“Stylish rural hotel, with charming suites set in lush gardens, fabulous restaurant, 2 pools and a swanky living area”
The 55 rooms are set in 3 Moorish styled buildings in the grounds. Casa de Cima is closest to the adults' pool and perhaps best for those wanting most privacy; 2-storey Casa Pátio is set round a central atrium filled with bright pink bougainvillea; Laranjal's suites flank a row of orange trees.
Rooms are mostly white, with views of the gardens. They have a light, clean, simple feel with calming rustic touches: sarongs, beach bags and sun hats hang on driftwood pegs, chunky logs are used as stools and soft tie-dyed cushions add splashes of colour. Other thoughtful details include a Nespresso machine, Kitchen Aid kettle, well stocked minibar and homemade cookies at turndown. We enjoyed good lighting and comfy beds. Use their electric black-out blinds at your peril: we overslept spectacularly.
We recommend the 20 or so suites, with their spacious living areas and verandahs, especially Superior Suite 57 with its corner terrace and distant ocean views. Note that Junior Suites have a bath with overhead shower, while the bigger Superior Suites have a walk-in power shower but no tub.
À Terra restaurant is now a firm favourite: a light airy room with large wooden tables, pots of aromatic rosemary and views of the gardens and the kitchen hustle. Cuisine is rustic and homely, with plenty of sharing dishes; organic vegetables and herbs from the garden add a delicious, healthy twist.
At breakfast you get jugs of fresh smoothies laced with ingredients to lift your day (maybe pear, dates and spinach, labelled "good for the digestion"), along with an array of warm pastries and pancakes, homemade jams, granola, local yoghurts and cheeses, fruit and cooked fare. What won us over were the creamy scrambled eggs made to order and served in mini frying pans. We could have grazed all day.
Lunch and dinner offer dishes from land and sea, while the wood-fired oven produces the crispiest pizzas. We ate there all 3 of our evenings and were never disappointed. To start, ask for one of the sharing boards heaped with freshly baked bread, dips, jamon iberico and olives. We relished the succulent Josper-grilled beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce, and the tender guinea fowl with celeriac and apple puree. Friendly waiters can advise on the best Portuguese wines.
This is a quiet retreat, but families are welcome, there's a kids club in summer, and all of the suites have a day bed which can sleep a child. Those in our party (aged 8, 9 and 10) loved the large gardens, tennis court, trips to the beach, pizzas, and films with popcorn. Most families stay in July/August. And watching the terrapins and frogs in the ponds!
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Junior and Superior Suites each have a day bed in the living area which can sleep 1 child up to the age of 12. Families with 2 children can request an extra bed in the Superior Suites. There are some cots available but these need to be requested in advance and are not guaranteed.
Babysitting can be arranged with advance notice (ideally a week)
There are some large ponds and two swimming pools in the grounds which are unfenced. You will need a car to make the most of the area