Memmo Baleeira

Vila de Sagres, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £66 per night

A big beachside hotel with minimalist décor and panoramic views, on a sandy bay outside the town of Sagres
The onetime Hotel Da Baleeira, constructed with clean lines in 1962, has become the striking Memmo Baleeira after an award-winning, Pop-Arty makeover. This is the first hotel venture for the young Memmo brand - an oasis of calm in a scenery of sheer cliffs and crashing waves, awash with light and ocean views.

Interiors are airy and minimalist, with a sleek palette - white, brown, aqua blue - and a few designer pieces here and there (chairs by Tom Vac, lamps by Philippe Starck). The sphere is a recurring motif: spot it in ceilings, carpets, lights and sofas. There's a big lounge for wet days, with books, comfy chairs and a huge wall TV, and balconies and terraces for superb sunsets over dazzling seas. Rooms and suites are spotless, the best looking out over the waves. Children will love splashing around in the outdoor pool on the terrace below; adults can chill out in the massage area. Surfers have the windswept coast to discover; beachcombers have deserted sands. Steps lead down to the fishing harbour and sandy bay of Baleeira, and you can walk to the small shops and restaurants of Sagres.

Highs

  • Fabulous for crashing waves and sunsets (the hotel even has its own surf centre), and within walking distance of some of the least-spoiled beaches in Portugal
  • A good option for family holidays, with interconnecting rooms, 1- and 2-bedroom suites, junior dive courses, an unsupervised kids' club and kids menus
  • There's a big pool with an ocean view, plus a little heated pool indoors
  • Guests get complimentary use of the sauna and gym, and there are dozens of different treatments to choose from in the massage area
  • Staff have negotiated special offers at a range of nearby restaurants, so you can make the most of local cuisine

Lows

  • This is a large hotel (144 rooms) and has a slightly impersonal feel by i-escape standards - but its size means that availability is rarely a problem
  • The on-site restaurant lacks character, though we enjoyed the food when we last visited
  • The beaches round here are windy, and the outdoor pool (unheated) never really warms up
  • There have been recent reports of lacklustre service
  • You'll have to pay a refundable deposit for beach towels on arrival (they're refreshed every 3 days at no extra charge)

Best time to go

Spring flowers bloom in April and May, and the sea is warm until September or October. July and August can get extremely hot, but they're popular with families and see dedicated kids' activities at the hotel. Avoid the school holidays if you want total peace and quiet.

Our top tips

Be sure to make the journey out to the high cliffs of Cape St Vincent, perhaps on one of Memmo's bikes (according to wind conditions), to see the sun setting into the endless Atlantic. The lighthouse here is the second most powerful in Europe, a key landmark for passing ships.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Beachside Hotel
  • 144
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Surf centre
Room: 1-Bedroom Frontal Sea View Suite

Rooms

The standard double and single rooms aren't huge but they are sleek, with cool white décor and tasteful accent colours, and some have balconies - perfect for a beachside hotel. Suites are larger and have living areas, kitchenettes and all have balconies. We’d always recommend paying the extra few euros for a frontal sea view, though it's worth noting that the partial sea view rooms get a tiny sideways peek of the ocean and views of the gardens; the best outlooks are higher up, so avoid ground-floor rooms if this is important to you. The land view rooms are cheaper, but you do sacrifice the wonderful vistas for inland views across scrubland and the village.

Each room is flooded with light. Beds are big with all-white bedspreads and sheets; mattresses, on the soft not the hard side, are comfortable and new - though some doubles are zipped-together twins. Floors are pale varnished wood with neat (often spherical) rugs, and there are boxy bedside tables and desks. Bathrooms are simple and functional (most could do with a bit of a revamp), but you get a big stash of ablution goodies: shampoo and conditioner with juniper extracts, citrus-fruit shower gel, orange-blossom body cream.

Amenities in the rooms are fairly minimal. There are flatscreen TVs and modest minibars, and WiFi will soon be available for an additional charge. There are extra goodies in the suites (some duplexes): bathrobes, DVD players, sofabeds, and planter's-style chairs for sitting out on the balconies. Guests staying in the suites can also take advantage of room service until 1am, something that isn't available if you're in a standard room. There are also 6 2-Bedroom Sea View Suites for larger families.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes in suites
  • Cots Available
  • DVD players in suites
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Kitchenettes in suites
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast here is a cut above the norm. In addition to the full English-style variant, there's a choice of cheeses, cold cuts, smoked salmon, seasonal fruits, cereals, yoghurts, scrummy cakes, excellent bread and croissants - plus a wonderful sea view. You may occasionally need to wait to be seated during the summer months (there are less tables than there are bedrooms), but the waiters will be on your case.

Dinner is good but fairly pricey, and we were puzzled, to say the least, why they drew a curtain between us and the ocean view. The Fornaria restaurant serves tasty Mediterranean lunches and dinners, with the centerpiece being the wood-fired oven. Fresh home-made pizzas are popular but the seafood such as roasted octopus in rosemary olive oil and cod gratin on mashed sweet potatoes is also well worth a look, too. Wash it all down with a tipple from the Portuguese wine list.

