Praia Verde

Castro Marim, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £76 per night

Cool, contemporary boutique hotel close to a long sandy beach (and to Spain); great for families
Here on the eastern coast, you'll find a rare pocket of the Algarve that hasn’t been over-developed. Set amidst protected pine forests, you're only a short hop across to Spain, and a 15-minute stroll down to a magnificent sandy beach with a handful of low-key restaurants and bars.

Most of its 65 suites have bijou kitchenettes and sofabeds, so it’s especially handy for families or as a base for longer stays. Design is sleek and clean, with good use of slate and mosaic tiles. This boutique hotel cleverly blends a homely, honest feel into a contemporary open-plan style. But there's a touch of soul, too. We found the service absolutely charming. Their popular restaurant A Terra serves hearty dishes from the wood-burning oven. For those in search of local produce (including the famous Castro Marim 'flor de sal'), there's a small deli corner which is great for gifts. We left with the following words chalked up on their reception blackboard: "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page!" Indeed. Praia Verde is a page not worth skipping.

Highs

  • We loved the relaxed, friendly, open-plan vibe and delicious food
  • An easy 15-minute walk to one of the Algarve's best beaches and a collection of seasonal restaurants, kiosks and bars
  • A great, unspoilt location, with lots to do (cycling, dolphin watching, castles); and Seville is only 1.5 hours drive away
  • Affordable family suites and free kids club during the summer months
  • Less than a 45-minute drive from Faro airport

Lows

  • The long corridors are a little spartan: we thought they could do with some artworks
  • Pine trees obscure much of the view from lower-floor rooms
  • You'll probably want a hire car - there are few shops or transport links nearby
  • Suite kitchenettes are pretty basic but useful for preparing snacks
  • Disappointing coffee and Lipton tea at breakfast! Stick to your in-room Nespresso

Best time to go

The hotel is normally open all year, and we think April and September are great months: the beach is almost empty, and room rates are lower; be aware though that everything local is likely to be closed until late May, as well as the hotel's pool bar. You could even come for a dose of Christmas sunshine, though don't expect to swim. The area can get crowded in August, though nothing like the central Algarve.

Our top tips

Try and book as high a room as possible (Panoramic if you have a family, Sea View if not). During the night you can watch the sea sparkle with lights from the boats fishing for squid.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 65
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Accommodation comes in 4 flavours. Garden View Suites on the 1st (ground) floor, look into the pine woods; Panoramic View Suites on the 2nd floor have sweeping views over the treetops. Both categories share the same simple design, with striking faux-bookshelf wallpaper in the bedrooms; the beds are so comfy that I slept for 10 hours on my first night. You also have a balcony, separate living room with sofabed as well as a kitchenette with hob, microwave and Nespresso machine (but no chopping board, toaster or kettle, yet). Compact bathrooms are generally black slate with powerful rain showers; bathrobes can be requested. Either type can become a Family Suite when the sofabed is used; cots are free. All are the same size, but the Garden View Suites have a bath and overhead shower, whereas Panoramic Suites have shower only.

On the top floor are the light-filled, adults-only Sea View rooms, where you can soak up ocean scenery from your balcony. They are considerably more stylish in decor, with designer lampshades, rustic desks, and pops of colour from beautiful patterned cushions. Sea View Double Rooms have a walk-in shower in their lovely all-white bathrooms; Sea View Superior Rooms have a standalone tub, too.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

The stylish restaurant, A Terra, offers tasty, rustic dishes such as braised baby chicken (with herbs from the garden), cod with chickpeas and coriander, or local fish stew served in a black Le Creusot casserole dish. Windows open out for alfresco dining and it has a welcoming feel, with big wooden tables, flexible eating times and a relaxed vibe. Don't miss the crispy pizzas from their wood-burning oven and tempting desserts including a carob crumble and homemade raspberry sorbet. We ate very well.

Breakfast is a buffet of delicious just-baked breads and pastries (don't miss the kiwi and pumpkin jams), cereals, fresh fruit, healthy juices and scrambled eggs. In summer you can get light lunches by the pool - sardine sandwiches, steak burgers - or of course head down to the beach for fresh fish or pasta. Back at the hotel, an impressive gin menu offers over a dozen varieties for a stiffening aperitif.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Hob or stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Head down to the sandy beach (15 mins' walk) - shallow waters, great sand-castling, and a scattering of seasonal bars and restaurants. In the evening Guarita Terrace is the best spot for sunset cocktails, and for late-night clubbing hotel guests get priority access to Clube Praia Verde
  • The hotel can help arrange brilliant activities, including fishing trips, dolphin watching, picnics on the beach, bird watching in the marshlands, or golf tee times (there are 6 courses within 12km)
  • Lounge by the pool or relax at the pool bar; if it gets too hot there's plenty of shade
  • Visit Castro Marim (7km) for its castle and fort - the hotel can lend you bikes for a small charge; or drive to Tavira, one of the prettiest towns in the Algarve, (17 km / 15 mins' drive)
  • Pop across to Spain: the coast between Mazagón and Matalascañas has wild pine-shaded beaches and massive sand dunes; the town of El Rocio is like a Western filmset; and Seville is only an hour and a half away
  • Chill out downstairs: read the papers, borrow a book from their collection, or enjoy a black and white movie projected onto a wall in the lounge area

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Dolphin watching
  • Golf
  • Horse riding
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

All ages are welcome and the flexible accommodation and catering options make it a popular choice with families, especially in the summer holidays. All suites have a sofabed for 1-2 children, in a separate living room along with a basic kitchenette (ideal for rustling up simple meals).

Praia Verde offers a selection of free kids' activities in the summer months, aimed at 5-11 year olds. During the holidays there might be face painting, dressing up, kids cooking classes (pizzas or local carob chocolate biscuits), movie nights with popcorn or even a visit from the local dog school. There's a small playroom full of toys for younger kids.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All suites have a double sofabed for up to 2 children and space for a baby cot, too. When booking, a Family Suite is the same as the regular Suites but with the sofabed made up at around 7pm; choose from 1 or 2 extra guests. The top-floor of the hotel (Double and Superior Sea View Rooms) is adults only.

Babysitting:

Babysitters can be arranged through reception

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

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

Creche/Kid's Club:

Free kids' club for 5-11 year olds in the summer holidays with a weekly events calendar that includes treasure hunts, theatrical play, carnival face painting, Mediterranean cuisine workshops (pizza and carob biscuits)

Children's meals:

Children's menus are available and the atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed and friendly. The pizzas were a winner with our daughter.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Small playroom near reception
  • Books and toys
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Playground with swing
  • Movie nights with popcorn

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Nearby sandy beach has shallow water (easy 15 min walk)
  • Bird or dolphin watching
  • Family bicycle rides
  • Introduction to golf

Families Should Know:

The pools (a main pool and baby splash pool) are unheated, and it's a good 15-minute walk to the beach. You'll need to pay a deposit for pool towels, and bring your own beach towels.

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes' drive (Faro)
  • Hospital: 45 minutes' drive (Faro)
  • Shop: 800m (main season only)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 9 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

Lovely hotel. Great food, the restaurant has a fabulous menu and is super tasty. Unfussy service. Simple but pleasant bedroom on 2nd floor but really limited view and bathrooms a bit small for a family of 4. 3rd floor bedrooms are definitely the best. Only negative point was that the pool was so cold 18 degrees (May), really limited the kids pool fun on sunny days. Lovely holiday regardless.

8/10,

Great value for money. We liked the room: modern, big enough and with living room and bedroom separate. Big balcony with sea view (first floor). The staff are really great: warm and always in a good mood. Not everything was always working, but the way they handle problems is exemplary: Nespresso machine in our room didn‘t work. After our phone call an employee turned up within 2 minutes, brought us coffee from the bar while we were waiting and replaced the machine within 10 minutes. Perfect!

10/10,

Nice restaurant with cozy decor. Wonderful beach to stroll along. The rooms are not as charming as the lobby and restaurant, but still fine standard.

9/10,

Great stay in a wonderful hotel.

10/10,

Great hotel and location. Food is great - the hotel also have a more cafe style restaurant in the town which is good value and Pezinhos N'Areia does the best burgers! We did the salt mine trup with George who is brilliant - highly recommend it. Our children also loved the Aqua Splash park. Only slight criticism is the restaurant serves locals as well so getting a table around 8pm can be difficult and service wasn't brilliant at that time.

9/10,

One of the best family hotels we have found in that it doesn't sacrifice style or service for family friendliness. The kids club with Ines and Emmanuel was fantastic - very relaxed but always something fun going on. Whether organizing treasure hunts, painting wooden fridge magnets or t-shirts, or just playing in the pool with the kids, these guys went above and beyond in keeping little ones busy and happy.
The suites were thoughtfully-designed, and comfortable. The sofabed essentially provided a second bedroom, which meant everyone slept well. Having the kitchenette was a huge plus and it was well enough equipped to cook the occasional family meal when we didn't feel like eating out or in the restaurant. The electric cooker was slow so a kettle would have been a good addition.
Staff were wonderfully friendly and service efficient and unfussy, the food was generally excellent and pizzas (tasty and delivered quickly!) a hit with the kids. We loved the friendly atmosphere around the pool where kids could meet and play. Hard to fault overall - a great little hotel.

10/10,

Great rooms but for us with 2 adults and 2 kids we felt the bathroom was very small.

9/10,

Amazing stay at Praia Verde, the staff were wonderful and great with my fifteen month old, particularly Marta! Hope to return some time soon...

10/10,

Loved it. We were happy, the kids were happy. Can walk to the beach - pools not too busy even though hotel was full. Restaurants great. A fantastic holiday and we'd certainly return.

9/10,

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Rates for Praia Verde