“Old stones, contemporary comfort and incredible style at this beautiful retreat with self-catering cottages for 2-5”
At the end of a very quiet country lane, a clutch of cottages wait amongst the olive and walnut trees. There's no noise from passing traffic: guests leave cars at the entrance to the hamlet then walk the last few metres to the cottages.
The restoration followed a strict eco brief: natural renders, Kambala hardwood from renewable sources, local limestone and marble. Exposed blocks of original stonework speak of the age of the buildings; numerous windows keep things light.
Decorative elements combine '50s and '60s furniture, Murano glass, splashy canvases (some by Victor), Philippe Starck and Kaiser lamps with cushions from Morocco, brass candlesticks from India and carvings from the Amazon. The look is eclectic and it all works brilliantly; you'll want to recreate it at home.
We were amazed by the incredible attention to detail (including a few surprises we won't ruin for you). Best of all, each cottage has a very spacious private garden. Some are rocky, some are grassed, all are immaculately maintained.
Each cottage has a fully equipped kitchen with beautiful branded crockery and all you need for culinary preparations - plus dining tables indoors and out. Basic things are provided (washing up liquid, bin bags, salt, pepper) and there are grocery shops and a market 6km away in Aniaos.
However, Villa Pedra's restaurant is superb, so you might wind up eating there every evening (we did!). Decorated in a similarly stunning style to the cottages, with carefully laid tables and a Moroccan-style terrace for aperitifs, meals feel special from the off. Menus are a set 3 courses, daily changing, with an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients, and Marta's cooking is superb - home cooking with real flair. We loved our traditional salted cod with olives, lamb chops with fresh rosemary, and imaginative light dessrt of oranges and pineapple slices doused in Amaretto, hazelnuts and goji berries.
The ingredients for breakfast are provided by your hosts. In your fridge you'll find butter, milk, Rabaçal cheese, yoghurt and cold cuts; freshly baked bread is delivered in a pretty linen bag every morning. You're also provided with Nespresso pods and homemade jams, as well as oranges for juicing. An extra treat comes in the form of fresh eggs from Villa Pedra's chickens.
Villa Pedra would be a great place for a family holiday if your kids aren't the sort who expect all entertainment to be laid on. It is a long way from the beach and a drive from restaurants, towns and villages, but a great place to hole up for a week and spend time together - the grounds and aviary are wonderful.
Babies and children are all charged per night (see Rates).
If you booked 2 cottages together, it would be fun to come with another family or the grandparents (you could take the babysitting and cooking in turn).
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
For families with 1 child, book Jasmin or Cerejeira, which have 1 double room and a sofabed. The remaining cottages all have 2 ensuite bedrooms (most have 1 twin and 1 double) and a sofabed, so sleep up to 5. Only Alecrim and Kitchen House have a bathtub, but you can borrow a baby bath if need be.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Cottages are self-catering and come with food processors, microwaves and all the ingredients you could possibly need for breakfasts. There's an on-site restaurant serving evening meals. You are a bit of a drive from other restaurants and about 6km from the closest market, and will probably eat in most evenings here.
Baby monitors won't stretch from the cottages to the restaurant, so families tend to dine early together at 7pm. There are some stone steps in the garden and the pool is unheated and unfenced.