Sean Moriarty, CEO, Quinta do Lago

Posted in People on 1 October, 2023

Nestled in the scenic Algarve region of southern Portugal, Quinto do Lago stands as a testament to the visionary ambitions of Polish-Brazilian property developer André Jordan. Established in 1971, the resort has evolved into the epitome of opulent living amidst a natural landscape. In conversation with SPACE, Sean Moriarty discusses his role as the driving force behind the transformation of the resort’s image from that of a traditional golfing resort to a sustainable, luxury lifestyle destination.

Could you share a little about your background and the path that brought you to Quinta do Lago Resort?
I began working when I was 13 years old, working on a farm and cheese factory in County Tipperary, Ireland. This provided a very humbling start to my professional life, and I later moved into the food and hospitality industry where I worked for 20 years before moving to Quinta do Lago in 2016 as Chief Executive Officer. Having previously held senior positions with brands such as Quinnsworth, (now Tesco), Dairygold and TOPAZ (Ireland’s biggest forecourt retailer – later acquired by Circle K), I led these companies’ rebrands and development of their concepts. After working with such large companies and being successful in their development over the years, I decided it was time to venture further into the hospitality industry and I knew Quinta do Lago would be the perfect place to do this. As such a well-developed luxury destination, it was an easy decision.

Gigi Bar

What was your brief when you were appointed CEO in 2016?
When I joined the Quinta do Lago team, my brief was to rejuvenate the resort and help transform its image from a traditional golfing resort to a sustainable, luxury lifestyle destination. A significant part of this was the opening of our multi sports centre, The Campus, in 2018. Since opening, The Campus has completely repositioned the resort’s lifestyle and reputation to Europe’s premier sporting destination for training, recovery and rehabilitation. We now regularly host high profile celebrity athletes and have welcomed over 800 sporting professionals – whilst maintaining a welcoming and relaxed feel that embraces all sporting abilities.

How would you describe your style of leadership?
My door is always open for all members of staff along with residents and guests.  I favour a very flat structure which means I am involved from the top right through to the bottom; this encourages speed and clarity within the network, enables people to speak up and illuminates waste in communication. I love hearing people say, “Wow, we love this place!” and it’s the combination of our team being happy too. We’re big into communication, we’re big into involvement, we’re massively into empowerment. Wherever you are in the team you are encouraged to think big and be ambitious.

Panoramic view from Villa

As CEO is there any such thing as an average day and if so, what does that involve?
Every day is different – and I like it that way. I like to be amongst it all, so I could have just come from our real estate sales meeting or talking golf before signing off a new restaurant menu. With such a large resort and many different aspects to consider sometimes I am involved more with the marketing team in the office and some days I am more hands-on with resort operations. Where I can, I love to fit in a workout at The Campus, or a game of padel. 

In a nutshell, how would you describe Quinta do Lago Resort?
In a nutshell, I would describe Quinta do Lago as a modern and luxury lifestyle destination that is ideal for families, couples and groups of friends of all ages. We encourage outdoor living and have an incredibly strong fitness and wellness offering – all designed with sustainability in mind.

How have the ambitions and values of the resort changed over its 51-year history?
Quinta do Lago began with a vision of a destination of quality of life. The resort dates back to 1971, when the resort’s founder André Jordan created the masterplan for a low-density residential area, inspired by the natural landscape of the land – which still uphold today. At the time, Quinta do Lago was just one single, crumbling farmhouse, but it has since become a true sanctuary for outdoor living and family lifestyle. Now over 50 years on, we are one of the few tourist destinations in the world that have maintained this commitment to preserving the natural environment and we’re very proud to offer residents and guests a unique, exceptional experience of quality of life. We are managing this whilst continually developing new products and growing our offering.

The history of Quinta do Lago lives on in every corner of the resort today; a legacy of lifestyle firmly rooted in health, family and connection to nature. As an award-winning, world-renowned destination for the luxury lifestyle, we are proud to be a place of constant inspiration, where the quality of life is measured by proximity to nature, an active, outdoor lifestyle and treasured family moments.

Clockwise from top left: Fitness centre; Bovino restaurant; Umami

With so many areas within the resort – from the properties to rent, the many F&B offerings, the hotels and sporting activities, how do you prioritise your focus and what are you directly responsible for?
I work closely with my management team to ensure that all areas of the resort are consistently being well managed and developed. Across all areas of Quinta do Lago, we are proud to have an incredibly dynamic and forward thinking management team that ensure we are offering residents and guests the most modern and innovative products. Although I am involved in all aspects, I can very much leave teams to run with their areas of expertise safe in the knowledge that we are offering the very best service across the whole resort.

Could you tell us about new and future development plans at the resort?
As CEO, I work extremely closely with the resort’s owner and chair to ensure that we are carefully uphold the resort founder, André Jordan’s vision of the Quinta do Lago dream. We are continually looking to enhance our service and product offering meaning that there are always new developments in the pipeline. However, despite consistently thinking of the next step ahead, we always maintain respect for the master plan and the essence of the resort. With the resort being situated in the heart of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, Quinta do Lago is a region consistent with its master plan which only allows 9% of the area to be built up – leaving the rest green and completely untouched.

We are delighted to be releasing three new property developments in the next three years, as part of Quinta do Lago’s master plan. These include a brand-new virgin plot site, The North Grove Plots, a new collection of apartments, residences and villas that will join the development Victory Village, and a new futuristic scheme of residences, apartment and villa, AL1.

Despite ongoing demand, we release our products gradually and this enables us to preserve our natural surroundings and respect the beauty around the resort. Each new offering is in a prime location resort, but they will all appeal to a different type of buyer – those looking to build their dream home, others seeking a ‘lock up and leave’ apartment or current residents seeking something more modern and futuristic. Many of these buyers have been waiting for us to release more stock since they missed out on the San Lorenzo North plots or RESERVA apartments in 2018 – we are renowned for providing buyers with a safe investment.

How is Quinta do Lago Resort performing at the moment?
Quinta do Lago has been performing exceptionally well over the past three years – with an impressive post-pandemic recovery record. Across the resort we are seeing a change in our regular peak and off peak periods, with increased demand across the rental arm of the business, Clube de Quinta. Similarly, we are really growing as a gastronomic destination, having recently opened a brand new Asian-fusion style restaurant called UMAMI and new culinary announcements are set to follow this summer. The Campus’ reputation has also significantly grown, and we are regularly welcoming Europe’s top sports teams for training camps. In terms of real estate, our prices have soared with resale values almost double what buyers originally paid in 2018 – to give you an example, a penthouse at our RESERVA development, which originally sold for €11,000 per square metre is now valued at €20,000 per square metre.

Umami Aision cocktail bar and Restaurant

What is the resort’s approach to sustainability, and how is this being addressed?
Sustainability is a big focus for me and the team at Quinta do Lago and something which is not traditionally easy for a large and well-established golfing resort like ours. Over the past five years, we have been developing new initiatives to ensure we are working towards sustainability and managing our carbon footprint.

Through the redesign of our South Golf Course and working closely with the Golf Environment Organisation, our resort has launched a multi-tiered strategy to foster nature, conserve resources and support the community. As part of this initiative, Quinta do Lago has made vast eco-improvements which includes the installation of a state-of-the-art irrigation system, nurturing current nature trails, and cultivating their own farm-to-table offering working with head chefs and gardeners of the resort’s own Q Farm.  We have also teamed up with local Wildlife Research and Rehabilitation Centre (RIAS) to help repopulate native species and return rehabilitated animals to the wild – as well as protect its natural landscapes. We are fortunate to be surrounded by the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve which is made up of 18,000 hectares of tidal marshes protected by a 60 km long system of sand-dune islands that separate the land from the ocean – and we recognise the importance of looking after it.

Could you tell us about the Magnolia Hotel and the concept behind it?
The Magnolia Hotel plays homage to the iconic 1950’s motor-hotel aesthetic of Palm Springs, offering affordable and stylish accommodations as well as a new energy in the heart of the Algarve. Offering an unbeatable location in the heart of the Quinta do Lago, but without the price tag to match, our boutique hotel is an idyllic base to enjoy world class golf, shopping, beach, nightlife and the elite performance centre and multi sports hub, The Campus. The Magnolia Hotel emulates all of our resort’s standards, of high-end service, charm and design, but at a much more accessible price point for families and friends to come together and enjoy – with access to the rest of our luxury resort offerings.

In a nutshell, how would you describe Quinta do Lago Resort?
In a nutshell, I would describe Quinta do Lago as a modern and luxury lifestyle destination that is ideal for families, couples and groups of friends of all ages. We encourage outdoor living and have an incredibly strong fitness and wellness offering – all designed with sustainability in mind.





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