Aldeia da Pedralva
Just a few short years ago Pedralva was a ramshackle village full of derelict houses and one small pizzeria catering to the local surfing community. Then in 2008 along came Antonio Ferreira, an Algarvean advertising exec looking to develop a property in this beautiful unspoilt corner of the Algarve, the Natural Park of Costa Vicentina.
Two years later Ferreira and a couple of equally visionary colleagues had bought more than 30 houses from more than 200 individuals, and after another two years had rebuilt the village as an extremely good value and elegant whitewashed hotel with a difference.
Every individual house has completely different specifications - some with children's rooms in the eaves, some with private patios - has between one and three rooms, is named after one of the glorious local beaches. The emphasis throughout is on simple but tasteful decor.
An all pervasive sense of community spirit is enhanced by the presence of the village shop where self-catering guests can buy produce straight from the vegetable garden. There is also a communal barbeque. For guests looking to eat out, the onsite and charming Sitio de Padralva serves local specialities and Pizza Pazza also remains from the old days, still full of surfers now joined by couples and families staying in the village.
The village is also perfectly located in the National Park for walking and riding excursions on the many trails, but most guests will find them irresistibly drawn to the beautiful beaches of the region, in particular Amado, a superb surfing beach that's ideal for beginners and pros alike and less than ten minutes up the road.
Why We Love It
It would be difficult to find a more relaxed, friendly place to stay. The owners had an admirable vision and have pulled it off beautifully. Great value, perfect for families, and in a truly lovely area. What's not to like?
Vila Vita Parc
Vila Vita Parc is a family friendly resort in Portugal's Algarve.
Accommodation comes in a variety of formats, from deluxe rooms to private villas which have their own pools. Each room has either a king size or two twin beds with goose down pillows and duvets - hypoallergenic is available on request - a large sitting area which comes with a sofa bed, and a private terrace or garden overlooking the verdant grounds. There is also twice daily housekeeping, ideal for helping keep the chaos small people leave in their wake in check. Larger suites have walk in dressing rooms, separate living rooms and large indoor and al-fresco dining areas, which can seat up to six people. There are also wine fridges and enormous TVs in both bedrooms and living rooms. Every room and suite also comes with a sound system.
The resorts five private villas sleep between four and twelve guests, offering guests the perks and amenities of staying in a fully staffed resort and the seclusion and privacy of a private villa. Each villa has its own pool and a private butler. Each villa is just a short stroll or golf buggy ride away from the beach, spa, and all of the other facilities at the resort.
Vila Vita Parc has dedicated on site kid's clubs, catering for children from six months onwards, where their fully qualified staff will keep children entertained with a wide variety of fun and educational activities - from painting to sports and (almost) everything in between. They'll even help to wear children out by letting them loose on the swing, trampolines, and slides of the adventure playground. Teenagers can have surfing lessons on the beach, go on day trips to the water park and join in on adrenaline fuelled jeep excursions across the surrounding countryside. Parents can take advantage of the peace and quiet to enjoy the tranquillity of the spa, play a few rounds of golf on the driving range, Pitch & Putt practice course, or one any one of the Algarve's fabled fairways, or perhaps indulge in a few poolside cocktails by the adults only pool.
Flavours at Vila Vita's six bars and ten restaurants span the globe, from the sun soaked Mediterranean to Japanese dishes - there is something on offer for even the pickiest of palettes. For guests staying in the villas, the hotel can arrange in-villa cooking and dining experiences, along with private dinner parties.
Why We Love It
The wine cellar at Vila Vita Parc has an impressive 11,000 bottles to accompany whatever guests choose to eat - and in room dining is available across all rooms and suites.
This white washed cliff side hotel was first constructed in the 1960s, and has since been spruced up to quite the chic beachside oasis, and is ideal for anything from a relaxing weekend away to a family holiday.
There are 144 rooms and suites, all contemporary in design with light minimalist tones, with views over the sea and the Baleeira harbour.
The hotel's restaurant serves a range of local dishes and delicacies as well as international cuisine. Meals are complemented by the ocean views and great Portuguese wines. The bar is also a great spot to venture to pre or post dinner.
To surf or not to surf? That really is the question. With its own surf centre, pro or novice can enjoy a break on the Sagres coastline. Additional activities include bike riding, tours of the local town (a fresh seafood lunch is a must), jeep trips, golfing and a whole range of additional water sports.
For a slower pace of life Memmo also has a particularly good swimming pool, where guests can also soak up the Algarvean rays. There is also an indoor heated pool, sauna and Turkish bath in the hotel's spa, along with a range of beauty treatments and massages.
Why We Love It
Located in Costa Vicentina Natural Park, Memmo is surrounded by simply stunning deserted beaches which are perfect for surfer folk and beach lovers.