Quinta da Cebola Vermelha

Boliqueime, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £110 per night

A restored farmhouse of Provençal inspiration with a shimmering pool and a sun-trap terrace, a short drive from a 5-mile beach
First and foremost this is a steal, but it’s not only the price that’s attractive; 'Red Onion Farm' is a delight from top to toe. Dutch run, warmly welcoming and quietly stylish - a country house in the sun. Orange, lemon and olive trees are scattered among beds of lavender in the well-kept garden. Step into a cool sitting room and find French windows that draw you out onto a bamboo-shaded terrace. Stop here for meals or follow a path down to a saltwater pool. You'll find a big terrace, cushioned benches and candle lanterns.

Back inside, a fire burns in winter, family portraits hang in an alcove and generously priced local wine waits at the honesty bar. Rooms are nicely simple, cooled by thick walls, with terracotta floors and shuttered windows. Some are big, some are smaller (but not small). You get crisp linen, rattan armchairs, underfloor heating and rafters painted white. Vibrant art by owners Ard and Noor adds colour; arched windows overlook the garden. The beach is close, as is golf at Vilamoura. You're in the middle of the Algarve, so whizz along the motorway and explore it all.

Highs

  • This is a very pretty house with a terrifically seductive price; a winning combination
  • The garden is beautiful, and the pool terrace has sun loungers and rush parasols
  • This is a family affair: Ard cooks delicious dinners, and his wife Noor makes you feel very much at home
  • You’re in the middle of the Algarve and can zip about with extreme ease
  • Praia Felica (3 miles away) has 5 miles of sand, plus sunbeds and superb swimming or sailing

Lows

  • Only three of the bedrooms have their own terrace, but there's plenty of space for lounging in the garden and by the pool
  • The bathrooms are fine, but don’t expect cutting-edge design
  • Double beds tend to be 2 singles pushed together

Best time to go

July and August can get extremely hot. Spring flowers bloom in April and May, and the sea is warm till September or October. Winter is a possibility as there's heating at the quinta, but don't expect to swim.

Our top tips

This would be a perfect retreat for a small group - book 5 rooms or more and you get the run of the house to yourselves.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 9
  • Breakfast (+ other meals by arrangement)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Table football
Room: Room 3

Rooms

The farmhouse was rebuilt from ruins iand retains the feel of a traditional quinta, with uncluttered décor, colour-washed walls, terracotta-tiled floors and shuttered windows. We found the rooms to be simple, spotless and stylish.

Most are in the main house, and the two at either end are the largest (one has steps up to a loft sitting room). We stayed in Room 7, which was in a separate building. It had an airy bedroom, a sitting area with blue-and-white-striped sofas, a basic kitchenette (microwave, stove and pans), and a shaded terrace.

Bathrooms are prettily tiled - one has saloon-bar swing doors. Most have showers, 2 have baths. Sea shells are artfully arranged on folded towels, providing a nice decorative touch.

Beds are dressed in pale blankets, Ard’s colourful art hangs on the walls, intricate Moroccan lanterns are dotted around, and there are rattan armchairs and good storage. The scent of lavender lingers in the air, and ceilings are open to the rafters and painted white; fling open the shutters and the rooms flood with light. Air-conditioning and under-floor heating keep the interiors cool in summer and cosy in winter.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

A man could get fat at the quinta. Breakfast is served on the shaded terrace from 8.30am-11am - whatever you want is brought to your table, and Ard and Noor have a knack of anticipating your needs without being intrusive. Cheese is cut to order, and you get baskets of white and brown bread, croissants, Portuguese pastries, and jams made with fruit from the garden. There’s coffee and tea, yoghurts and fruit, an egg if you want one, and freshly-squeezed juice from a neighbour's oranges. In winter, if the weather’s cold, you eat inside, warmed by a smouldering fire.

Light lunches can be prepared: sandwiches and salads, that sort of thing, whatever’s fresh and in the fridge; there’s always something, and you won’t go hungry.

A fixed 3-course dinner is available 3 nights a week (Tue, Thu, Sat - book before noon). Ard whisks it all up - both he and Noor are passionate foodies and use local ingredients wherever possible. We feasted on juicy prawns with just-baked bread, followed by a gourmet twist on Caesar salad (one of the tastiest salads we’ve ever tried) and delicately grilled sea bass. Dessert was a delicious tiramisu. There’s a good wine list to choose from too.

