Delve into the history of Quinta do Lago, its 50-year evolution and what has changed with the leadership of Catherine O’Brien and her husband Denis O’Brien.

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2022 marks Quinta do Lago’s 50th anniversary

Long before what it has become today, Quinta do Lago’s property developer André Jordan sat on a hill overlooking the marshlands of Algarve and knew he was creating something special. Upon first glance, Quinta do Lago was just a maze of trails and a 300-year-old farmhouse without road access. But Jordan knew his project had potential. This determination carried him through a number of initial setbacks, including widespread political unrest during the 1970s, which temporarily halted tourism and development.
Fast-forward 50 years, and Quinta do Lago is a world-renowned resort with luxurious facilities combined with local flare, charm and history. Its timeless style and modern amenities make it great for families looking for an all-inclusive holiday.


Since its inception, Quinta do Lago has offered a number of unique benefits and once-in-a-lifetime experiences to the public. In the beginning, Jordan’s vision took shape as the resort built over 20 two-bedroom flats, the Pony Club disco, tennis club, horse riding facility, beach access, a man-made lake and the resort’s first 27 holes of golf, which held the Portuguese Open eight times between 1976 and 2001.
Today, Quinta do Lago’s golf courses have expanded to include options for golf enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals alike. Guests can explore the North Course, which was reimagined in 2014 by architect Beau Welling and former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley. The resort’s South Course has routinely earned a spot on Golf World Magazine’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Europe. The third, the Laranjal Course, was named Portugal’s Best Golf Course at the 2011 Portuguese Travel Awards. Most recently in 2021, Quinta Do Lago was awarded with the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency for its use of modern irrigation technology throughout all three of its courses.
In addition to the first restaurant established in the original property’s farmhouse in the 1970s, there are now 14 other dining options for resort guests to enjoy. Quinta do Lago’s vast array of eateries all boast gourmet dishes from decorated staff. Restaurants have also invested in eco-conscious initiatives by sourcing home-grown, organic produce.
Quinta do Lago’s accommodations have evolved with time too. The property’s 1950s The Magnolia Hotel with motor-hotel character was recently reinvented to offer guests a new saltwater pool, cocktail bar and selection of two-bedroom cottages. The modern Palm Springs theme and vintage neon signs keep the retreat on-brand, yet ageless. The hotel is popular with families looking for a relaxing stay that is fun for all ages. 
In 2017, Quinta do Lago finalised construction on The Campus, a high performance sports hub. From professional athletes looking for a place to train to parents searching for extracurricular activities for their children, The Campus has something to offer everyone. The facility boasts state-of-the-art equipment and spaces for padel, cycling, tennis, swimming and more. Guests can enrol in fitness classes, enjoy a personal training session or relax in the outdoor heated pool.
With so many exciting updates, it is not surprising that properties and gated communities in the resort are in high demand. Just like Jordan first envisioned, Quinta do Lago has evolved into a place where families can create lasting memories for years to come.



Quinta do Lago’s evolution into an all-inclusive destination for family and lifestyle travel can be attributed to the leadership of the O’Brien family. In 1998, Catherine and Denis O’Brien acquired the resort, striving to carry on Jordan’s legacy. 
The O’Briens used their professional experiences in business and community development to push the resort forward in entertainment, luxury accommodations and sports, all while keeping the history of the property in mind.
As the chair of the business, Catherine O’Brien has played a crucial part in making Quinta do Lago a family-centred space. Child-friendly events are now offered for guests on a regular basis and include activities like “family days,” movie screenings and scavenger hunts. In addition, the resort has emphasised holistic wellness and more inclusive options for exercise and working out.
And, in addition to expanding Quinta do Lago’s real estate footprint, she has focused on bringing top-notch sports equipment and technology to Portugal that has never been seen before. The Paul McGinley Academy and the Taylormade Performance Centre are testaments to this, offering guests individualised club fittings and the use of launch monitor and ball-tracing technology.
As the driving force and main source of creative inspiration behind the current and future development plans for the resort, Catherine proves that the hope André Jordan had for the property will continue to live on.