Algarve Architect Villas

Tavira, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £185 per night

3 architect-designed villas (for 2-8) in the eastern Algarve, each showcasing minimalist design, roof terraces, a private pool, and concierge services

You've a choice of settings for these three stunningly transformed villas in the eastern Algarve. Choose between a cubist house (for 2-8) among the blissfully rugged surroundings of citrus groves and farmland near Tavira; a minimalist warehouse conversion (for 2-4) in the charismatic and lively coastal town of Olhao; or a sleek townhouse (for 6) in the border town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio, where the glistening Guadiana River separates Portugal from Spain.

All three villas showcase ingenious, ultra-modern design which contrasts their historic roots (one was a farmhouse, another a fish warehouse, the third a merchant’s house). The striking geometric look resembles a Mondrian painting, with perpendicular white borders marking out rooms, square roofs covered in terracotta brick, concrete, or sand-coloured shingle, and a rectangular block of blue where the swimming pools lie.

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. 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, walks in the hills or restaurants in Tavira, Olhao or Vila Real, just ask. Self-catering villas with hotel services: a winning combination in our books!
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.


  • All villas showcase striking architectural design, with rooms and terraces on different levels and very clever use of space
  • Three villas of varying sizes, three very different locations – choose whatever works best for you
  • Self-catering villas with hotel services are a real luxury; expect daily bread deliveries, a shopping service, and a concierge service at your fingertips
  • All three villas are very well placed for exploring the eastern Algarve’s picturesque countryside, villages and beaches
  • Flexible set up: all 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
  • 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

The best months are April/May for spring flowers and warm temperatures, and September/October for sunshine and warm sea. July and August can be uncomfortably hot (40C). Winter months are cold at night, and the wind can be chilly, although the sun still shines regularly.

Our top tips

The fish and seafood along this coast are fabulous – don’t miss local specialities like grilled sardines and salted cod, washed down with a glass of crisp vinho verde.

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.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Villas
  • 3 villas (for 2-8)
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • End-of-stay clean + 1 mid-week clean

House 1

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 (great for cooking pizzas on!). 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 form 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. There's also a barbecue outside.

The nearest supermarket is a 10-minute drive away, in Tavira. Spend time exploring this pretty, river-fronted town, which has a Roman bridge spanning the water. 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. The Algarve’s island beaches are also easily accessible from the house: Ilha Tavira is good if you want amenities; Fuseta, Cabanas and Culatra are much quieter.

House 2

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. Its two kingsize 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.

You're two blocks from the waterfront here, in Olhao's pedestrianised zone. 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. Olhao itself is a lovely coastal town with cobbled streets and a great farmers' market on Saturdays. If you're looking for seaside fun, nearby Armona has a gorgeous beach, accessible via ferry from Olhao.


House 3

House 3 sits among a jumble of townhouses in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, a pretty border town that straddles the Guadiana River and looks across to Spain. This former merchant's house has been completely transformed into a minimalist marvel, adopting a similar architectural style to the other two villas. It sleeps six in three ensuite bedrooms.

The layout centres around a sunny courtyard with citrus trees and a rectangular pool. The architect’s signature perpendicular design flows throughout, and there are multiple roof terraces spread across different levels. Branching off the courtyard are the three large bedrooms and the lounge/kitchen. Tones are muted: grey cement worktops, dark wood panelling and walls painted brilliant white.

You’re right in the heart of Vila Real here, so there’s plenty on the doorstep. Discover the grand plaza, stroll along the waterfront promenade, or recline on the town’s stunning, white-sand beach. The surrounding Mata Nacional da Dunas Litorais pine forest has pretty cycle routes through it, or you can hop on a ferry and pop across the border to the Spanish town of Ayamonte, where there’s great tapas!


Children are very welcome at the villas; all rooms can be set up as twins. That said, we think the 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. It's also a good option for those who prefer not to drive everywhere. House 3 is in the centre of Vila Real de Santo Antonio, and also works for those without a car.

Best for:

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. House 3 works for a family of six, has a private pool, and is close to shops and restaurants.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Heated swimming pool in Houses 1 & 3, or a heated plunge pool in House 2
  • Kids' books and toys in House 1
  • House 1 and its grounds look great for hide and seek!

Families Should Know:

None of the pools are 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)
Kid Friendly:


The 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; House 2 is in the heart of Olhao, a couple of blocks inland from the waterfront; House 3 is in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, which lies on the banks of the Guadiana River that separates Portugal from Spain.

By Air:
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.

By Car:
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

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