With no pool and little outside space other than a nifty roof terrace, the hotel has created a sybaritic sister in the Grand Beach Club: a relaxed, sand-in-the-toes sort of place with hammocks slung between palm trees, fresh seafood and cocktails by the pool. It’s only two minutes away, and a chauffeured courtesy car is at your disposal. Plus, you get access to a private stretch of beach with sunbeds among the sand dunes, with butler service for drinks and snacks. Very grand indeed.
- We love the casual Beach Club with its sundeck, pool and mini beach
- From the warm welcome to the anything-is-possible approach, the staff are exceptional
- Brilliant location right on the Portuguese border (you can wave at Spain from across the river), close to nature reserves, unspoilt villages and sandy beaches – the town’s 12km beach is a beauty
- The hotel manages to breathe luxury without being the least bit snooty
- Very elegant bedrooms with pastel interiors and lots of original features (chandeliers and all)
- The Grand Salon restaurant is a little pricey; the Beach Club is easier on the pocket
- Not all rooms have river views - request one that does if you can
- No pool at the hotel itself, but the one at the Beach Club is only a couple of minutes away
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 30 rooms
- Restaurant and bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
- Laundry service
The best of the hotel’s 30 rooms face the river and the marina promenade - a few have balconies and there are three corner suites. Rooms at the rear overlook the town’s white-washed backstreets. They come in three sizes (small, medium and grand) but all share the same classic style: a clean, creamy white palette that sets off original features (lofty ceilings, decorative plasterwork, panelling and pretty windows). Expect lush rugs on wooden floors and a few well-chosen pieces of classic and modern art, framed prints, gilded mirrors, dangly crystal chandeliers and antique furniture. Dreamy beds feature Spanish mattresses dressed with Portuguese linens and luxury pillows. Every room has air conditioning, flat-screen TV, Bluetooth speakers and a mobile butler.
Bathrooms too are simply but beautifully done, with glassy walk-in power showers, marble surfaces and grey and white floor tiles. In the larger rooms, you get twin basins. Only one room in the hotel has a bathtub.
- In room treatments available
- Safe box
With its linen tablecloths, potted aspidistras and views of the river, the hotel’s Grand Salon restaurant is a blast from the past: the colonial-era revisited with a hint of the Orient Express. The food is modern Portuguese, with a small menu of beautifully presented dishes (try sea ravioli with verbena and Champagne or aged beef tenderloin). A premium wine list, homemade breads and a five-course tasting menu also feature. In the morning, the Salon shakes off the formalities for breakfast: a buffet of cereals, fruit, pastries, cold meats, cheeses and eggs to order.
For al fresco lunches, dinner or cocktails by the pool, the laid-back Beach Club (ask for a courtesy car to whisk you there and back) majors on seafood (grilled octopus, prawn flambe, fish cataplana) as well as charcoal-roasted steaks, pizzas, burgers, salads and sundowners. It’s lovely to see the local fishing boats chugging into the harbour as you tuck into the catch of the day.
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Explore Vila Real de Santo Antonio: rebuilt after an earthquake in 1755, the town is a model of urban planning with a grid of white-washed streets, a grand plaza and a waterfront promenade.
- Santo Antonio beach is a cracker and the Grand House has reserved a corner of its fine white sand especially for guests. For a change of scene, the busier beach at Praia Verde is close by.
- Visit Castro Marim, a historic town with a salt-marsh nature reserve, or follow the Rio Guadiana upstream to the time-warped fishing village of Alcoutim.
- Explore Cacela Velha, a perfect Algarve village with sensational views of the Ria Formosa lagoon.
- Ask the hotel to book an activity for you - golf, pleasure flights, cookery courses and horse riding are all on offer in the area.
- Take a foot ferry across the river to Ayamonte in Spain. For a longer trip, head for Seville: the Andalucian city is less than two hours by car.
Activities on site or nearby include:
Families are welcome, and there is one family suite, though this is not the obvious place for toddlers or young children. That said, kids will love playing on wide, sandy Santo Antonio beach.
Family friendly accommodation:
The Grand Family Suite sleeps two adults and two children. Babies can be accommodated in cots in most rooms, or teenagers in adjacent rooms.
- Airport: 45-minute drive
- Hospital: 45-minute drive
- Supermarket: Two minutes
Grand House Algarve overlooks the marina on the River Guadiana estuary in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, in the eastern Algarve.
Faro (60km) is the closest airport, about a 50-minute drive from the hotel.
From the Airport
There's an airport transfer service (extra cost), or you can catch the bus to Vila Real de Santo António - the hotel is situated 200 metres from the bus stop.
If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations. There is easy parking at the hotel (either on the road outside or valet parking).
There is a rail service between Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Faro, taking about 40 minutes.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Faro 60.0 km FAO
- Seville 160.0 km SVQ
- Beach 2.4 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km