“Two brand new villas with excellent concierge services: a cubist-styled farmhouse near Tavira (for 2-8); and a minimalist warehouse conversion in Olhao (for 2-4)”
Or perhaps the charismatic and lively coastal town Olhao with its markets, restaurants and working port better floats your boat. Here, two blocks from the waterfront in the pedestrianised zone, a former fish warehouse has been given a new lease of life as elegant two-bedroom House 2 complete with cool patio and plunge pool, sit-out terraces and rooftop. Light shafts in from beautifully preserved arches, walls are whitewashed, the rooftop comes with a minibar.
Owners Ludovic and Bert are a dream team. Ludovic is a creative director with an eye for interiors – expect minimalist styling with cooling concrete floors and natural stone. Bert is a wine importer and if you want to try some of his stock, just help yourself to a bottle from the wine fridge in your kitchen. Yet where the pair really excel is with their unique concierge service: a “flying receptionist” will meet you on arrival, bring fresh bread deliveries each morning, and assist with booking anything from chefs to massages. If you need recommendations for good beaches (a 15-minute drive away), walks in the hills or restaurants in Tavira and Olhao, just ask. Self-catering villas with hotel services: a winning combination in our books!
- House 1 has ingenious, architectural design with rooms on different levels and hidden patios, and is blissfully secluded in a one-hectare private estate. Its rooftop swimming pool has delightful views over the orange trees to the coast
- House 2 is an equally clever transformation of a warehouse, with high ceilings, an airy feel throughout and a refreshing patio plunge pool plus long views from the rooftop over the Ria Formosa
- Self-catering villas with hotel services are a real luxury; expect daily food deliveries and a concierge service at your fingertips
- Both villas are very well placed for exploring the eastern Algarve’s picturesque countryside, villages and beaches
- Flexible set up: all 4 bedrooms can be doubles or twins
- Expect prices to match the design and services: EUR1500 security deposit and EUR150 cleaning charge (includes one mid-week clean)
- You’ll need a car to get to shops and restaurants if you're in House 1; and to get to beaches if staying in either
- Although children are very welcome, we think the villas have more of a sophisticated vibe; these work best for families with older children or for groups of friends
- We have yet to check these beauties ourselves and can't wait to do so
Best time to go
Our top tips
You can’t come here and not try something from Bert’s wine collection. If you don’t fancy any in the fridge, ask the concierge to fetch one from the cellar for you.”
- Boutique Villa
- 2 or 4 bedrooms
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Heated Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Laundry Service
- End-of-stay clean + 1 mid-week clean
House 1 is set on two different levels, with the communal areas on the upper level and the bedrooms extending out to the lower level. The original farmhouse now houses the kitchen and a very stylish living room with log burner, cream designer sofas, and a restored thatched roof. This leads to the inner patio, which was originally the barn, set around the old bread oven. The former stables located at the far end of the house have been transformed into the dining room, which has a glass-walled wine cellar and views of the pool and beyond.
Stairs from the dining room lead down to the four bedrooms (doubles or twins), which forms the new, cubist part of the house. Each is ensuite (all shower, one bath) and has its own private patio – ideal for extra privacy from your group! On the roof of the rooms is the swimming pool, ringed by sunloungers. Pleasingly, the house has myriad places for relaxing and hiding away – private patios, various sections of the roof space and hammocks hanging in trees – bring lots of books and try them all!
The kitchen is slick and smart. Worktops are made of natural stone and appliances are Miele and Bosch. There’s a fridge, induction hob, oven, dishwasher, coffee machine, washing machine and plenty of worktop space for cooking as well as a barbecue. But best of all, there’s a fridge stocked with Bert’s favourite Portuguese wines – help yourself using an honesty system.
Basic supplies are provided, and fresh bread deliveries (plus other treats) are brought to your door each morning for breakfast. The nearest supermarket is a 10-minute drive away, or you can make use of the shopping service for stocking up. A chef is available on request (just ask your concierge).
