Shhh, keep it to yourself, the Algarve's great for a holiday
Get a taste of the coast's quiet side at this stylish resort
Sunday 17 August 2008
The Algarve is Portugal's best kept secret. Secret? Tourists have been flocking here since the Sixties for its golf and beaches.
True. But there's much to explore beyond gaudy Albufeira and the ubiquitous manicured greens that have tamed this once wild coast.
Take advantage of the volume and frequency of flights to Portugal's southern coast, then leave the crowds behind and head for the region's quiet side. Explore the beautiful old town of Tavira and its beach island, the hidden coves and bays west of Lagos, the windswept beaches around Sagres, and the foothills of the Serra de Monchique.
The place to base yourself is the Vila Monte, a former manor house at Moncarapacho, close to the airport and just a 10-minute drive from the coast. The antithesis of the usual Algarve resort, the Moorish-themed complex has four individually designed "guest houses" – Vila Indigo, Riad, Orangerie and Kasbah – and is set in pretty gardens. Delightful features, such as the orange grove in the central courtyard of the Orangerie, the private roof terraces of the Kasbah, and Vila Indigo's private pool, reveal careful attention to detail.
This resort may be small, but the clever arrangement of rooms and facilities, and the convenience of three pools, means there's never a sense of being crowded out. It's oh so quiet, but when you require a little bit of a buzz the pool bar at the resort's heart is a convivial place to hang out.
The guest house concept means there are different styles to choose from across the hotel's 55 rooms and suites. I stayed in the Orangerie; my room was very spacious, comfortably furnished and had good views, though lacked a little in character.
The food and drink
Choose formal dining in the Orangerie Restaurant or the more casual surroundings of the Pool Bar. There's also a pleasant bar in reception, with an open fire for exceptional times when the sun isn't shining.
In the exotic Kasbah Spa a full range of treatments is offered, as well as a Turkish bath. There's also a gym, tennis courts, a driving range and three-hole golf course.
Wheelchair access. Children are welcome.
Double rooms cost from €133 (£106 ) per night, including breakfast.
Vila Monte Resort, Sitio dos Calicos, 8700-069 Moncarapacho, Algarve, Portugal (00 800 2000 0002; relaischateaux.com).
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >
£21000 - £27000 per annum + Benefits: Corporate Traveller: We're looking for t...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + £18K & Uncapped Commission & Benefits: Flight Cent...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Flight Centre Limited: Exceptional opportunity for ...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + Award-Winning Benefits: Round The World Experts: L...