“A stunning farmhouse renovation near beautiful beaches, with rustic-chic décor and fabulous food”
Minimalist but homely with old wooden trunks (which came with the farmhouse) and seagrass mats on warm orange brick floors, the rooms epitomise rustic-chic. Expect low-key but high-end; we adored our chunky Balinese bed with Hypnos mattress and soft Belgian linen, under a carved wooden headboard. Bathrooms feel decadent, too: enormous glass-walled showers have state-of-the-art Hansgrohe showerheads, pampering Ren products and fluffy bathrobes.
There are 7 Garden Suites, 2 Apartments and a Terrace Suite. The former have little gardens where beanbags sit under a carob tree, or you'll find a hanging pod chair - curl up and be gently swung to sleep. The Terrace Suite has a large terrace hidden from other guests, giving it the edge on private space, and it is accessed by a private outside staircase, near the pool.
If you’re staying en famille, or like to self-cater the odd meal, the Apartments are the ticket: each has a small bedroom, a sitting room with a sofabed, and a tiled kitchenette with a microwave, fridge-freezer, oven, hob and sink, plus a table and chairs. One has a garden, too.
All rooms have an iPod dock, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and sleek Artemide lighting with touch-controlled dimmers. There’s air-conditioning, but we preferred to open our French windows and let the breeze flow through.
The restaurant, A Cozinha, is open for dinner every day except Saturday throughout the peak season. It is also closed on Wednesdays in off-peak months (Feb, March, Oct & Nov, excluding Easter). Market-fresh produce is bought daily and the dinner menu (2 or 3 choices for each course) is chalked up on a blackboard. You might get mackerel, sea bass or bream, served without fussy sauces or nouvelle foams but with sweet roast peppers, courgettes and beans, as well as inventive, zingy salads - orange, carrot and sweet potato, or fig and goat’s cheese. There are also new twists on the national cuisine with inventions such as Iberian pork with polenta and clams. We loved the carob tart - less sweet than chocolate but tastier, using home-harvested 'black gold'. Sandwiches are available for lunch.
Nothing beats fruit direct from the tree, and Fazenda Nova grows 15 organic varieties, from olives and almonds to pomegranates and figs, as well as herbs and salad; they even use weeds in soup! On the breakfast buffet we found homegrown apples, plums and pears, fresh pomegranate and orange juice, as well as crusty bread from the 200-year-old oven which they renovated, and delicious, tiny pastel de nata pastries baked by neighbours. Thanks to mild Portuguese winters, the outdoor terrace is a year-round winner.
If you want to dine out Algarve-style, Cafe dos Mestres in Fuseta is well-priced and heaving with locals. Grab a table on the lively riverside terrace overlooking the fishing boats, and feast on sardines and seabass cooked over an open grill. We also loved the arroz de marisco, a simmering cauldron of rice and shellfish, at Fialho in Pinheiro. Both are a 10-15 minute drive.
This is a small hotel where noisy kids will be heard by everyone, so bookings for families and couples are kept apart. Children over 6 are welcomed during 'Family Weeks' - generally half-terms, Easter and July/August. At other times, little babies are allowed, but it is not suitable for toddlers or young 'uns.
Tim and Hallie are endlessly kind and patient with children - with 3 of their own, they’re used to hullabaloo.
Baby cots and fold-out beds are available for all rooms (supplement cost).
Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)
The 2 Apartments, which can interconnect, are aimed at families and kitted out for preparing a simple lunch or snack for peckish kids, or heating baby food, though not for cooking a complicated meal
During family weeks the menu includes kid friendly dishes like homemade gourmet burgers or battered fish