My first contact was about 40 years ago when Andre Jordan the founder of Quinta do Lago sought more finance. It was a huge undertaking all those years ago, even before David Symington and John Garveigh had built the relatively tiny Luz Bay Club at Praia da Luz. The road system at Quinta do Lago had already been in for some years but thistles grew through the original tarmac but apart from that the then 550-hectare site was undeveloped. Early plot purchasers had mostly chosen an avant-garde Brazilian architect and there were perhaps 10 villas built in what is now Avenida Goncalves Pereira on the east side of the lake.
Andre Jordan was a man of determination and imagination but not at that time possessing a great fortune: the concept of US-style resorts, the sort with everything, was new to Europe. The Algarve as a holiday area was new. Villas instead of Hotels was new. Golf was not new but on the scale proposed at Quinta do Lago seemed gross – were there enough people wanting to play? That villas alongside golf links were more saleable was a marketing idea just taking hold in Europe: and at that stage the golf courses at Quinta do Lago were just ‘planned’ – marked with drawings of little golfers on a very large map.
I was asked by Andre Jordan to look, and come along to a meeting with Prince Radziwill (Polish as was Andre Jordan but with the crucial difference that Radziwill had married a Kennedy) in a grand house in London SW – to add my tuppence to discussions. These discussions were to be in many many millions of escudos, and quite a lot of millions of US dollars. Andre Jordan was not the determined aggressive brash style of property developer and ultimately the finance came from elsewhere – but once in funds took the quality route.
The development of villas in Quinta do Lago proceeded apace from that point and sales of plots for villas were brisk throughout the early 1970s. The Revolution of 1974 brought things to something of a halt as the development was forcibly nationalised in 1975. Jordan returned from Brazil in 1982 and then the building really started.
Today Quinta do Lago is one of Europe’s finest golf resorts and certainly the largest and best equipped. Building of villas is strictly regulated to ensure a very low construction density of villas of any resort in Portugal. There are 72 holes of championship-quality golf set in the beauty of the Ria Formosa National Park. Villas in Quinta do Lago are individually designed, many of exceptional quality, set in the pines and alongside the superbly maintained golf courses. Facilities include an equestrian centre, tennis clubs, lakes with watersports and of course the magnificent beach. The whole is beautifully maintained.