A new holiday home resort outside Lisbon claims to have cracked the problem of empty homes during the off-season months. Absolutely flew down to find out how
Words Nigel Lewis
Lisbon Green Valley, the substantial holiday home villa complex under construction outside the tourist crush of Lisbon, is not the usual holiday homes resort most Brits are used to viewing when house hunting under the Mediterranean sun.
Instead of golf courses, beaches or vast swimming pool complexes, the resort is designed to appeal to the sort of people for whom endless days snoozing by the beach is anathema – the jogging, cycling and hiking set.
Lisbon Green Valley, as its name suggests, overlooks a verdant swathe of mountain crisscrossed by mountain biking and hiking paths and thousands of acres of wild countryside.
And if you do need to get the beach but don’t want to drive, there’s a trail for the more adventurous that leads eventually to the nearest beach.
The holiday homes resort has a way to go before it’s finished. The JCBs and construction workers have recently begun mauling its rich brown earth, and new wide boulevards are slowly forming to accommodate the 16 apartments, 14 townhouses and detached bespoke villas that will soon line them.
Like the modernist leanings of its part-built main apartment block and finished show townhouses, in many respects Lisbon Green Valley is a fresh approach to what a Mediterranean country resort should be.
And that means community, a model that’s been tried next door at its sister resort. There buggies whirr, children bob along the sidewalks and local office workers return for lunch and residents, in surprising number for the early Autumn day when Absolutely paid a visit, were lunching in the clubhouse.
Developer Gilberto Jordan, whose father, André, created two of Europe’s most famous resorts – Quinta da Lago and Vilamoura, says Lisbon Green Valley will bustle like its sister resort Belas Clube Campo because he expects 90% of residents to live there year-round.
It’s why the new resort is to have both a large school and a health centre. Lisbon Green Valley is also likely to have the same mixture of residents as Belas – retired golfing expats, professionals from around the world living in the sun but managing businesses remotely, and Lisbon commuters.
It’s this mix that makes Belas alive in comparison to the shuttered ghost resorts that are all too numerous in Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean, only coming to life during the busy high-season Summer months and half-term breaks.
Lisbon Green Valley is also close to the main motorway network that cradles the capital and spreads out into the surrounding sometimes suburban countryside.
This makes many of the area’s main destinations around 20 minutes away – assuming you don’t drive at rush hour, including the regal mountains of Sintra, which can be seen from the resort in the distance, as well as the seaside resort of Cascais, historic Belem’s tower and the varied delights of Lisbon, including its bourgeoning celebrity chef scene.
Lisbon is the city break destination du jour for many northern Europeans helped by the arrival of Madonna, who has bought a house in Sintra and is now often seen in Lisbon with her son after he gained a place at the training academy of the city’s football club.
Mention of celebrities does not fluster Gilbert Jordan. His father’s first two resorts Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago were in part built on a reputation for celebrity residents from the footballing sublime to the reality TV ridiculous.
Dozens of world-class football players including Christiana Ronaldo and Teddy Sheringham have had a holiday home at the two resorts, alongside reality stars such as Binky Felstead from Made in Chelsea, Ant & Dec, Holly Willoughby and Jose Mourinho.
Gilberto says he already secured several famous names Lisbon Green Valley, who are likely to buy one of the secluded $325,000 plots available, with building costs on top.
Further down the price list are completed apartments at Green Valley starting at $325,000 for a one-bed on the bottom floor to €520,00 for a two-bedroom unit on the top floor.
Townhouses kick off at €905,000 for the smallest three-bed units. All of which come with access to mountain bike storage facilities, of course.