“Super-cool design hotel with a terraced pool beyond which the ocean sparkles”
There are standard rooms and designer rooms, shared between the estalagem (old building) and the new wing. We thought the standard rooms were great, so if you don’t need the best view, go for these. Sea View Doubles are more expensive, 3 of them with terraces; the rest have Garden Views, 4 with balconies. None are small, and all come in similar design: white walls, crisp cotton, colourful bedcovers, sleek furniture, and chrome lamps above the bed. You get satellite TVs, air-con, minibars and fluffy bathrobes. Black and white bathrooms are identical to those in the fancier rooms, with hydro-massage tubs - though they do feel slightly dated in comparison with the rooms.
Designer Rooms are nicely over-the-top and come with an overdose of colour. One (Manuel Alves & José Manuel Gonçalves) has an entire wall of padded yellow leather, another (Paulo Matos) has faux-leopard skin armchairs, and a third (Arkadius) is all black and gold. All but 2 have balconies, with French windows opening onto sun loungers, armchairs and long sea views. The fanciest of the lot (Miguel Vieira) comes in nothing but white - you can’t see where the floor ends and the walls begin. It's one of the 2 without a balcony, but it does have a huge window that slides open. There’s also a big plasma screen on one wall, white leather recliner chairs and a glass table supported by 2-foot high letters that spell AMOR.
A couple of the designer rooms are dubbed Suites; one (Ana Salazar) isn’t really a suite and doesn’t have a balcony, but it’s a fabulous room nonetheless. It has 2 walls of glass and seems to hang above the water. The second comes in ivory with curtains in the bedroom that open onto an enormous Jacuzzi bath - known as the Honeymoon Suite, this was designed by Cristina Santos Silva.
Breakfast is served until 10.30am on a fabulous deck with huge views out to sea. It’s an extensive affair, a cut above the rest - probably the best breakfast we ate in Portugal. It’s laid out in buffet-style and you help yourself to iced strawberry juice or freshly-squeezed OJ, huge platters of fruit, and pastries including delicious ham croissants. If that’s not enough, dig into bacon and eggs.
A selection of light bites is available in the On The Rocks bar all day - anything from toasted sandwiches to steak-frites. The restaurant, The Mix, is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Portions are elaborate but compact, in true fusion style, so it's nice to try a few. When we revisited in 2013 we had the following, all delicious: lamb and carrot tagine, cucumber tagliatelle with papaya mango and ginger; roasted goat’s cheese with rocket salad and lavender honey; sautéed sea bass with stewed vegetables in soy broth with clams, and wild berry garden with lemon and basil sorbet. Other tempting options included scallops with granny smith apple and beetroot reduction, foie gras with truffle purple onion and cinnamon chutney and roasted monkfish. Note there's generally a lack of vegetarian meals on offer.
If you want something different, try the sushi bar, open every day except Monday. The food looked fantastic and all feedback we've received is positive.
For the best food in town head down to Porto Santa Maria. If you need something simple, you’ll find good traditional Portuguese cooking or a pizza in town. Head west along the coast road to a string of great seafood restaurants (with sea views too), the best of which is Mar du Inferno. Staff will advise.
Children are welcome and cots, extra beds and babysitting are available on request. Older kids will love the range of water sports close to hand, as well as the plethora of activities hereabout; but younger kids may be a liability on the rough rocky shore. Remember this is a design hotel, and noisy kids are not part of the concept!
Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking