discussion sessions – but these latter will not be obligatory – and AA meets several times a week in neighbouring towns."

Check it out on

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