Once a fish warehouse (armazèm), elegant townhouse House 2 is set over two whitewashed storeys – high ceilings and arched windows allow the whole to feel airy. It's two kingsized bedrooms are on the top floor, each has an ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower and plenty of natural light.
On the floor below is the well-equipped modern kitchen-diner, which has plenty of counter space, a selection of basics supplied to get you started, and appliances including fridge, induction hob, oven, dishwasher, coffee machine and a laundry with washer and dryer, plus the requisite honesty bar filled with Bert's best Portuguese wines.
Double doors lead onto the enclosed private patio and its heated plunge pool – a refreshing oasis in the hotter months. Spiral stairs ascend from the patio to a terrace overlooking the pool, then more steps lead onto the roof which has shaded seating and a minibar – perfect for sundowners – as well as long views across the town's rooftops to the Ria Formosa.
The nearest supermarket, which very conveniently has a bakery, is across the street and there are many restaurants and cafes within a 5-minute walk. Or avail yourselves of the shopping service from the concierge, and again, a chef can be arranged on request.
- Spend a day on the Algarve’s island beaches, all set within a protected nature reserve, the Ria Formosa National Park. Ilha Tavira is good if you want amenities; Fuseta, Cabanas and Culatra are much quieter; Armona near Olhao has the best beach in our opinion
- There are lots of water activities on offer in the area: windsurfing, fishing, dolphin spotting, boat trips. Ask your concierge to help with arrangements
- Explore pretty Tavira, a river-fronted town with a Roman bridge spanning the water for pedestrians. Head to the camera obscura, watch fisherman searching for clams in the shallows, then try the fresh catch of the day at one of the waterfront restaurants
- Charming fishing port Olhao has cobbled streets and authentic restaurants plus a great farmers' market on Saturdays
- Visit the Castro Marim salt pans, on the banks of the Guadiana River. Take a guided tour, observe wildlife or enjoy a mineral mud bath or a floating salt bath
Children are very welcome at both villas; all rooms can be set up as twins. That said, we think both houses have a very sophisticated vibe, with designer furniture and white minimalist interiors. House 1 is best for families with plenty of space, although the rural location might not be so good for teenagers. House 2 is in the heart of pedestrianised Olhao, and is best suited to families with older children due to the more vertical layout, and those who prefer not to drive everywhere.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
House 1 is a good size and has one hectare of private land to explore, four double/twin bedrooms and the heated swimming pool is great for all ages; equipment such as cots, high chairs and baby baths are available to borrow (extra cost). House 2 would suit a family of four with older children, has a heated plunge pool in the courtyard, and is close to shops, eateries and markets
- High chair (House 1)
- Baby bath (House 1)
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities on site:
- Heated swimming pool in House 1 or heated plunge pool in House 2
- Kids' books and toys in House 1
- House 1 and its grounds look great for hide and seek!
Kids Activities nearby:
- Boat trips
- Ria Formosa National Park
- Horse riding
Families Should Know:
Neither pool is fenced. House 1 has a glass wine cellar. House 2 has steep stairs and a roof terrace so we don't recommend it for those with toddlers
- Airport: 30 mins (House 1); 15 mins (House 2)
- Hospital: 20 mins
- Supermarket: 5 mins (House 1); 1 minute (House 2)
The two Algarve Architect Villas are found in eastern Algarve. House 1 is in the village of Estiramantens, just outside the historic coastal town of Tavira and its stunning coastline, whereas House 2 is in the heart of Olhao, a couple of blocks inland from the waterfront.
Fly to Faro (31km).
From the Airport
Your flying receptionist will meet you at the airport on arrival. Most guests will hire a car from there, but if you don't drive you can request an airport transfer.
If you want to hire a car see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Faro Airport 31.0 km FAR
- Beach 9.0 km
- Shops 5.0 km
- Restaurant 5.0 km