Casa Rosa Villa Hotel

Olhao, Algarve, Portugal
Book from Book from £81 per night

Dreamy little boutique hotel with a sun-drenched courtyard and swimming pool, just a few minutes’ walk from Olhão town centre

While many tourists head west for big surf and big hotels, a more cosmopolitan mix of people find themselves in beautiful Olhão. Once a quiet fishing village, it’s now a vibrant town with a distinctly Moroccan vibe (owed, in part, to the fact it’s twinned with Agadir). There, the newly opened Casa Rosa sits proudly, with its pink-washed walls, on a pretty, tree-lined street. Known locally as the ‘pink house’, it was built in the 1950s but left in disrepair until new owners Colum and David stumbled across it and fell in love. They spent three years transforming the sophisticated 9-bedroom hotel – one that feels part-Portuguese quinta, part-Moroccan riad, with plenty of bohemian, artistic flair.

Take a stroll down the winding, cobblestone streets towards the waterfront and you’ll find shops, cafes, restaurants and some of the freshest seafood around. (Olhão’s the Algarve’s largest fishing port, so there’s nowhere better to enjoy it.) On a hot, sunny day, we had a hard time leaving the pool – the passionfruit mojitos had something to do with it – but there’s a lot to explore. You’re centrally positioned among the Algarve’s best beaches, with the Ria Formosa national park on your doorstep.

Highs

  • Gorgeous courtyard and terrace overlooking Olhao – perfect for alfresco dining and lounging, with areas for sun and shade-seekers
  • Lots of generous touches: big, comfy beds, eco-friendly toiletries, and walk-in showers
  • Owners Colum & David will make you want to move to Olhão just to hang out
  • Unlike other places in the Algarve, people actually live in Olhão so it doesn’t feel like a tourist town
  • Good value for money which adds to the laid-back, welcoming feel

Lows

  • The pool is small so you can’t swim laps, but it’s perfect for a relaxing dip
  • Olhão has a lovely harbour but the closest beaches are a drive (or ferry boat/water taxi) away
  • There’s no surf, but almost every other watersport is available
  • There aren’t any TVs in any of the rooms, which we didn’t miss but some people might
  • Shops and restaurants in Olhão are mostly closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly

Best time to go

Olhão can get very busy in the peak summer months (and very hot) so the best time to visit is May/June, or September/October.

Our top tips

We loved dotting our way around the Algarve coast, exploring the endless different beaches. But it’s not all about the sea – it’s worth driving inland to see the smaller towns and more mountainous regions of the Algarve. One of our highlights was visiting a small waterfall, Pego do Inferno, near Tavira. The perfect post-sightseeing dip in an unbelievably picturesque setting.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
City Style
Family
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9 rooms
  • Breakfast only; restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 15 November - 15 March
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Roof terrace for yoga
Room:

Rooms

Every room is painted Casa Rosa’s signature pink, with polished concrete floors, exposed wooden beams and a few warm, earthy accents - bamboo accessories, handwoven rugs - but not overly adorned. There are nine bedrooms in total, with a choice of Super King, King and Queen beds, plus an indoor communal lounge and dining area with a log burner for the colder months.

We stayed in a Deluxe King room on the street-side of the hotel, and loved hearing the atmospheric buzz of life during the day with the windows open. Crucially though – for light sleepers like me – it was a delight to close our soundproof shutters at night and not hear a single peep.

Elegantly simple ensuite bathrooms are all shower only; the Suite's comes with twin sinks.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Hairdryer
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Weather depending, breakfast is served poolside in the courtyard; for the winter months, there's also a dining table in the guest lounge, which has a wood-burning stove. As someone who chooses sleep over pretty much anything – and happily skips breakfast most days – this was not a breakfast to be missed. We enjoyed still-warm croissants, a variety of Portuguese cheeses, fresh fruit and yoghurt, eggs made to order, and specialty coffees (a few of them).

There’s an honesty bar in the dining area where you can help yourself to hot and cold drinks throughout the day, and a bartending service for a couple of hours late afternoon/early evening (don’t miss the passion fruit mojitos). You’re surrounded by restaurants and cafes so you won’t have to walk far for lunch or dinner – but it’s a good idea to book in advance. Olhão is small and it draws people from all over the area, so the best places fill up fast.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go to the islands: swim, snorkel or just chill for the day on Ilha da Armona, Ilha da Culatra or Ilha do Farol, where you’ll find kilometres of white sandy beaches and crystal clear water
  • Take a boat trip through the wetlands and lagoons of the Ria Formosa national park, one of Portugal’s “Seven Natural Wonders”
  • Try kitesurfing or windsurfing on Fuseta beach (on Ilha da Armona)
  • Stroll or cycle (there are two bicycles available for guest use), shop, eat and drink your way around Olhão town, the waterfront, fish market and Mercado de Olhão
  • Explore nearby cities, Faro and Tavira – both make a great day out

Kids

Children are welcome. Note: there are some steep steps to access the first floor terrace and bedrooms, so parents with prams will want to stay on the ground floor.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The largest, most family-friendly room is the First Floor Suite, which has a superking bed and separate lounge area

Distances:

  • Airport: 15 minutes
  • Hospital: medical clinic 5 minutes; hospital 15 minutes
  • Shops: 3 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

Casa Rosa Villa Hotel is ideally located just 20 minutes’ drive from Faro airport and 15 minutes to Faro city.

Drive 25 minutes east of Olhão and you’re in the beautiful, mediaeval city of Tavira – a gastronomical centre known as the ‘venice of the Algarve’ with its own set of spectacular beaches. Or head inland 25–30 minutes and explore picturesque towns like São Brás de Alportel, Estoi and Almancil, which are well worth a visit.

By Air:
Faro airport is the closest (15km) but you could fly into Seville (in Spain, 200km) or Lisbon (300km) if you don't mind a longer drive.

From the Airport
Take a taxi or hire a car – see our rental recommendations. You'll need to park on the street in Olhão.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Faro Airport 15.0 km FAO

Other:

  • Beach 10.0 km
  • Shops 0.3 km
  • Restaurant 0.3 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Casa Rosa is just divine !
The villa is beautifully designed and decorated so restful and calm .
The team are super friendly nothing was to much trouble.
The location is perfect to explore all the restaurants and bars .
Can't recommend highly enough will definitely be back .

10/10,

Very friendly vibe on arrival. Everyone helping lots to sort out booking for good resturants, etc. The hotel is very nice and have a great location. Very comfortable bed and everything you need. The town is so close that food is easy.

9/10,

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