The restaurant itself is sleek but not particularly atmospheric, so you may be better off skipping down the steps outside to one of the harbour restaurants below or strolling into Sagres village. The hotel has negotiated a range of special offers with nearby eateries, and you’ll find a list in your room.

Sandwiches, salads, and tapas are available throughout the day at Memmo Lounge, and you can start or end your evening with a drink in the bar where, as well as a big choice of long drinks, a dozen or so cocktails are on offer - including 4 different takes on the caipirinha theme.

Those in the suites have basic kitchenettes for simple self-catering.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service in suites
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a picnic to a stunning beach (and pack a bottle of Sagres, Portugal's best beer); Praia Mareta, tucked into the lee of Sagres point, is the closest, while the long beach at Beliche is one of our favourites
  • Head down to Memmo's surf centre, run in conjunction with the local surf school and open to all levels and ages, beginners included
  • Go windsurfing: strong north winds in summer make Praia Martinhal, close to the hotel, one of the favourites. Praia Tonel, a 5-minute drive with steep access, is superb, but rocky outcrops make this suitable for experienced windsurfers only
  • Swim with dolphins - you can join an excursion from Baleeira harbour; family fishing trips and diving for shipwrecks are also available
  • Rent one of the hotel bikes and spin over to Cape St Vincent (6km), whose fortress and chapel mark the western tip of the Algarve
  • There's horse-riding 8km away, golf courses around 20km
  • Bar-hop in Lagos, a 30-minute drive. Its quaint cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants and bars (most of them aimed at the British), while its beaches and coves, some very lovely and very peaceful, are 2 steps from the town
  • After all that activity you'll long to return to the hotel for a dip in the pool and a bit of pampering (perhaps a mineral facial or a precious-stone massage)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Dolphin-watching
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Nightlife
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Memmo Baleeira is child-friendly, with an outdoor pool and a play area. Note that some of the facilities are only on offer in peak season (late July-August). It can be busy at this time of year - it's school holiday time - so bear that in mind. To keep the spa area calm, access to the indoor pool is limited to 10-12 in the mornings and 4-6pm in the evenings for children, year-round.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

If you're travelling with a baby or children, we'd recommend the 1- and 2-bedroom suites, which have sofabeds that can take up to 2 children up to the age of 12 (only the 2-bedroom Suite can take 2 children). There is a 5-night minimum stay July-September and a 7-night minimum stay in August in all suites. Children are free up to 12 years of age. If you are bringing older children/teenagers, you can opt for a 2-bedroom suite or take 2 of the 8 interconnecting double rooms.

Babysitting:

English-speaking babysitters are available by arrangement - see Rates

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • High chairs
  • Bottle warming

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Creche/Kid's Club:

A free kids club' operates all year round, but note that it is unsupervised. It caters for kids aged 4 to 10, with painting, educational games, films and outdoor fun

Children's meals:

Suites have kitchenettes with a microwave and fridge, as well as access to room service. A kids' menu is available year-round (mini pizzas etc). The coffee shop and pool bar serve child-friendly food all day, and packed lunches are available on request. There are harbour and beachfront restaurants nearby

Kids Activities on site:

  • DVD library
  • Bikes to hire
  • Playground
  • Unheated outdoor pool
  • Heated indoor pool (restricted hours)
  • Surf school (older kids only) - advance booking required
  • Memmo Bubblemaker is the hotel's dive course for kids

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beach with bar, handy for a picnic and games and only 5 minutes' walk away; plus a choice of great sandy beaches in the area
  • Fishing trips, boat rides and dolphin-watching from Baleeira harbour
  • Blokarting (land yachting) for older kids accompanied by an adult
  • Nearby zoo has discounts for Memmo Baleeira guests

Families Should Know:

The outdoor pool is cool nearly all year round. Sagres is walking distance away for nappies and sundries; the small on-site shop sells beach gear, if you haven't brought your own wetsuits

Distances:

  • Airport: 1.5 hours (Faro)
  • Hospital: 30 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes (Sagres)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Memmo Baleeira is 300m from the beach, on the main street in the small fishing port of Sagres, on the southwestern tip of Portugal.

By Air:
Faro (115km away) is the nearest airport; Lisbon Portela is 300km away. Both have regular links to the UK and elsewhere in Europe; Lisbon is also served by some long-haul flights - click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the Airport
Most people hire a car (see below), but the hotel can arrange a taxi transfer if you'd prefer (see Rates).

By Car:
A car isn't essential here, but it's useful for exploring the wider area - see our car rental recommendations.

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

More on getting to Portugal and getting around

Airports:

  • Faro 115.0 km FAO
  • Lisbon Portela 300.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 0.5 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
7/10
Food
8/10
Service
9/10
Value
8/10
Overall

We loved our stay in Memmo Baleeira. I would rate the rooms 5 out of 5. Food was ok but we would be very particular and there were elements which were really good and the breakfast was great. We would very much look forward to going back there it really is a very special place.

9/10,

Simply brilliant.

10/10,

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Rates for Memmo Baleeira

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