“Perfect small hotel and an apartment for 2-4: masses of style and wonderful owners, 2km from idyllic Fábrica beach”
It's also a celebration of family — Marta's parents helped create this sanctuary, and small son Francisco toddles around the grounds, charming everyone. But it's a family that you feel part of when you stay. While there's (thankfully) no enforced conviviality, guests naturally mingle and chat, a mix of couples and small families that somehow blends beautifully. Kids play together and adult friendships are formed over carafes of Algarve wine. A recent guest spent a fortnight here, then booked for 3 weeks next summer as he left. It didn't surprise us. Everything about this place is special.
- Just 11 stylish rooms; we were blown away by the romantic Tree House, with its panoramic views out to sea
- Utterly peaceful and relaxing. Even when the hotel's full, you can always find a quiet hammock or outdoor sofa to read on
- Excellent prices yet a feeling of high-quality runs throughout
- Marta and Tiago could not be more welcoming or kind. They treat you like family, even baking cakes to help yourself to
- Just 2km from idyllic Fábrica beach; borrow bikes and cycle there
- The saltwater pool is unheated
- Dinner is only served 5 days a week, and is a set menu (though you can ask for an alternative). It may look expensive but the food is delicious
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Breakfast + dinners on request
- All ages welcome
- Closed: 18 Jan 2020 - 11 Feb 2020
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
Ten of the rooms are spread between the original old farmhouse and the modern extension (the conversion is so good we couldn't tell the difference). Decor throughout is fabulous, every detail hand-picked by Marta and her mother to celebrate Portuguese artisan style. Expect macrame lampshades, quirky mirrors and woven-reed wall hangings; whitewashed walls and the polished concrete floor allow every detail to shine. Beds have superb mattresses and are dressed in the finest linens; bathrooms are gorgeous with powerful 3-way jet showers and Castelbel toiletries.
We stayed in a ground-floor Superior Suite, and loved how spacious it was, and how private it felt, despite leading onto the pool terrace. A pair of gorgeous Moroccan-style floor cushions won our hearts; our daughter was enchanted by a nightly turn-down service (bringing little treats and the next day's dinner menu), and by her enormous sofabed. Thick stone walls and a concrete ceiling kept the room cool and quiet; we all slept deeply, til 8am or even later - quite the treat with a small child!
If you're here for a special occasion, book the show-stopping Tree House, perched high in a carob tree and almost completely concealed by leaves on one side. Panoramic windows wrap around the exposed sections, giving views over orange groves out to sea. Truly special.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Pool / beach towels
- Safe box
- Smart TV
Breakfast is a relaxed feast, served on the stunning outdoor terrace, where wispy wicker lights dangle over bamboo chairs and there's a hanging basket-chair, which kids adore. In keeping with the homely ethos, you can eat whenever you want, and Marta and Tiago bring it all to your table on beautiful plates, along with beaming smiles. Orange juice is freshly squeezed, the pumpkin jam is homemade (superb) and eggs cooked to order are from a local farm, with incredibly orange yolks. You also get a little bag full of homemade breads and croissants, a plate of local cheeses and hams, and a vibrant, fresh-fruit platter - we had pomegranate and juicy mango one day; plump strawberries and kiwi another.
Snacks are available all day, and a chef comes in to do evening meals on request, 5 days a week. We dined in twice, and the food was excellent, inspired by regional specialities. The menu is set, though they are flexible on this if there's something you don't like, and the 3 courses include a couple of imaginative amuse-bouches: perhaps foie gras with pickled cabbage, and a squid cornet filled with fish mousse and caviar (divine), along with homemade bread and homegrown olives. The main dish of traditional octopus stew was tasty; a duck magret with raspberries the next night even better. Desserts included a divine creme caramel cake. Other guests raved to us about steak cooked in front of them on a hot stone, and a superb fish fillet marinated in fennel seeds.
For a change of scene, Tiago will recommend excellent restaurants a short drive away, including Casa da Igreja for tapas (including just-caught oysters with chorizo). We enjoyed his suggestion of a laid-back pizza restaurant in Tarifa, too; ideal for families.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Dinner by arrangement
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Do very little! We spent hours lazing by the pool, leaping in occasionally to cool off. There are hammocks and sofas in the garden for shady snoozes, and massages in a little hut at weekends
- Nearby beaches are idyllic, part of the Rio Formosa Natural Park. We found Manta Rota easy with kids, but Fábrica is the stuff films are made of; white sands, blue waters, pretty shells to collect. Be aware it gets windy and there are no facilities there, bar a seasonal cafe with tiki loungers
- Tavira is charming for a half day, all cobbled mazy streets and little shops. Wander up to the castle, eat an ice cream, stroll along the river with its Roman bridge
- Alpendre has bikes to borrow or you can go horse riding through nearby meadows and along the coast
- The tiny village of Cacela Velha has traditional blue and white houses, an 18thC fort, a peaceful cemetery, and killer views along the coast up to the Spanish border
- Take time to admire the decor and curios around the hotel, every detail hand-picked: a driftwood lamp, rosemary sprigs in tiny glass vases, a low trestle table on wheels, jute rugs, cowhide chairs... it's Instagram heaven
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Wine tasting
Small families are warmly welcomed, ideally 1-2 kids per booking to keep the ambiance peaceful. Marta and Tiago have a young son (Francisco), and they were kindness itself to our 4-year-old daughter. Staying here as a family was relaxed and easy. In the evenings, we ate an early dinner all together, but you could easily put a younger child to bed then leave your window open and dine a deux on the terrace within earshot. The gardens are extensive and there's a saltwater pool with a shallow baby section.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
All rooms except the Tree House can fit a baby cot or have a very comfortable sofabed for 1 extra guest. The Family Apartment has twin beds in its open-plan living area plus a sofabed for 1 extra guest, and a separate double bedroom. Parents will find its kitchenette useful.
- Baby cot
- High chair
- Night light
- Stair gate
- Baby bath
- Bottle warming
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
On request, available all day. Our daughter - pretty fussy - loved the spaghetti bolognese and a tarragon chicken with rice. A chocolate mousse for pudding made her day.
Kids Activities on site:
- Saltwater pool
- Play area with swings and a slide
- Small football pitch
- Basketball hoop
- Bikes to borrow
Kids Activities nearby:
- Gorgeous beaches - Manta Rota (3km away) is particularly family friendly, with shallow waters, soft sand, shells galore, seasonal shops and a playground
Families Should Know:
The pool is unheated and unfenced; some rooms open onto its terrace. There are no bathtubs.
- Airport: 45-minute drive (Faro)
- Shops: 0.5km
- Hospital: 0.5km
The hotel is set in the small hamlet of Santa Rita in the eastern Algarve, 2km from Cacela Velha and Fábrica beach, 8km from Tavira and 45 minutes' drive from Faro airport.
Fly into Faro (50km) then hire a car.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
- Faro 50.0 km FAR
- Beach 2.0 km
- Shops 1.0 km
- Restaurant 1.0 km