“A restored farmhouse of Provençal inspiration with a shimmering pool and a sun-trap terrace, a short drive from a 5-mile beach”
The house was rebuilt from farmhouse ruins in the late 90s and 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 - and irresistibly priced. All are similar, but all are different. 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.
Most of the rooms are in the main house, and the 2 at either end are the largest (one of these has a sofa, the other has steps up to a loft sitting room). There are also 2 Suites with space for 2 rollaway beds - one of these, where we stayed, is located in a separate building and has an airy bedroom, a sitting area with blue-and-white-striped sofas, a basic kitchenette with a microwave, stove and pans, and a shaded terrace. This is also the only room with a TV and DVD player (a few films are provided).
Tiled bathrooms - one of them with saloon-bar swing doors - are prettily tiled. Most have showers, 2 have baths, and all suffice. Sea shells are artfully arranged on folded towels, providing a nice decorative touch.
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.
Children are welcome, although this isn't a hotel full of kids and the prevailing ambiance is peaceful.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
The 2 Suites can each accommodate 2 additional beds and a baby cot. One of these rooms also has a TV, a DVD player and a basic kitchenette, which families will find useful.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking