'Property Intelligence' - The Man Who Invented Holiday Home Resorts

You may not know the name, but when you step into an upscale holiday resort around the world it will probably owe at least a little to Andre Jordan.

In 1970 this Brazilian – quiet, unassuming and now in his 70s – designed what many call the first resort for wealthy international holiday home buyers, the 2,000-acre Quinta do Lago in the Portuguese Algarve. I recently interviewed Jordan in the UK and he reflected on how his resort started the ball rolling…and remains a success today.

“Back then, people didn’t buy homes at resort developments. There was nowhere for the successful buyer wanting to relax on holiday without wearing jewellery or driving a Rolls Royce. We created that location” he says.

At first buyers could purchase plots and build homes to their own specifications but within broad resort guidelines. Early arrivals from the US and Europe included business people, politicians, celebrities, aristocrats and sporting champions. In the 1990s Ayrton Senna owned a home there to relax at between races.

“We wanted to create high quality informality. The estate is not gated because we respect the local population. In return they respect the privacy of the residents” says Jordan.

He sold the resort in 1989 – it has since had several owners, the current one being Irish entrepreneur Denis O’Brien - but Jordan continues to watch his creation evolve.

Purchasers at Quinta do Lago now, as before, are self-selecting. “This is not a place to show off. If you buy, you are in the elite of your field but you do not need to prove it” he says. Villas typically start at £3.5m so obviously attract the wealthy but these prices are – by today’s global resort standards – surprisingly affordable.

A key component of the success of Quinta do Lago is its physical design. “There is a discrete mix as people designed their homes. First there was Moorish, then classical Portuguese, now quite modern. It changes but in an understated way. Younger buyers now pay high prices to tear down the older homes and replace them with contemporary architecture and buildings of the very highest standards” Jordan says.

The facilities have developed, too, to compete with other international resorts. The North, South and Laranjal golf courses each boast challenging natural features and dramatic views and they are all rated in the top 25 courses in Europe.

Even during the global downturn the resort performed relatively well, thanks to the ‘flight to quality’ and Quinta do Lago’s uncanny ability to subtly change with the times. The resort was the best performing location for Savills’ international sales in 2009.

Now Jordan is involved in a new phase of the coastal resort, a short drive from Quinta do Lago, selling two-bedroom purpose-built apartment suites near a golf club for under £500,000 – a credit-crunch offering in Quinta do Lago terms.

“The concept of Quinta do Lago was ahead of its time. History has caught up as others have copied our ideas. But we continue moving to set new standards, create new concepts, there and elsewhere on the Algarve” says Andre Jordan.

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