If you want to eat out head to O Retiro in Boliqueime for seafood, try Paixanito in Loulé for tapas, or pop down to A Sardinha on Praia Dos Arrifes beach to dig into excellent fish by the sea. If you want something really special, visit the 2 Michelin-starred Vila Joya or gourmet winery Veneza. If you're stuck, Ard and Noor give excellent and honest restaurant recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You can head east or west in search of beaches. Praia Felica is the closest (about 5km away) - you’ll find 8km of sand, with sun beds and parasols for hire, restaurants and bars. You can charter catamarans at Marina Vilamoura and sail along the coast. The bars stay open at night and DJs play, so if you want some nightlife, you’ll find it

  • Golf freaks will be heaven. Vilamoura and Quinta de Lago are both close; Vilamoura is a 10-minute drive and you can also play tennis there

  • You’re bang in the middle of the Algarve and nowhere is more than an hour’s drive. Head west to Lagos, a pretty town worth exploring, and to Sagres - an important seafaring town in the days of the Portuguese empire (the town’s eponymous beer is the best in the land). Head east to Tavira, the prettiest town on the Algarve (with a Roman bridge, waterfront cafés and bars, and a Saturday market), and to the castle at historic Loulé

  • Venture up into the mountains to the old spa town of Monchique

  • Spain is 60km east and fabulous Seville is 2 hours away by car

  • Head into the hills and try your hand at horse riding, mountain biking and Jeep safaris; all can be arranged

  • Alternatively, just potter round the small villages. They’re pretty much untouched and you can often find surprisingly good restaurants. Portuguese food is incredibly good, much better than many think, and so is the local wine

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Children are welcome, although this isn't a hotel full of kids and the prevailing ambiance is peaceful.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Rooms 6 and 7 can each accommodate 2 additional beds and a baby cot. Room 7 also has terrace and a basic kitchenette, which families will find useful.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 21 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

It was just perfect. Noor, Ard, Charlie, and Bas were the most gracious hosts. The grounds and room were fabulous, and the garden, terrace and pool were so well designed and relaxing. We hated to leave! This is one of the finest properties I have experienced in my travels. I have already recommended it to friends.

10/10,

Outstanding service from the team. Nothing too much trouble. Beautiful house and pool area.

10/10,

We cannot say enough wonderful things about QDCV. It exceeded all our expectations. Art, Noor, Charlie and Sebastian are warm and gracious people who attend to your every need. Art is an incredible chef and all of the food was delicious. We loved every minute of our stay at QDCV!

10/10,

Lovely, helpful family run hotel. Catered well for specific dietary needs. Lots of advice for restaurants and good walks. Quiet, good size swimming pool.
A lovely hotel and really helpful family owners.

9/10,

All was fabulous. A stunning place and would heartily recommend to anyone.

10/10,

We couldn't rate Quinta da Cebola more highly - excellent rooms, common areas, grounds and food. The family running the quinta are exceptionally friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. We would certainly return. Very easy to get to, but you should have a car.

10/10,

This hotel is, by far, the most wonderful place I have ever stayed. It is extremely well run by a fantastic Dutch family. The food was SUPERB. The decor is simple understated chic. The grounds are beautiful and well cared for. We picked the best tasting tangerines from their citrus grove each morning. Absolutely delightful. I gave the room a 4 out of 5 only because the only part of this hotel that could use improvement might be to add a touch more luxury to the rooms - perhaps some nicer linens and towels and some more high end toiletries. But honestly, I will be back here either way. It was absolute paradise!

10/10,

My husband and I just stayed three days in this lovely Quinta and had a wonderful time. This is a perfect, quiet spot with excellent food (Thursday and Saturday), easy going, friendly hosts, wonderful rooms (especially our little house room 7 was lovely) - so charming and familiar with very well behaved dogs and cats around you!
We will come again.
And thank you, Ard, for recommending Tapas 52 in Lisbon - a super place for our last evening in Portugal.

10/10,

We have just spent a few days at The Red Onion and it was just what we needed. The family were very welcoming and did everything to make our stay comfortable and like home from home. The food was excellent and Ard and the boys recommended a few other places to eat which were excellent.
The whole experience was stylish yet understated and extremely friendly. The whole family were able to combine friendliness with professionalism so you didn’t feel overwhelmed.
We will highly recommend your website and the Red Onion to friends and family – in fact we already have!!

10/10,

The cottage offers some privacy but for autumn or winter stays it's a bit cool due to its location under the trees and behind the mainhouse.
Ard's optional dinners are fantastic and well worth the value!

9/10,

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Rates for Quinta da Cebola Vermelha