For over a decade, Dr Eva Orsmond has been a popular figure on Irish television. She’s a successful businesswoman, medic, mum, lifestyle expert and nutritionist. With her latest venture, she’s been busy developing a luxury 5-star health retreat here in the Algarve.
It’s Saturday afternoon and Dr Eva Orsmond has just returned from an 11km walk, and a December swim off Fuzeta beach. As a leading health-style expert, she certainly walks (and swims) the talk.
Born in Finland, Eva worked in her homeland and in Bangladesh and Namibia before moving to Ireland in her mid-thirties, making it her home until last year. She’s the founder of four Dr Eva’s Clinics – Ireland’s only medically supervised private clinics dedicated to weight loss and Type 2 Diabetes reversal and management.
Eva’s flourishing television career in Ireland has seen her make regular appearances on The Late Late Show, the Saturday Night Show and as a celebrity contestant on Dancing with the Stars. She fronted Sugar Crash, a documentary about health issues. Her help has been badly needed – Ireland has the second-highest obesity rates in the EU.
Eva has not been shy of delivering a few home truths (“It’s my Finnish heritage”), challenging people about their lifestyles. To help them, she’s published three best-selling books offering nutritional advice. Her latest venture – the opening of Solar Alvura, near Moncarapacho, was filmed for Irish television and made compelling viewing. In addition to the challenges of establishing a new business, it chronicled the breakdown of her marriage to South-African-born engineer Wyatt Orsmond.
I asked Eva if it had all been worth it. “When I sit here, looking at what we’ve achieved and the clients we’re helping, I can’t help but be pleased. That said, it has taken its toll, not least on my marriage.”
It was in 2017 when Eva happened upon a traditional, albeit derelict, old manor house set in 42,000 square meters of lush Algarvian countryside. “It was love at first sight.” The couple put their life savings into the project, selling their home in Ireland for around €1.1 million to fund the renovation and get the business off the ground.
A camera crew followed them every step of the way, with Dr Eva’s Great Escape airing on Irish television, firstly in 2020 as they restored the property, and again in August 2022, showing the progress made and the opening of Solar Alvura.
Buying the property helped Eva to realise a long-held ambition. “As much as I love Ireland and the Irish people”, she said, “the weather can be awful. I love the climate here in Portugal and the chance to swim, walk, and relax outdoors in the evening.”
When I visited, I spoke with a guest who described how Dr Eva and her team helped him lose 4kg in 10 days. Perhaps even more importantly, they’ve helped change his outlook, with a newfound focus on vegetables, fruit and exercise. Eva and her chef have also helped him prepare his own meals, allowing him to keep up the good habits when he returns home.
Solar Alvura is set in a wonderful location and the interior is exceptional, with the whole resort having a relaxed vibe. Eva takes a very hands-on approach, going for walks and swimming with her guests. Many of the tradespeople and all of the staff are Portuguese. She’s keen to make connections with the local community.
Establishing a new business of such magnitude would test any relationship. It’s been widely reported that Wyatt has found new love, while in the meantime, Eva has focused on developing the business and, along with Wyatt, supporting their two boys, one of whom is set to join the business later this year. In the weeks ahead, Eva will host a piano concert, with money raised going to a local charity.
Eva’s ambition and drive is something to behold. As our meeting drew to a close, I asked her to summarise her attitude to life. “I have always been very strong when I wanted something. We call it sisu in Finland. It’s part of our national DNA. My biggest fear in life has never been what I have done, but what I have not done. At least I will not have to sit in a rocking chair one day and think, ‘I wish I had tried to open a health hotel’. While we will all leave material things behind when we go, the adventures we had along the way can never be taken away.”
If you’re interested in donating to the local charity and/or staying at Solar Alvura, you can contact Eva and her team via their website and on the telephone number below. Likewise, if you wish to learn more about Dr Eva’s Clinics.
Did you know?
Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character.
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