“A restored farmhouse of Provençal inspiration with a shimmering pool and a sun-trap terrace, a short drive from a 5-mile beach”
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.
- 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
- Dinner is only offered on select days of the week
- The bathrooms are fine, but don’t expect cutting-edge design
- Double beds tend to be 2 singles pushed together
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Breakfast (+ other meals by arrangement)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Heated Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
- Table football
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.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
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.
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- 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).
- 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:
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
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)
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 cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Quinta da Cebola Vermelha is just outside the town of Boliqueime, roughly 30km west of Faro in southern Portugal.
Faro (30km away) is the nearest airport. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.
From the Airport
It's an hour's journey by road from Faro airport to the guesthouse - most people take a taxi (approximately €40) or hire a car (see below).
You'll need a car if you want to explore the Algarve, though taxis and the guesthouse's bikes will suffice if you plan to spend most of your time relaxing in the immediate surroundings. If you do want to hire a car see our car rental recommendations. It's an easy drive from Faro airport to the quinta, along the A22 motorway.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Portugal and getting around
- Faro 30.0 km FAO
- Beach 5.0 km
- Shops 3.0 km
- Restaurant 3.0 km