Praia Verde

Castro Marim, Algarve, Portugal Book from

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 short stroll down to a magnificent sandy beach with a handful of low-key restaurants and bars.

Its 40 suites all 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 to share 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 an attractive collection of 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

  • Until 31 May 2016, there's ongoing construction to build another 25 rooms (and this growth may also affect the feel of the hotel)
  • 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

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. 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. During the night you can watch the sea sparkle with lights from the boats fishing for squid.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 40
  • 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: Suite / Family Suite Garden View

Rooms

The 40 suites share the same simple, clean design, with light decor and striking faux-bookshelf wallpaper in the bedrooms. Beds are so comfy that I slept for 10 hours on my first night. All suites have a balcony, small bedroom, 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. Wardrobes have plenty of space.

The suites come in two flavours: Garden View Suite on the 1st (ground) floor, looking into the pine woods; and Panoramic View on the 2nd floor, with better views over the treetops to the distant ocean. 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 suites have shower only.

A further 25 rooms are being added to the 3rd floor, which promise magnificent views across the ocean as far as Spain. We haven't seen them yet, but we have seen the view at sunset and it was stunning.

Features include:

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

Eating

Their 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 simple buffet with plenty of just-baked breads and pastries, 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. We recommend Pezinhos N'Areia with fabulous views and food and service to match. Back at the hotel, an impressive gin menu offers over a dozen varieties for a stiffening aperitif.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Head down to the sandy beach (10 mins' walk) - shallow waters, great sandcastling, and a scattering of 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
  • Lounge by the pool or bar; if it gets too hot there's plenty of shade
  • 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
  • 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
  • The hotel can help arrange fishing trips, dolphin watching, picnics on the beach, bird watching in the marshlands, or golf tee times (there are 6 courses within 12km)

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 rooms have a sofabed, most in a separate living room along with a kitchenette (ideal for rustling up simple meals).

Praia Verde offers a selection of free kids' activities in the summer months, aimed mostly at 5-11 year olds. During the holidays their 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.

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 two 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. Panoramic and Garden View Suites have a separate living room with kitchenette, while the new rooms on the 3rd floor will have the sofabed within the room and no kitchenette.

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 kid's 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

Distances:

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

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
9/
Food
8/
Service
7/
Value
8/
Overall

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